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Megxx

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Hello everyone,

I have spent many hours scouring the Internet today regarding people's thoughts on opening a salon without being a hairdresser, make up artist etc.. I understand the point of view of someone just coming into the industry and acting arrogant, however I think it's very important that I understand how the industry feels about it.

Just so you know a bit about me, I am a law graduate (suppose that will help with some aspects of things) but I have been a successful business woman for several years, at the moment I sell beauty products online which gives me a good income, enough for me to start a salon - something which I have dreamt about for several years.

I have researched for months into location, finance, how much it would cost, rent on the premises, business rates, employees/ or staff being self employed (I am more swayed to this option), products, tax, everything I could possibly think of including how expensive it would be to kit out the salon :eek:

I also have knowledge in this industry, I am from Liverpool and we are mad on all things beauty :D:D we really take pride in our appearance, it's a massive industry here. Also I would be setting up in one of the busiest areas of the city.

So; I feel like I have looked into everything, I want to create a salon which could be a great success with a team effort, I have a big vision to then branch further however I respect your industry and don't want to come across arrogant; I would put myself out there to those I employ to ensure that they don't feel this way. I don't want to tell the, what to do just because Iv got the finance to do it, I want to create something great. My role within the business would be the running of the business, advertising and promotion (heavy promotion!) the general house cleaning duties and I would also run my online sales business from there too I would like to think.

Therefore I'd just like your honest opinion from those in the industry on the salon owner not being a hairdresser etc, it is essential that I would have a good relationship with the staff, and also that I would be able to attract good trades people on a rent a chair basis.

Thanks in advance xx
 

Megxx

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Can I also add I'm soon undertaking a fast track make up course which I would do in the salon myself (although I understand the nature of the work means this would probably online be on Friday and Saturday afternoons preparing people for Friday and Saturday nights!)

Xx
 

ShannonJo

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As a hair extension technician I think the idea is great, you are also generating jobs for those in your area which may be in the same state as me, which I'm struggling to make money mobile.

I personally like the idea You sound down to earth and very knowledgable. I'd rather work for a women who brings in money and business and provides me with a wage.

Good luck if you do :) I'd love to work for someone like you!
 

JoJo1980

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You sound like a smart woman who's done her research. Its hard for anyone to start a salon and keep it going. You have as good a chance as any, so go for it!
I would say though that most employers would say that they do generate a large amount of the salon income themselves and often its imperitive to be generating income yourself.
So start with the make up and think about building your skills to offer more.
Good luck :D xxxxx
 

classixuk

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My advice would be that you're being a bit naive if I'm honest.

I say this as an owner of 2 salons that do really well in Liverpool, and I've been in business for over 12 years and hairdressing all of my life.

Your post also reminds me of something I posted to a different forum about 3 years ago and I'll tell you about that shortly. :)

But first off, let me just quote your post so I can add my thoughts about what you are feeling:

Hello everyone,

I have spent many hours scouring the Internet today regarding people's thoughts on opening a salon without being a hairdresser, make up artist etc.. I understand the point of view of someone just coming into the industry and acting arrogant, however I think it's very important that I understand how the industry feels about it.

Just so you know a bit about me, I am a law graduate (suppose that will help with some aspects of things) but I have been a successful business woman for several years, at the moment I sell beauty products online which gives me a good income, enough for me to start a salon - something which I have dreamt about for several years.

I have researched for months into location, finance, how much it would cost, rent on the premises, business rates, employees/ or staff being self employed (I am more swayed to this option)

This is your first mistake. People in Liverpool (especially hairdressers) are VERY wary about being self-employed. Believe me, I know. Even when you point out the benefits such as claiming relief on their supplies and tools it is a no-go for most of them. Their parents are very quick to point out that "they'll have no rights" and they are majorly concerned about lack of holiday pay/sick pay. This city is still very unionised in it's thinking and it's all about "their rights".
Those who do agree to working self employed will want to be truly self employed in my experience and will say things like "so I've been looking into this and my uncle's dog's best friend's cousin who works on Saturdays at the CAB in Anfield told me that I can come and go when I want to if I am self employed and that you cannot specify my hours, so I think I'll take every Saturday off and come in at 11AM through the week".
You can do one of two things ... explain to them that's not how it works and then the next one and the one after that like a neverending circle or you can give in and agree to their 'bright idea' but be prepared for them to blame you when it turns out they only got paid £40 for the hours they actually worked, oh, and for their parents/boyfriend to come and complain too.
If you move out to Maghull you will find that most of the salons there do actually have real self-employed stylists, however this is because they can't afford to employ anybody and they're just happy with the £50 a week for the chair. You could try going down that route, but why bother investing in opening a salon where you need to be there all of the time for say £250 gross income for the week (then take your salon overheads out of that leaving you with about 10p profit) when you could buy a couple of houses in Aigburth and rent them out for the same money but very little hassle?
You're best going down the employment route, but that in itself has problems ... will tell you why in a sec.


, products, tax, everything I could possibly think of including how expensive it would be to kit out the salon

I also have knowledge in this industry, I am from Liverpool and we are mad on all things beauty we really take pride in our appearance, it's a massive industry here. Also I would be setting up in one of the busiest areas of the city. (I'll copy/paste this paragraph later on ... it's massively important)

So; I feel like I have looked into everything, I want to create a salon which could be a great success with a team effort,

Liverpool people don't really get the whole "team effort" thing. If you have a team of 10 and 3 of them are shirkers, the other 7 won't help you out and try to get those 3 to up their game ... they'll just see them get away with it and copy them unless you do something about it yourself (I think it's the whole "don't be a grass" culture here). If you sack those 3 the others will worry about who's going to carry their slack (god forbid they do any extra work ... even if it means they'd get any extra money ... it just won't be worth the effort). Forget about the team effort stuff and think of it more like an "army" where everyone knows if they drop the ball there will be conseqeuences - and then reward afterwards.

I have a big vision to then branch further however I respect your industry and don't want to come across arrogant; I would put myself out there to those I employ to ensure that they don't feel this way.

They wouldn't. They'd just totally walk all over you. In Liverpool it's about "who is the best" at everything ... from where you live, to what you drive, how many Facebook friends you have on your latest phone to how good you are at cutting hair. They say that "self praise is no praise" but that doesn't count here. Every stylist will tell you adamantly that "they know they're a good hairdresser" - even the crap ones - I just worry how you'll be able to tell the difference without wasting thousands of pounds and your sanity along the way LOL.
and at the end of all that, the odd few who are good will quickly leave as they'll feel you cannot inspire them and they'd be better off going it alone, or perhaps mobile (see this site for plenty of evidence).


I don't want to tell the, what to do just because Iv got the finance to do it, I want to create something great. My role within the business would be the running of the business, advertising and promotion (heavy promotion!)

Ouch! You'll soon have complaints if you make them too busy...especially on a Saturday if they have a date and they've already 'ghost booked' a client last thing so they can do eachother's hair. Then again, they'll complain if they're not busy too (as long as they've had their hair done first of course). LOL


the general house cleaning duties

Liverpool stylists and juniors would be very happy about this ^^^ ;)

and I would also run my online sales business from there too I would like to think.

Therefore I'd just like your honest opinion from those in the industry on the salon owner not being a hairdresser etc, it is essential that I would have a good relationship with the staff, and also that I would be able to attract good trades people on a rent a chair basis.

Thanks in advance xx

Can I also add I'm soon undertaking a fast track make up course which I would do in the salon myself (although I understand the nature of the work means this would probably online be on Friday and Saturday afternoons preparing people for Friday and Saturday nights!)

A fasttrack make-up course so you can offer the services in a salon on a commercial nature week after week?
I see you're a law graduate, so let me turn the tables a bit ... imagine if I were planning to do a fasttrack solicitors course of 2 weeks so I can open a large solicitors firm in the center of Liverpool where I plan to compete against the likes of DWF, Rex Makin etc. Would you be wondering if I had lost the plot?
I want to take your bit from earlier that you mentioned and give my comments...

"I also have knowledge in this industry, I am from Liverpool and we are mad on all things beauty we really take pride in our appearance, it's a massive industry here. Also I would be setting up in one of the busiest areas of the city."

You're right. People in Liverpool really do spend a lot of money on looking after themselves. Because of this though, they also have a lot of experience about who is good and who isn't. So I'm thinking...in town we have Barbara Daley, Herberts, Voodou, Hooka etc. all competing for business. They're all headed by people who are not only qualified in hairdressing/beauty but also have decades worth of experience in business behind them.
So let's imagine ... Scouse Scally from Norris Green goes into town to get her hair done, and she's prepared to spend a fortune. She wants to go from blonde to brown.
2 disastrous scenarios:
1. She goes to Barbara Daley where the stylist screws up and turns her hair green. Barbara sacks the stylists and fixes the job herself at no extra charge. Scouse Sally is happy.
2. She goes to your salon where the stylist screws up and turns her hair green. You 'sack the stylist' and ask the others for help. They all refuse as you just 'sacked their mate' who had to put up with a rude client. Scouse Sally demands to know what you're going to do about it. You offer her a refund (which comes out of your own pocket). She calls her boyfriend to come to the salon immediately...she's crying...she can't be seen in the middle of town with green hair!! Scally Steve arrives and threatens you that he'll smash your whole place up if you don't fix her hair AND give her a refund right now! So what happens next? Because believe me, this could be a weekly occurance. People in Liverpool will absolutely not accept that your stylists are simply 'self employed' and that you can't do anything to help them if (and when) their hair/tan/waxing etc. goes wrong. Refunds won't be sufficient to keep you in business. God forbid you get a wedding booking and the stylist calls in sick on you ... and you can't jump in and do something about it! I can only imagine how long it would be before your salon is fire-bombed (I've seen 3 salons fire-bombed in Woolton over the past 10 years and this is the most expensive suburb to live in!)
So anyway, after stating ALL of that, I'm going to get back to the beginning of my reply where I stated that your post reminded me of one of my own from a few years back.

Despite the headaches, I really enjoy owning salons in Liverpool. I don't have to work any more and I have a great team whom I've built up over many years. I'm mortgage free and comfortably well off at the age of 34.

So I thought, after getting a very expensive pedigree dog 3 years ago, that what Liverpool really needed was a new dog grooming salon - heck, it can't be that difficult to set one up, and at least I understood a little bit about the industry (same tools, same services, same sized premises etc.) and seeing as the perfect location had become available I thought it was all slotting together...so I asked for advice on a dog grooming forum a bit like this one. I got a reply a bit like mine to yours, and after further research and discussions with dog grooming professionals so I put the 100K back in the bank and left it as a bad idea.

6 months later the premises opened...as a dog grooming salon! OMG. It was set-up by someone who had been in business before and had recently finished doing a 2 year course in dog grooming. It lasted 18 months. I didn't even need to bother taking my dog there as reports about how crappy the work being churned out was had spread within a month of her opening. I guess she just couldn't spot what a "bad groom" was, and when one of her staff actually did one, she was unable to fix it herself anyway. I had a lucky escape and thankfully still have my cash intact.

But to end this post, I'll do it on a positive. If you still want to go ahead and need premises, I have a 3 storey building that I own near TJ Hughes that's currently not tenanted...up for rent. I'll even put a 2 year break-clause in for you (as you might be needing it).

;)
 

persianista

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I wonder how I'd do in that building with a bunch of London stylists....hmmm.
 

Megxx

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Thanks for the long post of honest advice.

To be honest most of that stuff is state the obvious isn't it? People managing is not an easy task.

I'm not expecting everything to be plain sailing - nothing Iv ever done in business has been, there will undoubtedly be hic-ups along the way.

I do appreciate your honest and the time it must have taken to write that post though! However I do feel that I have a more approachable attitude which may help with my people management.

Thanks x
 

Elaine143a

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You asked for honest advice, and you have certainly received it. If you look at the hearts above, you may notice they are all from salon owners who know what it is really like to own / run a salon. I had mine for over ten years, and totally agree with the above post.

Go for it if you have the confidence, but please dont ignore the advice you have been given, it mainly relates to the fact that WHEN something goes wrong, you wont be able to fix it will you?

Why not get yourself qualified in the treatments you want to offer, or at least one of them ie beauty or hair, and then start yourself to gain experience before starting your venture. I'm sure a small delay wont ruin your well thought out plans.

A friend of mine was selling her successful hair salon due to personal issues. Seeing how well it did, her own accountant bought the business = it shut down within 12 months because she was an accountant and not a therapist!

hth xx
 

lea2721

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to be honest i know a fair few hair salons who the owners are not trained in hair but they still make good managers etc, and she has stated shes had a lot of experiance regardless of qualfications i think if your good at managing have run your own succesful buisness then go for it, xx

Sent from my GT-I9100 using SalonGeek
 

Megxx

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I completely understand the point of not being in control when things go wrong (which they will, countless times), so I take it "employing" them rather than them renting a chair on a self-employed basis would give me a bit more control?

To be honest I had always thought this with my lawyer head on, but my business head told me the rent a chair idea would be more financially secure.

Thanks again x
 

dandelionpoppy

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Classixuk clearly has vast business experience and success, and has based her answer on reality. She is to be applauded for taking the time to reply in such full detail.

I do, however, feel uncomfortable about the sweeping statements about Liverpool people. I'm guessing that other salon owners could say similar things about their part of the country?
Think there are good and bad in every locality.
 

Carlalouise

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My advice would be that you're being a bit naive if I'm honest.

I say this as an owner of 2 salons that do really well in Liverpool, and I've been in business for over 12 years and hairdressing all of my life.
Great advise but from what I have read you started your business 12 years ago and you are now 34, which if my maths serves me well means you were 22 when you first set up your own business (hat's off to you a great achievement for someone so young!!) but surely you were very new to your profession and probably had to rely heavily on advice from others OR you were naturally a good business women, which this lady may be.

There are a lot of fantastic businesses out there that have been bought or set up by people who did not really know about the industry BUT they had a good business head and were true leaders, I know I worked for two such people who sold their business for 40 million pounds!!!

Good luck to you hun, although people in Liverpool do sound scarey!! :wink2:
 

Only-me

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Hi meg,

You have obviously done very well so far and I bet that included some risks !
Why not speak to Business Enterprise... Or Business Link .... They offer free advice, guidance you can google them.

If you don't do this I'm sure you will want to do something else... I would gather as much info as poss as to how you want it to work and what you need to ask yourself is what is the worst that could happen - loss of money? Sell it?

Look at all the top business men/women.... They went with their gut feeling 😉

Why rent to beauty ? Why not buy premises that hires out rooms ? For business meetings/ offices... Just a thought as beauty is a profession and what if your 'renters' need you and you get stuck? Or you don't have the right experienced guys? It will come back on you - would you need contracts?

Sure you've thought of all scenarios if not then maybe seek advice from a salon owner that isn't in the profession x

Go for what you believe in! Xx
 

Megxx

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Thanks for more advice xx

This is all I am doing at the moment, exploring every avenue and trying to take points of advice from those in the know, people like yourselves.

Posts like the above will not put me off doing something which I believe I can succeed in, if I allowed people to deter me from taking a certain path I wouldn't have done anything.

Any more views would be greatly appreciated! Thanks again xx
 

persianista

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Thanks for more advice xx

This is all I am doing at the moment, exploring every avenue and trying to take points of advice from those in the know, people like yourselves.

Posts like the above will not put me off doing something which I believe I can succeed in, if I allowed people to deter me from taking a certain path I wouldn't have done anything.

Any more views would be greatly appreciated! Thanks again xx
No real point then asking for opinions if you just want people to say "go ahead you will be great" is there?

Classix made some superb points (he is a bloke by the way), but I would like to add something.

1 in 3 salons go bust in their first year DURING THE GOOD TIMES. In recession we are nearer 1 in 2. I have seen some big established salons run by very experienced people fail. The thing they all had in common? They were non trade salon owners.
Right now, I have to work on the floor in my salons to generate money. If I hadn't been able to do that, we would have no doubt joined the ranks of failed businesses. Believe me, if it was possible to just employ staff and sit back and count the money, I would!

So please listen to the people who have walked the path before you, classix and I both have multiple salons, and we really do know exactly what we are talking about.
 

jujojones

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I think classixs advice was fantastic ! Very honest and eye opening! You need people to give you advice like that as you get surrounded by people talking s##t to you or telling you things they think you want to hear!! Running a business IS HARD but has great rewards. Myself and my husband both have a business each and believe me it is 10 x harder to run a business in which your not in the trade, so to speak. Although saying that it is not impossible, as I do help run his plumbing firm. The most problems I face is dealing with the work force, they think 'I do not know what I'm talking about' !! I do wish you lots of luck whatever you do!
 

eternalscot

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Great post. I have been in business for 15 years and started with a shop age 22. Staff Can be a nightmare which is why I scaled down. I had piles of business. But getting good staff is hard, and when theyre good and reliable they are worth their weight in gold. Running a shop is stressful staff might be unwell or late, they steal stock, lose keys and go in huffs. I'm sure some have positive experiences though. If it's your dream do it but with your eyes open!
 

Megxx

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Thanks eternalscot

Where you in the trade or not when you set up?

Thanks again x
 

Beansy

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I do, however, feel uncomfortable about the sweeping statements about Liverpool people. I'm guessing that other salon owners could say similar things about their part of the country?
Think there are good and bad in every locality.
I couldn't agree more with this. This response actually initially stopped me from responding to the original query. I found the way in which staff (and/or people from Liverpool) were described was mocking broad generalisations and slightly patronising. I'm sure you could have made the same points without such descriptions.
I hope your staff don't read this and realise who you are as I'm quite sure you (and other local salons) have got some committed, dedicated, passionate shining stars who wouldn't like to be described in this way.
Rant over (and yes, I am a Scouser)

Anyway, my apologies, back to the topic thread.............

Megxx, it does seem you are intent on this regardless of advice shared (but that's ok, & it is your choice!) However, I wonder whether you have considered approaching local salons (I mean the high profile level) for business development work? This would make use of your skills but also provide you with some networking and exposure to the salon environment. Might help in crystallising your plans.
Lots of luck
 
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PaulineM-Mobile

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Hi Meg, well such varied responses you have had.

Classix points I was some what bemused at. Very negative, derogatory, foolish statements. I must admit I found it all a bit odd.

Anyway back to business. It is not essential that your background is hair/beauty but yes an advantage. You would be heavily reliant on a manager/supervisor that could advise you on matter within industry but as mentioned before this is what many many successful entrepreneurs have done.

I wish you good luck and every success on your chosen path.

P x
 

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