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By signing your lease for your brand new Sola studio, you have just made an exciting and positive change for your life and career. Since becoming your own boss and opening up your own salon comes with new challenges and responsibilities, it’s not unexpected to take a break from being on cloud nine and ask, “Where do I even begin?” Here’s a quick-list of tasks and items you should spend the next few weeks focusing on.

Lean on Sola:

  • Sign up for the Sola Pro app to get access to exclusive product deals, education, perks and more.
  • Sign up for SolaGenius – our cutting-edge app designed to help you run your Sola like a BOSS!
  • Create your Sola webpage. This is a totally free and easy way to promote your business and you can update it at any time using the Sola Pro app.
  • Visit the Sola Blog to find marketing ideas, tips and success stories from other Sola owners. 
  • Take the initiative to walk around and meet the other Sola pros not just to cross-promote, but to get to know the amazing Sola community you belong too! 
  • Remember, you’re not alone. You have your Sola manager, all of us here at the Sola home office, amazing events like Sola Sessions, and a community of beauty pros who have been where you are right now.

Protect your business & new investment.

Now, you may be tempted to run to IKEA, HomeGoods, or Target and start picking out some décor (who wouldn’t!), but first and foremost, let’s get all the important business stuff taken care of.  

  • File/register your business & business name
  • Obtain salon license
  • Get sales license
  • Secure insurance for your new studio

We know all the business stuff can seem scary, but Sola’s start-up manual has all the forms and info you need to make this easy-peasy!

Create your culture

Now that you have your own salon, you get to do things YOUR way! You’re in complete control of creating your salon culture and identity. An important step is to create the vision for your salon and really think about what your salon is going to offer and the experience you are going to provide that will set you apart. It’s all about building a brand experience. Think about your target clientele and why they would want to visit your salon over anywhere else. What problems are you going to solve that will bring your guests back again and again? What feelings do you want your guests to have when they arrive and leave your studio?

Read more about Creating Your Salon Culture over on the Sola Blog.

“Execution is a major key for success, but before you get into any of the logistical aspects of your business, you must cast your overall vision. Once you have a clear vision for your business, the “how” and “what” will start to take shape. For instance, one of the decisions that you will make is your price point and how this will affect your distribution strategy. If your vision is to be an affordable neighborhood barbershop, your pricing will aim to reach the masses and you will look to see more clients than you would if you are going to be an exclusive, higher priced salon.” – Chris Matthew, owner of Dillinger’s Hair Company in Long Island, New York & 2018 Faces of Sola

Build your brand.

When creating your brand, you’ll want to consider everything from your logo to colors to your brand voice. The branding process will take time, and does not need to be completely done before you take your first appointment! Brands are constantly evolving.

One thing to consider: hire a professional! If you want a logo, but aren’t sure how to create one, hire a designer. They can also help you determine the right colors, fonts and images to use in your marketing.

Tips on building a brand:

  • Be authentic
  • Have a unique voice
  • Be consistent
  • Create value for your customers
  • Consider the experience in your salon as part of your brand! 

Choose your paint, artwork, music and décor.

Now’s the fun part: create the space of your dreams that you will love being in everyday and that your clients will love to visit! Your salon should match the brand experience you want to evoke. When it comes to designing your studio, you’ll want to think about setting a mood – think about the full experience. Do you want bright colors and loud music or soft hues and sweet melodies? These decisions will come back to the brand you are aiming to create.

One thing to keep in mind—a wall to shoot client photos for social media. Ashley Lewis (@the_blondologist) owner of Nest Hair Studio in Richmond, Virginia & 2018 Faces of Sola wanted a good space to shoot before and afters, so high that she chose to go with a high-reflective white for one wall in her studio.

Its about an 8ftx10ft wall and its where we shoot all our  before/after pictures. We do not have any windows in our studio so this wall gives us some nice reflection and it is a nice, clean slate for all our photography.” – Ashley Lewis

Also keep in mind…

  • Create a color scheme or palette for your brand BEFORE you go and start picking out colors. It’ll help streamline the process. Are there certain colors you want to incorporate into your overall studio design that reflect your brand? For instance, Tammy and Lauren Muniz, owners of Rouge 22 Salon in Chattanooga, TN & 2017 Faces of Sola, feature pops of rouge throughout their logo and in their salon.
  • Plan and set a budget, and more importantly, stick to the budget!
  • Keep your studio set-up simple so it will be easy to clean.

Dont clutter your space with too much decor. My biggest advice is to keep it simple, organized, and clean! For example, I keep my fridge and coffee maker within my cabinets, so my space can be used to make money. Remember, most clients dont take advantage of coffee, especially during warmer seasons.” – Tammy Muniz

Choose your products.

You can’t service clients without some products, and you definitely can’t strive to pay your rent in retail if you don’t have any products to retail. Choosing which path to take can be exciting for some and a little intimidating for others. Mahogany Plautz, owner of Carve Salon in Minneapolis, MN & 2018 Faces of Sola has some sage advice to consider.

Im sure the thought of staying with the line you are familiar with is tempting but before you commit to any line, decide what you value and whether or not your current line compliments those values.

Consider performance of the product.

Consider the price and is it within your guests budget.

Consider the values of the brand you chose as well.

For example, I partnered with John Paul Mitchell Systems (JPMS) for many reasons but one in particular is philanthropy. Throughout the year, JPMS hosts campaigns not only to raise money for good causes, but they also supports stylists by offering great deals you can pass onto your guests.

Last, but not least, consider continuing education. Does the product line offer more than just product knowledgeMore often than not, product lines have reps that will meet with you. Take the time to pick a product line that excites you. The more you love the product you use and the company behind it, the easier it will be to professionally recommend them to your guest."

Keep your friends close (and your sales rep closer)…

“Getting this relationship off to a great start will pay great dividends in the future,” adds David Aschheim, Sola Franchisee, Richmond, VA. “Retail/product is the lifeblood of your business so your supplier is the persona that can really get you out of a jam. But don’t just rely on the rep stopping by. Make the time with him or her, have coffee even. More importantly, be professional—dress the part and show them you are serious. Sales reps want to work more with people who show that they can represent the brand and take their success seriously.”

Now, lets get those clients.

Marketing is the key to your success and you have options: digital marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and even print and direct mail. Since you have a lot happening all at once, we urge you to consider and explore SolaGenius. This app is like having a virtual assistant who is a whiz when it comes to digital and text marketing.

It can be a scary transition but the tools are there to obtain your ultimate success, and trust me, youre going to be completely blown away by the positive results you can create! Use these tools! Also, keep in communication with your customers! Make sure that you have a means of communication between your customers (phone number, email address, Facebook, Instagram, etc.). Keeping that simple thing organized is going to make you more successful.Alex Sylvester, 2018 Faces of Sola

Also consider…

  • Send out a text or email blast (or even a good old fashioned snail mail announcement) to let your clients know about your new salon – consider offering a special incentive for those who visit your new salon within the first month of opening!
  • Give first-time client a special gift
  • Hand out business cards with contact info to the other Sola pros in your building. It’s definitely possible that you offer services that they don’t.  
  • Create social media accounts for your Sola that are separate from your personal accounts and start posting (don't forget your brand voice and always aim to CREATE VALUE!)

One newbie in our location who is a lash artist hand out postcards with her contact info to the other Sola Pros so they could let their clients know a new lash extension artist was moving in. Just this simple, low-cost idea had her booked out the first three weeks she was at Sola. Oh, and she was fresh out of school with no clientele! Super cool and exciting way to start off her business. – Amanda Schlumpberger, Sola Franchisee, Eugene, Oregon

WatchUnderstanding Your Sola BusinessWebinar.

Last, but certainly not least, add this to your list of priorities! This webinar, available for FREE for you on the Sola Pro app, will cover a lot of questions you may already have about understanding your numbers and the ways you can grow your business. After watching the “Understanding Your Sola Business” Webinar, make sure to surf through all the other valuable educational resources that are available to you on Sola Pro!

Congrats! You are an entrepreneur; a beauty professional who is taking their success by the reigns. It’s time to bask in the glory of owning your own salon!

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