Posted on December 20, 2019
Sola Salon Studios
2019 was more than the end of a decade. For us at Sola, 2019 was a year of change, growth and endless possibilities. Before we leap into the next decade, we wanted to take some time to recap on all the milestones we reached in 2019.
Let's take a moment to reflect...
In January, we revolutionized online search and discovery with BookNow 💥
January started 2019 off with a bang! We introduced a revolutionary online booking search engine, BookNow by SolaGenius – the smart online booking search engine exclusively for SolaGenius users. With an easy-to-use search function for consumers, a detailed database of SolaGenius pros, and a refreshingly simple way for clients to search, discover and book, BookNow offers our Sola professionals (who use SolaGenius) more visibility and discoverability than ever before.
We discovered what #MySola means to all of you 💙
The Sola story is made up of 14,000+ individual stories. Each person comes to Sola with a different purpose and a different feeling they get in their salon studio. So when we asked our community, "What does Sola mean to you?" we got thousands of different answers. Limitless. Jubilant. Legendary. Confident. Magical. Courageous… just a few of the words you used to describe how you feel in your Sola. Click to read more about what #MySola means to our community.
In May, we hosted our 10th Sola Sessions in sunny San Diego 😎☀️
Our 10th Sola Sessions in San Diego on May 6th brought together 425 attendees from around the US and Canada! The Sessions sparked excitement for the future of Sola, while also giving us a look back on the past 15 years. Kim Bennett, Sola's Culture Ambassador and event emcee, opened the event by sharing her journey as the first-ever Sola stylist.
In addition to our magical community of Sola professionals, we also welcomed some of the top educators in the industry to the Sessions stage including Robert Cromeans and Mary Cuomo of Paul Mitchell, John Mosley and Greg Gilmore of Hattori Hanzo Shears, Lauren Gartland and so many more.
The event also included Side Sessions focused on education for estheticians, makeup artists and other professionals looking to expand their offerings with additional services and nuggets of wisdom they were able to bring back to their salons. We also hosted the first Faces of Sola panel moderated by Jennie Wolff. It was definitely a Sola Sessions to remember!
In June, Christina Russell joined the #SolaFam as our new CEO! ✨
Christina Russell joined Sola as our new CEO with a seasoned background in franchising. In an interview with Modern Salon, Christina shared some insight on Sola's mission and her plans for continued growth. In her first few months at Sola, Christina has already spent extensive time traveling to Solas around the country meeting with Sola professionals to hear all about Sola from their perspective. She shared that "It was very rewarding to speak with these stylists, to see how hungry they are to call their own shots, to build their books and to evolve their art in their own way." It didn't take long for Christina to make an impact and become a significant member of the #SolaFamily. She shared in an interview, “Coming here to Sola, it feels like I’m home.”
In July, we celebrated 15 years of Sola! 🎉
Since 2004, when the first Sola location opened in Denver, Colorado, Sola has been changing the game for independent salon owners, and as the first-ever Sola owner, Kim Bennett can attest to the transformation she's seen take place since day one. While reflecting on the past 15 years, our Culture Ambassador recalled the day she met founders Matt Briger and Stratton Smith in a Denver, Colorado Starbucks. What they offered was the opportunity to become a salon owner, not just rent space from one. Better yet, it was a turnkey approach with Sola providing a high-end, fully-equipped salon with the support and tools Kim needed so she was free to focus on her art and “dream my business into reality.”
“When I said that as big as you can dream, you can do it at Sola, I don’t think I realized how far I could go,” says Kim. “And for that, I am eternally grateful.”
This year (a whole 15 successful years later) we are proud to have stayed true to our promise; which is to inspire and support beauty professionals to experience the freedom of salon ownership.
In September, we welcomed the most awesome team of SolaGenius Ambassadors 🤓
The SolaGenius Ambassador Program focuses on bringing education to the Sola community to showcase how SolaGenius helps grow the businesses of our beauty professionals.
These SolaGenius rockstars provide tools and information on social media as well as in-person classes in Sola locations around the country. They crushed all things SolaGenius for 2019, so keep an eye out for more tips, takeovers and education from them in 2020!
The first sold-out Sola Sessions took place in Nashville on September 16th 🎸🎶
The 11th Sola Sessions took place in Nashville on September 16th, where 300 Sola professionals gathered for a day of inspiration and education from top educators in the beauty industry and their Sola community. This was the first-ever Sola Sessions to be SOLD OUT!
We were so lucky to have Geno Stampora as keynote speaker, Michael Cole as the finance guru and Jennie Wolff, VP of Marketing & Education, to teach how to tell your brand story. We also got to experience some wonderful insight from our Faces of Sola Panel. The panel, moderated by Jennie Wolff, consisted of Kim Bennett, Joey Figueiredo, Kelsey Morris and JayR Mallari.
Following the panel, we got some awesome texturizing techniques by Amika's Global Ambassador, Naeemah LaFond. Finally, we finished the day with some color, where Sam Daly, b3 educator, demonstrated some vital tips for vivids, and Matt Swinney showed us how to make clients hear their theme song in your chair!
While in Nashville, we broadcasted the Sola Sessions for the first time via a livestream where we were joined virtually by an additional 50 beauty professionals from around the country! Check out the full recap from Nashville here.
(Pssst...in 2020 we’re heading to Portland and Denver! Stay tuned for details!)
We showed the world how #SolaCares 💕
This year we launched the #SolaCares initiative to give back to our communities across the nation. From food drives to cut-a-thons, you all came together with your #SolaFam to show the power of the Sola community. We are so thankful for all of your generous hearts, and we can't wait to see how else #SolaCares in 2020!
As 2019 comes to a close and we recap all that we have accomplished as a community, we wanted to also remind you that none of this Sola magic would have been possible without our incredible community of go-getters, ceiling-breakers and game-changers. 2019 was a year of many milestones, and it's safe to say that the bar is set pretty high for 2020. Thank you for being the dreamers and the doers who made this year so special. We can't wait to see what the next decade brings!