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Heather Catalan, owner of Studio H Salon, a Paul Mitchell Focus Salon in Sola Salons Colorado Springs, “caught the hair bug early on,” as she says. Throughout the years, Heather has leveraged degrees in both marketing and cosmetology into a booming Sola business reaping the financial benefits associated with using and selling a trusted and prominent product line. We’ve asked Heather to share with us her experience of becoming a Focus Salon, and the secrets of marketing this wonderful product line. – Jamie Siebrase

Sola Salons:

Tell us how you got into hair in the first place?

Heather Catalan:

I was interested in hair from an early age. During high school, I even worked as a receptionist for a hair salon. It was my dad who suggested – er, insisted! – I get my college degree before starting beauty school, and that’s how I ended up with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. After college, I still had the ambition to be a hair stylist, so I went to the Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy.

What were your first gigs after hair school?

I worked for a Toni & Guy salon for about two years, and then worked independently as a mobile stylist where I would go on-site for events. During this time, I was also doing marketing for other businesses, including a dental office where I met a woman who told me about a weekly business-networking group that helped me grow my clientele.

Why’d you leave your mobile business?

I love working for myself and have an entrepreneurial spirit, but your body can only take that much damage for so long! Not having the right tools, the right equipment, and a chair that moves up and down takes its toll. When I decided to move indoors, Sola was a great fit because salon ownership offers total freedom. All of my clients came with me, and I’m actually busier now being in Sola because it is a lot easier for existing clients to refer to me now that I have a physical place. I’ve stopped doing marketing for other people, now, and I am 100 percent focused on hair.

Speaking of focus, we understand your boutique salon has a very special one.

Studio H Salon is a Paul Mitchell Focus Salon, which means I solely sell and use Paul Mitchell Products.

Was it hard to get registered as a Paul Mitchell Focus Salon?

The process was easy! I contacted the distributor in town, and she set me up with a fantastic introduction to Paul Mitchell. Then, I applied to become a Paul Mitchell Focus Salon online and became registered as a Focus Salon.

Why Paul Mitchell?

Branding is powerful stuff! Clients tend to be more receptive to product purchases when you recommend a brand they recognize. Another perk is that the company provides free education – Seriously, free; there’s no catch! – to stylists who sell the product line. I can schedule one-on-one sessions anytime, just by calling. Knowing the product line inside-and-out is what will help you move your products. The company also tracks my purchases and offers points for every dollar I spend; these can be exchanged for items in Paul Mitchell’s online mall, or used toward attending a huge educational event in Las Vegas called The Gathering.

Ever been to the Gathering?

I’m going this August! The weekend is a two-day event, and I am looking forward to four advanced, hands-on classes in color, cutting, styling, and business. There will also be a fabulous hair show where you can see creative artist's depictions of hair up-close. It’s important for serious hair stylists to consider events like this because it helps you stay on the cutting-edge in an industry where trends are always changing!

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