Business Management

"I Would Have Done It Differently"

Current and former salon owners share their personal insights on the things they would go back and change, if only they could.

Wentzel misses this elevated pedicure set-up that she had at her former location.
<p>Wentzel misses this elevated pedicure set-up that she had at her former location.</p>

CINDY WENTZEL, Nails at the Carriage House, Newmanstown, Pa.

What I Did:

I moved my salon into my home and didn’t move my unique pedicure setup — an elevated platform and a Hungarian baby bath — to my new salon because I didn’t want to put holes into the floor. I opted to use another type of pedicure chair, but it’s not ergonomically friendly. My back bothers me now.

What I Would Have Done Differently:

I would have the client sitting higher in relation to where I’m sitting, like the set-up in my former salon, to alleviate the stress on my back. I’m still trying to figure out how to improve my current pedicure set-up to make it more ergonomically friendly.

With Hackett-Belcher's busy schedule as an educator for Nail Tek, a partnership would be the ideal salon ownership arrangement, but she's still trying to find the right person.
<p>With Hackett-Belcher's busy schedule as an educator for Nail Tek, a partnership would be the ideal salon ownership arrangement, but she's still trying to find the right person.</p>

KESHA HACKETT-BELCHER, Lavender Nail and Make-up Studio, Oakland, Calif.

What I Did:

I went into business with a business partner who wasn’t a good fit. As the one-year contract ended, I had to make a lot of stressful adjustments as I needed to transition to a different salon.

What I Would Have Done Differently:

I am still optimistic about partnerships, especially because I think it’s a good fit for my lifestyle. But next time I will use my network to find out more about the integrity and reputation of a potential partner, including ensuring the person has a state board cosmetology license (if performing services), a business license, and insurance. I will also set clearer boundaries about who would take the lead on projects such as recruiting, training/orientation, ordering supplies, salon cleaning, and laundry.

Christie (right) wishes she'd hired a professional to design her salon.
<p>Christie (right) wishes she'd hired a professional to design her salon.</p>

VALERIE CHRISTIE, Pampered & Polished Salon Spa, North Pole, Alaska

What I Did:

I ran into a lot of building and design issues by trying to design my salon without professional help. First, I opened my salon doors without enough lighting. Trying to do hair color in the dark is difficult! (When I remodeled, I installed an overkill of lighting to prevent that.) Flooring was another huge problem. I chose laminate wood flooring, which proved to be hard to maintain in such a high-traffic area. I also didn’t realize laminate flooring comes in two finishes; I chose the matte, without realizing I could have chosen glossy. I tried to fix the problem with wax, which just made it worse. I also ran into plumbing problems, which caused three inches of standing water to flood the salon floor. The floor’s seams warped and bowed up, and, since I had just opened, I couldn’t replace the floor right away. I also chose a paint that, while beautiful, couldn’t easily be cleaned. I scrubbed the paint right off the wall trying to clean off marks.

What I Would Have Done Differently:

 I would have hired a professional to design the space for me. Some other design tips I’d pass along are to make sure you allow space for storage, extra electric outlets, phone jacks, and a break room/kitchen area.

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Keywords:   business     commissions     hiring nail technicians     manufacturers educators     opening a new salon     pedicure equipment     salon decor/design     work life balance  

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