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.


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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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