My family has been in the beauty industry since 1929. I grew up sweeping hair off of the floors of my parent’s salon. I always loved the artistry of the business as well as the process involved with making people feel and look better. Move forward 40 years and I am the founder of one of the most successful suite concepts in the industry, Phenix Salon Suites.
The beauty business is a fast paced and rapidly moving industry. There is always something new coming down the pipeline and if you are not in front of it, you’re behind it. When I started Phenix Salon Suites I was looking to serve Lifestyle Professionals in their pursuit to become sole beauty proprietors. I realized that most beauty and wellness professionals partially entered the business because they wanted to work for themselves. I also understood that undertaking opening a multi-chair or multi-station salon required financial resources that many people simply didn’t have.
This was an insight that I was lucky enough to understand because I had worked behind the chair for many years and I had spent my life growing up in the industry. I believe this is still a trend that we are seeing. I recall when the suite concept was the elephant in the room. Meaning, we were beginning to have an impact on the traditional salon model but we had not yet emerged as a player in the industry.
Today, in the United States, the suite concept has taken off like wild-fire with multiple salon suite concepts spanning across the country. I am certain this is a trend that we will continue to see. With the emergence of the Corona-19 pandemic, the need for social distancing and additional hygiene practices has become very important. The suite concept is a perfect solution to this dilemma for the beauty and lifestyle professional.
As a suite owner, a professional services one client at a time in their suite. Items such as common waiting areas, shared wash bowls and equipment that is used by multiple parties are eliminated. In addition, the professional may customize their space to their liking with their own décor. They may set their own hours, establish their own prices, and use products of their choice. Each location offers on-site laundry and restroom facilities and, at the Phenix locations, a receptionist is available to greet and direct clients when they enter the store. And, all of this is affordable at the fraction of the cost of building out a full scale salon.
We are also witnessing trends with investors that are seeking out a franchise investment. The salon suite concept is a much more hands off model compared to many other franchise opportunities such as fast food. Once a location is built out and suites are leased, a franchisee is actually encouraged to step back and allow the professionals to operate their own businesses. Unlike many models, the requirement of being on location daily is far reduced.
Along with this benefit, the model doesn’t require the franchisee to purchase an abundance of products that they are continuously required to use in order to operate. The individual salon professionals purchase their own products and equipment for daily use which far reduces the investment required o maintain the suite model on an ongoing basis. As the suite concept continues to be investigated by interested parties, it’s certain that it will be a popular option for many.
I also believe we can anticipate seeing the suite concept experience international expansion in the next 12-24 months. Phenix Salon Suites has just extended our footprint to include the United Kingdom (UK), with our first store currently under construction in Manchester and several others in the planning stages. As of now we understand that there will be a period of educating professionals on the concept, however, I believe with certainty that the suite concept will be equally embraced in the UK. We also have a variety of other international markets underway which we expect to be very successful.
As we progress, technology has also become more and more significant in the industry. The cell phone has brought beauty into a world where salon and lifestyle professionals can now manage their businesses from the ease of their phone. And, it’s clearly notable that hardback appointment books of the past are headed for the shelf. Professionals are seeking interactive solutions which allow them to communicate easily with their clients. They are seeking simple touch booking and scheduling features that allow consumers to schedule their own appointments. They want to be able to order products with a push of a button and email receipts out without being burdened with paper.
To meet this need, last year my company developed a business app for the beauty and lifestyle professional called Gina’s Platform. The platform is 100% free to any beauty or lifestyle professional in the industry and it has a comprehensive booking and scheduling system as well as a POS (point of sale) system with some of the lowest rates in the industry. In addition, it has options for following trending beauty news, accessing online education and purchasing product as well as extensive client communication features. The app even has financial reporting features for end of the year tax time.
As mentioned previously, the beauty industry is a well-oiled, fast moving, machine. It’s always important to be looking ahead and leading the pack if possible.
About the Author
Gina Rivera is a well-known icon in the world of beauty. Rivera skyrocketed to success when the company she founded, Phenix Salon Suites, became the fastest growing salon suite company in the beauty industry and the only one to ever be named to Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top 500 Franchise List. The company, who has now been named five times to the list recently was ranked in the Top 25. Rivera is the only female that serves as a company President in this elite group. Her company continues to flourish with over 300 locations nationwide and plans for international expansion.