The Cirque Blog

Providing information and insights to contribute to your studio, your style, and your success!

Weathering the storms of life

Sep 28, 2022

With the hurricane approaching and we make plans and preparations for the Cirque buildings, it made us think about business planning for the storms of life.  Sometimes, these storms are literal like hurricane Ian!  More often though, the storms are personal like medical issues, family difficulties, or any number of things that can affect your business.  Today, we look at some basics about preparing your salon studio business for uncertain times.

Like any business, when you start out, you either have to have abundant capital or an abundant client base or some combination of the two to make things work.  After a while of being in business with your studio, it can be easy to take for granted the constant income stream that is generated by the services that you provide to clients.   This is until you have an issue and are not able to work in your studio and generate income.  While the income stops, the cost of business and life do not.  From your studio rent to mortgage, apartment or car payments, along with daily living expenses, the bills keep coming in like a high tide.

This brings up the question, do you have enough money set aside to weather the storms of life?   What is enough and how do you get there?  While there are many different approaches, a solid and proven method is provided by Dave Ramsey and his baby steps.  We have summarized the first three of his seven steps below that could help get you on more solid financial footing.  

Step one is to start an emergency fund of $1,000.  This will help you prepare for unexpected expenses without plunging you further into debt.  Once you have a $1,000 saved, move to step two which is paying off all of your debts (except for your home mortgage if you have one).   Start by listing all your debts (credit card, car, student loans, etc,) from smallest to the largest amount and then begin paying them off.   Once you have paid off all your debts, the next step is to complete the building of your emergency fund from $1,000 to three to six months of worth of living expenses and bills.  These steps can be tough at first but with commitment and determination, they can be accomplished and if you already have a plan in place, great!  

In closing,  you never know what storms of life are going to bring your way, but with the proper financial preparation you can endure and succeed in life and business.  It is our hope that all of our studio owners will have a successful long-term business at Cirque no matter what life brings your way.

-The Cirque Team

Decorating your studio for the season!

Sep 21, 2022

As we make our way toward October, fall is almost here and holiday season is close behind.  We have discussed a few promotion ideas to get ready for the holidays in a previous post check it out here , Today we are going to discuss the importance of decorating your space for the changing seasons and how it can help your business succeed even more!

Think about when you have a choice between two stores to shop, one has holiday decorations up versus a store front that is a blank canvas.  Which one is more inviting?  Seems simple when you think about this type of situation but it is easy to forget about decor when you get busy with your business.  It is important to remember that studies show that stores and businesses that decorate seasonly generate a positive reaction in customers, where they feel more at home and are more likely to buy.   So, how does all this translate to the salon studio market?

All of these small touches of decoration, help foster that at home feeling for your clients while they are in your studio.  It also shows that you are care about your space and making it look good just like you want your clients to look good when they leave your studio.  Decorations can also provide some easy conversation starters about what people are doing for the season, if they are enjoying the changes in the weather, etc.  Beyond basic client interaction, from a business stand point the main benefit of holiday decor can be promotions and sales.

These promotions and sales can be woven into the decorating theme.  Whether it is a fall special, a no tricks just treats with this halloween offer, giving thanks to my clients by offering this Thanksgiving promotion and of course giving or the Christmas season.  While we typically associate sales with products, you can utilize offer specials on services as well with the changing seasons.

So get to decorating!  Remember, decorations can be as simple as small signage like Happy Fall to a full on Christmas light display hung up around your studio.   The main thing is that you have a festive studio an make sure to have things that you like as well as you will be looking at it almost daily!   

-The Cirque Team

Promotional ideas and how to make them work for you

Aug 31, 2022

With Labor Day approaching, it is hard to believe that there are 116 days until Christmas!  This is a good time to start thinking about promotions for the Holiday Season or even a Fall Special!  It is important to remember that promotions are a good way to keep your items top of mind with clients and can provide an easier avenue for you to discuss your products.  Today, we will discuss a couple of different ideas about sales promotions and how you can make them effective for you.

There are numerous ways to conduct promotions, but start with something small and make it easy to understand.  If you have to explain it to people, then it is too complicated!!  Start with simple ideas like these two products (shampoo/conditioner) for $30.  With this type of offer, then you can put the two products in a small basket to set out on a table, shelve, or cabinet that is easy for your clients to see and touch.  It also makes for an easy photo that you can take and post on your social media to promote the special.  Seeing the products in their social feeds and when they come to the studio provides product reinforcement to your clients about the specials.

Another avenue, is your standard buy one get one 50%.   If you carry multiple product lines,  this can be a way to showcase various items together in your studio and in social media posts.  This type of promotion also allows clients to choose different products that they may want to try.   One caveat, is that this offer can be a little less straight forward because people may ask if they can buy a $15 shampoo and get 1/2 off get the $30 conditioner.  This is easily solved with the disclaimer of 50% off product is equal or lesser value of regular priced product.

Last up, if you have product that you are moving away from or trying to liquidate, then you can try a last chance basket, end of season sale or a fun $5 dollar bin.  These type of promotions can sound better than saying that you have a clearance section. Another benefit to these type of baskets is that you can put any product that you want in there.  This can provide an easier way to sell products  that you have struggled to sell or items you just simply aren’t going to carry anymore.  If you try a $5 dollar fun basket, you can also put one or two higher end products in there to entice people to buy and try them.  

In closing, promotions can serve multiple purposes for your studio.  Whether it is getting people to try a new product or move out those last few bottles of shampoo, make the promotion work for you.   This means that you feel good about the offer and you will be able to discuss with your clients and sell more products at the end of the day.

-The Cirque Team

Product Selling Strategies

Aug 18, 2022

One of the benefits when you are a salon suite owner, is that you are able to use, carry and sell whatever products that you like.   This provides you the freedom to use your favorite products and try new ones.   It also provides an opportunity for additional income by selling products directly to clients.  Selling products may not be something that you feel comfortable with at first, but with practice you can and will get better at the sales process.  We have put together a few tips below that will help you whether you are just starting out in a salon studio or can serve as a refresher if you are an experienced pro!

Whether you starting out or a twenty year beauty pro, product knowledge and communication are the keys to the sales process!  The first step to being successful is to know the products!  You need to know them backwards and forwards, what is in them, how are they different than competitors, and make sure that you have personally tried all the products that you are using.  This personal experience combined with your knowledge will give you the confidence to talk to your clients about each product and how it could help them.  It will also allow you to help recommend the appropriate shampoo, conditioner, or skin care item for each client’s specific needs.  Using and demonstrating this knowledge, makes you the trusted expert with your client.    

So, when is a good time to talk with your client about products during their appointment?   When you are first starting in a studio, any time is a good time to talk with your clients about what products they are using and what you are offering.  As you get more practice, you ideally would discuss what the client is currently using for at home care when they first sit down in the chair at the beginning of the appointment.  From there, you can discuss, show and even let the clients handle the products that you are going to use with them.  Another option, is to discuss the shampoo or conditioner with your client as they come and go from the shampoo bowl.  Again, having the product knowledge will help you explain how your products will keep their hair looking great even when they leave the salon.   

After having a conversation with your clients about your products, now is the most important part, asking for the sale!  Typically, you never get the sale that you don’t ask for!  Hopefully, after discussing and educating your clients throughout the appointment that asking for the sale will be a smooth transition.  It may take time for you to feel comfortable with the process and that is okay, you will get better as you practice more.  Easy asks, are questions like “How did that product feel in your hair or on your skin?” followed up with “would you like to take one of those home with you today?”  This is where you can tailor your asks with whatever you feel comfortable with saying, just as long as you ask for the sale!  Lastly, remember to ask every client that comes into your salon suite if they would like to buy product!  Over time, discussing, educating and asking for the sale will become second nature!  

If you are not already in a salon suite and want to know more about joining Cirque,  jump over to our contact page to learn more.

-The Cirque Team

Vacation Time?

Aug 10, 2022

This week, we are featuring our studio owners and their pups on our Instagram feed.  Everyone is sending in fun loving pictures of their dog and it got us thinking about why relaxing,  spending time away from the studio and going on vacation is so important!  

This leads to the question how do you get time out of the studio?  Planning, scheduling, and sticking to you what have set out to do are the keys.  There are still a few months left in the year, which means it is a good time to start thinking about 2023.  Think about where, when and what do you want to do next year?  Not sure what you would even like to do yet, just start by blocking out some days in 2023 for time away from the studio.

So why is important to take time off and get out of the studio?  Besides the obvious, getting a mental and physical break from your work.  A well planned time away will actually increase your productivity. This can translate into better cuts, highlights, manicures, etc. which can lead to happier clients and more referrals.  If you are performing better and your work product improves, you can eventually charge more as well.  All of these things combined can make a studio owner happier too, all by taking a scheduled break from the studio!

If this all seems too good to be true, don’t take our word for it.  There are multiple studies that show that this is the case, check out one synopsis below from the Harvard Business Review:  

If you plan ahead, create social connections on the trip, go far from your work, and feel safe, 94% of vacations have a good ROI in terms of your energy and outlook upon returning to work. Just make sure you plan the trip at least a month in advance, as one of the key predictors of vacation ROI is the amount of stress caused by not planning ahead. 

 

Take the time now to start planning for your time away next year.  Remember, your schedule can fill out up quickly before you know it and the next thing you know it will be August 2023 and you will be trying to squeeze in another day off before 2024!

 

-The Cirque Team

Designing a studio

Jul 27, 2022

At Cirque, you are given the opportunity to design and decorate your studio.  At the Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Goose Creek, Summerville, Moncks Corner and West Ashley locations, we start things off by painting the walls any color that you would like and then allow you to take it from there.  We have outlined below a few common styles of design that we see at our locations.  We hope that it gives you a little inspiration when it comes to either designing your studio or freshening up your current space

One trend that seemingly never goes out of style is the white walls room.  It is a clean, versatile look that gives the room a bigger feel.  From there, some studio owners hang black shelves or gold accents or put up some green plants to give the room some color.   An additional benefit of this look is that it can be easy to accessorize and switch up the accents just by changing out pictures or greenery.  

Another look that is prevalent starts with a primary paint that is a soft pink or gray tone.  These color palettes evoke a calm, serene response.  These rooms often feature softer accents and paintings with abstract designs to help set that peaceful mood.  While we see this design often with estheticians, we do see it too with stylists looking to promote a calming environment for clients in their chair.

From calming to contemporary, we do occasionally see studios that have an emphasis on modern art, along with unique pieces for storage.  These pieces range anywhere from blue lockers to a pink mini fridge to very abstract art with bright colors.   One of the appeals to this type of studio is that the design can be changed frequently just by switching the pieces of art or bringing in a small bright storage cabinet.  

The last type of studio that we will highlight today is the bright colored room.  These studios start with a bright color, a yellow or sometimes purple.  These colors give off a bright energy of their own and lighten up the room.  With this wall color, we often see darker color accents to help them stand out from the wall colors.  One caveat is that these studios can be a little tougher to change up because the bright colors can dominate the room.  

There are many unique styles to studio design and we have just highlighted four broad designs that we see often in our locations.   Again, an appealing aspect to Cirque is that you can totally make the space your own with your own wall colors, cabinets, shelves and accent pieces.  If you are interested in having your own space to design, send us an email at sc@cirquesalonstudios.com to see what we have available at Cirque.  

-The Cirque Team

Planning your next steps

Jul 18, 2022

While studio ownership is exciting, it is important to determine a timeline that works best for success. Planning, designing, and implementing your business plan and space often takes longer than many realize.  For opening a studio at Cirque, the typical process takes about a month between planning the design to getting the studio ready and then for State Board to come out and inspect.  This time window also allows you to prepare your clients for the move to your new location. It’s always fun to see clients so excited to see you taking the next step in your career and to see your personalized new space.

In regards, to designing your Cirque studio, you can decorate and furnish the studios to suit your style. Cirque gets you started with a styling chair, shampoo station or vanity sink, depending on the services you are providing. You can, however, purchase your own salon equipment and we will install it for you.  This leads us to another point about opening your new business – cost planning.

Developing a budget for additional furniture, products and supplies is important so you know what costs to expect when opening your studio. With a budget, you can spend the right amount on necessities while reserving some funds for the start of your business. Having a reserve or rainy-day fund is important for any business not only when starting out but also once you are established.  You never know what life is going to bring, but you can always try to be financially prepared.

In closing, we hope you’ll consider Cirque Salon Studios as the right move for studio ownership.   If you feel that studio ownership could be calling you, take that next step and send us a note at sc@cirquesalonstudios.com for more detailed information. Great planning combined with your passion for and expertise in the styling business can result in a career path that has only been a dream to this point.  Let us help!

-The Cirque Team

Is the time right?

Jul 11, 2022

Sometimes it is not easy to know if it is the right time to take the next step in business. Whether you have always had the entrepreneurial spirit or this is your very first business venture, we have put together some questions below to help you decide if the time is right for studio ownership.

1. Have you been at your current location for a couple of years and feel like you have achieved all you can at this location?

2. Are you struggling to get enough time behind the chair to see all the clients who want to make appointments with you?

3. Are you helping to correct other stylist’s work in the salon?

4. Have you grown your business to the point you are limiting the number of new clients you are taking?

5. Are you working so many hours you can’t remember the last time you took any time off?

6. Do fellow beauty professionals seek out your opinions and expertise?

7. Are clients asking if you ever consider going out on your own?

8. Are you ready to have your own space to provide your clients a more personal, relaxed environment?

10. Do you frequently think what it would it be like to design your own studio?

11. Are you having to charge the same rates as less experienced stylists in your salon?

12. Is your last vacation such a distant memory that you need the pictures in your phone to remind you about it?

While some are a little humorous, if you answer most of these questions with  a “yes,” these are serious indicators that validate the time is right for you to consider studio ownership.  If you are ready to learn more about the next steps of studio ownership at Cirque, reach out to us to see what we have available.  Send us an email at sc@cirquesalonstudios.com, and please specify which location that you are the interested in and we will be in touch!  Next week, now that you have made the decision that salon studio ownership is for you, what do you need to do to prepare to succeed!

-The Cirque Team