Joe Hemmings, founder of the eco-friendly and award-winning Bloggs Salons, wasn’t always top of the tree. The buzzy figure that graced the stage at Salon Smart 2023 to talk about structuring for success had to endure a few trials before he found his own.
When Joe started his salon in 2010, he experienced what most of us would consider success, and he experienced it early in the form of fully booked days, stylists working all the hours, and industry recognition. As the boss, Joe enjoyed the fruits of his labour; expensive cars and fancy holidays followed. But just because a salon is generating revenue doesn’t make it truly successful. Ignore things like staff wellbeing long enough, and it will take a toll. “I was moaning about my team and asking myself why they weren’t happy, motivated or engaged,” he admits honestly. “I would dread going into the salon.” Here, the holidays came in handy; Joe simply took more to distract himself from what was really going on.
One day, he decided to face the music, make a change, and restructure the business with a focus on employee needs and desires. While it cost him initially, listening to what staff wanted and implementing those needs led to a more successful and sustainable business.
After a no holds barred mega-meeting with his stylists, he made the following changes…
1. He waved goodbye to outdated employment models
Making staff work weekends? Telling them when to take holiday? Joe scrapped both. But he only knew these issues existed by listening to his crew, who said their work/life balance suffered from working on Saturdays. The Gloucester Road salon is now dark on those days. To further fix the situation, Joe asked his workforce to show him their dream working week, and he now allows them to take holidays when they want, providing there are no pre-booked appointments.
2. He recruits differently now
Joe learned the hard way about what does and doesn’t work in recruitment today. He once employed a stylist because his was impressed with their social media presence and CV. However, the person wasn’t the right fit with the wider team. Now, he recruits mainly based on personality with less emphasis on skillset. He doesn’t interview in the salon anymore but meets the candidate on a park bench to try to break down any boundaries.
3. He pays better across the board
Salary – it’s obvious but it matters, massively. Joe realised this and decided to “pay proper salaries,” which included raising all basic wages, paying minimum wage, and allowing an uncapped commission for stylists to help them make as much money as possible.
4. He’s not all about numbers
Looking at figures is essential to running a business, but it’s not all that ownership is about, especially in hairdressing. “We’re a service-based people industry, we can’t just run things on spreadsheets,” says Joe. In fact, previously, Joe was running his business based solely on the numbers, neglecting the wellbeing of his staff in the process.
5. He reassessed his leadership role
In reassessing his role as a leader, Joe scaled back on saying when and how employees should work; but dived deeper into helping his team achieve their personal and career goals. “Let go of control as a leader but also invest in stuff that really matters,” he says.
These steps may sound progressive, but is there proof in the proverbial pudding? You bet! Here are the results Bloggs Salons has experienced, in black and white…