Alexey Kats

Alexey Kats

Architeqt Salon
Philadelphia, PA
Owner – Alexey Kats and Co Owner - Pawel Gorzelewski

Alexey always liked the visual arts, instant gratification at work, creating with his hands and fashion so naturally becoming a hairdresser was the perfect choice right after high school. Being an immigrant from the Soviet Union and working since the age of 13, a career that involved self-motivation and independence was very appealing to him. After 18 years in the industry, Alexey is the owner of Architeqt Salons with 2 locations and a staff of 15 stylists and 5 apprentices.

”I have had the pleasure of hosting an educational event with Alexey at his salon back in 2018. We have also become friends along the way! I have to say he truly has such a pulse on this industry. His salon is gorgeous and his team is really incredible. You can feel the passion from him and it really trickles down to his team.”
Alexey also has a new salon concierge platform called Concy. Concy was created by Alexey and co creator Sunil Irukulla. This is a new 24 hour salon concierge service that works with Facebook Instant messenger. Tune in on my personal Facebook page on Monday Jan 28th at 9AM PST to hear learn more about it.

As always, we hope this interview will motivate you, inspire you, and encourage you, to continue to share your love and passion for the beauty industry. Enjoy! #stylistssupportingstylists

1. What has been one of the hardest things to overcome since becoming a salon owner?
Definitely staff management. Being raised by Russian parents, I tend to have a blunt, direct communication style which in today’s culture can cause some issues in the workplace. In the 6 + years of being a salon owner I’ve definitely evolved and learned to hedge the bluntness a bit but on occasion it can still cause some hurt feelings.

2. What is your training process for the assistants in your salon?.
Architeqt has an apprentice program. We have weekly 2-3 hour workshops on Tuesdays that cover cutting, color, styling, communication, marketing and retail. Our program is inductive so we start with teaching basic assisting skills such as blow-dry styling and single process applications and build on that.

3. What ONE piece of advice would you give to other salon owners who are also just starting out in the business?.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Don’t stress yourself out by trying to do everything at once. Systems are the key to a successful salon so make a priority list of systems to develop and work on them one at a time.

4. How are you attracting stylists? Do you hire and train right out beauty school? Where are you finding the right talent?
Every stylist at Architeqt must go through our apprentice program to learn our approach to hair and be on brand with us. We like to hire straight from school but we’ve also had success hiring from blow-dry bars. Some of our apprentices came from other salons which didn’t offer education and not much room for growth.

Having a strong defined brand and a good salon instagram page is a great way to attract new talent and because a few years ago this was such an issue for us, I started my own recruitment and education platform called Hairdojo.

5. You are a commission based salon. Tell me how you keep your team motivated and inspired when they hit highest level of commission in your business?
We keep our staff motivated by always giving opportunities for growth. After a stylists reaches their highest level of commission, they can take on their own apprentice, which is a great way to increase their revenue by double booking. In addition, we encourage our stylists to become educators either for a brand or on their own and finally, we believe in partnerships so when a stylist has no more room for growth behind the chair, we offer them partnership opportunities in new locations.

6. How often do you provide education to your team and do you have education requirements per month or quarter for your team?
We have classes every Tuesday which range from basic to advanced and the team takes turns teaching the basic apprentice classes. For advanced classes, either I or my business partner Pawel will teach our dry cutting technique and we’ll have outside educators come in for color education and marketing.

7. Tell me the number 1 way you are attracting new clients?
Our number one way would be what I refer to as the digital funnel. It’s actually a combination of digital marketing and branding such as a search optimized website, plenty of positive google and yelp reviews and an active and branded Instagram page for the salon and the individual stylists. A new tool that we recently added is a virtual concierge called Concy, which has a great virtual color consultation feature. We have attracted a lot of new clients that take part in the virtual consultation because they don’t have a to travel to the salon in advance while getting a personalized suggestion for their color requests.

8. What is the one thing you wish you knew before opening your salon?
How to set boundaries with staff. At first, I tried being everyone’s best friend and was definitely taken advantage of. Setting boundaries as the owner was a good lesson to learn and has made management much easier.