Hello, dear salon family! We’ve done some amazing things over the last 10 years! We survived the 2 year and 5 year hurdles of keeping a business going, we had a fabulous 7th birthday party with cupcakes and pizza, we’ve launched new product lines, celebrated so many achievements of our team members over the years, done Holiday giveaways, done fundraising for Cystic Fibrosis, celebrated all of you many times, survived during quarantine, hit the ground running and reopened with gusto, quietly celebrated our 10th birthday (our 11th will hopefully make up for that), and we’re still here. Tenacity and a never give up attitude are what fuels us to be the best we can be!
It wasn’t always like that though… There has always been a huge learning curve for me, although, I think I’m finally getting the hang of this owning a business thing.
First, let me take you back to the beginning….
Well, maybe not that far back!
Just far enough to 2011 when we opened the doors and Asheville Hair Design was born.
What was the vision?
I love taking care of people. Those of you that sit in our chairs and those of us that are honored to do the caring.
Initially, we opened as a commission salon because it made the most sense at the time. During my own hair journey, I have worked all the pay models: hourly plus commission, commission, and booth rent. When looking back as an employee of a company, I always appreciated being taken care of when it came to payroll taxes and tip reporting. The pay was still wonky since it depended on how busy I was, but I didn’t have to worry about the rest of it. I could prove my income; we were able to buy cars and a house because I was an employee.
Booth renting was also a great experience! I was my own boss; I could make my own schedule and I could be more flexible. However, there were the other things I had to learn because it was always taken care of for me in the past. Taxes, inventory, rent, all the things that you need to know when running your own business.
When I decided to open AHD, I wanted to get back to taking care of my employees and keeping track of the things that keep the worry away. Not to mention, of course, taking care of them in other ways as well. Our industry, unfortunately, sets stylists and nail technicians and estheticians up for burnout. There’s only so many hours in the day, only so many people we can service in a day, so we hustle. We give up Saturdays. We give up time with our families. We give up potential vacations. We work extra hours to accommodate those last-minute emergency appointments. We don’t get lunch or get to use the bathroom because every second is booked behind the chair. Not to mention, there’s no healthcare, no retirement, no benefits. If you don’t work, you don’t make money, and we’re taught from hair school, that you need to be better than the person beside you or they’re going to take all your clients from you.
Sounds stressful, doesn’t it?
How has it evolved?
I was always looking for a better model. One where we could not only provide financial stability, but also create a culture where our clients and team members could be taken care of no matter what. In 2014, I attended a curl symposium and was introduced to the Team-Based business model. I researched for a year and had a coaching call with Strategies who are a company that helps salons, spas and med spas be better business owners. In 2015, I went to their Team-Based Conference and got to meet some amazing business owners and hear their success stories and I just knew, embracing the Team-Based model was the solution I had been searching for.
We started coaching with Strategies after the conference and slowly started implementing different systems to help us transition to the Team- Based business model. Which we did in August of 2016.
We are Team-Based. Why is that important?
Being a Team- Based company means we can provide financial stability to our team members in an industry that doesn’t have that option, typically. It’s a traditional business model. We have a starting wage, we do quarterly Career Coaching (I don’t like the term Performance Review, it’s so negative), and wage reviews yearly. Unless, of course, we have a team member who is going above and beyond, then yes, we’ll give raises if our cash flow plan says we can. By the way, I may own my own company, but my cash flow plan is my boss. We can guarantee every team member a steady paycheck plus gratuities.
However, it’s not just about financial stability. It’s about our culture.
Why is Culture so important in our business?
Imagine, if you will, walking into a salon and no matter who you talk to, no matter who does your hair, that YOU are every team member’s priority. What would it feel like if you could be assured that if the stylist you see on a regular basis, has something happen that they need to take care of, and not feeling apprehensive to see another team member? Because you know that everyone is trained with the same foundation of technical skills. Sure, each team member has their specialty, however every team member knows how to do YOUR hair.
Now look at it from the team member’s point of view. Imagine, that when you come to work, no one is out to undermine you, there’s no backroom bickering and you know, without a doubt, that you have support from the owner down to your fellow team members. So, if your life happens to blow up, we’ve got you covered, and we can take care of all our clients. Because that’s what we do. We take care of each other.
What we expect from our clients
One of the many benefits of being a Team- Based salon is having the opportunity to guide and educate stylists on their journey in their career. And when I say "we", we include you, our clients, in that as well. Because your feedback and experience with us is what helps every stylist that comes on board to do better. Experience is the best teacher. In doing so, we educate them with the understanding that when they are given feedback around improvement, it is all about their technical skills, not their ego. We stress this to them because it's a teachable moment and an opportunity for growth. We guide our stylists to understand that growth can be awkward and uncomfortable, but so worth the journey. Receiving all constructive feedback is integral to that process.
Also, all feedback is invaluable in the moment. Being able to coach a stylist and redirect is so important. The reason our salon is different is because we're open about our training system, and we don't just book clients with someone and not communicate where they are in their journey and experience level as most other salons do. Being specific about what you love and what can be improved is so helpful. Our clients have an amazing opportunity to grow with our team and our stylists and help us guide them to be the best they can be.
We are grateful when you can share with us, because in the end, this is all about trust and communication. We do hope that our clients know and feel that when you need to share your opinion on what you feel could be done differently or educate on the things your hair can do or has trouble accomplishing, this is a safe space to do so. We want you to speak up, we want you to tell us all the things about your hair and your life and tell us what you're thinking and how you're feeling. You live with your hair every day! You are the best resource we have, and we can learn so much from our clients!
Your happiness in our job to enhance how you feel about yourself is our priority.
Welcome to your Hairapy appointment!
We are Hairapists. We take our job very seriously. We take care of our clients, and we take care of each other. That’s what it means to be a part of our salon family. We are inclusive and welcome all walks of life into our salon. This is a safe space, and we will protect it at all costs.
That’s what it means to be a Team- Based company and why it is so important.
Much Love to you!
Tricia and Team AHD
If you'd like to hear more about Tricia's journey and our Team- Based business model,
Check out The Veronica Edward's Show that Tricia was a guest on!