Owners of the largest salons in Las Vegas say the right location, the right people, and a desirable atmosphere helped them achieve their size, but after that it was just plain hard work.
Leaver attributes much of the salon’s success to the individuals who work there: “I have a really good group of people. Everyone wants to be professional.” Many of the technicians have been with her since day one, and she is very careful when adding new operators. “I never hire anyone I don’t know anything about. They have to have a good reference.”
Know What To Delegate
If you’re not looking for it, it’s easy to miss Yost Studios. Tucked away in a business complex, the 4,000-square-foot salon recently finished remodeling, which included adding an outside entrance and an exterior sign. Though the salon is well-hidden, it’s well-known among its clientele, and they do an excellent job of spreading the word, says owner Mickey Yost.
Yost Studios has been open five years and now has 17 nail technicians and 25 hairstylists. Once you meet Yost, you can see where his success stems from. An energetic and busy hairstylist, he has that rare ability to locus completely on the task at hand, no matter what else is clamoring for attention.
“The biggest challenge is keeping the personalities together,” says Yost.
Much of Yost’s success comes from knowing how to delegate. He has a full-time receptionist, Christine, who greets clients, answers phones, orders products, retails products, books new appointments, and supervises salon repairs. His wife handles the day-to-day bookkeeping and payroll, and an accountant handles the rest of the books. Yost manages the staff, in addition to personally servicing 22 hair clients each day.
Yost has no plans to expand further, and says the salons growth has always been due to demand, not his desire to do things on a grand scale. “Every time I find a good person who fits, we make the space.”
The Power Of The People
When Penny Johnson purchased Nails for You 4 1/2 years ago, there were live nail technicians. She immediately started promoting the salon by using coupons on the backs of grocery receipts, radio advertising, and “passing out lots of business cards,” she says. Within one year she had .1.6 nail technicians working in the salon.
“I’m very particular about who joins the salon. They must keep up their appearance and they have to demonstrate their nail art,” she says.
Johnson, who has a full appointment book herself, says finding time to do it all is a challenge. She gets very involved with her technicians, baking birthday cakes and making sure each one has something under the Christmas tree. “I’m a mother hen,” she cheerfully admits.
Johnson says she has. a large emotional investment in the salon and believes that the people, not the location, is what makes or breaks a salon. Because of that, she makes sure she is available to her staff at all times. “The salon is everything to me. All the technicians have my home number and can call anytime. I want to see them all do well. Pamper and give more and you’ll get a lot back,” she advises.
Never Say No
Artistic Nail Design opened in October 1992 and went from five technicians to 12 in just two weeks. Owner Paula Phillips attributes her salon’s fast growth to being in the light place at the right time: “We’re in a densely populated area (this is the first shopping center in the northwest corner of Las Vegas) and no one wants to drive all the way into town to get their nails done.”
Phillips says 45,000 cars a day drive by the shopping center, which is home to a Wal-Mart, a fitness center, and numerous other shops. Clients from the fitness center come in their gym clothes to book appointments. The demand for nails in her area has led her to add three more nail technicians, for a total of 15.
The most difficult aspect of operating a large salon for Phillips is making sure that new technicians fit into the salon’s atmosphere. She advises other salon owners not to rush when looking for a technician to fill a station. “Look for someone who will be personable with clients. Look for openness and warmth. If they’re quiet and won’t talk to you, they probably won’t talk to clients,” she says.
Phillips asks each new technician to know the salon’s handbook and be familiar with the salons general policies. Although she can’t dictate rules to independent contractors, she says it helps if a new technician knows what to expect.
Clients like Artistic Nail Design because its clean and quiet, says Phillips. “There’s no loud music or soap operas playing on TV. Clients are always taken care of right when they walk in.” Phillips has a policy of never turning a client away, and she likes to hire some technicians who are still building a clientele so they can accommodate walk-ins. While she herself used to have a full appointment book, she has cut back to doing nails two to four hours a day and dedicates the rest of her time to greeting clients, checking technicians’ work, offering refreshments, booking appointments, resolving technician conflicts, and maintaining the books.
Technology Is A Helping Hand
How much work is it keeping a salon running smoothly with 14 nail technicians, 36 hairstylists, three estheticians, and four masseuses? Jack Coskey could probably tell you — if he had the time. He owns and manages Scandals Salon and Day Spa from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. live days a week, and barely had more than a five-minute break to discuss his salon’s success. He is busy greeting clients, answering phones, booking appointments, and managing the staff.
Coskey estimates that 4,000 clients visit Scandals each week, and he likes to be on hand to greet each one. Of course, one man can’t do everything, which is why there are three receptionists running the front desk.
Coskey’s job is made easier with the salon’s $70,000 phone system with 12 lines and 75 extensions, auto attendant, and voice mail. The salon is also fully computerized—there is even a scanner similar to those you see in grocery stores for retail sales and tracking inventory.
Coskey knew little about the beauty industry before he and his wife opened the. salon, but they did a lot of research. “It’s not just something we jumped into. When you invest a half-million dollars, you do a lot of research,” he says.
Coskey relocated Scandals a year ago to a shopping center across the street from its original location. With the help of belvedere Company (a salon furnishings and interior design company), he designed the salon layout and hired a subcontractor to build the salon to his specifications. Instead of giving up his old location, he kept it and renamed it Rapscallions. Rapscallions currently has nine nail technicians, but Coskey foresees it growing to 13 technicians in the near future.
For the convenience of his clients. Coskey has an arrangement with a nearby car wash, which picks up a client’s car, washes and waxes it, and returns it to the salon before the client’s service is completed.