Are you sick and tired of working for someone else and want to be your own boss but don't know where to start?
Ever wanted to open up your dream salon as a boutique hair salon or an at-home business on your own terms but didn't know how?
I've interviewed two business owners for some tips and pointers to give you some insight into what it takes. Tiffany runs a storefront salon and Alyce runs an at-home salon. Both fabulous ladies share their experiences on how to open your own salon.
SHOP FRONT - Tiffany's Commercial Hair Salon
Tiffany's Salon Story
Tiffany studied at TAFE for four years, worked in two salons and a barbershop for the duration of three years, as well as managed salons for three years. The stress of running a team of over 14 people in a shopping mall proved to be too stressful. Being a manager, she had a vision of how things should be run, but working with big personalities and different ideas led to lots of clashes. This is when she decided to be her own boss.
Tiffany is a qualified beautician and now her shop operates as a hairdressing and tanning salon.
Tiffany decided that she wanted to open her own shop front/boutique hair salon and not a franchise as she could call the shots, open up when she preferred and market the business how she wanted. Tiffany says that location is key as you want it to be close enough to public transport, have plenty of parking options and be populated enough for people to see your shop, but not too busy where you are in the thick of it (like CBD) where it is highly congested.
Opening her own business also meant that Tiffany was able to open the salon of her dreams by customising the salon to be exactly how she wanted it. From Beaumont tiles, benches, reception desk, windows, backroom, and shelving, most were custom made and involved a big investment as this was Tiffany's baby, her dream. Her blood, sweat and tears went into the making of her salon.
Social Media Accounts
Tiffany's marketing was mostly on Facebook at first but now has moved to Instagram where she gauges most of her online traffic to get potential new clients. As Instagram is constantly growing, Tiffany suggests that word of mouth is still a good indicator of marketing. Appealing visual content also gives future customers proof of the results they can expect.
In addition to showcasing Tiffany's hair artistry and engaging with her clientele through social media, Tiffany is able to show off the products she uses.
What You Need
ABN- Australian Business Number
First of all, you need to establish yourself as a business by creating an ABN as a sole trader or company.
Here are Tiffany's recommendations for salon furniture and tools that she purchased from AMR:
- Glammar Guo Basins
- Parlux Hairdryer advance
- Some Fanola colours
- Glammar clips and combs
- Tamara Rose brushes
- Fanola foils - pop-up foil is her favourite to use.
- SFO Tint bowls and brushes
- Silhouette hairspray
- Wahl clippers
- B Tan I want the darkest tan possible
- Mine Tan 3200
- Sticky feet
- Disposable g strings and shower caps
- 18 in 1 Intensive treatment
- Parlux Advance Light Black Ceramic & Ionic Hairdryer
- Butterfly Clips Large Black 12pk
- Glammar Plastic Tail Comb Neon Yellow
- SFO Balayage Tint Brushes 6pk
- Schwarzkopf Silhouette Super Hold Lacquer Hairspray
Silver Bullet Clipper
Some Tips from Tiffany
DO: This may seem like a no-brainer but investing in a premium security system is key. Installing quality surveillance cameras and security shutters is vital for the safety and protection of your clients and your business.
DON'T: Overbuy your stock. Starting your new business venture will be exciting and going credit card happy under a business name will put you at risk of buying unnecessary things that will put you at a loss when starting out. Buy what you need at first and then see what you may need afterwards in the following weeks to see what products or items have proven to be successful and what have proven to be a flop.
AT-HOME SALON - Alyce's salon at home
After attending a private college and completing a Certificate 4 in hairdressing, she worked in a few salons (three) in a span of the year but realised the long hours didn't suit her as well as the money wasn't appealing enough for her at the time working for someone else. After realising that she was still passionate about the hair industry, but felt like she could hustle on her own, she wanted to be her own boss.
Looking into the future, being a newlywed and with kids soon on the cards, she decided to do up her own space in her new home that would allow her to be close to her babies as well as still earn an income. This meant she could work on her own terms and create her own schedule. She had built her house in 2009 and set up her salon in her double garage, taking up half of the garage space, and creating two workstations. Bunnings and Kmart proved to be a lifesaver in setting up her own little salon. Bunnings provided the goods for laying down linoleum and Kmart was great for shelving, storage and decorations that she used to personalise her home salon.
She had to call a plumber to come and install the basin. When the house was getting built, she knew she had to do extra waterproofing in the garage as her laundry room is located in the garage as well, so she pre-planned for this, the clever cookie that she is, always planning ahead for what may come. She had to call an electrician to install extra downlights for better lighting in her home salon, especially for night clients. Alyce also had the passion and ambition to run this home business successfully for years, which allowed her the flexibility of being at home to care for her kids.
For at-home business, Alyce mostly relied on word of mouth through friends and family as this was way before Instagram had become the conglomerate advertising machine that it is today. So even with the old-fashioned word of mouth, this still kept her busy!
What You Need to Open a Salon - The Essentials
Alyce set herself up as a sole trader.
Here are Alyce's recommendations for salon furniture and tools that she purchased from AMR:
- Alistair Chairs in black
- Glammar Kennedy Colour Bar in black
- Colours FANOLA
- Zen Master scissors
- Parlux hairdryer 3800
- H2D linear 2 straighteners rose gold
- WAHL taper 2000 clippers
- Wahl Beret pro lithium cordless trimmer
- Fanola capes and aprons
- Glammar Clips, Tangle Hair Ties, Combs, Towels
- Tamara Rose brushes
- 18 in 1 styling products
- Fanola No Yellow, Nutricare, After Colour
- Fanola foils
- Tint bowls and tint brushes
- Genuine Parlux 3800 Ceramic Ionic Black
- H2D Linear II Straightener Pink
- Wahl Beret Pro Lithium Cordless Trimmer
- Fanola Professional Studded Cape
- Glammar Crocodile Clips Rose Gold 6pk
- Glammar Plastic Cutting Comb Light Pink
- Glammar Microfibre Towels Black 10pk
- Natural Look ATV Freeze Frame Superhold Styling Gel 200g
- 18 in 1 Blonde Violet Shampoo
- Fanola Nutricare Conditioner 10 Ltr
Some Tips from Alyce
DO: Take before and after shots of your clients, not just for your social media but for your own growth as well. It is also a way of showing proof of your work so that you can protect your work, credibility and money should a client not be happy with the result.
DON'T: As her favourite colour is purple, she wanted to spruce up her salon with that favourite hue, so she opted to paint the main wall a dark plum colour. She realised a year in that the intensity of the wall colour dulled the room and atmosphere and didn't give the hair colour justice. So now she has changed the wall colour to a nice light warm beige colour. Make your salon walls bright for better lighting.
How to Open a Salon Checklist
- Come up with a business name, and register at ASICS (Australian Securities & Investments Commission).
- Register a domain name and create an email address referring back to the business name. For Australian businesses a .com.au is recommended.
- Register the ABN and GST
- Open up social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat)
- Create a website
- Find your ideal location whether that be a section in your home or a commercial shopfront
- Set up a business bank account
- Shop around for quotes on your potential salon fit-out (get inspiration from Pinterest, Google and Instagram)
- Find a colour palette specific to the style and design you want. Neutral and light colours can enhance your client's hair when taking hair shots for your portfolio. You can choose colours that would bring out hair colour more in photos or consider a featured backdrop or a feature wall.
- Select your retail products and hair colour line.
- After you are satisfied with your location and design idea you must ensure to contact your council whether you are planning a home salon or a shopfront salon.
- If buying or renting a commercial shopfront seek a lawyer to look over your contract.
- Contact the contractors and tradesmen that you require to help you fit out your salon (plumbers, electricians, tilers and carpenters).
After completing the above checklist you are ready to operate and open your business.
Running a salon is a lot of hard work but as you see your skills and services improve you will also realise it can be a lot of fun. It can also be a very rewarding career as you get to know more customers and make a real difference for them with the self-confidence and joy they get out of your services.
If you need to stock products for your salon, AMR sells a wide range of salon supplies at low prices every day. Delivery is available Australia-wide!
If you enjoyed this blog and found it informative or have any other suggestions and tips please let us know in the comments below. We'd also love to hear if you have any tips and suggestions on how to open your own salon.