Secrets to a Long-Lasting Salon

What happens when two recent nail graduates interview a handful of veteran salon owners to find out the secrets to a long-lasting salon? They were privy to a host of knowledge from a combined 132 years of salon experience. Here they share it with you. 

Veteran Tech: LaShaun Brown-Glenn

Salon Name: Nails Naturally Hand and Foot Spa, Chicago

Years in Business: 24

Number of nail techs/employees at the salon: 4

Interviewed by: Karyn

Q: What is the secret to keeping your salon open so long?

A: I nurture my business and I am never satisfied. I always want to make it better. I have always wanted my staff to truly feel like a part of the business; we are all responsible for the success of it. I include my staff in most decisions, including the new-hire interview process.

It is my goal to provide a great guest experience, a meticulous service, educate the guest on service and products, and build relationships. Twenty-four years later, we still ask our guests, “Are you pleased with your service today?” We never forget to thank them for another chance to service them. After all, they pass a million salons to get to us and they should know that we appreciate them.

Q: Can you give at least three secrets to success for a long-term salon?

A:  1. Be a good leader. You must lead by example and be willing to do more than everyone else. Also, push your staff to be in the top of their field and support them as they grow and maybe open their own business one day. It should make you proud, as it is a reflection of you.

2. Communication is key. Have an open door policy and build trust with your staff. Do not have a “my way or the highway” mentality. Share your vision for your business with your staff and get a commitment from them to live the vision.

3. Affirm and reward. Always tell your staff what they are doing well. Keep them excited, motivated, and looking forward to coming to your (their) place of business each day.

4. Schedule an appointment at other salons in your area that are your true competition and compare the experience. Be honest about your visit. Talk about what was good and what needed improvement as well as areas that you are willing to improve on.

5. Share with your staff your growing pains and always come from a place of honesty. Don’t reinvent the wheel; people are already running their businesses successfully. Find a model you like and make it your own.

Q: Do you have any advice for new techs beginning their career?

A: Do not open your business without a plan. There is a quote that states, “People don’t plan to fail, they just fail to plan.” If you are going to be successful in your business you have to set goals and have a plan of action. Have a vision for your business and see the outcome in your mind. Write down what you want your business to look like and the type of guests that you want to service. 

Know that you are in business for yourself even if you work in someone else’s salon. You are responsible for the success of that eight square feet that you work in.

Always look for opportunities to cross-market with other businesses within a mile radius of your location.


Veteran Tech: Renee Marie Borowy

Salon Name: VIP Salon & Spa, Riverview, Mich.

Years in Business: 26

Number of nail techs/employees at salon: 65

Interviewed by: Karyn

Q: What is the secret to keeping your salon open so long?

A: First of all, there is no secret! The answer lies within all of us — it is respect. I respect my employees and our customers. I feel if we really respect and listen to them they will in turn do the same. I also feel that my employees have a life even though I have a business. What I mean by that is that yes, I have to run my business and have employees to survive, however if everyone pitches in and helps each other when situations are needed such as time off — it works!

Q: Can you give at least three secrets to success for a long-term salon?

A:  1. Give back to the community that supports your business. This is done in so many ways from helping them with homecoming and prom specials to donating for someone in the community that is in need or simply taking out ads to help support them in the local school projects.

2. Having a consistently high quality of workmanship and backing up that quality if there ever is a problem.

3. Always provide the “latest and greatest” for our employees and customers. You want them to feel excited when they come in to the salon knowing that you have all of the latest products and trends. All they have to do is walk in our doors to find it!

Q: Do you have any advice for new techs beginning their career?

A: Make sure you know what the federal and state government rules are when you are determining if you want to be a booth renter or an employee. Secondly, education is key. It doesn’t matter if there are 10 salons next to each other if you offer your client a fabulous service on a consistent basis. The value you give (not discounts) for the service that you are performing, education to help her understand what it is she needs to maintain the beautiful treatments that you are providing, and a clean and sanitized work area where she feels comfortable putting her hands and feet are also very important. Listen to your client and her needs and not your own. Letting her see the latest in our industry shows her your true passion and commitment and she will not only be dedicated to you, she will not miss appointments because you will have a waitlist.

I have been a nail technician/owner for almost 30 years. This is one of the greatest industries to be a part of. You can use your creativity and develop great relationships that will be with you throughout life. The passion that I feel is so rewarding when I can help teach and give back to technicians who want a life in our industry, whether it be a veteran technician or someone just starting out. We have so much today to promote, educate, and create beautiful nails. It is a great time to be a nail technician!

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