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From Booth Renter
to Owner

Photo by Kris Dysert, courtesy of Salon One Six One
Photo by Kris Dysert, courtesy of Salon One Six One

Charlie Martin started his career working as a stylist for an Aveda salon almost 10 years ago, before leaving to work in a rental salon with the dream of eventually becoming an independent salon owner.

“I collected clients and saved up to open my own space,” he says. “I opened Salon One Six One (named for the 1.61 golden ratio found in nature) as a small, two-chair salon with one renter, with hopes of converting to a traditional commission salon and carrying Aveda.”

Last October, after five years in business, Martin finally realized his dream. He got rid of all his other product lines and became a six-chair Aveda Concept Salon.

“I got my start with Aveda, and I like how much they support their salons and how the products perform,” he says. “Converting my one renter to commission was a little bit of an adjustment for both of us, but she also got her start with Aveda and is excited to be a part of it again.”

Think Education, Not Sales

one-six-one-productIn Martin’s first few years of business, he tried carrying several different product lines, but nothing really excited him. His lack of enthusiasm translated into dismal retail sales. It didn’t help that many of the lines were also being sold at Target or drugstores at dramatically lower prices.

When he became a commissioned salon, he was able to bring Aveda back in. (Aveda has one of the lowest diversion rates in the beauty industry.*)

Martin’s salon is now selling more home care per month than he used to in an entire year.

Martin and his staff got a refresher course on the Aveda line when they brought it on, and continue to get educated regularly, making it easy to pass the knowledge onto clients.

“I talk to them about why we are using a product in their hair and show them exactly how much and how to use it. By the end of the appointment, they know what they want and ask me to buy it.”

“They often come back between appointments to buy products that we used but has decided to wait on purchasing,” he says. “They can see the difference the products are making in their hair.”

“I don’t like it when a stylist says, ‘Do you need any retail today?’.”

“We never assume clients know what to do with their hair.  My stylists enjoy educating their guests rather than feeling like they have to sell something. It works. We hit our goal or go over it every month.”

Charlie Martin, owner of Salon One Six One in St. Louis, MO.
Charlie Martin, owner of Salon One Six One in St. Louis, MO. - Photo by Kris Dysert

Find Products That Sell Themselves

Clients of Salon One Six One are taking notice. Martin’s Yelp reviews are outstanding and bring in new customers all the time. When a potential new client Googles “top salons” or checks out Yelp – Salon One Six One always pops up.

“Sometimes people stop in just because we’re an Aveda salon and they want to buy products,” he says.

When that happens, Martin is ready for them. He gives any new customer who comes in to buy Aveda products a gift certificate for a free haircut.

Interior of Salon One Six One. - Photo by Kris Dysert

Interior of Salon One Six One. – Photo by Kris Dysert

“Everyone comes back to use the certificate; it’s a good way to help new stylists build their book,” he says.

As Martin continues to grow his business, he looks forward to doing it with his Aveda family.

“Before I became Aveda, I would go into the state beauty supply store and feel helpless when I looked into classes,” he says. “I didn’t know if they were good, and felt like I was falling behind on new techniques.”

Now, Martin’s Aveda rep helps keep him and his staff up-to-date on education. “There’s a class for everything, including newer techniques that I didn’t have access to before,” he says.

“I feel like I’m part of a network—a family,” he adds. “I’ve made friends with the other Aveda salon owners in the area and send them clients I can’t accommodate. I get back everything that I give out.”

To learn more about Salon One Six One, visit onesixonestl.com.

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