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In the past few weeks, the entire world has been turned upside down. We have gone from a thriving, social, robust society and economy to one that looks very different for many people. Like all industries, we understand the impact that this crisis is having on our beloved salons. Maybe your salon closed. Maybe you were let go. Maybe you’re simply feeling like it’s time to make a change. We know there is fear and struggle, but we also know that in discomfort, there is growth.

Right now, in this moment, growth is something to celebrate. The biggest triumphs and the most beautiful stories are written during the hardest of times. And Sola is here to help you write the next chapter of your story.

If you’ve ever thought about going independent and opening your own salon studio – there is no better time than now! We are a community 15,000 beauty professionals strong ready to welcome you with open arms and give you the support, guidance, love, and push you need to come out of this successful and thriving on the other side. Let us be your bright light in this time of chaos and help you create the salon environment that you love and the safe space your clients need.

Interested in learning more? We will be hosting a full panel discussion with a few of our independent salon owners and Faces of Sola, Lindsey Couch, Steven Wren, Kelsey Morris, and Ashley Lantz, moderated by Sola’s CMO, Jennie Wolff, on Thursday, April 23rd at 2 pm MST. Click here to register!

They will discuss where they were on their journey when they decided to go independent and what their experience has been since taking the leap. We will answer any questions you may have, in real-time, and have a discussion about your hopes, fears, questions and dreams for the future.

To get the conversation started, we wanted to introduce you to our panelists:

Lindsey CouchArrow Salon, Louisville, KY 

Steven WrenSteven Brandon Hair Studio, Bloomingdale, IL

Kelsey MorrisStudio K, Colombus, OH

Ashley LantzTress Passing Studio, Avondale, AZ

How would you describe a salon studio to someone who is unfamiliar with the concept?

Lindsey Couch: I tell people to imagine an art studio, but with hair salons. We all have our own individual room to be creative.

Steven Wren: A salon suite is a mini salon/barbershop that allows the owner to have complete control and direction of the clients’ experience. You have the luxury of flexible scheduling with low overhead costs compared to traditional salons and barbershops.

Kelsey Morris: A salon studio is the best way to mix your individual brand with a community of like-minded business professionals.  In your studio, you are able to run your own business YOUR WAY!  You have the ability to control every piece of your clients’ experience from decor, services to music. This is your vibe, your brand!

Ashley Lantz: A salon studio is an intimate space in which a beauty professional can create their own small business vibe while offering a one-of-a-kind luxury experience for their guest. Fully customized. Fully you. Fully professional.

How would you describe Sola compared to other salon suites options or booth rental options?

Lindsey:  Compared to other suites, Sola isn’t just my landlord. Our Sola owner is a friend and a business partner. He is there to help us, to make sure we succeed. Compared to a booth rental salon, at Sola, you are the true owner. You get to choose the vibe of your salon, down to the wall color.

Steven: Sola actually cares about the owners. There is a sense of community that is lacking with other salon suite options. 

Kelsey: Sola has similarities to other salon suites, but what really sets them apart is the sense of community you feel within Sola.  They focus on bringing us together in so many ways!  From Sola Sessions to webinars, they connect us and provide resources to grow in our individual business. 

Ashley: With Sola having a studio that was turnkey ready was a game-changer as far as me making my decision between them and competitors. I prefer a studio over booth rental because I can close the door and completely have a one on one experience with my guest.

What were your biggest fears in going independent?

Lindsey: Of course, my biggest fear was if my clients would follow me. All of my clients followed!!! I was also afraid of not being able to make enough money to pay the rent. Once I sat down and did a budget, I broke it down into services. My weekly rent equals 2 colors and 1 haircut. That made it seem totally doable! 

Steven: My biggest fear was losing the security of working inside of an established barbershop. That fear subsided shortly after opening my studio. My current clients loved it and each new guest appreciates the environment I created.

Kelsey: Going independent is scary because your success AND failure depend ONLY on you.  My biggest fear was failure…. But I think that’s perfectly normal in these situations. 

Ashley: That I would lose the camaraderie of a salon environment. That I wouldn’t have the opportunity to engage in as much education as I was before. That I was going to fail. 

What are your top tips for someone to make a smooth transition?

Lindsey: My top tips for a smooth transition are to have your ducks in a row – make sure you have your client info organized, make postcards, and have your product ready to go.  Also, have a trial day. Invite your friends and family in your studio a couple of days before you open. This helped me to make sure I had everything ready to go. It would be super awkward if you're working on a client and you notice you forgot to buy a color whisk. 

Steven: Consult with current suite owners about their experience. The experience and information given may be valuable. Have a clear plan of how you will promote your business. Constant growth is key. Utilize online booking systems for client communications. Finally, build a relationship with the other owners in your location. Cross-promotion is important. 

Kelsey: The biggest piece of advice I can offer to help someone make a smooth transition is to take the time to create a business strategy.  Focus on your numbers and know how many clients you need to do to break even and how many you need to sustain yourself.  This may seem overwhelming, but it prepares you to work hard and achieve your goals without fear. 

Ashley: Be 100% familiar with the business side of things, do at least a little research or have an advisor of your own. That’s the one thing that will throw you for a loop and needs to be done correctly. Otherwise don’t be scared, trust your instinct, and always go with your gut! It’ll be the best step you’ve ever taken in your career. Also, choose a color and retail brand whose culture you completely align with that will help you control your target market and your brand in the long run.

Join us to discuss these topics and so much more during our webinar and panel discussion, How To Transition To A Salon Studio, on Thursday, April 23rd at 2 pm MST.

In the meantime, you can download our Guide to Going Independent here.

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