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 on 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 studied at TAFE for four years, worked in two salons and a barbershop for the duration of three years, as well as manage salons for three years. The stress of running staff 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 to 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, has plenty of parking options and is 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 her salon to be exactly how she wants it. From Beaumont tiles, benches, reception desk, windows, backroom, 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 the more popular platform of Instagram which she gauges most of her online traffic to get potential new clients. Now as Instagram is constantly growing, Tiffany suggests that word of mouth is still a good indicator of marketing, however, visual content that is appealing gives you proof of the pudding. Showcasing Tiffany’s hair artistry, talent, hair transformations, engaging with her clientele through social media; Tiffany is able to show off the products she uses, too.
WHAT YOU NEED – How To Open Your Own Salon With The Essentials
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
Tiffany shares a do and don’t from her experiences:
DO: This may seem like a no-brainer but investing in a premium security system is key. Installing quality surveillance cameras and security shutters are vital for the safety and protection of your clients and your business.
DON’T: Over buy 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, 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 come what may. She had to call an electrician to install extra downlights for better lighting in her home salon, especially for the 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 – 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
Alyce shares a do and don’t from her experiences:
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 the justice. So now she has changed the wall colour to a nice light warm beige colour. Make your salon walls bright for better lighting.
Furthermore here is a Checklist to get you started well on your way to becoming your own boss at home or in your own salon.
- Come up with a business name, register at ASICS (Australian Securities & Investments Commision)
- Create a professional email address account referring back to the business name
- Register the ABN and GST
- Open up social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat)
- Create a website (a great example of this is through Shopify)
- Head to crazy domains to register your website address (for Australian sites ensure that you register as .com.au)
- Find your ideal location whether that be a section in your home or a commercial shop front.
- Set up a business bank account
- Research and shop around for quotes on your potential fit out of your salon (get inspirations from Pinterest, Google and Instagram)
- Find your colour palette specific to your style and design you want (ideally going for neutrals and light colours to enhance your client’s hair when taking hair shots for your portfolio, choose colours that would bring out hair colour more in photos, this could be done as a featured backdrop or a feature wall)
- Select your retail and colour line
- After you are satisfied with your location and design idea you must ensure to contact your council for both home salon and shop front salons.
- 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. If you enjoyed this blog and found it extremely 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 ideas on how to open your own salon.