Salon Ven-don't

Tabatha talks about how she corralled all five of the salon's owners.


I have never been to a salon with five owners. The truly amazing thing was that although there were five owners, nothing got done!

As soon as I tried to call Salon Vendome to take over, I knew I was in for a long week because the number on the window wasn't the salon number. When I finally got the right number, nobody picked up and the message directed you to all the stylists in the salon, not a direct message. It was crazy and time consuming.

After watching the surveillance and sitting with the owners, it was so clear nobody was taking responsibility for anything in the salon. Amazingly some of them wouldn't even admit to being an owner. Listening to the owners and hearing them point fingers at each other, hearing how Angel and Susan wouldn't pay rent as a "protest" to what was going on in the salon, and generally just listening to the craziness of the situation, Jack seemed like the only one that was trying to keep the salon on track. The others were letting him take all the responsibility.

Inspecting the salon and seeing not only the mismatched furniture and decor but the ripped reception furniture and run down appearance, it was FAR from acceptable for the high end area of Houston the salon is in. It also showed a total lack of care, thought, and teamwork. The salon was a direct reflection of the owners and their inability to communicate or come together.

Salon Vendome is a booth rental salon, which means that each stylist in the salon pays a weekly rental to the owners. The problem was not all of the stylists were paying their rent on time. Janiece was six months behind and two of the owners were also not paying rent, because they wanted things to change. This was not only causing financial problems in the salon and holding them back from making the changes they needed, but it was also creating discord amongst everyone, owners and stylists alike. Clients don't know or care if it's a booth rental salon, they want professionalism, great work, and to be taken care of.

Talking to the staff showed me that the owners weren't taking care of business or the salon. When Tony told me he had worked there for months before realizing there were multiple owners besides Jack, I was gobsmacked. And all the stylists agreed nothing in the salon ever got done.

The Rose is an amazing organization in Houston and I wanted these owners to stop thinking about themselves, and what better way to do that than have Cancer Survivors as clients. The stylists and owners did a great job thankfully. The work wasn't the issue, although I did have an issue with Janiece and her unprofessional conversations. I needed these owners to understand that the lack of customer service and leadership was affecting their business. I sent in a group of women on my surveillance day and having them come back and share the experience. I hoped it would start to get the owners realizing the issues in the salon. It was emotional for them to hear the feedback the clients offered, since all of it was constructive and true, Bottom line, they all liked their hair, but they all disliked the customer service or lack thereof and the surroundings. None of them would return or recommend the salon.

I needed to get these owners on the same page and working together, so I figured giving them money and telling them they were in charge of their own renovation would help. And in the beginning it did! They started to communicate and agree on things until we got to the store and it started to go to downhill. I was amazed at how little they spent when so many things needed to be fixed. And again it came down to not working together. Any time there are multiple owners there are strengths and weaknesses, and I decided that putting the owners in charge of the things they had a passion and strength for would divide the jobs evenly and get them working together. It seemed to really help on reopening day.

All the owners really stepped up and for once and showed pride in the salon. Bringing in Meghan as a receptionist was my way of showing them the difference it would make to their business and what good customer service was about, and clients were thrilled with the changes. I was pleased Susan and Angel paid their back rent and disappointed that Janiece didn't.

Talking to the owners about the day showed me they were committed to making the changes they needed, that's why they decided Janiece needed to go. They had given her multiple chances to catch up on her rent and had talked to her about her behavior, but nothing had ever changed. It wasn't about being perfect, it was about Janiece being responsible for herself and her business. She wasn't showing the owners that she was serious about changing, and it was affecting their bottom line. It is always a hard decision to let someone go, but being $6,000 behind in rent is unacceptable, and the owners decided it was time to make room for someone that would pay on time. I fully supported their decision.

Going back to salon Vendome six weeks later was like walking into another salon. Not only were the owners communicating and having weekly meetings, but they were offering education, had kept the receptionist, and were all proud and motivated and paying their rent! The salon was doing well, the stylists were all really happy, and I was really glad to hear from Jack that Janiece was doing well and working in a commission salon, which was helping her to stay responsible.


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!