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You’ve built a solid business at Sola Salons. Now what? If you’re looking to grow your brand and you live in a city with multiple Sola locations, then you might consider investing in a second suite. Here’s a look at how stylist and entrepreneur Evelia Rios increased her clientele and overall revenue via multi-unit ownership.

When Evelia signed on at Sola Salons Park Ridge in February of 2015 there were only two suites left in the building. She launched Hair du Jour, and before long business was booming.

A year later, Evelia got wind that a new Sola was opening ten miles from her inaugural studio — and she wanted in on that, too. Evelia was interested in making her salon more accessible and convenient for busy clients by offering services closer to the downtown area, where many of her guests work.

“I also wanted to see if I could get a new client base in the city,” Evelia explains, adding, “Even though I’ve been doing hair for twenty-two years, we stylists always have to find ways to build our clientele.” Doctors practice at multiple locations — “Why can’t hair stylists do it?” Evelia wondered.

Opening a second studio would be a big upfront investment, and Evelia “didn’t want to put anything on credit,” she says. She teamed up with two other stylists, and the trio went in on a studio together at Sola Salons West Lakeview. Evelia’s still working on “getting the routine down,” she says, candidly discussing the nuances associated with dividing one’s time between two studios. But, Evelia says, the results have been very positive thus far.

“It’s going as expected,” Evelia says, adding, “The more I’m here [at Sola Salons West Lakeview], the more I’m getting my investment back.”

Evelia estimates that she’s picked up 20 percent more clients in her first few weeks, and she credits that to word-of-mouth referrals and the central location of her newest studio. “The one day that I had a cancellation, there was a new client looking to get in; I snagged her up,” says Evelia.  

She’s developed brand continuity by maintaining the same culture at both salons. The studios, for example, share a name. And, Evelia says, “I try to play the same music on Pandora, display the same magazines and serve the same beverages. I offer the same services at both locations, too,” she adds, noting a concentration on cuts, highlights, color and extensions. Evelia also uses the same color line and retail collection at each site.

Evelia had to purchase another set of tools for her second salon, and she’s still stocking retail and building the color inventory at Sola West Lakeview. That’s another upfront investment that has quickly begun to pay off.

Administratively, having multiple salons is easy, according to Evelia. “I use Vagaro, and there’s a feature to add a second location,” she says, noting that Sola negotiates discounts with the software supplier. “I feel like it is very easy to manage both locations,” Evelia reiterates.

Evelia’s advice to curious stylists is simple: “Don’t be afraid of the risk,” she says, adding, “As long as you have a book of business and a client base that will help spread the word, a second salon is within reach.”

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