We spoke with Janine Simons, owner of MANE Salon in Wellington, New Zealand, about what makes her salon so successful. She credits her team, their shared values, and a dedicated training programme for keeping them at the top of their game.
Watch the short video and keep reading to hear Janine’s story and her top tips for salon owners.
How did you get into the hair and beauty industry and what do you like most about it?
I got into the industry by accident, I kind of fell into it really. I wanted to leave school but my parents weren’t going to let me leave school until I found a job to go into. So I got a job in a salon in Wellington called Headstart, I found that I really enjoyed it and ended up just pursuing an apprenticeship, which I got in the city at a salon called Balliage, which I ended up owning at the young and rather naïve to business age of 24!
The best part about working in this industry is the opportunities that evolve. You start your life as an apprentice generally or learning to become a hairdresser, from there in my experience, the options are endless.
There’s the opportunity to own a salon or perhaps manage one, right through to working behind the scenes on fashion weeks, working in education and now an even bigger space online with hair, products and education. The opportunities for people in the industry are huge and it’s such an exciting space to be in. It’s forever changing and growing.
I’m so passionate about business and the hairdressing industry that it doesn’t really feel like work to me. I can be found in my spare time working on the business or planning the next hair event, from doing numbers to thinking about a new campaign or what we can do differently in the salon right through to innovative ways to grow and educate.
Who is your target market at MANE Salon?
At MANE Salon we have two target markets. We operate what we call the MANE Salon Academy and the target market for the academy is younger (aged 18 to 23). It’s the concept of students working on students. Students have more time, less money. They want to come in and still get great service and great hair and it’s a trade off where they can spend a lot more time in our chair and a lot less money. It works really well for my apprentices, they start to grow a following or a clientele if you like, and we never have problems finding models for training.
Our salon target market is in the 30 to 35 age bracket. We’re talking about entrepreneurs, young or new mums, professionals that live in the inner city.
What service are you famous for?
The services that we’re famous for here at MANE Salon is colour. My colour background is long and vast, I’ve educated extensively in colour for more years than I like to share these days! Naturally colour is our superpower here, it’s a big focus and definitely across the team our area of expertise. Not to dismiss, we still do great haircuts, beautiful blow waves and all other aspects of the craft, however colour correction is our specialty and we have a lot of experience and in-depth knowledge in getting colour right for people.
What makes MANE Salon unique?
One of the things that makes MANE quite unique and feel really special is the way in which we choose to live as a team within and outside of these four walls. We live by strong values and we recruit by this process too.
The values system running throughout our salon is combined with a vision statement that everybody lives by, this makes it a really unique place to visit as a client and also to work in as a team member.
Our three core values at MANE Salon are loyalty, happiness and excellence. Behind each of these values are behaviours that we hold ourselves accountable to and for and also translates to the way in which we look after our clients and anyone that walks through our door.
For example, let’s take our value of excellence. The behaviour that’s attached to that is to teach something or learn something. Because as a team we’ve decided that if we’re doing those things then we are delivering excellence or being excellent. So that’s how we keep each other accountable and make sure that we’re turning up every day and delivering exactly what we need to.
And our vision statement is to “provide a unique experience that enhances the physical appearance and feeling of self to create true self confidence”. We want our people to walk away feeling truly self confident, high on life and absolutely fabulous. It’s not just about the hair. It’s also the experiences of the conversation, the service and sense of wellbeing that we want people to experience when they’re in our chair and as they walk out the door to go about living their everyday life.
When did you become a sustainable salon and what has your journey been like?
It was really important to me when I set MANE up right from the get-go to be sustainable. I think we all have to be mindful of the world’s resources and what we’re doing to the planet. Every little bit that we can do here at Mane to make a difference in the world we will.
We’ve been sustainable from the beginning, just over 10 years now. When I first opened the doors to the salon it was actually quite a challenge to be sustainable and eco friendly – the world has come a long way in the last 10 years!
We previously had to do things like take our aluminum across the city to get it recycled, take the composting home and we couldn’t recycle our colour wastage at all. I had to pay for a lot of individual recycling and eco services and it was quite a job to manage the logistics of it all, however I decided it was worth it to really make sure that we looked after our green footprint.
Now we use a company called Sustainable Salons and they are brilliant, they just take care of everything, including colour wastage, hair for wigs and providing lunches for the community, amazing!
Through Sustainable salons, we have a bin and a process for everything in the salon. It looks good, it’s tidy, clean and it works really well. The whole team knows the process and it’s simple so everyone can follow it. If you’re not a sustainable salon now, get amongst it! It’s very easy to become one and it will save you and the planet time, resources and a few dollars along the way.
Tell us about how you ensure training is a priority in your salon?
To ensure training is a focus in our business here at MANE Salon it is an integral part of our culture. We really live, eat, sleep, breathe education, both of self and of others. There’s an expectation that everybody continuously learns as well as continuously educates, so every single one of my team members at some point will educate and they’ll also go and learn externally.
We also have a dedicated training day just for our apprentices and or any stylist that might be struggling or needs it. Every new stylist or team member that comes to MANE does a six week boot camp if you like, to get them on board with the MANE way and the level of work that we do here. That’s on a Tuesday and it’s dedicated to our academy clients and our salon apprentices.
Historically, it has been an hour or two of focus training a week for apprentices in the industry, however we give ours a minimum of eight and it can be up to 15 every week, this propels them forward a bit faster and also keeps them excited and engaged in becoming a hairdresser.
For the most part, education is about maintaining our culture and our values. I am constantly looking for any gaps and if there are gaps we close them through focused and structured training, coaching or mentoring.
We want to stay at the forefront and at the top of our game, and education is a really integral part of doing that and largely defines who we are here at Mane Salon.
Why is it important to you to train apprentices?
It’s so important for me to train apprentices in the salon because they are the future of the industry. Without salons and salon owners investing in and taking on apprentices, sharing knowledge and paying it forward, there literally would be no future of the industry.
I also believe our apprentices bring a lot to a salon. They bring their own energy, innovation, and new ways of looking at things. The infectious optimism of youth is great to keep your business progressing and innovative. As much as my team and I teach them, they teach us in other ways!
How do you ensure you deliver a great client experience?
One of the ways in which we deliver the best client experience for our people is to ensure that we follow systems and provide that consistency.
I know systems can seem a bit boring, however, without them, one person walking in our door will get a completely different experience to the next person and consistency really is key. People talk, and Wellington is a village! We are a small business built largely on referrals and recommendations and we want to make sure that if you send your friend to us we deliver an exceptional experience each and every time.
Consistency and systems allow us to make sure we’re delivering excellence for all of our clients. It also means as a team we can have a lot of fun, and we do! My team can make decisions autonomously because we all know the rules and the boundaries, and our clients really enjoy coming into a fun, friendly environment.
One of our systems for example is our New Client Goodie Bag. When we have a new client visit us they get two things post their service. One is a little goodie bag which has a welcome back treatment voucher along with a couple of referral cards, chocolate and product samples in it. This helps create the desire to come back and the ongoing loyalty to the salon.
And the other treat that every single new client gets is our New Client Style Check. Within two weeks of having their hair done here at the salon, they will get re-booked in for a blow wave with either the stylist that did their hair or one of our supporting stylists so that their stylist can check in with them on their hair, make sure the colour is still looking great and the cut is sitting how they want it to be.
It’s another touch point, an opportunity to remedy any wrongs, mostly it’s another opportunity for our team to build rapport and deliver excellence. We extend this service to all of our existing clients too when they have a major change – new colour or new haircut.
How do you define success and what do you attribute your success to?
I define success for the salon in one word, happiness. I feel if the team and each individual within it are happy, that’s not just in here, that’s out there in the real world too, then everything else follows.
If everyone’s happy, this is a great place to be! Everyone wants to be here, the team’s happy, our clients come in and absorb or bounce off that and this creates the success of everything else. I have a saying, “you’ll be pushing up daisies so make sure you are where you want to be and are having fun doing it.”
There are a lot of things that make MANE Salon a very successful business however the biggest contributor has to be my team. The commitment and the consistency I get from them, the absolute drive to be the best and to live by excellence and happiness. We all really do live as confident and supported individuals united by a shared vision and our core values. Absolutely without a doubt they (my team) are what makes MANE the magic place that it is.
What Kitomba features help you to run your business more effectively?
We use Kitomba here and there are so many great things that I use it for. My number one key use, outside of managing client appointments and bookings, is the reporting. I am a bit of a numbers nerd and Kitomba makes it easy to track and monitor this. As a business owner it is vital to understand your numbers.
The report that I use the most regularly is the Business Summary. I’m constantly looking at KPIs and sharing them with the team. The team know what their KPIs need to be, this is a daily report for us to ensure we hit our KPI’s and know how we are tracking and what we have coming up.
I also use the Staff Utilisation report because this allows me to see where we have gaps, what we can focus on in pockets of time, or where we can strengthen who is doing what for the day. Part of my role, and that of my salon coordinator, is to make sure that everybody is at their full potential on the floor, the utilisation report gives us vision here.
Future forecasting is the other key report for me as a business owner. We run a very high future booking system, that’s one of our strongest KPIs in the salon. I am constantly looking at the future forecast of bookings, revenue and planning. For example I look at where and how my budget and forecasted turnover is currently tracking and how can I improve or amend it to make sure we achieve our KPIs.
Learn more about Kitomba Reports.
What Kitomba feature helps you to provide a great client experience?
With Kitomba, the feature that helps us provide a great customer experience is in the everyday texts and emails we can utilise with Kitomba Everyday Marketing campaigns. What that means for us is that we can quickly text our clients for example, ‘Hi Jane, (stylist name) is 15 minutes behind schedule, see you at 11.45 or come and relax with a coffee’. It’s instant and great communication. All of our clients expect a reminder text or email now, the everyday marketing set and forget communications of Kitomba is brilliant.
What do you like most about Kitomba Salon and Spa Software?
I love using Kitomba in the salon as it gives me eyes on the business. I just wouldn’t have that level of detail around performance, KPIs, budgeting and future forecasting without it, and I’d be spending a lot more time trying to collate numbers that’s for sure! It’s brilliant for me to have the tools Kitomba provides to be able to really see what’s going on with my business financially, for my team to be able to manage their appointments and also to communicate with our clients in a professional and effective way.
Want to find out if Kitomba can help your business thrive like it has for MANE Salon? Book your free demo where we’ll discuss your business’s unique needs, goals and vision, and what features will help you to achieve your business goals this year and beyond.