Tales From a Salon Owner - Tips to Opening a Successful Salon

Tell me about your history. Who are you? Where were you born and raised?

My name is Katie Schumacher I was born in Salem, OR but grew up in Bloomington-Normal, IL. I moved back out to Oregon when I was 23.

What is something that people would be surprised to know about you?

There are times that I have absolutely no clue as to what I’m even doing. Example: opening a salon. “If you’re scared to do it, DO IT SCARED” - Candice Motley (Big Money Stylist coach)

You just recently opened your own salon? Tell me about that. What made you decide to open your own salon?

It has always been a goal of mine to open my own salon. When I moved to Portland, I moved around to a couple salons but hadn’t quite found my tribe. By opening my own salon, I was able to find people that I could work with that didn’t make it feel like work. Finding the right balance of creative, hard working, service oriented, happy people can be challenging. But as challenging and scary as opening a salon was, it was totally worth it!

You have been pretty successful in hiring assistants and creating your salon culture. What advice can you give new salon owners about hiring the right people and developing the right culture for success?

Hiring is different for everyone. I hire for personality and work ethic because I can teach you everything else but I can’t teach you to have a good attitude or to be a caring person. As a result, I am fortunate to be surrounded by amazingly talented and caring people.

In terms of management style, Communication with your team needs to a be a top priority. If you aren’t keeping the lines of communication open, you’ll never know if someone is unhappy or not feeling their worth. It’s up to you to create an open environment so your team feels comfortable coming to you with anything.

What are your future goals? Where do you see your career going after this?

I’ve been contemplating the future of my business a lot this last month. When decided to open a salon people said I should get a bigger space than I did so that I could grow into it. I wish I would have listened. I didn’t see my team growing as fast as it did. So, after being in our space for 8 months and leasing all of our stations, I’m looking into a bigger space next year! I’m hoping by next October (2020) we’ll be in a bigger space (fingers crossed).

How do you stay inspired as a salon owner and stylist?

Social media is such an amazing tool. I follow a lot of salon owners, business coaches, life coaches, bloggers, etc. that keep me inspired. Whenever I’m feeling a little drained or a little lost I usually turn on a podcast and start writing lists of things I’d like to do, directions I’d like to go in, or something that I’d like to implement in the salon. I love living in a constant state of change but that is NOT the case for everyone so I am always talking things through with my team before I put anything into action. I want their opinions and I want them to know that I value what they have to say. I also need them there to reel me back in case I’ve gone to far with an idea!

If you could give your best advice to yourself when you started in this beauty biz what would you tell yourself?

You’re allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress.