Episode 71: The Truth About Opening a Salon

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This episode is brought to you by Workshop in a box, the Hair Love Retreat, and Elite Beauty.

Workshop in a box and Hair Love Retreat are on sale for Black Friday. Click here to view all the deals!

Elite Beauty Society offers affordable all inclusive liability insurance. Whether you are working in your own salon suite, rented space, or as an employee, you can get covered for a with Elite Beauty Society by using code “ELIZABETH”. This code ALSO gets you 20% off your insurance plan!

Elizabeth sits down with THE Erin Mills and they discuss how to open up a salon and find your dream team!

Erin lives in Orlando. FL. She is a mom of 2 (14 and 2 year old boy.) She has been doing hair for 10 years, and this year has been her favorite!


Erin is opening up her FIRST salon called Theory Salon in Orlando, FL! She is super grateful, and excited, and nervous, and all the things!

Erin suffered a miscarriage this past year, and although it was so hard, it has made her be more open and say “yes” to more things and her world has opened up! She was on the cover of Modern Salon, attended the Hair Love Retreat.

“When you are aligned, things fall together”

At times, you can find yourself working SO hard to make things happen, but if you can take a step back and get some clarity, doors will open!


When you are opening a salon, and you are getting furniture.. it does NOT come assembled. So please have a plan and don’t make the mistake Elizabeth did!

10:00 Elizabeth asks “What are your 3 biggest struggles when opening a salon, and what are the highlights?”

1. Getting construction workers to show up
2. Double or even triple the plan time! Your plans are not going to be exact.
3. Plan for spending more money! Unexpected expenses arise!

1. Salon is even prettier than she imagined!
2. The energy feels AMAZING!


13:00 Your people are the MOST important parts of your salon. Who you surround yourself with determine your success! Erin found those people through instagram. She posted that she was looking for a stylist, and she prayed and meditated and knew the right people would come! She first evaluated them on their instagram and social media presence, then went through their resume, and talked with them on the phone. If they passed those 3 things, then she interviewed at least 30 people, and spent at least an hour with each person.

She evaluated how they walked into the room, if they made eye contact, if the exuded happiness. She says that you kind of know right away if they are a good fit! (But FIRST you have to know exactly what you want!)

To get clear on your vision, you need to realize what your focus is… Are you looking for educators? Are you looking for someone who is nice? A hard worker? Erin’s most important thing was that her staff was kind!

It’s also very important to provide your staff with a space where they can grow and will want to stay with you long term.

During the interview process she asked the following questions:
– What are you goals? –> This is Important because she wanted to make sure they had goals, and she could also see where they fit into the salon!
– What’s important in a salon environment? What’s been good or bad? —> You want to hear what has been great and what hasn’t worked.
– What are their passions?

Key indicators they were not a fit:
– If the person took over the interview, or assumed they had the job
– One person had a history of bad salons.

Elizabeth asked how Erin worked through having these tough conversations with these people.

First, she said her husband pumped her up! (haha!)

Her advice is to start out with saying that you appreciate them taking the time to talk with you, and then talk about positives that you see in them, and encourage them and help them in their career.


How did you figure out your pay structure for your salon?

2 years ago, Erin started researching salon business plans, and then asked those around her what they do. She made sure she took the time to learn her business plan, and understand exactly what was going on.

She then applied for a business loan. To apply you need to:
– Have a business plan with a 5-10 year growth plan. (They want to see things like 10-15% growth and where that growth is coming from!)
– Need good credit or a cosigner.
**Usually your local credit unions are the ones that want to help local businesses. LOCAL IS ALWAYS BETTER!

You will need to have some legal papers. Things like Legal Zoom, your bank, etc. Call those around you and they will help you!!!

You will also want a really good CPA. They will know all the things that you don’t know! You don’t need to know everything, you just need to be willing to ask for help!


A big focus is the decor.. how you want to decorate, but really.. that is the LAST thing you should worry about! Make sure your finances are planned out, your loan, business plan, etc. Once you get all of that, THEN get the other stuff.

If you’re wanting a manager, they would recommend starting out as being manager, and then see who starts to shine within the first 6 months! Then you can hire the best person for the job!

If you want to hang out with Erin, you can find her on instagram HERE. Go slide into her DMS!


Top 3 takeaways!

  1. Things don’t always go according to plan, but they WILL happen! SO BE PREPARED FOR IT!

  2. Double your money, and time when opening a salon

  3. No matter what happens, it will be ALL worth it!!