The Power of Resilience


One of the many things I have been thinking about post-pandemic is RESILIENCE. This is probably not surprising, but for someone like me who has been in the beauty business now for 28 years, it is time to look back at my career as a stylist, salon and college founder, professional business educator and curriculum developer. I have seen it all. But resilience has been at the core of all my business activities from the beginning.

The pandemic has created an opportunity to examine how we structure salons. One valuable lesson that I have learned the hard way is that systems and structure do create stability in any organization. The key to my resiliency has been my ability to take a breather before responding to any situation.

man and women working on clients in hair salonPhoto by Allyson Carter on Unsplash

Most salons in Ontario are commission-based. This means that stylists are compensated as a percentage of service and retail sales, with 35-45% being typical. The other structure is chair rental. This has proven to also have its problems as stylists may struggle to keep their chair full. Maybe it's time as salon owners we also look at marketing and training systems. Everyone I know wants a clear path to the destination. Everyone wants to know what is possible inside of a proven system. This system has for the most part has not created financial or organizational resilience in salons. Stylists typically work independently, which has led to the structure resembling a hotel. Stylists check-in and check-out frequently, with an average stay of 3 years.

What if we rethink this structure? What if we created a structure that really supported what stylists do best and really love to do which is to make people look and feel their best? What if we did away with commission and paid a salary or hourly wages based on sales performance? What if we did away with gratuities and incorporated them into the price of services? Last but not least is the issue of gender-neutral pricing—you know, the pink tax.

I think that this is time to have a closer look at and deep dive into these topics and questions while the impact of the pandemic unfolds— and as other sectors of the service industry begin to look at the structure in their organizations. Stay tuned as I explore these options for la Luma. We have already instituted team-based pay and done away with commission. We are also moving to gender-neutral pricing in September 2021.