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Getting Butterflies

Tabatha dishes about Debbie's bad attitude and why she didn't just walk out. 

By Tabatha Coffey

Oh my god! Clients being chased through the parking lot, staff walking out, rules being broken by the owner and stylists alike, and coupons galore! This salon was a mess, and Debbie had truly given up. She was at the end of her rope and was truly desperate.

The staff felt undervalued and cheapened by all the coupons and discounting that was going on, and by the fact that Debbie treated them like children. They also believed that the salon could be a success and wanted to help make it better. But Debbie had lost all trust and faith in her staff because of a previous staff walk out. However it was the staff that stayed who were truly being punished. There was no respect, no education, no follow through, no leadership, and no communication.

The staff were truly afraid of Debbie, and Debbie was so passive aggressive with her staff it was amazing. A leader leads by example and Debbie had forgotten that, although I understood how hard it must have been to deal with a massive walkout. I wanted her to realize that the staff she had were loyal dedicated and wanted to help her. She needed to respect them and empower them.

I spent a lot of time with Debbie talking to her about different ways of marketing the salon, empowering and educating her staff, and about the reputation of the salon. All the discounting and coupons coupled with Debbie's behavior had taken a toll on the business, and that is why I took her to the country club to talk about the possibilities of marketing well. The last time she was there it wasn't done well, and Brenda the special events manager truly wasn't sure if she wanted Debbie back. I also decided an intervention of sorts with the staff might help get through to Debbie. I was having such a hard time, I wanted to leave. But the staff were really amazing and wanted to learn and grow and support Debbie and the salon, so for them I stayed. It is always hard for me when I see potential, but I can't get through to the owner. Debbie's defenses were way too high.

Reopening day went well. The staff were all excited with the changes and hoped Debbie would be the biggest change of all. But they weren't quite convinced that was the case, and frankly neither was I. It pissed me off when Debbie lost it on me while I was giving her my final recommendations, but it also gave me hope because I finally saw some passion.

I have to tell you, going back to that salon I had butterflies! I hoped to see change, but I wasn't sure there would be. After speaking with the staff and Debbie, it seemed like things had truly started to change. Debbie was doing what she needed to not only empower her staff but also to stop the coupons and change the reputation of the salon. I was pleased to see the changes, now I just hope that she can keep them up.

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