Many hairdressers admit that one of their favourite parts of the job is the creativity involved. Many hairdressers who run their own business also admit that they love being their own boss. However, balancing these two aspects can be tricky, so we decided to ask some successful business owners how they manage the split.
The decision to keep running a column as a business owner is a personal one, with many stylists sharing different reasons behind their decision. For instance, Stacey Whyte, director of Cheveux Salon, explains: “Doing hair is a creative outlet and it’s my true passion,” while Andrea Dorata, owner of Dorata Hairdressing, adds, “I love being on the salon floor with my team, plus it keeps me aware of the team’s needs as I know first-hand what challenges they face.” Suzie McGill, director at Rainbow Room International, shares a similar experience, explaining: “While I love working on stage at events and doing seminars, I love my clients and I love my team, helping them learn and grow in their roles.”
However, Tina Hollis, owner of T2 Hair & Beauty, shares a more practical reason for her decision, noting: “Initially I didn’t have a choice but to keep working behind the chair as I was the main earner of the salon and the bills had to be paid.”
What Challenges Can This Present?
While there are benefits to running your own column, it’s not without its challenges. “It can be hard to find the time to do admin,” explains Andrea. “Unless you set uninterrupted time aside, you will often find it falls by the wayside.” As such, he recommends blocking time out where no clients can book in with you. It can also be useful to work on admin tasks outside of the salon, where possible, so that you’re not interrupted by mundane questions.
Stacey follows a similar approach, sharing: “As the owner you wear many hats, not least supporting your team, which is why I recently decided to modify my days to create more balance. Having the space to be there for your team when you’re not behind the chair is paramount, so having a clear schedule ensures this doesn’t get overlooked.”
Meanwhile, Tina notes that working on the shop floor alongside your team and being a part of banter means that lines can become a bit blurred. “With the right balance, these situations can be avoided,” she explains. While finding a balance that works well for you and your team can vary depending on your circumstances, a good starting point is to remember that you don’t have to be a part of every conversation. It’s also advisable to try and maintain a hierarchy while on the shop floor by allowing assistants to do their job – but this doesn’t mean you can’t help out by sweeping or making the occasional cup of tea. “Ultimately, by working as part of the team I set a good example of how I expect the stylists to work,” Tina says, adding, “I feel I’m more of a leader than a boss.”
Aside from how managing a business and a column can affect your team and the business as a whole, there can also be an impact on your clients. Suzie explains: “When you’re managing a business and running a column, you might not be in the salon as regularly as other stylists, and clients may need appointments when you’re not available, which can lead to them turning to another stylist.” While there may be instances where this can’t be helped, Suzie advises that if you’ve built up a great relationship with your clients, where they trust you and your expertise, then they will stay loyal to you.