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Carl Michael Salon: Finding Success in Your Second Location

by Sara Altizer

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When a salon begins to outgrow its existing space, the excitement of success goes hand-in-hand with the fear and uncertainty of what the next step should be. Opening a second location, while very intimidating, can provide a great opportunity to truly grow your brand. Lisa Lipani, owner of Carl Michael Salon in Boston, took the leap and opened her second location a little more than a year ago. Here are her thoughts, strategies, and future plans.

HER INSPIRATION

When Lisa began to outgrow her current salon space, her original plan was to find a larger space to accommodate her blooming staff. After searching for the perfect spot for nearly four years, however, she received some great advice from Summit Salon Business Center’s Director of Development, Heather Bagby, and decided to open a second location instead. Lisa realized that this jump offered the opportunity for great profitability.

MARKETING AND LOGISTICS

After finding the perfect location, Lisa went to work on reconfiguring the staffing logistics. She discovered that the best plan for her was to have nine service providers at each location, with some stylists who switch back and forth between the two. She has found that the best balance for her personal schedule is to work three days behind the chair—two at the original location and one at the new location—and then spend one day in the office.

The greatest challenge owners face when opening a new location is that of building up their clientele and increasing awareness in the new neighborhood and community.

When Lisa opened her second location, she took advantage of social media marketing opportunities, such as Facebook, to spread the word and attract new guests to the second salon. She also sent out email blasts, which offered her existing guests $10 in additional referral dollars when referred guest went to the new location.

Lisa had complete confidence in her ability and that of her stylists to retain new clients, so she just needed to get people in the door. Lisa took a creative approach, joining forces with a local Lexus dealership; Carl Michael Salon awarded a $200 salon gift card to anyone who purchased or leased a car within a specified one-month period. Lisa and the other stylists also offered complimentary blowouts to patrons of other businesses in the community.

Through these initiatives, Lisa has been able to grow the guest list at her new location quickly and efficiently.

GROWING NUMBERS BY GROWING PEOPLE

Lisa has always been a big believer in growing people, and the Summit Salon Associate Program has provided her with the tools and know-how necessary to grow her salon and lead with confidence. Lisa joyfully describes the transition that takes place in her associates, from the first time she hands them a blow dryer and can see that they are so overwhelmed they almost pass out, to when they reach the end of their associate journey and are formulating color and finishing hair flawlessly. The increase in the knowledge, capability, and self-confidence of each associate is a beautiful transformation to behold. Lisa explains that her associates are always so thankful, and truly have no idea what kind of success awaits them when they start the program.

In the past, Lisa has trained three or four associates each year, but she expects that with the growth her stylists have experienced recently, that number could very well increase this year.

FUTURE

Believe it or not, Lisa is already thinking about opening a third location! The thought entered her mind as soon as she opened her second salon. She has seen such an increase in sales—and, quite the increase in expenses too, she says, laughing—that she’s seriously considering it. Once she has the time to sit down with the numbers, she will be able to make decisions about her future growth. No matter what she decides, it’s certain that given Lisa’s passion and excitement about the salon industry, success is sure to follow wherever she leads.