I Can Transform Ya

Tabatha reflects on the highs and lows of her trip down memory lane.

This is my favorite episode because even after the six week check in, I often wonder how the salons I've tried to help are doing. I'm often hopeful about some of them, because I feel like they have changed, and some of them I am truly concerned for, because I feel like they still haven't got it. So it was really exciting (and a little nerve racking) to go back and check in with some of my favorites and some of my problem children! I had the opportunity to visit Tantrum Salon, Chicago Male, Refuge for Hair, and Martino Cartier Salon, as well as Plush and Eclectic. And what I discovered surprised me.While we didn't have time to show all of these salons on the episode most of them are doing very well.

When I went back to Plush for the six week check in a year ago, Kimmie told me she had really changed and had not reinstated her credit cards or frivolous spending, but I wasn't sure if she could keep it up. Visiting Plush a year later I saw a salon owner that had totally turned around. Kimmie was responsible, she was putting her business over her friends, she wasn't spending frivolously, and she had paid down a lot of debt. Kimmie had made some great new additions to the salon adding a beautiful color bar, hiring some new stylists and a fabulous new esthetician, and there was a new education program in place. I was really proud of Kimmie and her staff for stepping up and taking the salon seriously, and I wish her continued success. I know she is on the right track.

Eclectic Salon had been a very emotional week for us all. Owner Jaqui had just declared personal bankruptcy without telling the staff, and Jaqui had totally checked out of her business. Visiting six weeks later I found an owner that was in a much better place emotionally but still had a lot of work to do to follow through with her dream and get the multicultural salon back on track. Visiting Eclectic a year later, I was amazed at how different Jaqui was. She was in charge and taking charge, and it was so great to see. It had been a rough year for Jaqui, because she had to make some difficult choices and let some staff go because they weren't following her new rules. Stephon had sadly passed away, and it devastated Jaqui. But she really kept her focus and drive and built a fabulous new team and was offering education. The salon looked amazing (as did Jaqui), and I was so happy to see Andre and Jazz still there helping the stylists and Jaqui. Eclectic is doing really well, and it was great to see them all again.

Two of my biggest success stories have been Tantrum Salon and Martino Cartier's Salon, because the owners really took my advice and ran with it. I was so surprised and delighted when I went back to Tantrum and found out that Jodi had recommitted to being an owner and was in the salon more and helping Robert. The salon was truly thriving, their numbers had increased dramatically, they were organized, roach free, and doing amazing things in the community. As for Martino, I was very proud of him for taking the success of his salon and parlaying it into other areas such as a product line and platform work. But one thing about Martino hasn't changed... he still likes to make a dramatic scene. My biggest surprise at Martino's salon was a marriage proposal! 

On the other hand, my biggest surprise at Refuge salon was that it wasn't there anymore. The doors were closed. Miriam claimed that she had moved on to bigger and better things and her staff did not want to follow, but when I tracked down Miriam's former staff they had a very different story to tell. They all claimed she was about to go under because she mismanaged the business and that she locked them out. At least Michelle, a stylist who really frustrated me with her poor time management, learned some big lessons from my time at Refuge. She has opened her own salon and seems much more professional and responsible, and I wish her and the rest of the Refuge staff the best of luck.

When I took over Chicago Male a year ago, Scott Neesham did my head in with his stubborn failing "men only" attitude. He was running a barber shop but calling it a high end salon, so I really hoped I would see big changes when I went back a year later. While Scott has improved some of his numbers, he still is not close to 100% capacity and he could be if he would really embrace change. So I decided to give Scott some more tough love. When I threatened to take over again, the look on his face said it all. While Scott may not enjoy my visits, hopefully he will heed my advice, because I really want him and his staff to do well.

Thank you all for watching Season 3! I hope you enjoyed the transformations as much as I did. And good luck to all the salon owners I have tried to help over the past few years. I love what I do, and I am looking forward to meeting more of you soon.


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Tabatha and Kids Don't Mix

Tabatha was truly happy for Joy but worries whether the rest of the staff will stay motivated.


Anyone that knows me knows that kids and I don't mix! But I truly wanted to take on the challenge as it is a specialized field and a big business. Children's salons can be extremely successful.

When I met Joy, I was struck by several things. First how emotional she was -- Joy truly was a mess. She was beaten down and told me she wanted to fire all her staff, yet she was so passive and detached...It was amazing. I was also struck at how smart she had been by opening a children's salon 32 years ago before it became the trend. Joy had gone through a very emotional time taking care of both of her ill parents, and it caused her to take time out of her business. The problem was that when she was away there was no control, no rules, and no responsibility. Her staff truly did run amok, and when she stepped back in to take control, things had gotten too far out of hand. Joy was too passive to stand up to her staff, and she had given up. The salon was bleeding her dry emotionally and financially. I have really never had anyone break down the way Joy did. She was embarrassed when she saw her staff's behavior, and when I did my inspection, she was mortified because it was filthy. A dirty salon is bad enough, but a dirty kids' salon is a petri dish. 

I was amazed from the moment I walked in at how resistant and full of excuses the staff were. It was clearly going to be a long week! Sitting with the staff, it became clear they all felt that Joy had abandoned them and the salon, yet they also didn't want to stand up and take responsibility for themselves or their behavior,and Monique was the worst offender. I wanted to show Joy and the staff that to expand their business they needed to compete with a lot of other kids' salons out there, and that doing parties, proms, tweens, and yes, pageant girls, was a way of staying true to their core business and would expand their clientele, which was dwindling. The salon was having an issue getting in older children and tweens, and I wanted them to get those clients in because it would increase their revenue.

Working in a kids' salon is hard. It is a specialty, but it doesn't give you a free pass to do crap work and not care about your profession or the clients. The staff seemed to not give a damn except surprisingly Rosa the youngest of the group. She wanted to learn and wanted help. I spent a lot of time talking to Joy about why she had a children's salon and found out that she not only had a lot of passion for kids, but also that she had previously done a lot of events in her salon but stopped because she wasn't supported. I found that her staff's resistance towards me never left. It seemed like they had all been there so long it was just a show up situation without caring about what it was they were doing or wanting to change. They truly were complacent. I don't give a s--- where you work, you need to be professional, care about what you're doing, care about your environment, and treat clients well. Even more so in a children's salon, because it isn't just about making the kids happy, it's about making the parents happy. If you can do that, the parents will talk about you and your business, because a happy child makes for a happy parent!

Reopening day was so anti-climactic for me, because most of the staff all seemed to hate it. At least Joy was thrilled and a truly different woman. She went from being a wreck to standing up to her staff and letting them know who was boss. I really like Joy. she loves what she does, she truly cares about her clients, and it was nice to see her change. I hope for her sake that the staff really have embraced the changes, are following her rules, and are giving her the support she deserves and needs.


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