November 2010

Lisa Kind - Editor

The Mane Objective | by Marco Pelusi


From Stylist to Salon Owner

 Are you thinking about becoming a salon owner? I personally believe in aiming to fulfill your dreams no matter how difficult it may be.

If your dream is to own a salon then do everything in your power to make that dream a reality. Becoming a salon owner, especially for the long term, definitely separates “the men from the boys,” or “the women from the girls.”

Creating and maintaining a successful salon over a long period requires significant effort, stamina, persistence and resilience. This process has been the most challenging and character-building experience of my entire life. I have spent time with the most difficult of clients, been on-stage teaching thousands of people and experienced periods of tremendous personal growth. However, no other experience has taught me more than the process of developing a successful salon.

Salon ownership still challenges me each day. The current state of the economy has forced salon owners like me to find new ways to address old problems. The salons that are succeeding today truly have what it takes to run a business. Just a few years back, during a stronger economy, things came much easier to all of us. Back then, business was practically handed to us. Today, salon owners have to work much harder to keep it going.

If you are serious about moving into salon ownership, begin by exploring your management skills and abilities. Do you really have what it takes to deal with people? When you own a salon, several people will rely on you to make things happen and to help support their livelihood. Your staff will be looking to you to provide them each with a good home or at least a solid, professional home. Do you have good people skills? Have you ever had to confront someone honestly about something negative that has occurred? There are some difficult, almost painful moments in management. When it comes to this area, most skills must be learned on-the-job.

If running a salon is your goal, start saving your emotional energy now to put toward management. A lot of time will involve you personally dealing with people and their problems. It takes a different set of skills to deal with independent contractors than employees. They bring a very different set of problems than you dealt with as a hairdresser. However, if you are adept at managing your clients, chances are good that you can transform those skills into salon ownership. So, if you think you want to run a salon, start carefully working on your relationships with your clients and with everyone else in your life. In summary, salon ownership is all about relationships and the ability to manage people.

You can create whatever you want with your salon. It can be your showplace. You have to have a clear vision of what it is you want for your salon’s image. This is the fun part. Do you want an upscale, expensive salon that caters to the rich? Are you looking for a high-volume salon with reasonable pricing? You should think about these issues before scouting out a location. Once you have decided on a vision, then you can call a realtor to begin looking for property.

Once you’ve found your location, have fun with the décor. What do you want it to look like? Every single selection you make for your salon will inevitably become a reflection of you. Whatever your vision is, you can create it with hard work, consistency and perseverance.

The longer I am in this business, the more I see that salon owners who persevere are the ones who succeed. No one became a success overnight, no matter how it may appear to someone else and the best place to start is with your own client base. As a hairdresser, you probably have a strong base of clients who have been coming to you for many years. This client income can help carry your rent on your new business space as you begin to attract a staff of hairdressers. Then, after you have opened, it will be necessary to create new income streams for yourself as well as your staff. Your clients are a great start, but you will also need to hire competent staff and decide what products and services you will offer.

Building a new salon can be a life-altering experience and an amazing journey. Remember that success is a journey and not a destination. Everything evolves over time with your business. It is a life process, and it can be a good one. Create your vision and make it a reality!

Marco Pelusi is globally recognized as a haircolor trainer and platform artist. Marco Pelusi Hair Studio, Inc. was named Best Hair Color in Los Angeles 2007 by KTTV Fox11’s “myfoxla Hot List” competition. Pelusi created the Marco Collagen Color Guard HairCare System, the collagen system developed for color and chemically treated hair. For more information, visit



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