Priceless advice from 6 and 7-figure beauty business owners
I’m a huge believer in jumping into things before you’re ready, and learning by doing. If I had waited for that “perfect moment” to start my business when I knew all the things and felt 100% confident… I honestly never would have gotten started.
My perfectionist self wanted to wait, do all kinds of research, study more, and be sure that my business would be a success. But I pushed myself to just jump, and I’m so happy that I did. Because I never would have been ready if didn’t learn from experience.
Taking a huge leap and starting your own business is scary, and no one has all the answers at the beginning. You really do have to figure things out as you go along, as experience is the best teacher.
That said, you don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. There are hundreds of thousands of beauty business owners out there who have gone before you, and you can learn from their experience!
They’ve dealt with the same things you’re probably dealing with now: finding the perfect space without breaking the bank, hiring your first team member even though it’s terrifying, getting your first few clients, expanding into a new location…
You don’t have to walk this path of business ownership alone! And I want to share with you some words of business and personal wisdom from other beauty business owners.
I’ve been lucky enough to interview a bunch of smart, successful beauty business owners - from celebrity nail techs to multi-location salon owners - and they all have incredible stories to share.
If you want some encouragement, some practical business advice, or you want to get into a positive mindset for business growth, I think you’ll love these priceless words of wisdom from these 6 and 7-figure beauty-preneurs!
Ashley Gregory: Know exactly where you want to go and who you want to work with
Ashley is a celebrity nail artist and has built up a white-hot career in the past 6 years. She’s collaborated with brands like Nike, Chanel, and Kohl’s. She’s also worked with celebrity clients like Carly Rae Jepson, Halsey, and Paul McCartney. I knew I HAD to ask how she’s achieved so much and worked with so many big names!
If your dream is to get that kind of recognition and use it to skyrocket your career, listen up. Because Ashley shared with me her secret for getting this far:
“I’m really big on having a plan… A lot of our career, especially in the beginning, happens to us, as opposed to us working a plan and knowing ‘I know where I want to be in a year, or in 5 years.’ I think that’s where I really succeeded.
I knew going into nail school that I wanted to do celebrities, cover shoots, and I wanted to be in the room where it all happens. [So I thought] ‘What do I need to do to get to not just from A to B but from A to Z. What twists and turns can I anticipate now, and what skills do I need to build to get there?’
There’s this innate confidence with people in our industry who have a plan. They’re on their way and nothing’s going to stop them. And you know who those people are when you see them, you see it in their eyes that they’re going somewhere.”
When I asked Ashley her advice for new beauty business owners who want to work with big brands like she has, this is what she said:
“Find the person or the brand you want to work with and study them… these brands are looking for something very specific, and the answer is in what they post on social media, what they post in their campaigns, what their photos look like and their brand voice is. I recommend making some very definitive brand choices for yourself, personally, and look at the brands that are the best match for yourself.
If it’s so seamless, it wouldn’t make sense NOT to work with you! And you make saying ‘Yes’ easy for them.”
Watch my full interview with Ashley above, and skip to minute 30:00 to watch her talk about choosing brands to work with!
Abby Warther: Develop killer customer service to keep clients coming back
Abby Warther is a hair salon owner, Balayage educator, and owner of Abby Warther Academy. Abby helps Balayage artists and new salon owners to upgrade their technique and their business skills, and she attributes much of her success to her emphasis on the guest experience. Here’s what she said about why customer service is absolutely number one:
“You can be the best at cutting hair. You can be the best at marketing yourself. But if you aren’t giving a great guest experience in the salon, you’re not going to retain anyone. You won’t get many referrals, and you’re going to be a hamster on a wheel constantly trying to build a clientele. I think guest experience is your core.”
When I asked Abby about where she wants her salon to go, she told me that her dream isn’t “bigger”:
“I don’t want to grow my team, my space, or my clientele. I don’t want to be this mega salon. I love being a boutique salon. So in the future I want to double down on my salon culture and the guest experience. In this day and age, everything is so automated, and I think that the success for any long term business in the beauty industry is giving an experience to people that they’re not getting anywhere else.”
So what kind of killer guest experience is Abby offering her guests?
“We use something called the service wheel. From the time a guest makes a reservation, are they having a great experience, whether it’s on your website or over the phone? And the service wheel goes from that to when they enter the salon, to the consultation, to the shampoo experience, to the service itself, educating about products, and then how we wrap it up and get them to prebook.
We train everyone at our salon to have the same guest experience, and we also like to add on some extras, like premium snacks and drinks, and a hot towel treatment which is what we’re known for. These things seem small, but they matter!”
Catch the whole interview with Abby above, and jump to minute 32:00 to hear all about Abby’s Service Wheel at her salon!
Raya Schwartz - Visualize your future and use obstacles as strength
At just 27 years old, Raya Schwartz is the owner of a 7-figure beauty business, Flirt Wax Bar in Tampa Florida. She’s not only built a stellar reputation for microblading in her area, she’s also built a business that allows her to travel the world while managing her team from overseas.
Sound like your dream life? It wasn’t always so easy.
After getting kicked out of her first location after bringing on her first team members, she was a bit stuck. But she relied on the power of visualization to get to her next great place:
“You have to visualize and write down what you want in present terms like it’s already happened. You have to feel the energy like it’s already happened. I would write down in my journal every day: ‘I got the most perfect location for Flirt Wax Bar. The landlords paid for my build out.’ And I would write all my dreams about my team and how many people I wanted.
And I did get the location I wanted, and the landlord paid for $20,000 of the buildout!
The first year of business wasn’t easy for me as my old landlord tried to sued me, it was a stressful time. But I’ve really come to believe that these really hard times in our lives are all there to serve us lessons so we can grow to the next level, and also the next level in our business.
If we don’t go through these hard times in business and get through them, we’ll never grow our businesses, because we have this threshold of control. We have this threshold of how much we can take.
But I feel like I’ve been through so much that now I just take chances and try all kinds of things because I feel like “I’ve been through the worst, and nothing can hurt me.’”
I asked Raya if she simply doesn’t get scared about big business decisions now, and here’s what she said:
"The fear of trying new things and failing is always there, it’s in our nature to have these fears because our brain wants to protect us from things. Our fears are literally made-up stories from our brains. So if you can get over the fact that it’s a story you’re telling yourself, and just focus on where you want to go, and what you want to have happen, good things will happen.”
If you want to hear Raya’s whole story (sooo good!), watch the video above, and skip to minute 9:00 when Raya talks about visualizing your dreams and writing them down!
Jenn Dieas: Set goals that actually make you happy, instead of feeding your ego
Jenn started out a solo mobile spray tanner in Chicago, and in the past 8 years has grown Glowout Salons into a 5-location brand across the USA. She’s also a business coach who offers retreats, beauty tours, and team building coaching to small and large business.
Jenn is lovingly referred to as “Zen Jenn” because of her positive energy and outlook about business and life.
I asked Jenn how she set goals for her business and planned out her business path when she was just starting out. Here’s what she said:
“With entrepreneurship and growing a business, I think you have to say no to a lot, and that’s not a comfortable for a lot of people. But if you want to attain a big vision, that’s what you have to do. I had to drown out all the distractions and be really intentional with my time which has been really helpful. Writing things down has been so so helpful.
Science shows that our brains have 50,000 negative thoughts a day - that’s a lot of thoughts. I have to constantly clear the mental clutter, all of the outside noise, to say “What do I really want? Not what I’m supposed to want. Not what other people want”.
I spend a lot of time alone. Because as a salon owner, our jobs are really social. We talk with a lot of people all the time. So I learned I only have so much battery power for that, and if I don’t set the time out for myself, and constantly keep checking in to say “what do I want next? What’s the next best step for me?” then it gets really cloudy.
I wish that more people knew this: You can do whatever you want to do, you just have to decide. And then you have to be really strong to block out anything else that gets in the way of that goal. And then constantly check in and ask yourself: “Why do I want this goal? Does my ego want the goal? Or do I really want the goal?”
Loving Jenn’s positive vibe? There’s so much more goodness to watch in our interview! Jump to minute 33:00 to hear about how she sets goals for her business that are true to herself.
Kati Whitledge: If you want to build your team, be constantly on the look-out
Kati is a salon business coach, host of the Beyond The Technique podcast, CEO of the marketing tool, Meet Your Stylist, and award-winning Be Inspired Salon, located in Madison, Wisconsin.
Be Inspired Salon is a seven-figure business with 28 team members. Kati opened her salon in 2010 and has gone through three expansions in eight short years. They’ve been awarded Wisconsin Bride Magazine’s best in bridal hair and makeup, Best of Madison—Hair Salon’s Gold honor, and named one of Salon Today’s Top 200 Salons in North America.
Kati attributes a huge amount of her success to her strong and large team, and she helps other beauty business owners with their teams as well. One of the big issues salon owners face when they’re ready to grow is recruiting quality stylists who are a good fit for the business. Here’s her advice for recruiting an all-star team:
"As salon owners, we’re very tenacious about getting new clients in the door. I think we’re pretty aggressive. We’re very intentional. Those same exact strategies and principles have got to be adopted when recruiting new talent.
Just like we’re willing to go to our local chamber events and network and get to know people, we need to be willing to go to the local beauty schools, showing up to their career fairs, special events… we need to be present in building that community face to face.
We also need to have the digital side. As much as our website is built to connect with the perfect client, is it also built to connect with the perfect stylist that you want?
Same with our social media. Are we specifically posting about joining the team on a regular basis? Are we posting what it’s like to be on the team?
These need to be things we put into place to become a consistent, on-going, never ending strategy in regard to recruiting.”
If you’ve been struggling with growing your team, because you can’t find the right people, definitely listen to my interview with Kati above, and skip to minute 18:00 to hear us chat about how to find your dream team!
I hope that after watching these interviews with beauty business owners like you, you’re feeling pumped up and inspired! Succeeding in business does mean getting your hands dirty and learning from experience, but when you listen to the experience of others who have done it too, it makes growing your business a whole lot easier!