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Shannon Aleksandr’s Salon & Spa: Warp Speed Growth…

and they still feel happy!

by Sara Altizer

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Meet Shannon Woolsey and her team at Shannon Aleksandr’s Salon and Spa in Evansville, Indiana. Shannon had a brand new salon, full of motivated and excited young stylists, but the team lacked in structure and direction. Here is how Summit Salon Business Center helped this new salon owner learn how take control of her business and become a great success.

Background and Inspiration

Shannon has always had a heart for the salon industry and is completely dedicated to her craft. From growing an extensive clientele to becoming an educator and then manager of the salon where she worked, Shannon was passionate and dedicated. Her dream was to eventually buy that salon when the owner, her boss, was ready to sell it.

When this opportunity completely fell through, Shannon was discouraged and her feelings were hurt, but she held her head high. With a renewed sense of motivation, she set out to open her very own salon.

Challenges

Branching out on her own was a very big transition for Shannon. She had left a salon that was making 1.3 million a year, and was only six months into her new venture she was completely overwhelmed. Despite her nineteen years of experience, Shannon realized that starting a salon from scratch was a completely different world.

Shannon was investing so much of her time and energy into the salon that she had no time for her personal life. “As an owner/stylist/wife/mother of three, I was having trouble balancing life at home with work,” Shannon explains. “I was working seven days a week. On Sundays I was cleaning the salon. Mondays and Wednesdays I worked in the office eight hours a day. Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays I worked twelve hours and Saturdays I spent eight hours behind the chair. My family never saw me.”

Not only did Shannon’s life lack a sense of balance, she readily admits to “ruling with emotion,” which not only created a confusing career path for her stylists, but also made establishing a salon structure and budget even more difficult. Shannon could confidently teach hair and grow talented hairdressers, but she struggled with how to grow her business.

The Summit

Six months after opening her salon, Shannon’s Maly’s sales consultant told her about Summit Salon Business Center, and she immediately knew that this was where she needed to be. Although Shannon was completely overwhelmed and emotional, she’ll never forget Michael Cole’s words. He told her that The Summit was the first step to getting, “BIGGER, BETTER, FASTER.” And, he promised that the Summit Salon Systems could have her salon earning even more in five years than the 1.3 million pulled in by the salon she had just come from! That’s all it took—Shannon was in.

Implementation

After attending The Summit Shannon immediately implemented the following three initiatives, and found that they made a huge impact in her own self-confidence and in the overall well being of the salon.

  • Hiring a Summit Salon Consultant to Coach and Mentor: “It’s nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of and to keep me accountable to my shareholders and staff.”
  • Having Shareholders: “They have taken a huge workload off of me through delegation of duties. They’ve also helped me foster a great team environment. I enjoy coaching my coaches now.”
  • Starting a Summit Salon Associate Program: “It has helped me grow the salon faster and released me from being held ‘hostage’ by service providers who don’t want to be ‘TOP 20.’ The fear of a walkout is not on my mind at all because of the associate program. I’ve grown my salon from five staff members to thirty-nine in seven years with the guidance of the Summit Salon Associate Program.”

When Shannon introduced the new Summit Salon Systems and structures to her staff, she met some resistance. “I lost two massage therapists, one nail technician, and one stylist,” Shannon explains. “They were all afraid of change.”

As for the ones who decided to stay and embrace the change, they cannot believe their success.

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Racheal Gass: Level 4 Stylist

Racheal Gass, a level four stylist with Shannon Aleksandr’s Salon and Spa, has experienced more than an 80 percent increase in her income in the five years she’s been with the team. “There is no way that my career would be as stable as it is today without the foundation of the Summit system,” Rachel says. “It is crucial to have the building blocks and blueprints you need to successfully build and maintain your business. Nothing else out there is as apparent and steadfast in doing so as the Summit Salon Systems.”

Shannon explains that even the guests can feel the shift. “I’ve noticed a huge difference. They notice how we work as a team and are not competing with each other. It’s more guest friendly and they feel it. Our guests have great loyalty now because they know they can see another service provider here at the salon because of this team atmosphere.”

Now Shannon is a mentor and coach instead of a “boss.” She is more relaxed and is not working herself to death. “I’m better at decision making,” Shannon explains. “And I’m not ruling with emotion anymore. I make decisions based on my budget guidelines.”

Shannon also has a greater appreciation for her distributor. “My sales consultant with SalonCentric just understands our ‘language.’ It’s much easier following the budget guidelines and staying in budget when you have only ONE distributor. I’ve also got the support of my salon sales distributor and have become a priority to them.”

On top of all of this success, Shannon has been able to strike a balance between life and work, only now she takes home the salary of a salon owner! She has the freedom to take Saturdays off, cook for her family again, and take vacations. Best of all, Shannon’s newfound balance has completely transformed her ability to better lead and manage her team.

Utilizing the Resources

Shannon finds it imperative to use all of the resources provided by Summit Salon Business Center. All of her service providers use the Summit Salon Planner, and Shannon has thoroughly enjoyed the success of participating in Summit-inspired retail contests and referral programs. Now, Shannon has the educators in her salon teaching the Over the Top curriculum, but they are in the process of having the level threes take on that responsibility as a way of teaching them to become strong leaders.

Where They Are Now

Shannon Aleksandr’s Salon and Spa experienced growth at what Shannon describes as “warp speed.” “I never dreamed we’d go this far in eight years. We have grown from $325,000 our first year to 1.7 million in 2013, and we are trending to do more than 2 million this year; it’s surreal. Also, the staff works as a team and they are happy, the guests are happy because they know the staff is happy, and everyone is really just happy to be here!”

The role education has played in the success of the salon cannot be denied, Shannon explains. “The level and amount of education has been huge since we married the brand. I would confidently say we are the best educated staff in the state!”

Being the best has certainly lead to phenomenal growth. The salon is currently working to expand their location by 2,500 square feet, bringing them up to a 7,000 square foot space when all is said and done. Shannon is also scoping out locations and looking at demographics in hopes of opening a second location on the west side of her area in the next couple of years.

To anyone wondering if The Summit program is right for them, Shannon doesn’t hesitate to offer words of encouragement, “DO IT! Do NOT cherry pick it. Marry the whole program. Yes, it’s scary, but growth is right outside of your comfort zone.”

Shannon Aleksandr’s Summit Salon Consultant is Michael Nikolas.