Sam

Sam owns and manages a salon in Los Angeles. Hear her insights about the hairdressing industry and its financial challenges.

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My name is Sam Devine,
I'm 27 years old,
SAM, 27
OWNER, SALON

and I am a salon owner.

So because I'm an owner
and I work behind the chair,

and I'm the manager right now,
I'm encompassing three positions.

My responsibilities on any given day
is going to be getting to the salon,
SAM’S RESPONSIBILITIES:
PREPARE SALON FOR CUSTOMERS

making sure that everything
is ready to run smoothly.

making sure that everything
is ready to run smoothly.

So making sure that
the schedule is correct,

making sure that
we're fully staffed,

taking care of any kind of absences,
anything that could possibly

make the day run less smoothly.
SCHEDULING
STAFFING

That I'm intercepting those things
and preventing them

or band-aiding the situation.

Taking care of the bills,
making sure that payroll is run
PAYING BILLS
PAYROLL

and payroll is processed.

Prepping for the taxes.

Handling any client situations
that could possibly come up.
HANDLE CLIENT SITUATIONS

Making sure our front desk
staff feels supported,

that they have everything
they need to do their job really well.

Making sure that our
stylists and colorists
SUPPORT STAFF

have everything that they
need to do their job well.

Working day in and day out
on the social media campaigns
SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGNS

that we're doing.

because it's a very important part
of our industry now.

So doing those social media
posts whenever I have a break.

Working on my own clients
for a good portion of the day.
SEE CLIENTS

At the end of the day,
two days a week we run classes

for our assistant program.
RUN CLASSES

So, either myself or
one of my lead stylists

is going to be leading those classes.

So twice a month I'm teaching
the education classes

that we're having here
a couple days a week.

And then, this continuous
and endless cycle

of marketing and bringing
new business into the salon.
MARKET THE SALON

So as a salon owner
and behind the chair stylist,

I make $55,000 a year,
give or take, plus tips

when I'm on the stylist side.

In comparison to other
people in my industry,

I think it's gonna vary
based on location.

If you compare it to
the Midwest or the South

or cities that aren't as metropolitan
as, say, New York, Los Angeles,

or Dallas, for instance,

it's probably on the
median to high end,

I would imagine.

Because salons, if you look at
the entire scope of the salon industry,

it's quite vast.

You have salons that are
in the Midwest

that don't bring in a ton
of revenue every year.

To salons that are bringing
in multimillion dollar business.

So when you look at that,
there's going to be that median.

And I think in terms
of my individual salary,

I think we're gonna fall
in the median to high

for the majority of the country,
which is interesting.

A manager's gonna earn,
in Los Angeles,

anywhere from 50
to 150,000 dollars a year

as a salon manager,
depending on the level

of the salon and how big it is.

Somebody who's behind the chair
at the absolute highest.

they'll do, they do in-salon work,
they work with their clients,

they are on set,
they do a lot of photo shoots,

they're doing products.

They either have
their own product line

or they're working with
a product line that they are

the official spokesperson for.

So when you take
all of that into account,

you can take a great income
of like $100,000

and turn that into
a million-dollar income

very, very quickly.

My story of becoming
a hairstylist is pretty interesting.
SAM, 27
OWNER, SALON

In my senior year of high school,
I had applied colleges,

went through the whole process
that you're like supposed to do

and got accepted
to a lot of colleges

that I was very proud
to be accepted to.

I guess I was raised
rather traditionally

in the sense that like,
go to school, get good grades,

go to a great college,
get a good job and you know,

live happily ever after.
And I never really entertained

anything that didn't a require
college education.

So, I had been cutting hair
all throughout high school

on all of my friends and playing
and just having a good time

and I never actually thought
about it as a career path.

Because it was never brought up
to me that it could be a career path.

And my perspective was,
there's $7 haircut salons

in the town that I grew up in.

And then there was this
one really nice salon

that I had found
my freshman year of high school

and started going to and I loved it,
it was the most amazing thing ever.

But like that was it,
you could either work

in this small salon in this small town

or you can work in an even
smaller salon in this small town.

So, it just never crossed my mind.

Then I'm reading this article
and I was just like,

you gotta be kidding me,

somebody is charging
$800 for a haircut?

That's crazy.

And she's doing every celebrity
and it was incredible.

So, I went home
and I did a lot of research

and I found out that
she was not the only one.

And that, you know,
she wasn't like a fluke situation.

And I decided right then and there,
I was like that's what I wanna do.

Like that's definitely
what I wanna do.

And I told my mom,
I was like, “Hey I'm not gonna

go to college anymore,
I'm gonna go to hair school

and become a hairstylist
and move out to Los Angeles.”

And that went over really well.

Which it actually did though,
my parents took it very, very well.

So, I started looking into
the process of what

I would have to do in order
to get myself on that path.

So, I'm at my salon
in this small town in New Jersey

and I'm talking with my stylist,
and I was like,

“Hey, this is what I wanna do,
I have no idea where to begin.

It's not like, this information is
not readily available

on the internet at all.
So, like what do I do?

You’re in the industry,
you're the best hairstylist

I've ever met, so what do I do?”

And she was like, “You have to
go to Vidal Sassoon, hands down.”

So, I went home and
I did a bunch of research,

found out that the only
Sassoon academy

in the country is in Santa Monica.

And pretty much made up my mind
that I was gonna go there.

It's a nine-month
program in California.

It's a nine to five job,
so essentially

you're there from nine to five

and it's difficult to have
a job outside of it.

And so I needed, not only to cover
the cost of tuition,

but I needed to cover
my cost of living for nine months

in Santa Monica, California

which is not necessarily
the easiest thing to do.

and I was very fortunate
to have a family that supported me.

Once you graduate
from the cosmetology program
LICENSING REQUIREMENTS VARY BY STATE
BUT MOST REQUIRE THE FOLLOWING

at any school, you have to go
and get your license.
BE 16 YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER
HAVE A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA OR GED

So, it's a board-certified license.
COMPLETE A STATE-LICENSED COSMETOLOGY PROGRAM
PASS A WRITTEN AND/OR PRACTICAL EXAM

Every state is gonna have
a state board of cosmetology.

So, the California State Board
of Cosmetology and Barbering.

And you have to go
and take this test,

there's a written test
and then there's a practical exam.

So, they train you
all throughout school

to get through that test.

It's pretty simple,
if you pay attention in school,

it's pretty simple,
you'll get through it.

And then after that you're licensed

immediately on the spot
and you're hirable.

To get hired in a salon
you essentially,

you're gonna take your resume,
which at that point in your career

is probably very limited
and/or next to nothing,

other than whatever
school you went to.

And you're gonna go around
to different salons

that you're interested in.

I would suggest touring salons first.

Show them that you're interested in,
you know, seeing if it's even

a good fit for you
before you just drop off your resume.

Because every salon's not
gonna be a good fit for you.

So, I was fortunate enough
while I was in Sassoon

to actually go around to
a bunch of salons with a big group.

And we toured a bunch
and we figured out, you know,

everyone went down a different path.

But everyone was able
to figure out like,

“Oh, this seems like
a good fit for me.”

Or, “This seems like
a good fit for me.”

And I would definitely suggest
anyone who's at that point

in this career to do,
you wanna interview the team

you're gonna work for, just as much
as they're gonna interview you.

I went in to Sally Hershberger,
dropped off my resume,

was told that they're
not currently hiring

but that they would contact me back
in the future if they ever were.

And I was walking out to my car
and I got a phone call.

And so I picked it up
and it was the manager

and she was like, “Hey, did you
just drop off your resume?”

And I was like, “I did.”

She’s like, “Can you come
back up for an interview?”

So, I was like, “Oh my god,
this is the best day ever!”

And I ran back upstairs,
sat down for an interview,

and then she had me,
the interview went fantastic.

And then she had me come
back in for a work trial

which is something that's very
common in this industry.

Which essentially means
that you're going

to be scheduled for anywhere
from a day to a week.

That you're gonna come
back into the salon

and shadow one of the assistants
or apprentices at that salon.

And it's pretty much them
seeing how you work with the team,

whether you're a good
fit for the team

and essentially
what your work ethic is

and how hard you hustle,
especially in a city like Los Angeles.

After I did my work trial,

it just kind of never ended,

I just kept coming back
and kept coming back

and four years later I was still there.

When you become a hairstylist,

you have a couple
of different options.

You can open your own salon,
which some people choose to do,

you can go and work,
depending on what state you work in

because every state
has different laws.

But a lot of states allow
booth renting, which means that

you will come in to a salon location,
they'll have stations set up

and you pay rent essentially,
a monthly rent for a station.

And you're responsible for everything,

you wanna bring clients in,
you have to find those clients,

you have to keep those clients.

Essentially, they're just giving
you a box to work out of.

Or you can work in a salon
that's commission based,

which means you're part of a team,
you're part of a culture,

you're part of the entire business.

And within that,
there's certain things

that you can expect from the salon

but there's also a lot of
responsibility that you have.

So, any good salon business
is going to run itself strategically.

Which means they're gonna have
some sort of system in place

to determine how every client
that walks through the door –

because of the marketing
or sales techniques

that the salon has done –
They're gonna have a system

in place to make sure
that they send those clients

to the stylists that are
gonna keep them, right?

So, every salon is different
but there's different things

that will happen behind the scenes
that's gonna track, you know,

client retention rates.

So, when you're just
starting out in the industry,

in order to even like get into,
or if you start out at a salon

that is like a team environment
and commission based salon,

you're gonna have to essentially
like earn your way for a little while.

You're gonna have to prove yourself.

That's gonna mean
that you have to go out

and sell yourself and bring clients in.

So, you are always
a salesperson in this industry

because every client that sits down,
it is an opportunity to keep them.

But that doesn't insure that you will.

So, what things are you doing to
make sure that you're keeping them?

And that's the sales aspect of it.

You're going to be
making sure obviously

that you have a clear
understanding of what they want,

they have a clear understanding
of what they're gonna get

because those two things
don't always line up

in our industry, unfortunately.

That they're actually happy
when they walk out the door.

That you put the right steps in place

to make sure that
they're gonna come back.

That they're gonna come back
as frequently as they need to

to take care of it.

Because at the end of the day
while hair is very much aesthetic

and just the way you look,
it needs to be healthy.

So, there is a little bit
of a doctoring part of it as well.

And making sure, you know,
you can make somebody's

hair look really good
but that doesn't matter

if it's falling out, right?

If they don't have any hair left
at the end of that experience.

In my opinion, every step of the way

before you're even actually
dealing with a client,

you're selling yourself.

Whether you're out
trying to meet new clients

and bring them in,
you have to show them why

you're worth even coming to
in the first place.

Once they're in your chair,
why are you worth staying with?

Once they're out of your chair,
why are you worth coming back to?

Because everyone in the city,

they're all competing
for the same group of clients.

And obviously like
there's different levels of salons,

but there's thousands of salons
at every level.

So, at any given moment
you're competing with

an endless amount of competition.

And you have to constantly
remind your clients

why they need to come back to you
and that's sales.

So, as a stylist,
you're not very limited.

It is so vast what you can do
in this industry

and it's really gonna depend on
what you like,

and what's important to you.

And what I mean by that is
certain career paths as a stylist

are going to keep you
in a nine to five,

which is amazing
if that's important to you.

Another career path could take you
around the world

and you could have,
you know, no schedule.

And you could be off
for three months

and then you could work,
you know, a year and a half straight

on a series of different
movies or photo shoots.

As a stylist, you can do anything
from working behind the chair

to becoming a salon manager
and a stylist,

to becoming a session stylist,

which means that you're gonna be
working on photo shoots, sporadically.

You can work on movie sets,

you can become a spokesperson
for a product line,

you could become an educator,

you could do a mixture
of all of those things.

It's pretty endless
what the possibilities are.

It’s just going to matter
what makes you happy.

Ideally what I'd love
to see for myself is I wanna see

this company grow to
a multi-location salon.

Because the whole process
has been so new to me

and it's ever evolving,
I'm not sure

if I see myself owning it in 10 years,
if I see it being sold.

And I'm so open to what
that path is going to hold,

that defining it is not necessarily
something that I wanna do.

Because learning everything
I've learned along the way

has just taught me

like an endless amount of knowledge,

like that I never thought
that I would obtain.

I could see myself still owning,
you know, all of these salons

and continuously growing them.

I could see it being sold
to a bigger corporation

and you know, whether
staying on like the team

and you know, still working
within the salon locations.

I could see myself starting
another company because if there's

one thing that I've learned
through this whole process

it's how much I really
like building something.

I love that beginning process,
I love working with people.

I love figuring out
what gets people going

and you know,
really building a strong team.

And I think that the most
incredible time to do that

is in the beginning.

So, I do have a love for like
starting a company.

So it's hard to define,
I tend to find myself

focused more on what I can get done
in the next year or two years.

I know that in 10 years
I wanna be happy.

I wanna be financially secure
and I wanna be able to have

the freedom to decide
what I wanna do.

And I'm okay if that changes.

So, my advice to anyone who wants
to become a hairstylist would be

to figure out which path
you wanna go down

and then you're gonna
have to go to hair school.

I would suggest going to Sassoon
or Toni and Guy

if it's even within the
realm of possibility for you.

Because the education
that you're gonna get there

is unsurpassed by none,
or surpassed by none.

It's phenomenal,
it's gonna set you up for success,

it's value, it's deeply valued
within the industry.

So any salon you walk into
anywhere in the country

is going to know that you
have something of value

to bring to the team,
without even having

to hear you speak
or getting to know you at all.

They know that you have
something valuable.

So, if that's at all a possibility for you,
I would say do anything and everything

you could to make that happen.

And then after that,
I would say you really just have

to figure out what's important to you

because as soon as you do that
and you have your license,

you can do anything you like.

My name is Sam Devine,
I'm 27-years old.
SAM, 27
OWNER, SALON

I am a salon owner
and I make 55,000 dollars a year.

I feel good about my finances.

They're a choice that I made.

I own the salon so there's
a lot of things that I could do.

The choices that are important to me

are to make sure
that we have the funds to

open multiple locations.

So, I set myself up
with a very nominal salary.

The 55,000 dollars
is not the salary that I get,

that actually includes
my commissions and my tips

that I get from my clients.

So, my salary that
I pay myself as a salon owner

and the one who runs the salon
is substantially lower than that.

And, I feel good about it.

I've set myself up to
cover everything that I need.

You know, I'm still really young, so,

I went through that
period of living in LA

as a 18-year old through,
you know, 27 at this point,

but in those beginning years
of being an assistant,

I got by on minimum wage and tips.

And so, I'm still pretty good
at getting by on not too much.

Things that have
become important to me

are saving for my future,
which includes saving for the business

and obviously, my future as well.

So, I feel good about my finances.

They're a choice that I made.

So, I don't have any college loans,
which I am ecstatic about, personally.

When I went to Vidal Sassoon,
it was about $27,000 for the tuition,

and at that time
they didn't accept financial aid.

I don't know if they currently do.

They took payment plans
but it was a big chunk of cash

to have to come up, up front.

I was very fortunate to have
a family member of mine

help me with the tuition.

Living in Los Angeles is interesting.

It's a very, very expensive city.

Nowhere near as
expensive as New York

but I think that it's
a lot more manageable

than a lot of other
metropolitan areas.

So, for me personally,
it's been pretty easy because

I moved out here when I was 18
which meant that I've had roommates,

essentially, the entire time.

I'm pretty young.
I'm very social.

I love being around people,
so, for me, I've always enjoyed that

and I still continue to enjoy

living with people
that I love being around.

And that cuts down on finances
substantially, which is incredible.

And, you just kind of figure –
I mean, for me personally,

I just figured out
ways to make it work.

I love this city and
there's nowhere else

that I can see myself living.

So, I think when all other
options are off the table

you just figure out how
to make what you want work.

So, my salary that I take home
is about $2,200 a month
SAM’S BUDGET:

and then on top of that,
my tips and commissions

are anywhere from, you know,
around another 2,200.

So, I gross about $4,500 a month,
give or take
MONTHLY INCOME $4,500

depending on how busy or not busy
the previous month was.

Out of the 4,500,
I pay about 900 in taxes.
TAXES $900

$100 a month for health insurance.
HEALTH INSURANCE $100

My rent in Los Angeles
is $1,200 a month.
RENT $1,200

My gas and electric is about 250.
GAS/ELECTRIC $250

85 for TV.
TV $85

I've got all my subscriptions,
like HBO, Hulu, Amazon.
SUBSCRIPTIONS $40

That runs me about $40 a month.

My car payment and car insurance
is about $400 a month.
CAR $400

I do a lot of cooking at home

and so that's about
$100 a week in groceries.
GROCERIES $400

And then when I go out, you know,
movies and entertainment and stuff,
ENTERTAINMENT $400

I probably spend about $100,
would be kind of average

for entertainment and just random
things that are necessary

or that I want or need.

And then I contribute about
$400 a month to my savings
SAVINGS $400

whenever possible.

So, you know, obviously,
some months with the $2,200
LEFTOVER $325

that I bring home
in terms of gratuities

and commissions that I earn,
that can fluctuate.

So, my savings will
fluctuate with that as well.

I am saving for the future.

Something that I've been
focused on a lot more recently

than I have in the past.

I've had an IRA set up
for a couple years, now.
RETIREMENT SAVINGS:

And I started contributing
about three years ago
SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS HAVE MULTIPLE
RETIREMENT PLAN OPTIONS SUCH AS SEP IRA

and then I stopped for about two years
when I first opened the business.
SIMPLE IRA AND INDIVIDUAL 401K PLANS.
THE MAY BE ABLE TO CONTRIBUTE A MUCH LARGER

Part of it was because my head was
in a million different places
PORTION OF THEIR INDIVIDUAL INCOME OR MAKE
CONTRIBUTIONS ON BEHALF OF THE BUSINESS

and it was not something
that I was focused on
DISCLOSURE: INFORMATION PRESENTED HEREIN
SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON FOR TAX ADVICE.

and I was managing it myself
rather than having
FOR TAX ADVICE, PLEASE CONSULT
A TAX PROFESSIONAL.

a fiduciary or somebody else
manage it for me.

Which, I still do, at this point.

So, now, one of the things
that I'm really focused on

is contributing monthly to my IRA.

Anything that's tax efficient
is positive in my book,

so, I contribute monthly to that
and over the next year

I do plan to make more
strategic investments

in some smart, like,
retirement plans.

So, on any given month
I'll contribute anywhere from, like,

100 to 600 dollars to my savings.

And that's just going to depend
on how good the previous month

was for me in terms of
what I brought in.

Part of that is going to go
into my, like, Roth IRA

and the other portion of it
I will keep in cash savings.

I am trying to build up
a little bit more of, like,

you know, cash that's
readily available in case

something were to happen.

I think that that's really important
and something that I wasn't focused on

for the majority of my life up
until this point.

So, I'm trying to do that

and build a retirement plan
simultaneously.

My financial goals are to be
more than financially secure.

I definitely want to have
a lot of financial freedom.

For me, personally,
I want to get to the point

that I can give back substantially

and also, obviously,
feel secure in everything that I have.

So, my goals are going to,
I think, be dictated by my location.

Like I said previously, I do want
to open up multiple locations

and it's hard at this point
to know exactly

where that's going to take me
in terms of the business.

So, depending on where I'm living,
that's going to dictate

how much I think that I need
but I want to be very free

in terms of my finances
and the choices I get to make.

I want to be able to contribute to
my community and different foundations

that I think are doing beautiful work.

I could definitely see myself,
in the future,

starting my own foundation,
working with kids and, you know,

just doing anything you can do

to kind of make
this world a better place.

So, ultimately,
a lot of that requires money

and I think the more you give,
the more you get.

So, I would love to be able
to financially contribute

to amazing causes that are
happening globally, around the world.

I've learned a lot about money
since I started working.

I've learned everything from
how to finance a business,

I think.
I've learned how to manage money

to best run the business
which I'm learning new ways

to improve that every single day.

I don't necessarily know that
there's ever going to be

an end in sight to that
because, I think that it's

one of those things that's forever
progressing to be more efficient.

I've learned the importance
of having retirement ...

or, not retirement, sorry,
I've learned the importance

of having, you know, cash available
in case of an emergency.

Which, you know, unfortunately,
I did face at one point

in running the business
that I didn't have that

and I had to do a lot of work
to figure out

what we could do instead.

So, I do know how important that is
for, not only a business

but for people in general.

I mean, things come up all the time

and I think that it's wildly
important to have money

available in case of an emergency.

I've learned the importance
of financing your retirement.

I read a lot, so, I actually
am just in the process

of finishing an investment book
right now, in terms of, you know,

strategic ways to invest,

you know, whatever amount

of money you're contributing
to your retirement plan

or whether it's a 401k
or a Roth IRA.

I've learned a lot about finances
over the last couple of years.

Part of it because I've had it
and a huge part of it

because I want to.

If you would've asked
me five years ago,
SAM, 27
OWNER, SALON

do you see yourself
owning a salon?

I would've said no, 100%.

I never wanted to open a salon,

even 2.5 years ago.

If you would've asked me
a month before I decided

that this was
what I was going to do,

I would've told you you were crazy,

I would never open a salon.

My business partner and I
created this concept

of a membership-based hair salon.

So essentially,
where you would normally

come into a salon
and you would come in

and get your hair cut
or your hair colored

and just pay whatever the cost
of that individual service was,

we decided that... well,
we figured out

that there's a better way

that that could be handled.

And we created
the membership model.

So essentially,
what our clients can do

is they pay a monthly fee,

based on whichever membership
level that they're in,

and then get unlimited services

within that membership level.

So we've got one
for unlimited blowouts,

which blowouts have been
all the rage in our industry

for the last couple years.

There's one that includes color,

haircuts and blowouts,

and then we have
a men's membership,

which is unlimited men's cuts.

And what that's done is,
it's really changed

the salon culture.

So our clients can come in
as often as they like.

It's created a more dynamic

relationship between our clients

and our salon staff,

which is really incredible to see.

And then, it's a new model,

so we're testing something
that hasn't been done before,

and it's been wildly successful.

So about a year before
I opened my salon,

which is called Society,

there was this new
phenomenon in the industry,

and it was blowouts.

Obviously, well maybe
not so obviously,

but people have been getting
blowouts for a very long time,

but the birth of a new company

dramatically changed our industry.

You would go in,

they did nothing
other than blowouts.

So you'd go in,

get your hair blown out
and then leave.

So as soon as they opened,
within a couple months,

we started to see a really
dramatic shift in our business.

We saw a lot of our clients
not coming in,

our numbers were dropping,

which means sales were dropping.

And for an individual stylist,
that was damaging to our income,

which is never a really
fun realization.

So I came up with a couple ideas

of different things that I thought

we could do to counteract
what was happening

and keep our clients
in our business.

Ultimately, I tried to
pitch them to my manager,

and it just wasn't a good fit
for that salon.

It was a little painful for me

and some of the other stylists
to swallow

because a substantial portion
of our income was gone.

And there was really
not much that we could do

to get that back.

We had to figure out
a new way to earn it,

and the new ways
we were coming up with

just weren't gonna
work where we were.

So I was talking to
a really good friend of mine

who is my business partner.

We just started going,
and I was pitching her some ideas,

and we were just going
back and forth.

And ultimately,

we came up with
what is now Society

and decided
that we should move forward

on figuring out
how to start something new,

something that, obviously,
the industry was changing,

so what could we do
to not fall behind

on some of these changes
that were happening

and be on the forefront of it

instead of constantly
trying to play catch up.

So that was kind of how the birth
of our membership started.

Then from that point on,

my mind was completely
and utterly dedicated

to figuring out how to bring
all of this into fruition.

At that point,
I knew absolutely nothing

about running a business
or starting a business

or anything related to business

other than showing up at work,

doing my clients
and collecting a paycheck.

So for me,

it was a lot of new learning,

but luckily, I do love to read,

and I love to learn new things,

so Google was my best friend.

I Googled absolutely
everything endlessly,

absorbed anything I could read
about opening a new business,

whether it was
a hair salon or not,

just figuring out
what that entailed.

The next step was putting
together a business plan,

because everything that I had read
was put together a business plan.

So I slaved over this thing
for about seven months,

looked at 100 different formats

of what it should be like,
what it should look like.

Again, I didn't go
to college for this,

so I'm literally getting
everything off Google.

And anyone who's searched
anything on Google,

there are a million contradictions
to everything you read.

So I put together what I thought
was a brilliant business plan,

and encompassed
everything I had read

and had a little bit from here,
a little bit from there.

I was like, cool.

Now, what do I do with this?

I have this.

Why don't I have a business yet?

The next step was raising capital,

and finding somebody to,
essentially,

fund the process
of building the business.

And I didn't know what to do.

I didn't know
where to start with that.

I didn't know
what that looked like.

So I started
doing research on that,

and then I got really
lucky, actually,

which I think luck
has a little bit to do with it.

So I was at work,

and I was cutting
one of my client's hair

that I had been cutting
for a very long time.

We always connected over fishing
and camping and hiking.

And literally, this was the day
after I finished my business plan.

And he was like,
"Hey, I never actually asked you

if this is what you wanna do
for the rest of your life."

And I was like,
"What do you mean?"

And he's like,
"Just work here and cut hair.

That's awesome,
but I never asked you."

And I was like, "That's so funny
that you asked me."

I was like, "Actually,
I thought that was the case,

but I came up with this
new business model,

and I want to start
my own business."

And he was like, "Oh, what
does that look like?"

And I gave him the details
of our membership business

and, essentially,
what that would look like.

And he was like, "Oh, you should
come and sit down with me."

And I was like,
"Why would I do that?"

And he was like, "Did we never talk
about what I do for a living?"

And I was like, "No."

And he was like, "Oh, I own
a venture capital firm."

And I was like, "I know that
that means that you

invest money in businesses,

but isn't that more
for tech startups

and everything in Silicon Valley?"

And he was like, "No, no,
we'll sit down, and we'll talk."

He gave me
his personal phone number

and was like, "Call me,
and we'll get together."

So I went home, and I was ecstatic,

because this just fell into my lap,

and it was the most
incredible thing ever.

So I went home.

I scheduled a meeting with him,

went through a bunch of bumps
along the path

leading up to finally opening,

but ultimately, was
able to raise the funds

that we needed in order to
open this location.

For our individual location,

what I learned along the process

was that I was so far off,

and luckily far off,
in terms of what I thought

it would cost us
to open the business.

When I was calculating it out,

I was calculating as if
we were gonna build from nothing.

So buying a piece of land,
building a business,

and you know, the ground up is

how much I could've encompassed
with my original budget.

But we were very fortunate
to find a location

that was previously a salon,

which is a huge game-changer

if anyone is looking to open
your own salon business,

I would definitely suggest

if that is at all
a possibility for you,

to definitely find
a location that was.

So we did.

We found a location
that was previously a salon,

which cut our budget
by more than in half.

And then I'm also very lucky
to have a father

who is a contractor
and a builder by trade.

So once we got the location,

the budget that we,
ultimately, wound up getting

was far less than
I had originally anticipated.

So what I had hoped to get
and what I actually got

was dramatically different,
but it was enough.

And that's all I really needed.

So we worked within
the budget that we were given

to make this happen.

My dad and I slaved
over this place

for 29 days straight,

18 hour days building,

because as anyone
who's ever lived in Los Angeles,

rent on anything
is wildly expensive,

and our landlord, unfortunately,

didn't give us any
leeway in terms of

when the rent would start.

We had one month of rent,
essentially rent free.

And we were like, okay,
then we need to start

earning income in a month.

So from the time
we signed the lease,

from the time I got funding

to the time that I signed the lease

was about a week,

so I had a week to finalize
and figure out everything.

And then from the time
we signed the lease

to the day
that we officially opened

and were having
our press launch party

was 29 days.

And we had to completely
gut this entire salon

and rebuild it from the ground up.

Working on a budget,

we didn't have the budget

to bring in a team to do this,

so it was literally
just my dad and I

without a single other person
for 29 days straight,

no breaks, 18-hour days,
every single day.

I thought I was going
to die at the end of it.

But, hands down,
the best experience of my life.

Typically, I would say
that salon owners

are either making next to nothing,

because they're putting
everything they have

back into the business
to keep it open,

or they're doing really well.

And we're on the growth up,
which is really great for us.

For us, our focus is on making
our business really profitable,

keeping the money
inside of the business

so that as soon as we're ready,

we can take everything
that we've earned

and open new locations.

We will have to repay
a portion of the funding

that we initially received
to start the business.

And I'm very confident
that that won't be an issue,

which also feels really good.

And the reason
I'm confident about that is

because we've been very
systematic and strategic

in terms of saving
and creating a business

and growing this business
to a very sustainable point.

My job as the owner
encompasses anything

from training new staff,
hiring new staff,

creating the schedules,

running the business
day in and day out,

creating the marketing plans,

which is figuring out
new strategies

that's gonna work for the business,

whether it's finding
a new billboard

or sending out digital
marketing campaigns,

whether it's through social media
or different kinds of ads

and then raising capital.

When we first opened,
in terms of raising the funds

that we needed to get open

and then continuously
looking for ways

that we can expand.

Often, my goal is to bring
new business into the salon.

In Los Angeles,
it's a really competitive market,

where everyone's competing
for the same client's attention.

So what we'll do is, we'll come up
with a creative concept,

whether it's in particularly
a photo shoot,

and use the images from the shoot

to send out either through
social media campaigns

or email marketing campaigns.

In the past,
we've actually used the images

for billboard campaigns
around the city,

which has been really incredible.

So in terms of getting
that project executed,

I pretty much do it start to finish.

So it's everything from deciding

what the creative side of it
it's gonna be

what do we want the end result
to actually look like?

And then finding the photographer.

Finding the models,
organizing the team,

getting our team together

in terms of who wants to actually
work on that particular project.

And then model hunting,

vetting models,

seeing which one's
gonna be the best fit

for the actual shoot.

And then, obviously,
day of and being here,

doing the hair,

getting the creative looking

exactly the way we want it to.

So knowing exactly
what that image needs to look like

for how we're gonna send it out.

And then getting that image done.

Everything after that,
from into post,

which is gonna be
editing the images

and then sending them out

through whatever channels
we're gonna use,

whether that's the billboard,

email marketing
or social media marketing.

In order to figure out
whether the billboard

or individual marketing
channel that we chose

was successful,

we have to do one of two things.

For the billboard in particular,

we will ask every
client who calls in

where they heard about us from,

and the majority of the time,

we get pretty good
feedback on that.

Sometimes people
are a little bit off.

But most the time,
people will be like,

"Oh my God, I saw that
billboard of you guys

"over on Sunset Boulevard."

And we'll track it that way.

We have a system in our computer

that can keep track of that.

And then if it's something
that it's more digital,

whether it's social media
or email marketing,

we have built-in
systems in place,

whether it's through a company
like MailChimp or Constant Contact

that's gonna track
those conversions for us.

Our whole process
for bringing in new business

is very strategic.

And everything needs
to be tracked.

Everything needs
to be accounted for.

I wanna make sure
that I'm focusing my energy

in the right place all the time,

because I tend to be doing
a little bit everywhere.

So it's really important
for me to make sure

that I'm focusing my energy
on the right thing

that's working for us.

So being able to track
those conversions

and strategically see
what's working and what's not

allows me to pick
what's working best

and move forward
in that direction

and not work
with things that haven't

performed well for us in the past.

My worst day on the job

was actually really terrible.

When we first opened Society,

one of the things that
we needed to do in Los Angeles

was to get a publicist, a PR agent.

I, again, was really lucky
to have a really good friend

who referred me
to her best friend,

who is an incredible publicist.

So we started working
with her right away.

Over the first year
of our relationship,

she quickly became one
of my dearest friends.

Worst day on the job was
that she, unfortunately,

passed away while
we were working.

And that was really,
really difficult.

She was my teammate,

even though she was not
my business partner,

she was my teammate
through every single aspect

of the business.

And that was really difficult.

I attribute so much of our
initial success to Courtney

and the work that she did.

So when she passed away,
it was difficult on every level.

Obviously, on a personal level,
I was shattered.

But on a business level,

I felt like I had really lost
a leg of our tripod.

She did so much to make sure
that we were wildly successful,

and it was hard
to come back from that,

because that was a side of the job

that I had never learned how to do

or had any desire, necessarily,
to learn how to do.

And so much of that
is connections.

So even if I wanted to learn
that side of the business,

it was just so much more
than I could possibly take on.

And I didn't know
how to replace it either,

because she was so good at her job.

And because we had
such a great relationship,

the work that she did

and the quality
of the work that she did

and what she was delivering for us

and what we were giving back

was just a relationship

and a situation that could not
ever be duplicated.

And that was really difficult

to have to come back

and figure out how to balance
after her passing.

And we only recently

have been able
to kind of figure out

a new path to get down

that is different
than what she was doing

but trying to get us
back on that same path.

So the best day on my job

actually just happened
really recently.

I'm very proud
of the team and the culture

that exists within this location.

I think the team
that has been built here

and that come
and show up here every day

are working to create this vision

and this company
that we all love is,

I would die for them.

I love every single one
of them so much.

So the best day on the job

was a day recently

where a really good friend of mine

who I went to hair school with,

the salon that she was at
was closing down,

and a small group
of four incredible women

decided to come over
and join our team.

And the first day of having
them join the existing team

and just seeing how well
everyone worked together

and how happy everybody was,
it was incredible.

Everyone was
coming up to me all day long

and was just telling me how much
they loved the energy

and how it was that little step
that everyone needed

to feel like we were
continuously moving up

at the perfect time.

And it was incredible.

It was bliss.

As an owner,

again, I don't think that
you're very limited at all.

I think the only limits
you're gonna face

are whatever limits
you impose on yourself.

So you can open one business,

and you can decide that
that makes you really happy,

and you just wanna keep
that business running successfully

for the next 40 years.

And I think that's beautiful.

Or you can decide
to turn that one salon

into a big corporation

and multi-location salon business.

You can open up
a chain of salons,

which you're gonna get
into franchising then.

You could be a single salon owner,

start a product line,

and then wind up
going down that path

of getting into retail.

And then that could
transcend back into

owning a multi-location salon.

You can also become
a spokesperson as a salon owner.

And everything
you could do as a stylist,

assuming you also have
your cosmetology license,

you could do as an owner
and do the same simultaneously.

It's just gonna depend, again,

on what makes you happy

and what kind of workload
you're looking for

and what drives you.

My name is Sam Devine,
I'm 27 years old,
SAM, 27
OWNER, SALON

and I am a salon owner.

So because I'm an owner
and I work behind the chair,

and I'm the manager right now,
I'm encompassing three positions.

My responsibilities on any given day
is going to be getting to the salon,
SAM’S RESPONSIBILITIES:
PREPARE SALON FOR CUSTOMERS

making sure that everything
is ready to run smoothly.

making sure that everything
is ready to run smoothly.

So making sure that
the schedule is correct,

making sure that
we're fully staffed,

taking care of any kind of absences,
anything that could possibly

make the day run less smoothly.
SCHEDULING
STAFFING

That I'm intercepting those things
and preventing them

or band-aiding the situation.

Taking care of the bills,
making sure that payroll is run
PAYING BILLS
PAYROLL

and payroll is processed.

Prepping for the taxes.

Handling any client situations
that could possibly come up.
HANDLE CLIENT SITUATIONS

Making sure our front desk
staff feels supported,

that they have everything
they need to do their job really well.

Making sure that our
stylists and colorists
SUPPORT STAFF

have everything that they
need to do their job well.

Working day in and day out
on the social media campaigns
SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGNS

that we're doing.

because it's a very important part
of our industry now.

So doing those social media
posts whenever I have a break.

Working on my own clients
for a good portion of the day.
SEE CLIENTS

At the end of the day,
two days a week we run classes

for our assistant program.
RUN CLASSES

So, either myself or
one of my lead stylists

is going to be leading those classes.

So twice a month I'm teaching
the education classes

that we're having here
a couple days a week.

And then, this continuous
and endless cycle

of marketing and bringing
new business into the salon.
MARKET THE SALON

So as a salon owner
and behind the chair stylist,

I make $55,000 a year,
give or take, plus tips

when I'm on the stylist side.

In comparison to other
people in my industry,

I think it's gonna vary
based on location.

If you compare it to
the Midwest or the South

or cities that aren't as metropolitan
as, say, New York, Los Angeles,

or Dallas, for instance,

it's probably on the
median to high end,

I would imagine.

Because salons, if you look at
the entire scope of the salon industry,

it's quite vast.

You have salons that are
in the Midwest

that don't bring in a ton
of revenue every year.

To salons that are bringing
in multimillion dollar business.

So when you look at that,
there's going to be that median.

And I think in terms
of my individual salary,

I think we're gonna fall
in the median to high

for the majority of the country,
which is interesting.

A manager's gonna earn,
in Los Angeles,

anywhere from 50
to 150,000 dollars a year

as a salon manager,
depending on the level

of the salon and how big it is.

Somebody who's behind the chair
at the absolute highest.

they'll do, they do in-salon work,
they work with their clients,

they are on set,
they do a lot of photo shoots,

they're doing products.

They either have
their own product line

or they're working with
a product line that they are

the official spokesperson for.

So when you take
all of that into account,

you can take a great income
of like $100,000

and turn that into
a million-dollar income

very, very quickly.