If you own a salon or are thinking about taking that exciting and monumental step, it’s critical that you establish a positive salon culture that communicates your brand and attracts the clientele that you want to work with.
Without a clearly defined company culture and brand, it is easy to fall into the habit of hiring the wrong people and accepting the wrong kinds of clients and guests—both of which can take the magic and excitement out of your business.
Are you thinking about revamping your salon? Thinking about opening one from scratch? By starting with culture and using it to define all other aspects of your business, you can be sure that the business you build is one that you love and feel excited about every single day. And isn’t that what we all want?
What is salon culture?
The term salon culture refers to the unique characteristics that make your salon unique. It refers to the values and behaviors that you expect from yourself and your employees, which influence all other aspects of your business. In short, it’s what makes you you.
“Salon culture” is roughly the same thing as “company culture.”
Sometimes, “culture” and “aesthetic” can get confused for each other, but they are in fact very different.
Salon culture is how your business behaves; aesthetic is your branding and how your business is viewed by others. Salon culture is more of the emotional aspect of your business, how your employees feel, your guest's experience when they walk into your space or interact with one of your employees, etc. Aesthetic is more the visual representation of your business, which in turn can evoke that emotional component.
Both your salon culture and brand aesthetic should flow together creating a cohesive brand.
Why is salon culture so important?
Your salon culture is what sets your business apart from the others.
The hair and beauty industry is so saturated with salons that it truly isn't enough to just perform good quality services. If you really want to stand out from the pack and attract the best employees and guests, then you need to create a salon environment that stylists want to be apart of and elevate the guest experience so guests want to be apart of it, too.
All of this begins with creating a clear and concise salon culture.
How to Create a Positive Salon Culture
1. Start by defining it.
Your culture stems from having a very clear outline of what your company values are. If you are going to have a clear culture and hold your staff accountable to living it and promoting it, then you need to define it.
Not sure how to put your culture into words? Ask yourself questions like:
- If you have a role model or mentor in the industry, what qualities do they portray that you want your business to portray?
- What are your reasons for being in the hair business and wanting to own a salon?
- What do you believe makes for a successful business?
- What values and characteristics do you try to live by in your personal life, which you would expect from your business?
Once you’ve defined your culture, it’s important that you communicate it: To your staff, to your new hires, and to your customers/clients.
2. Choose the right people.
Once you’ve identified your salon’s culture, ou should use it to inform many of your business decisions. One of the most important will, of course, be the kinds of people that you surround yourself with: Your staff and your clients.
When you hire someone, you need to know that they will be a good fit for your culture; if they’re not, then they’re going to clash with it, and that’s no good.
Not everyone is going to mesh with your salon culture—and that’s okay! Always remember to stay true to your initial vision, and know that those who have the same vision will follow. As we always say, "Your vibe, attracts your tribe!"
The same goes for your clients and guests. Being transparent and open with your guest about where your brand is going will put the ball in their court allowing them to make the decision to stay and get on board or find another salon that suits them better. If you're feeling they aren't meshing, chances are they are too and just don't know how to tell you. Situations like these always seem to even out in the end.
3. Communicate expectations.
In order for your salon culture to stick and diffuse throughout your whole business, everyone needs to be on board and working towards the goal of making it a reality. And that means that you need to get really good at communicating your expectations.
When employees aren’t meeting your expectations for salon culture (for example, by not giving appropriate customer service or portraying the wrong kind of attitude), it needs to be addressed so that it can be corrected.
Similarly, you should reinforce positive behaviors! When a staff member goes above and beyond, use them as an example for your other workers so that they a.) know what to do and b.) understand that you truly value culture.
4. Check in with your staff.
Team meetings and staff check-ins are crucial to maintaining a positive salon culture!
Everyone wants to feel a sense of ownership, to feel heard, and the feeling like they are apart of something bigger than themselves. Team meetings and one-on-one check-ins help you achieve exactly that.
Team meetings and check-ins should happen on a regular and consistent basis—not just when something goes wrong or needs to be addressed or when a big project is launching. For example, you might choose to have a team meeting every Friday at 9am to talk about what went right or wrong during the week; or you might meet at the start of the week to align with expectations.
This regularity will create a sense of security for your staff members allowing them to feel comfortable speaking up about ideas they have or coming to you with a problem or concern.
5. Invest in, and support, your staff.
One of the best ways of maintaining a positive salon culture is for you to make your employees feel valued. You can do this in a number of ways, from celebrating their victories to commiserating with them in their defeats. (Hey, it happens!)
A great way of showing your employees that you value them and of benefiting your salon at the same time is to invest in them by encouraging them to continuously learn and grow in their skills. Whether that is encouraging them to go back to school, helping them pay for a class or workshop, or even hosting an educational event in your salon can all be great ways of achieving this.