The Journey from Independent Stylist to Salon Owner
It goes without saying that becoming a salon owner is an endeavor with high risk and high reward. Learn how an independent Vish user leveraged technology to protect profits in her new business venture.
Getting back to work
Too busy to work from home and reluctant to get involved in the ‘drama and nonsense’ of working for someone else, Nicole Strachan chose to open a suite when she returned full-time after having kids. Her plan was always to have her own salon, but she was new to town, and starting as an independent was the easiest way to build an efficient, profitable business. From day one she strategically invested in business coaching, education, and technology to make her plan a reality.
How Vish helped
“As soon as I heard about Vish I jumped at it. I couldn’t stand the thought of paying for leftover colourcolor that I had to throw away or spending time mid-service to go do the mathsmath to mix more,” explains Nicole, who is originally from Michigan. “I loved Vish from the start. All my formulas with the exact amounts required are saved in all of my client’s profiles so I mix only what I need. Even as an independent, the amount of money I saved by cutting waste more than paid for my monthly subscription.”
From independent to owner
After just four years, in which the salon industry and the world at large experienced much uncertainty, Nicole was ready to debut her own salon. She opened The Vault in February 2021. In year one, she exceeded her year one goal and is now on track to hit her year five goal in year three. Similar to many salons she has allocated 10% of her budget for colourcolor but thanks to Vish only ever uses 6%, saving 30% on her colourcolor costs.
“Very few salons arein the US are profitable. I believe that’s because a lot of salons are run by hairdressers who got fed up working for other people but don’t understand the numbers, while others are run by non-hairdressers who came into the industry to make money but don’t understand hairdressing,” says Nicole, who has acquired a thorough understanding of finance and data through ongoing education and training.
“Having systems like Vish helps you drill into the stats and track the progress and profitability of your business. The best part is that it pays for itself, even as an independent.” Thanks to the Vish Dashboard, independents and salon owners alike can access analytics and reports that track product cost per service, colourcolor waste, and more.
Learning the system
Vish’s value became more apparent to Nicole when she opened her own salon and started employing others who use the colourcolor that she pays for. ColourColor is a huge part of The Vault’s clientele, alongside Invisible Bead Extensions, of which Nicole is one of only 48 platform artists worldwide. She made sure the team was trained on Vish from day one.
“It is a leap for them to go from scooping colourcolor to weighing it. They immediately assume it will take longer, especially when they then have to reweigh what might look like an empty bowl after application,” she adds. “But they soon got the hang of it, realizing that it is actually quicker because they don’t have to look up notes, write down formulas or worry about telling the front desk if an extra bowl has been applied. It’s just there in Vish. Plus Vish automatically informs the front desk exactly what’s been used.”
Integrated with several salon point-of-sale systems, Vish automatically sends any additional updates at the colourcolor bar to Vish Front Desk for a seamless checkout.
The extra product charge
The extra product charge feature has allowed Nicole to capture 100% of her colourcolor revenue.
It’s also one of the reasons Nicole’s business has been so profitable so quickly. The menu price includes a 30g bowl of colourcolor in the cost, and if additional colourcolor is necessary the client is charged. Most of the time it’s just $2 or $3 but if every stylist is mixing two or three extra bowls a day, it would quickly add up, eating away at profits.
Quickly access colourcolor
ColourColor even feeds into the thriving extensions business that Nicole leads within the salon, as the pieces may need to be mixed and incorporated with the client’s colourcolor. But even here, Vish has become an essential in-salon partner.
“Vish allows you to edit colourcolor formulas according to hair type, including extensions that have been dyed with a non-hairdressing colourantcolorant during manufacturing. So I can have multiple formulas in my system that show different quantities, whether they’re for extensions or natural hair, which end up achieving the same result,” says Nicole. “In that way, it’s very beneficial to my extension business.”
Seeing sustained success
Nicole has continued to avoid the ‘drama and nonsense’ of the salon by using the full capabilities of the Vish system. From the intuitive technology at the colourcolor bar to data in the Vish Dashboard, and every step in between. It has helped ensure her profits are soaring.