We stopped by to see Pania Ryan at Pania Ryan Beauty Retreat in Palmerston North, New Zealand, to talk about her multi award-winning salon and what makes it unique and successful, as well as her top tips for salon owners.
Watch Pania Ryan’s story in this short video, and read on for the full interview.
Tell us about your business and how you got into the industry
“I started out working in fashion, pharmacy and retail before moving into beauty therapy. Pania Ryan Beauty Retreat has been going for 30 years now. I started out part time and it’s just grown and grown. I’m passionate about looking after people, I love my customers – it’s like having family coming in every day.
“I really enjoy working with my team and helping them grow. I’m so grateful for my team; they do a wonderful job looking after our clients. We treat them like they’re coming into our home which makes a great point of difference. We have clients that have been coming for 30 years, so I feel really lucky to be part of this industry.”
Who is your target market?
“Our target market is really mixed. It’s mostly professional women, but we have males come into the salon as well. We have a mix of therapists that come from all walks of life and we do a lot of community service, so we get a wide range of people coming into our salon.”
What makes Pania Ryan Beauty Retreat special?
“I think what makes us special is that we’re focused on the customer. We’re looking for what they’re wanting, whether it’s education or relaxation, and we treat each person as an individual to get the very best treatment for them. I think we’re a holistic salon – we’re more a retreat and we love rituals, so we cover the gauntlet of everything and really enjoy doing it.”
What does business success look like for you?
“Success for me in business is happy customers. If everyone’s smiling and happy, and it’s a welcoming place, I feel fulfilled. Winning awards is always nice and it tells you that you’re knocking on the door of being in the top echelon, but it’s really about the customer and that’s where you get the most enjoyment – from seeing people happy.”
What are your top tips for salon owners?
“My number one tip for salon owners would be to get a business coach right from the very beginning. I wish that I did that right back in my 20s, but I must admit I thought I knew everything until I got into my mid 30s and realised, oh, I think I need some help!
“Don’t be afraid to ask people for help, because a lot of people are willing to help you. I’m lucky that the Kitomba team has always been there on my journey, that’s about 15 years now, and I’ve used Marie Drever, business coach from The ZING Project, who’s been absolutely amazing. That’s been my biggest growth; working with a coach and also entering awards.”
What’s your business focus at the moment?
“Our business focus is looking at how we can improve the small things; how can we delight, and how can we make a point of difference for each individual. Each customer is slightly different and we’re looking to surprise and delight them.”
How does Kitomba help you in your business?
“Kitomba just makes everything so easy. The Kitomba 1 system is amazing because you can go back and look at your past history and compare your business performance for any time period you want.
“You get instant totalling at the end of the day so you can see where you are, you can easily track your customer records and preferences, pull up the products that they’ve bought, and do their forward booking for them. I also enjoy the simplicity of using the automated system for sending out text reminders to clients.
“Kitomba allows us to seamlessly work with the customer to give them a great experience. We have several computers that we use during the process of booking and working with clients.
“Our therapists have a computer at the back that they use to put their notes in and check their appointments, while we have another one at the front that’s free to greet the clients, and I can be at home doing something completely different using Kitomba 1, so the whole integrated system is amazing.”
Which Kitomba features do you like the most?
“Kitomba’s online booking system makes it easier for us to run our business. I think it’s fun to turn your computer on and see that there’s lots of booking requests that have come in overnight. You’re able to fill your column with extra appointments and you haven’t even seen or spoken to any clients. You can be sleeping and you’re actually making bookings. I love that!
Kitomba provides lots of helpful content so you’re always learning. There’s lots of training and business coaching, and it’s just so simple to use. I just can’t see why you wouldn’t use Kitomba.”
Want to find out if Kitomba can help your business thrive like it has for Pania Ryan? Get in touch with us to book your free demo!