Lab Experiment Gone Wrong

Tabatha Coffey points out what went wrong at Hair Lab.

Hair Lab was like an experiment gone wrong to me - the partnership between Tim and Kathy was totally unfair and Tim didn't get it. No owner should only take, take, take from their business - they need to put into it. All the staff viewed Kathy as the boss and Tim as one of their fellow workers. Yet the fact that Tim took everything he made from the salon and Kathy was barely able to pay her rent was unfathomable. The entire staff felt that Kathy worked too hard and had too much on her plate. They all noted that they very rarely saw Tim because he was stuck in his corner and he never gave them feedback on their performance or work.

The staff was okay, but the lack of leadership, education or rules had allowed them to become complacent. Julie Anne had a problem with communication - she was scattered and nervous and didn't make clients feel at ease. I also felt that her prices were way out of line, especially in comparison to the other stylists in the salon (many of whom had been there much longer and had a larger clientele.) Julie Anne hadn't been at Hair Lab for that long, and it was bad business for her to charge so much when she lacked communication skills and a substantial client base. Mazi had been at the salon a long time and has a good client base, but she lacked discipline and felt she didn't need to change.

Her problem was that she only wanted to do what she wanted, and took an attitude with anyone that had a different opinion to her. Clients are not friends and there is a line that shouldn't be crossed. Mazi jumped over that line daily, without repercussions. Hair Lab is located in an area where they could really market themselves to local celebrities. My friend Eliane Henri helped get the ball rolling by introducing the owners to the American Gladiators. She also agreed to give Tim and Kathy further advice and PR strategies.

By the end of my week at Hair Lab, Tim stared to take charge and get involved with his salon. I could tell that Kathy was relieved to have a lawyer help her set up a business agreement and payment plan. I was really surprised to find out when I returned to Hair Lab that Kathy is leaving. I'm happy that they have worked out their financial situation and Tim is ready to pay Kathy back and takeover the business.

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Reclaiming His Balls

Tabatha tells us how she helped Nik take back control from Sabina.

Concerto was taken over before I even got there by Sabina, a stylist at the salon. Nik, the owner, had handed over the reins and responsibility and had lost total control of his salon and his staff. The staff all disliked Sabina, because she was rude, disrespectful, and bossy. They all agreed that if Sabina was the boss they would all leave. They respected and liked Nik, but Sabina not so much!

The problem at Concerto was an amazingly passive owner and a group of stylists that weren't bad at their job, but had nobody leading them, holding them accountable, or managing them, so that they just did whatever they wanted. The staff also saw Nik not being active in the business, and they felt he didn't care so they followed his lead.

It was amazing how openly hostile and aggressive people were towards Sabina at the staff meeting. Equally amazing was how Sabina's unprofessional behavior and the way she spoke to not only Nik but the other stylists was affecting the staff and the business. Clients openly complained about her language and the way she acted and said they didn't want to return to the salon because of it.

Nik had told me running the salon had created a lot of stress in his marriage and that his wife wanted him to sell, but I knew he didn't want to do that. I figured sitting with them both and having a realtor explain to them what the salon was worth and what they would get would hopefully wake Nik up and let his wife see that it wasn't the best option and that her husband truly wanted to keep the salon. They both realized selling wasn't the best thing, but Nik was still so annoyingly passive. I needed to get him to wakeup and take charge.

Taking Nik to a martial arts expert was my way of trying to let him get some aggression out but also to help him feel empowered, so he would hopefully start taking charge. He was truly awful in the beginning, not wanting to raise his voice or participate, but he really started to get into it with the help of Master Shin. He even flipped me! Now that takes some balls! 

Seeing the aggression the other staff had pent up, I wanted them to get that out. I wasn't surprised when Nicole stepped up and said she wanted to take on Sabina. She had felt so mistreated by her for so long, I was glad to see her stand up for herself and say enough.

Reopening day went well. Nik seemed ready to take on the challenge of being a boss and Sabina was quiet! I just hoped that it would stay that way. She didn't strike me as the kind of person that could relinquish the control she had over Nik or the salon. Revisiting Concerto, all the staff agreed Nik was a changed man and was truly following through on enforcing rules and holding his staff accountable. Sabina was even taking a back seat! I just hope she keeps it up for the good of the salon! 

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