Apprentices; The Future of our Salons

Over the last 4 years I have enjoyed the running of my first salon.

I would be a liar to say that it has been an easy ride. The downturn of the economy and my inexperience with owning a hair salon led me to learn from not only my mistakes, but the mistakes of others.

Sites like like Groupon have pushed us to be competitively priced. I must admit, I fell into the trap of discounting too. This led to great turnover and bums on seats, but I struggle to list the positives that discounting has provided in the long run for my business.

Apprentices

Its two years since I ended my price reduction offers and it’s two years since I recruited my first fresh apprentice (my first apprentice had been from another salon).

2 Years gone

Over 2 years we trained our ‘fresh apprentice’. With a talent for blow drying she was put on the salon floor as a blow dry expert, this rapidly gave her the confidence with clients and a little bit of variation to her week.

2 years spent training this fresh apprentice was better spent than 2 years of discounting.

Lessons I tried to learn from training her

1) How can it be better?

2)  How can I keep her “fresh” minded?

3)  How can I ensure she is the future of my business?

The truth is there is no easy answer.

However, good old positive reinforcement is always the key for us, but do we have the materials and systems in place?

Do they have a head block and stand in the salon?

Do they have the support from the more experienced members of their team?

Do they have a kit bag, with the tools required to become a great hairdresser?

Without the above it would be impossible to train a great hairdresser.

I must admit, I didn‚Äôt have everything at first, but learning from my first fresh apprentice I now know what myself and the team can do to make an apprentice’s journey in our salon much better.

When we first got the headblock and stand I set creative challenges for the apprentice. With her finished product we tweeted ‘A star of tomorrow’ with a picture of her and the work she had done. It made her feel great and a part of the salon.

2 Years Ahead

The fresh apprentice’s development has been far more rewarding than any of the offers we did.

Remember, the new apprentice in your salon could be the future of the business.

Whilst I continue to develop my systems for my apprentices for 2014 I would love to hear from like minded hair salon owners and apprentices, what have you done that works and what could be done to better your training.

Please leave your comments below saying what you have done to enhance your apprentices’ work 🙂