Small business vs. large

February 20, 2008

The salon industry has an advantage over many others. While places like Home Depot can enter a market and push mom and pop hardware stores out of business, salons are different. Many customers prefer the intimacy of a small salon to the hub-bub of a large salon. There will always be a market for both. So my advice to small salons is always the same. Don’t try to be like the big guy. Be yourself! Stand your ground. Create a space where your clients and your staff are happy. Remember what Cinderella said in the Rogers & Hammerstein musical. “In my own little corner, in my own little chair, I can be who ever I want to be.”

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6 Responses to “Small business vs. large”

  1. Oh that is just TOO cute.

  2. Kjersti Says:

    What I am finding within the spa industry is that no matter how big or how small, keeping the staff happy is harder than keeping the clients happy. At times I can’t wait to get the client in the room, because that is the only place where there is no tension in the air.

  3. Aura Mae Says:

    Spas are a bit of a different beast and I don’t pretend to have any insight into their workings. I have a friend who is a spa manager. I will ask her about this challenge. My guess is that it might have something to do with the fact that many people who work in the spa world are a little “quirky”. (Don’t get me wrong, some of my favorite people are massage therapists, but some massage therapists are odd birds.) I do know that my city has a tough time keeping all of the high end spas busy and that staff turnover at some is very high. People on holiday don’t necessarily care if the staff is always rotating through, but it is hard to build a relationship with a local spa if you can’t count on seeing the same practitioners twice in a row.

  4. Aura Mae Says:

    Here is the answer I got from my friend the spa manager.

    I think it’s because they are most probably underpaid, with no benefits, and no reason to see themselves there in the future.  It happens at most spas, except those with adequate breaks, benefits and compensation.  Also, unrealistic amounts of work could be another culprit.  Management rarely looks at the physical stresses of their staff, and expects estheticians and more unrealistically massage therapists to be able to work a 40 hour week when industry standards shows a full time lmp is 15-20 hours.   Usually if the staff is appreciated, cared for and compensated like The Salish Lodge, (for example), they have little turn over with a happy professional staff.  If they are nickle and diming the employees, they will receive the same respect in return.
    They also could be holding the employees to unrealistic goals, such as filling their books by themselves.  They have come to work for an employer to have their books filled.  Don’t take 70% and offer no clientele.

  5. Kjersti Says:

    She hit every item that all of us talk about. The only spa I have worked for where each therapist was happy was one that really took care of their staff. We were paid 50%, we always had clients and we had time off whenever we needed it.

    The funny thing is that the spas that are less busy pay less and expect more. The therapists are not getting enough in return.

    I will be moving back to Maui this week and I am really looking forward to it. Kauai is so different as far as work ethics go.

    Thank you for letting me know that this goes on at many spas and not just the ones I have been working for recently.

  6. Tomi Says:

    I recommend renting a space and being self employeed, or lookiing at the largest spas on the island. I love to ask the question, “What’s your turnover rate?” Seeing the facial expressions on the interviewer tells you immediately if this is a place to grow roots.
    (I am the manager Aura quoted in this blog)
    Good luck,
    Tomi Leigh Johnson, LMP
    (Previous spa director now happily self employed)

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