What do Stylists Need From Owners?
We Asked Them.

The Staff of Bella Salon & Boutique. Photography by Blackledge & Co. Studio
The Staff of Bella Salon & Boutique. Photography by Blackledge & Co. Studio

Becoming a successful stylist takes hard work, dedication to your craft and excellent people skills. But there’s another secret successful stylists share—owners who support and advocate for their employees.

Whether it’s in-salon education, mentoring or helping to coach numbers, an owner can make or break a new stylist’s career. We asked three stylists to share what their owner is doing to support their careers and help them reach goals.

Mutual Trust

Juliana Koutouzakis, stylist at Panache salon in St. Augustine, Florida, can name endless ways a salon owner can support their staff. But there’s one concept Panache owner Kristy Weeks practices that Koutouzakis feels is most beneficial: mutual trust.

Love Your Mother Eco Fashion Show, Crystal Brendal, Juliana Koutozakis, Nic Creech. Standley Photography for St. Augustine social.

Love Your Mother Eco Fashion Show, Crystal Brendal, Juliana Koutozakis, Nic Creech. Standley Photography for St. Augustine social.

“When I have an idea I’d like to try or change the way I work in the salon, Kristy allows me to create programs that work for me,” Koutouzakis says.

“Whether it’s about efficiency, numbers or keeping myself and my staff inspired, she knows that it’s with the best intent.”

And because Weeks trusts her stylists, they trust her. “I trust her when she encourages me to try something I may not be comfortable with at first,” Koutouzakis says.“She has never steered me wrong. I know she has my well-being and the success of Panache in mind. I’m so fortunate to have a leader who allows autonomy within the system so that I can do my best work every day.”


A Cultivated Culture

Jessica Weckherlin, a stylist at William Edge salon in Arlington, Texas, says the culture her owner has created is what fuels her success.

“Because of the culture, the systems put in place, and the personal support I get from William Edge, my service numbers have increased 300 percent,” Weckherlin says. “I’ve gone from a $35 haircut to a $63 haircut, and my income has tripled all in five years.”

When Weckherlin left her previous salon five years ago, it was in pursuit of a place that would help her grow when she was hitting a wall.

“If you’re not growing, you’re dying,” she says. “I knew from my first meeting with William that he was going to make me grow, whether I was ready for it or not.”

Weckherlin was also a fan of the salon’s commission-based salary, health benefits and paid holidays and vacation.

“It was like signing up to work for a large corporation, but really, we are a small business. I feel extremely well taken care of,” she says.

The culture at William Edge suits Weckherlin’s needs as a stylist as well.

Jessica Weckherlin

Jessica Weckherlin of William Edge, Arlington

“It has to be put out there what the expectations are,” she says. “For example, we have about 20 service standards we’re expected to live up to. With these service standards, there’s no question as to how we conduct our business.”

Weckherlin also appreciates systems like service cycles, retail edge, make-up edge, and scripts.

“They are put in place so we can deliver lateral service and keep guests coming back.”

As for personal support, Weckherlin gets that from William Edge himself.

“He truly cares that we are good people,” she says. “He wants us to be happy and healthy. Every year we have what we call Tribal Forum where William brings all of our salon locations together in New Braunfels, Texas, and hosts a few days of inspirational presentations.”

These presentations cover everything from day-to-day salon issues to personal issues.  In recent years, Edge has brought in Connie Podesta, a therapist and stand-up comedian, who talks to employees about different personality types and even abusive relationships.

“This past summer he brought me and some other team members to Chicago to a Tony Robbins: Unleash the Power Within seminar,” Weckherlin says. “It came at the perfect time because I was experiencing a lot of inner conflict in my personal life. William stood by me as I cried for four days straight and talked to me about my life, my marriage, my family, and what my hopes and dreams are for my future. Since then, life has been amazing and I’ve never been happier. He’s more than just my boss—he’s my mentor, and I consider him family.”

Weckherlin credits a lot of her success to knowing she’s not simply a money machine or another number.

“William has done so much for me and my team members, that it makes sense for us to do everything in our power to be successful with the systems he has put in place for us,” she says.

“At the end of the day, happy employees equal happy guests. Happy guests come back, refer their friends and family, and we stay busy,” Weckherlin says. “They feel our energy, and they always come back for more.”

Confidence in Business

Leah Garcia has been a stylist for more than 25 years, and has learned a lot about how owners can help their employees be successful.

Currently, she works at Bella Salon & Boutique in Lufkin, Texas, and says her owner’s confidence and positive attitude keeps stylists motivated.

“She has only been a salon owner for two years, but she is very smart and always includes her staff in everything,” Garcia says.

Juliana Koutozakis of Panache, St. Augustine. Photo by Autumn Pacioraek

Juliana Koutozakis of Panache, St. Augustine. Photo by Autumn Pacioraek

“If she can’t book a client she passes the client onto one of us. She also budgets to advertise the salon, bringing in new business.”

Bella stylists are also encouraged to attend classes, shows and events to keep their skills sharp.

“Our owner helps with the cost of these as well,” Garcia says. “She wants to invest to keep us up with current education.”

But ultimately, Garcia says her owner’s confidence in the salon is what keeps her happy and successful.

“She always makes me feel good when I’m at work and enjoying what I do every day,” she says.


Archived Comments

20 Comments (Comments are closed)

  1. Christin says:

    I have 5 stylist in a commission salon. It seems like they built their clients and leave. I am amazed at how many stay with our salon but why do they leave. We seem to have a great time. Great atmosphere.

  2. Rebekah says:

    Great read. From an Aveda educator to a new salon owner it’s tricky making the flip teaching from student to staff!!!

    • Aveda Means Business says:

      Thanks, Rebekah! That’s a really interesting transition to make. I’m sure your time and experience as an Aveda educator will be invaluable in this new venture. Best of luck to you.

  3. Esperanza Shoe says:

    We aré booth Rent in out salón. I do not feel any support by the owner. I stay there because I like my co workers. She does not recommend me. There is a personal problem. She is not willing to talk.
    I feel like a number.

    • Aveda Means Business says:

      Hi Esperanza,
      Thanks for taking the time to comment; we understand your frustration with that situation. That feeling of alienation can be part of the problem with the booth rental model. It says a lot that you’re still able to build relationships with your coworkers despite the uncomfortable work atmosphere. If you’re looking for a new place to practice your craft, Aveda salons are all traditonal-model salons; you can find the one closest to you here. Best of luck to you.

  4. Samantha Langas says:

    good read..unfortunately my first salon job took advantage of me being new to the business and actually stole $ from me…hoping I can find a boss like this in my next salon.

    • Aveda Means Business says:

      Hi Samantha,
      So sorry to hear of your experience. It’s a shame someone would take advantage of talent instead of fostering it and encouraging creativity and growth. We wish you the best.

  5. Katie Sindt says:

    I’ve been in the business for 15 years, and recently opened my own salon 2 years ago. I try to live by all that was mentioned in this article but it’s so hard to find people that want to work. Unless you have been in the business a while, building your clientele is hard, especially in the small town in live in. (About 5500 people with 13 salons ) I try to give my stylists advice, opportunities and support but it’s hard to make people walk in the door so they have other jobs to support them, which in turn takes them away from the salon. Seems like a no win situation sometimes.

    • Aveda Means Business says:

      Hi Katie,
      Thanks for your comment. The the best way to get new faces in the door is to get your loyal clients to refer them. The most effective, tested and proven method we’ve found is the referral system. For a full description, check out our article “How to Grow Referrals,” and to see the results of a successful referral process, see Joey’s story in our article “How One Stylist Tripled Referrals.”
      We publish new articles every week dealing with the issues stylists and owners deal with the most, so be sure to check back often. If you’d like to talk to an expert on growth, fill out this form and someone will get back to you with recommendations for help. Best of luck to you!

  6. Kelly Glavas says:

    I love this article and I’ve been researching what makes stylists want to work at a salon. I am currently down to 2 stylists, and I’m behind the chair 6 days a week. I offer everything in this article and some, and hope God has the right one on his/her way. .

    • Aveda Means Business says:

      Hi Kelly,
      We absolutely understand that it’s hard to find good team members, so we’re here to help.
      If you enter your contact information in our “Let’s Talk Growth” form, and select “Recruiting/Retaining Staff,” someone will reach out to you to see if we can help you find the perfect fit for your salon.

  7. Christine Hanel says:

    Great read! I feel so fortunate to have found a salon I feel home in, and it’s because of everything that was mentioned and more!

  8. Nicci says:

    These testimonials have really helped me especially since I will be opening my own salon very soon. Thank you

  9. Linz says:

    I like the idea of having a comedian dissect personality groups. What keeps staff happy is Freedom, Creativity and Money, a calm atmosphere… When you’re a boss, it’s very difficult juggling it all.

  10. Chas Stickney says:

    Amazing and so inspirational!!

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