Building a Culture that Counts
Profile by Sara Ren Altizer
2011, One Year Later: Total Annual Sales +70%, Average Retail/Month +91%, Average Services/month +68%
2015: Total Annual Sales +232%
Favorite SSBC Products:
Avenue Hair Design
After devoting seventeen years to running Avenue Hair Design, owner Patti Paull was one more sleepless night away from giving up on her company and closing the doors. She felt frustrated, out of control, and exhausted. Read on to discover how Summit Salon Business Center took Avenue Hair Design from hopeless to success.
At Avenue Hair Design, it seemed like no matter what Patti Paull did, nothing improved. “As the owner of my business I would have traded being the owner any day to be an employee again,” Patti explains, “Headache free, a paycheck and a day off. I really don’t feel like I was a leader; I was too worried about being friends with everyone and trying to make everyone happy so they would stay. I feel like there was no structure, so everyone kind of did what they wanted which resulted in an inconsistent guest experience.”
Patti struggled with growing her salon company and recruiting career-minded stylists. This was due in part to not having established a true career path and achievable goals for her team. The average salary was 18–25k, which she knew was not competitive. She constantly feared a walkout, and because of this, let the stylists run her and the salon. As a result, there was barely enough money to pay the bills at the end of the day.
This is when her cousin stepped in and offered hope. “My cousin owns a big salon in Texas and was utilizing the Summit Salon Systems,” Patti explains. “I had lunch with her in Florida and discussed that after seventeen years in business, I wanted to close my doors. I was broke, damaged, and done! She talked me into trying one more time and introduced me to The Summit. I realized that there would be an end to everything I was going through and a new door to possibilities was about to open.” Not only did Summit Salon Business Center have the salon business strategies to encourage growth, but they offered a personalized Summit Salon Consultant to help Patti every step of the way.
Summit Salon Systems
The Summit Salon Associate Program has been helping independent salons build teams and profit for more than ten years. The program provides charts to guide salon owners in effectively recruiting career-minded stylists from cosmetology schools. All new recruits go through a comprehensive training program, in which they are partnered with master stylists who mentor them and have them ready to go on the floor in just ten months. By implementing the Associate Program, Patti was able to grow her salon team by passing along her recruitment techniques and establishing a career path. With these essential pieces in place, incoming stylists knew exactly what to expect as they began their career with Avenue Hair Design.
The Summit Salon Systems provide a clearly outlined career path that places a stylist’s success right in the palm of their hands. It takes the emotion out of price increases and promotions and gets clients excited about each stylist’s growth within the company. At Avenue Hair Design, the Summit Salon Systems improved salon culture by fostering an environment of respect and determination instead of competition.
Summit Salon Business Center offers financial services and lease consulting to cover every aspect of salon finances. These services were key in teaching Patti how to balance a budget and set budget guidelines for her company.
“My Summit Salon Consultant, Sharmaine Giorgio, has a wonderful relationship with my team,” Patti explains. “During her visits, Sharmaine motivates, provides leadership, and offers solutions to any difficulties the team may be experiencing. In return, their numbers accelerate and their career goals become achievable. This helps strengthen our salon company and promotes growth.” The two biggest challenges Patti faced throughout her coaching with Sharmaine were recruitment and sustaining growth during non-seasonal periods (June–October).
Sharmaine provided Patti strategic ideas to help her recruit new cosmetology graduates. “Her strategy was to make recruitment posters and send gift cards for school instructors to use in our salon company,” Patti says. “This introduced cosmetology school instructors to our salon culture and helped them understand what we were about so that they could have the opportunity to recommend us to their students. Sharmaine also provided us with a PowerPoint presentation for teaching classes at our local beauty schools.”
Sharmaine’s strategy for building up business during slow times of the year was to help the Avenue Hair Design team grow client referrals in the off season. “She showed us that if we offer great incentives during this time of year with our loyal clients, we will have the potential to gain brand new loyal clients.” They decided to run a referral contest in which every time a client referred someone new to the salon during the months of June through October, their name would be entered into a drawing to win one year of free hair services. This campaign was highly successful. For the past two years in fact, Avenue Hair Design has experienced a shorter slow season, and continues to see growth every month.
Change can be intimidating, and especially in a company with a negative culture, it is not unusual for some stylists to not want to change. When she implemented the Summit Salon Systems, Patti went from having four stylists on staff to one. “That was the best thing to happen to me, as I see it now,” Patti explains. “The one who stayed and the new stylists who were hired on look up to me as a leader now. We have a friendly, loving relationship, but there are boundaries and we are not friends outside of work.” These boundaries have established a level of professionalism and leadership that fosters an environment of profitability.
Kelly, who is a level 4A stylist at Avenue Hair Design, has been with Patti for twenty years and averages an incredible 90 percent pre-booking rate.
“The Summit Salon System allow me to grow my business daily and achieve goals I never thought possible—personally and in my career,” Kelly explains. “Customer service has become our number one priority. We’ve learned how to give each guest such a great experience that they can’t wait to book their next reservation. This has created a positive atmosphere for our team as well as for our guests.”
The clients have noticed the change, and are loving it. The guest satisfaction has increased dramatically. “We strive for the 5-star guest experience each and every day,” Patti explains. “They truly love being educated and pampered, all in a friendly and positive atmosphere. They also love that we are a teaching salon.”
Patti Paull now feels like a leader. The Summit Salon Systems empowered her to grow her team by having salon systems in place. “I used to think I couldn’t make it without me also working five days a week behind the chair,” Patti explains. “Now I see all of the areas where I can better use my skills and energy. In May 2016 I opened a second location to support more room and opportunity to grow, and I am hoping to bring on shareholders in 2017. Now that I can sleep at night, there is nothing that can stop me!”
Are you Ready?
If you are a salon owner who is considering taking the leap and getting the most out of your salon company? Patti has some advice for you,
“If you are going to try the Summit Salon Systems, DO ALL OF IT! You can’t do it piecemeal and expect to get all of the great results. Dive in 100 percent! There is only one problem with the Systems…if you follow them with all your heart, you will grow so much that you will quickly outgrow your space!”
If you’re ready to catapult your salon company with proven salon business strategies then click:
2011, Pre Summit
Total annual sales: 209,975
Average retail/month: 1,770.66
Average Services/month: 15, 727.26
2012, One year after Summit Launch
Total annual sales: +70%
2013, Two years after Summit Launch
Total annual sales: +22%
2014, Three years after Summit Launch
Total annual sales: +25%
2015, Four years after Summit Launch
Total annual sales: +27%