Jennifer has been working in the beauty industry for 16 years. Her career started in Connecticut, but quickly she desired more out of her future as a hairstylist and moved to NYC. She worked there for four years creating and networking with like minded artists. In 2007, she moved to South Florida to pursue her passion in a warmer climate and easier lifestyle. Here is where she met her husband and business partner, Paul. Together they teamed up and opened their first salon, Strand Salon located in Delray Beach FL. After three successful years they decided to move back to Jennifer’s home state of Connecticut. In 2013, with big dreams they opened their second salon, also named Strand Salon in Glastonbury CT. With no staff, no clients, and no clue how they were going to make their dream come to life; they did any ones hair who would give them a chance. Slowly the salon started to grow. They had a large staff, an ever growing client base, and a very supportive community. In July 2016, Strand Salon under went a 2,000 square ft. expansion, which is all Jennifer had dreamt of and more. She couldn't have been more excited to take on this new venture. She feels extremely lucky to be able to have expanded their business in just three years and is looking forward to what the future holds. Currently Strand Salon has 16 employees and has been in business for 6 years.
“I had the honor of spending time with Jen and Paul at their salon when they hosted a clipper class. I have to say, their salon truly is beautiful. They have truly cultivated a vibe and an energy that is very true to their brand and what they represent as a whole. They have an incredible group of talented artists that are also very dedicated to their craft.”
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 being a salon owner?
Just ONE!? Being a business owner is so complex, new challenges and obstacles happen almost daily, but the one thing hardest to overcome for me personally is being responsible for so many people. This is something I deal with daily. When you work for someone or work solo, you only have to worry about you. The work you are putting out, whether you are on time, whether you made the client happy or not. When you own a business you are responsible for all your employees and every client that walks through the door whether you service them or not. You are responsible for everyones happiness, ordering all the products to make sure everyone has exactly what they need to do their job, making sure every client has had an impeccable service and they are over the moon about their experience in your establishment. It’s a lot of pressure daily and if you aren’t surrounded by the right people it can definitely lead to a lot of anxiety and stress. Lucky for me my teammates are so talented and passionate about what they do they make running the salon quite easy!
2- What is the training process for assistants in your salon?
The assistant program that Paul and I created is the backbone to our salon. Without it we would NOT be in business. Quick backstory: when we moved to Connecticut and started the hiring process we were so excited people actually wanted to work for us! We interviewed over 20 hairstylists but to our dismay were not eager to hire any of them. Most had stopped their education years ago, some were burnt out, some just sat there and bashed their current salon. None of that looked good to us as new business owners looking to make a name for ourselves…so we decided not hire anyone and design an assistant program that was strong, fair, and beneficial for everyone who entered into it. I’m not going to sugar coat it. It’s only for the determined, strong willed, and motivated hairdresser. Many have started the program and left early or quit half way through, but many and I mean many have completed it and are some of the most talented hairdressers I have ever had the pleasure of working beside. Lucky for me they work at Strand! So whats the program all about? It is a year to two year program. We are a departmentalized salon meaning my stylists specialize in either cutting or coloring hair but they do not do both. Once you have assisted in salon for 6 months you are required to pick your department, then the training begins. You are send out of the salon for numerous classes over a 3 month period and we start their hands on classes in salon once a week for 3 months. We hold a blow-dry bootcamp twice a month with all assistants and new stylists on the floor. Every stylist is required to blow-dry the “strand way” and by the time they get on the floor they are more than ready for all types of hair and can blow dry to perfection. After their classes and hands on training is complete they then receive a rubric of 70-80 services that need to be completed before they earn their chair. They are given a model day on the floor one day a week where they book their models and get their services checked off their rubric. Each service must be performed on their own with no help from the owners and must be perfect in order for it to get checked off. If its not perfect they must repeat the service on a new model at a later time. They are required to find all their own models which really helps them build their business skills and put in the work to get their own clients.”
3-How are you attracting stylists?
We do not hire stylists. We hire students who are either in hair school or have graduated and start training them”.I believe that having a strong relationship with the local schools, a detailed and attractive website, and a great social media presence attracts candidates all on its own. Then we decide who is the brand and decide whether to hire or not. You can never have too many applicants!”
4-What is your biggest day to day challenge in being a salon owner?
My biggest challenge is working behind the chair and still having to be there for my team. It’s sometimes hard to be in it 100% with my guest, but then something happened with one of my stylists, and an assistant has a question about something, and then there is a question for me about a client up at the front desk. Literally all at the same time. But you have to make it work! You have too. Thats why you are the owner. It always works out but its definitely challenging at times.
5- What advice would you give other owners that may be struggling to grow their business?
Do not go on one more day struggling. There are so many ways to fix the problem but you have to ask for help and be completely honest with yourself about why you are struggling. Once you know why you can then figure out how to fix the problem. There are so many awesome coaches out there ( NINA…join her program!) and so many people that want to see you succeed…I think people fail because they make that an option. In my mind I will never fail. I make it my daily mission to make sure that never happens and I believe myself when I say it.
6-What is the biggest reward as an owner? Watching my assistants grow into successful, happy, talented stylists. There is nothing more rewarding than pushing someone to their fullest potential and watching them blossom before you. I love to remind them how far they have come and tease them about how slow they were when they started their training and now they are complete rockstars.
7- How do you run your team meetings and keep them fun and engaging?
Every Tuesday morning we have “huddle”, which is a half hour meeting. We set expectations for the week, talk about new products, retail sales, share educational thoughts, and I always try to share something new that I have read or researched that I believe would be helpful to them not only behind the chair, but also in life. I’ve showed motivational videos, played music, and even have had them co-run the meeting so they know their voices matter and are valued. I require them to come with a notebook and pen which helps them retain the information and keeps them engaged. Its all about sitting down together sharing and talking before we start our busy week. Bringing them breakfast sometimes also helps keeping them happy =).