When Andrea Catron graduated from a small, private, Denver beauty school in 2005, she had no idea that she’d stay at her first job for eleven years. In those eleven years, she learned how to cut and developed a deep passion for color, but more importantly, a seed was planted: one day she would open her own salon.
More specifically, Andrea wanted to open a salon that practiced what it preached. After attending conferences, trade shows, and master classes with industry greats like Ted Gibson and Nick Arrojo, Andrea heard the same sentiments from stylists across the country: there was never time for a real lunch break, some managers didn’t abide by the sanitation rules taught in school, the stress levels were overwhelming; the list went on. She wondered, “Was it really impossible to create a healthy salon environment?” The only way to know was to try.
It was a simple concept, but it would take a complex plan to actually complete it. She wanted to open a salon that not only placed emphasis on the wellness of the employees and the customers but also respected the environment. Her team would recycle and compost all materials, including the hair and gloves they use. Stylists would take true lunch breaks, not only to increase their productivity but to give them a chance to find that perfect work/life balance that so many professionals in our industry struggle to find.
So last year Andrea took her first step towards her dream. She went from her commissioned position to opening a salon suite. Andrea shares, “Moving from a commission salon to a salon suite was the perfect stepping stone to opening my own salon. You learn how to run a business, how to order products, how to manage inventory. If anyone is thinking about opening a salon they should open a suite first.” Specifically, she suggests working a full twelve months in a salon suite to have revenue numbers and file taxes; these will be strong indicators of how your own salon would function and profit. While she worked at the salon suite and started mastering the true business side of being a stylist, Andrea also began laying the foundation for her own salon (physically and metaphorically.)
With a goal of creating a healthy salon environment (both inside and out), Andrea learned through her connections about a net zero building that was under construction and had retail space available. The building would offer bikes to all employees, so they could run errands on lunch breaks, they would have eco-passes to take the bus to and from work, and, most importantly, running the salon would take zero power from the grid. It was perfect.
Just last week, Andrea opened the doors of her eponymous salon in Boulder, Colorado. Andrea’s is a labor of love and plenty of hard work, but its creation sets a precedent for other salons who want to put health at the core of their missions.
When we asked Andrea what advice she had for other beauty professionals who wanted to open their own business she offered, “As soon as you decide this is something you want to do, go find an accountant so they can start telling you what type of business you should run.” It’s a practical first step that most overthink, but for Andrea, learning how to do the financing side was a good wake up call. She said that it forces you to consider, “’Do I really want to run a business, or do I want to be a hair stylist that tells other people what to do?’”
Do you want to open your own salon or do you already own a business? We have some business tools that can make managing your salon easier.
Photo: Courtesy of AndreasHair.com
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Michelle Campbell is the Content Marketing Specialist for MiladyPro.
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