Ace Your Space
Having extra, unused space is a problem any salon owner would love to solve. The possibilities, from adding chairs to creating an office, are endless.
At James Griffith Salon in Venice, Florida, co-owner Christine Griffith (with husband James) owns the building next to the salon and has used it for many purposes over the years.
The Venice location is one of three James Griffith Salons—the other two are in Sarasota and Boca Grande—and serves as the flagship with 20 stylists.
Over the years, Griffith and her husband have used the building next to the salon for storage, and for a few years they rented it out to a yoga studio/holistic center.
“The reason we own the building at all is because we had issues with not enough parking,” says Griffith. “We get an extra 10 spots by owning the building next door.”
About a year ago, the extra space was flooded and needed to be cleaned up and redesigned. The Griffiths chose to refurbish the building with business offices and a mock salon, which serves as a training facility for new stylists.
“This is great because we don’t have to take up floor space with training in any of our locations by having this separate training space,” says Griffith.
But there was still extra space to use and Griffith knew exactly what she wanted to do with it—create an on-site photo studio.
As an amateur photographer herself, a studio is something Griffith had always dreamed of and finally had the right space to do it.
“It’s perfect because there are no windows in this area of the building. I’m going to use just photo lights,” she says. “I’m learning about lighting and the specific way to set it up for hair.”
Before the flooding happened, Griffith had purchased photo equipment (fortunately, it was undamaged) and already owns some high-quality cameras.
“I’m probably going to gift one of my good cameras to be at the studio all the time for our stylists to use,” she says.
Once it’s set up, Griffith plans to discern who has a good eye and train certain key members of the staff to use the camera and lighting
Griffith has several goals for her photo studio: “We can post quality images on Facebook and other social media with a how-to,” she says.
Pinterest is another platform where she envisions the work. “We could create a page for updos, brunettes, blondes, etc. A cool photo of color with the formula would be a great post, too,” she adds.
“We want to get our work out there and we haven’t really done any photo shoots. Plus, the staff is asking for this.”
Currently, Griffith has a spot outside the salon with perfect light where stylists go to take photos of clients. But if it’s the wrong time of day or bad weather, the spot is no longer perfect.
When the studio is finished, if a stylist does a great updo for prom or a wedding, she can get her client to sign a release, then take her over to the photo studio for a perfectly lit selfie taken with a high-quality camera any time of day.
Griffith is also planning something big for the photo studio—the salon’s first shoot.
“We’re going to do a story board and we have some clients who would be really great models,” she says.
“I see a team of about 15 people and I’ll make one of them our lead and visionary,” she adds.
“Our new talent is all about doing this—including make-up. Some of them do airbrushing, which is perfect for photos.”
The salon also has a network where they’ve connected with professional photographers and models that Griffith plans to tap into.
“I would love to do a shoot once a quarter—that’d be great,” she says. “But realistically, we’ll probably do twice a year in the spring and fall in conjunction with fashion week.”
As for the images, Griffith has plans for them already. “I’d like to send them to industry magazines,” she says. “We’ve also never entered NAHA—I’m thinking of entering the team category. We have some great stylists and this is something I’ve always wanted to do.”