Expert Tips on How to Develop Your Salon Culture
We sat down with Jeff Brown, co-owner of Kenneth Brown Salon in Newport Beach, CA, to discuss how he went from working behind the chair to opening multiple salons in California.
What inspired you to open your own salon?
When I started my career doing hair, I never really had the dream of opening my own salon. After working behind the chair for about 10 years, the opportunity presented itself to me and I thought it would be a good experience to learn the business aspect of a salon. I have discovered that being a salon owner is my calling and I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. While being a salon owner is not for everyone, if the opportunity presents itself to you, definitely think about taking it because you never know if it might be your calling.
What do you think makes your salon successful?
Our commitment to the full salon experience. In California, it is hard to have the full salon experience because commission salons don’t really exist. Not having a commission salon can sometimes create a disconnect between the front desk, support staff, assistants, and head stylists. In my salon, we want everything to run smoothly from the second the client walks in the door to the last moment before she leaves. I have made it my mission to ensure we maintain and grow the culture of a commission salon so that we stand out and provide the client with that full salon experience.
You have clearly had success with your expansion and quick growth, what are your secrets?
Hands-on experience. It’s easier for business owners who are hairdressers to open a salon, because they have the background knowledge of the what the full salon experience should actually look like. At my salons, we treat our staff with the utmost respect and as someone who has been in their position before, I find it easier to understand their needs and wants. The biggest secret to our expansion is that we treat each salon individually. Instead of grouping all of our salons together and giving them the same tactics and management style, we understand that every salon has its own culture and they each need personalized support.
How does having an academy in your space help your business?
Having the academy in my space has really helped our reputation with hairdressers, which trickles down to the perception that the client has of our salon. By having an academy in our space, we attract the best hairdressers because of the access to the best education in the industry. This then affects the conversations that our stylists have with their clients about the space, really elevating the reputation that we hold. When the client realizes that our space is where hairdressers come to learn, it really makes them feel like they are in the best hands and they could not get a better result elsewhere. It has been about one year since we have started our academy collaboration, the exposure has been amazing, and it has really helped shape our salon culture.
How has L’Oréal Professionnel helped you develop your salon culture?
When I first opened Kenneth Brown, we opened with smaller, boutique brands and while this worked for us initially, we eventually outgrew the smaller brands and realized that we needed to partner with a brand that could support our growing business. After hearing about the growing education and the artists getting involved at L’Oréal Professionnel, we were very impressed and decided to bring on the brand. The best thing that L’Oréal Professionnel has brought to my business is the great in-house education. Our hairdressers need top-notch education and they don’t just want to watch a video. Nothing is better than hands-on, great quality, in-house education, and there is no brand other than L’Oréal Professionnel that I would depend on to provide this to my salon.