I have had so much fun over the past months since Covid.
I know, I know, no one has had fun during Covid. Well, I beg to differ. I did!
I have had the opportunity to physically speak with more people in the past 20 or so months. I had noticed during Covid I was receiving more telephone calls than I was text or email. An actually refreshing change.
As we finish up 2021, I’m noticing many people are just downright tired of messaging and are taking the time to call.
It’s been GREAT!
It does come with consequences, although not so terribly bad. I find myself getting caught up in many of the emotional journeys my clients are going through. As you know, when physically speaking you tend to share more.
I hear about their challenges of balancing work and family. I hear about the challenges of rising cost. I hear about the challenges of finding and then keeping staff. I hear about the challenges of client concerns and/or issues. I hear it all. Some of it may be Business related, some of it may be Personal.
Regardless of what it is, it does wear on me. However, it also gets me thinking of what I might be able to do to make a difference. To be a positive influence in someones life who may be experience many negatives.
This past week I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with many clients. I’ve also seen on social media (of course) the many voices of people sharing their journeys.
As I’m hearing or reading all this, I’m thinking of all the crazy challenges I went through as a Salon owner.
Some of them were literally earth shattering and some of them were just downright hysterical. Whatever they were, they were all very difficult for me, and at the time I’m sure I thought it was the end of the world. I was young, I was new to the Industry, I was not prepared.
So, I thought I would share with you some of my stories. I’m confident you will either laugh, shake your head or think it may not actually be true. Regardless of what your thought process is, I hope one(1) story helps one(1) person realize…..life does got on, you will be okay and even though something even more challenging will more than likely be around the corner… YOU WILL SURVIVE!
I can begin as far back as the day and year I purchased the Salon. June 1987.
To preface the story, I was an Owner of an Office Supply Company. My X and I had 3 retail locations, a huge warehouse facility, delivery trucks and a total of about 30 employees. I ran one of the retail locations which included building outside Sales. I knew Business. I didn’t know the Beauty Industry.
I purchased the Salon from a friend of mine. Salon Owner/Nail Technician who did my nails. At the time, she had herself and 2 Nail Technicians working for her. The books showed it was profitable so I looked at it as an investment.
Part of the deal was she needed to hire someone to replace her. She called on a girl whom had worked with her for years and had left previously because she had children. I knew her and knew she was good at the art of nails. She accepted and we closed the deal.
What I didn’t know about the Beauty Industry was;
- Bodies can be replaced – Nail Technicians can not
- Investments are only good if you have the right people managing them
Within 30 days of owning this Salon, this girl who insisted along with the previous owner that she was qualified to manage my Salon caused such an uproar the other 2 Technicians were getting ready to walk out.
In addition, she made plans to meet my X (which was my boyfriend at the time) at a hotel….to discuss Business with him. Hahaha…..I still chuckle over it.
Well, the day I called her on it (or was going to), I requested her to meet me in my office that we had a “few things to discuss”.
About 10 minutes after she was supposed to be in my office, I receive a call from one of my other Technicians. Our “Manager” had called her to come into the Salon. She was quitting…..leaving at that moment……and she had just put someone in our tanning bed. When the Technician came in, she was gone and the client was in the tanning bed.
THAT…..was my first 30 days.
6 months later:
I still have the other 2 Technicians but not one qualified to take care of the previous Owners clientele. For 6 months I went full force, initiation by fire learning how to do nails. I worked my Office Supply business by day and my Nail Salon Business by night.
Every day before I left my day job, I would call to see if my team needed anything.
When I arrived, everything always looked good. The Salon was kept clean, the girls were busy, everything seemed pretty status quo. I’m thinking okay….maybe I survived that horrific nightmare.
One day I just happened to show up during the day. No particular reason, it just happened.
When I walked in, I was shocked. The one Technician who worked at that particular time, was walking around barefooted, dealing and snorting cocaine. Turns out my phone calls to”see if they needed anything” was their alarm that I was on my way.
Another lesson learned regarding the Beauty Industry.
- Make sure you show up unexpectedly
You would have thought that experience would have taught me something. Nope, it wasn’t until this following experience when I realized you have to make your team understand, “you could show up at any day at any time”.
I had moved my Salon by this time and began expanding into other services like Skin Care, Massage, Hair etc. I still had one girl from the beginning and had hired a couple more.
The Business next to my new Business location was a chiropractor whom we had become very friendly with.
One day she randomly says to me, “do you ever just show up unexpectedly”? I figured she was asking for a reason and said “no, but I guess I will now”
Digressing slightly, I was still coming in at night and I noticed a couple of odd things. Empty glasses or McDonalds cups in the facial room. The facial chair in the lying down position. Just little things here and there with I chose not to even bring up, because they seemed so miniscual to me at the time.
What I eventually found out, due to an unexpected visit is one of me newer Nail Technicians on the days she worked by herself, invited her boyfriend in for a bit more than just a facial. Not only were they using my facial room, they apparently had no problems with the couch in the front lobby as well.
I did eventually acquire a really great team of girls (and guys)…….ohhhhhh, this brings me to another story.
The industry has always suffered with finding help. So, I decided at one time to approach the local Beauty school about recruiting. That’s when I hired my first male Nail Technician.
He was a cutie. He was talented, thoughtful, respectful. He had all the makings of someone who could have done very well in the arena.
He worked with me for a few months and then approached me about an “opportunity”. A friend had asked him to fill the shoes of someone who had gotten injured. He had to go on a fishing boat for 3 months. The money was too much to turn down and he wanted to know if I would hold his spot.
I loved the kid. I thought it was a great opportunity for him and I’m not even sure I would have turned down the money. Of course I would save his spot….and wished him well.
About 2 weeks later we are servicing a new client and I hear her telling my Technician about this really cute boy who is working at the Salon she goes to for hair…doing nails. I ask a couple of questions and YUP….it was him.
I didn’t get angry, I got even. I called the Salon he went to and scheduled a nail appointment for about 4 weeks out. I figured eventually he would see my name on the books. (I wasn’t hiding it).
It took about a week and I get a call from the Salon “asking” if I scheduled and appointment with Rob. “yes ma’am sure did”
Well, about 30 minutes later Rob shows up at my Salon with is tail between his legs. NO, I did not ever hire him back.
Truly, the stories are endless. These particular stories are staff related, very early on In my Beauty career. I survived and I learned from each experience. However, if you get into Business and ever think staff issues will end, you’re wrong.
I owned my Salon for 24 years. It was staff challenges which threw me over the edge and caused me to get out of Salon ownership. There would be so many things I would do differently, because of what I learned during those 24 years. It is only from our challenges and our failures do we learn to be our better best.
In fact, because of the many experiences I did have during those 24 years, is what compelled me to run my Business the way I do now.
What about the challenges or even scares you have with your clients?
- Bringing Grand moms underwear in to be dry cleaned because a spot of wax got on them during a bikini wax session
- Or, when a heavy weight client sits down and the chair slides right out from under her.
- Or, when a geriatric client edges her way out of the facial chair and it practically falls on top of her.
- Or, when a Massage client is looking for a happy ending.
- Or, when you receive your first bogus check in the tune of $150.00
Again, the stories are never ending.
I am still very thankful and grateful for those 24 years as a Salon owner. Many good things came out of that experience and yes, many bad. It is because of those experiences I believe, are good part of my success today. I have been there, done that and can relate to the many challenges all of you face today.
However, it was the bad which has molded me into what I am today as a Business woman.
I’ve learned in Business;
- There are always challenges
- It’s not as easy as you think
- Running your Business with the glass 1/2 full is much better than running it with the glass 1/2 empty
- It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you handle it
- You MUST learn from your mistakes and your challenges
- Misery loves Company, you will find people who will feed into your misery. Don’t let that happen to you. Establish your resources of people to talk with when you need a shoulder. Make sure they are positive influences in your life. and…Keep it small. Surround yourself with good, successful people.
And, finally…..if you own a Business and you have a family….try not to take your frustrations and problems out on those you love. Treat them as a customer…with kindness, with respect and with love.
We live the American dream. Opportunity is knocking on our doors daily.
Follow your dreams, don’t let the challenges pull you down and remember someday, you too may be sharing the stories which made you stronger.