Salon Sanctuary

The Dreaded Break Room

Salon owners talk about the dreaded break room all the time. They constantly say their people just sit there on their phones, avoid the front and hide. Why do we even have a break room!

One of the things I’ve learned is; you teach people how to treat you. I say this can be applied to many things, including a break room. You teach people how to use the break room.

The break room is an important space for your Tribe, it is the most underrated resource for health and wellbeing.  We have to stop using it the way we’ve been using it! Here are some great ways to make better use of that dreaded break room.

Don’t call it the Break or Lunch room!


Call it the Creative Alcove, the Imagination Station, the Idea Vault, the Brilliance Parlor, the Culture Chamber, the Tribal Den, you get the idea. It’s time to change the thought of this room, changing thought changes behavior.

Make it an Educational Space


Have a bookshelf with books your Tribe can borrow, have mannequin heads and stands for them to practice on, have a TV or tablet for them to watch TED talks, hair videos and You Tube on. Have head sheets, their notes from previous classes and product and color knowledge. Have binders with their goals and numbers. Give them things to do in this beautiful space you have created for them.

Make it Inspirational!

break room design Beautiful Break Time 25 of the Best Employee Break Rooms in the US

This is a perfect place to have everyone’s goals and dream boards! You can display them on a wall and this will help the Tribe know each other better and keep them focused. Paint a wall with Blackboard chalk, write quotes, messages, celebrations and your mission on it! Chalkboards are a fun and exciting element for your room.

Keep it Comfy



Have comfy couches, chairs, hammocks, bean bag chairs; places to relax. Have a table that is round so when they sit they are looking at each other which will encourage conversations, discussions and brainstorming. You want them to feel welcome and relaxed.

Perfect Meeting Space

roundtable discussion

This is a great space for education, one-on-ones, Tribe meetings and Tribe building! It’s a great place to let them have time to work on themselves. You shouldn’t mind seeing your Tribe members reading a book or watching a hair video or posting to social media. Any type of growth is awesome and this is the perfect space to do it in.

Let them know what the Room is for


If you now feel inspired to change your break room into your new improved Tribe Room – surprise them with the new look and tell them what the room is now used for! You can put the list up on your new Blackboard wall and remind them that those things are what should be taking place in there, make it fun! Do a checklist and when they use the room to the fullest; reward them!  Your old break room now serves as a social, inspirational, educational, cultural and emotional space.

When they walk into this space they will feel valued. Seeing this room created just for them gives a feeling of self-worth. This room will now boost morale, making your tribe feel like they belong and are supported which will reflect on to your guests as well, improving results all around!



Salon Sanctuary

Millennials – The Swear Word

There’s a lot of conversation going on about millennials.  Most times it sounds like people using a swear word. They say Millennials are entitled, Millennials are lazy, Millennials don’t care about anything but themselves, they are selfish. Then they finish with Millennials are in for a rude awakening, they’ll never hold down a job.


Perhaps they’re right? By the time a Millennial is 25 they average working 7 different jobs.

But here’s the thing, Millennials are not lazy or selfish, they are not entitled but they are hopeful and they want what we all want, happiness. The difference is, they believe they deserve it and we are still trying to figure that out.


Millennials are not just going to do a job for money. They will invest their time into something more meaningful. 50% would be willing to take a lesser paying job if what they were doing stood for something. 37% of those would donate extra time to their work for a purpose. Does that sound lazy or entitled?

Millennials came of age and entered the workforce during the height of an economic recession. Unemployment was at an all-time high and they had to choose crappy jobs to survive. They knew it wouldn’t be forever so they went through a few jobs looking for one that had good culture and Tribe status. They will continue to go through jobs until they find what they need or they will work for themselves. But ultimately millennials would rather be apart of a tribe and something meaningful.


Reality: Millennials are nice, optimistic, earnest, idealistic and they are tinkerers and lifehacker’s.  They understand how to turn themselves into a brand, they are pro-business and financially responsible. That doesn’t sound bad, does it?


So here is our rude awakening; Millennials challenge convention, they find new and better ways to do things, they do not respect authority but don’t resent it either. 70% check their phones every hour, they are deeply anxious that they are missing out on something better and they need constant approval.

What can we learn from this? Millennials will be your biggest asset in your salon.  They will believe in your values, your mission, your culture and the tribe. They will work harder for you, they will stay late or come early if it’s beneficial. They will embrace your systems but challenge you if there’s a better way. They want to work with you instead of for you. They do not want to be told they cannot check their phones, they love their phones (just not talking on them.) You will have to praise their great work, reward them for their effort and make your salon the best place to have a career so they are not concerned with missing out working somewhere else. Millennials will make your salon better, happier and a great place to be.


Here’s the kicker; you have to let them. Let them give input and change things. Let them help you grow, make decisions and run your brand. They make up 21% of all consumers and have a huge influence over older generations, they know what they want and they are determined to get it. Steer that determination in to your salon and to your guests and you will grow.


I am fortunate enough that I personally work with four Millennials. They are extremely hard-working, positive and optimistic. I am 39 years old, so, while I’m not technically a millennial I like to tell people I’m a cusp Millennial because I am with them. I want happiness and meaning in my life and I want to be with them when they change the world.



Salon Sanctuary

Follow The Leader

Do you remember this game when you were a kid? Everyone would do what the ‘leader’ did. You followed everything they did; jumping up, sitting down or waving your hands around. Usually the leader would choose the most ridiculous things for you to do and you would do them.

This is the very opposite of how a leader should be. If you are just telling your Tribe what to do and have rules that don’t matter or don’t make sense then you are not leading at all. Those types of actions make you a boss rather than a leader. Which would you rather be?

What are the responsibilities of a leader?  It’s in the word, a leader should lead, it’s that simple. Leaders do not dictate, they support. Leaders have clear simple rules that have purpose. Leaders are a part of the Tribe. Leaders help, they wants the best from their Tribe, they want their Tribe to succeed. Leaders love, care, support, help, nurture, listen and much more.

What are the top qualities of a great leader?



This is the single most important quality for a great leader. Being transparent will allow for trust and vulnerability. Most people don’t feel safe enough to be transparent with people outside of their friends and family.  You teach people how to treat you and if you are transparent they will be as well.  It shows trust, honesty and integrity. Be open with your Tribe and they will trust you and work hard for you for it.



A leader must do what they say. If you speak it you must live it, if you make a promise, you have to follow through. If you want to implement something into the salon, you must do it too.  You must be very cautious with how you give your word to your Tribe and the commitments that you make to them.  Your consistency will show your Tribe how to be, how to act, how to treat eachother and guests. It will show how the salon operates, how it’s cleaned and what the Culture is . If you are consistent in everything you are asking of them your Tribe will respect you and your salon. Don’t forget to hold each other accountable for your words and your actions. It’s okay if you make a mistake, it happens all the time! Own it and grow from it, being accountable will make you a strong leader.



A leader must have strong communication skills. You must be decisive and ask lots of questions. If you communicate by asking questions you can make a better decision for your Tribe and your salon. You must be confident, clear and honest in your communication but never forget to be kind. Have real conversations and be truthful. Don’t forget that listening is a big part of communication, you must listen more than you talk. Give opportunities for improvement and take them as well. One of the hardest things to take is criticism, it’s human nature to defend and our egos show up.  Take a deep breath, remind yourself it’s ok, you’re not perfect and your Tribe only wants the best for you and the salon. Listen to them, ask questions for more information and think about it for twenty four hours; then you’ll be able to hear the words as words and move forward with their suggestions. It’s important to show them how powerful communication is and that it will help them and the salon grow.



Focus is a huge part of leadership. You must see more and do less. Push them to be the best that they can be. Give them support and believe in them. Pay close attention to what each member of your Tribe is doing, saying and believing, we all get in our own heads sometimes.  If you keep focus on them they will grow and grow your salon. Allow them to lead, focus on their strengths and you’ll be creating future Leaders for your salon. Get to know each one of your Tribe members because sometimes leading needs to happen outside of the salon too. Staying focused on your Tribe and their needs will ensure they will do they same for your guests. Your business will grow and prosper if you focus on your Tribes development.

Do you feel you have these qualities?  Take time and reflect on how you are leading, how you could improve and talk to your Tribe about it. Being a leader is full of love, care, expectations, honesty and trust. Being a leader is so important in your salon and to your Tribe.




Infusing Your Culture

Last week we talked about your cultural checklist and now that you’ve checked those boxes off let’s talk about how to infuse your culture into the salon!

There are 6 things that will support the infusion of your culture.

Explain! Explain! And Explain Again!


You must explain why you want to improve the culture. You know your values and your mission and those are both great ways to explain your why.  In a Tribe meeting explain how you’re going to infuse the culture; giving specific things your tribe can do to get where you want the culture to be. Explain the benefits of the culture, what will be beneficial for them, for you and for the salon once you have your culture in place.

Be Ready for Opposition!


People fear change, it’s one of the hardest things for people because emotions and pride come into play. Knowing each of your Tribes personalities and spending time with them individually will help ease them into the culture. In your one on ones let them know specifically what benefits there are for them as a stylist and personally. Help them see the culture vision and why it’s important for the salon. Ask them how this culture makes them feel and what growth they can see taking place; for them and the salon.

Step by Step


Outline every single step that needs to be taken for each Tribe member. If you don’t do this it can be overwhelming and everyone can easily give up. Giving a step-by-step will make it easier for them to implement the culture together. It is always easier to get where you’re going when you know how to get there and even easier when you have help.

Be the Leader


Do all these steps yourself, people learn by watching. Think of a child, a child will repeat your actions and habits before doing what you asked them to do!  If you do all that you are asking of them it’s easier for them to follow. It is hard work and a lot of pressure but you need to be the change. Also know that it’s okay if you slip up or if they do. Infusing your culture probably won’t happen overnight. Failing is learning and it will help improve your culture in the end. Be transparent about it, tell them you failed, that it didn’t work this time or you were wrong, they need to know that you’re human and that it’s okay if we mess up! Stumble, learn, keep going!


Be United!


Discover success blockers. Things that aren’t working. Is there something that isn’t flowing? How can we make this work? Ask for your Tribes input and ideas, ask what will make it easier for them, what can you do to help them. What don’t they enjoy about the culture? Ask for an explanation and a solution! Your Tribe wants your culture to work! Realize fear can stop you and then we tend to complain, point fingers and it quickly becomes the opposite of what we’re trying to do! Have real conversations about it and work through it together. Infusing your culture will take work but when you are united and committed your salon will sore!

Appreciate Moments



Recognize when they are doing things within the culture. Praise and thank them when it’s going right. This will make everyone feel good about the culture and want grow the culture. Reward them for executing the steps you’ve asked them to do and show them how they’ve benefited from it. You’ve explained, you are ready for their opposition, you’ve outlined every step they need to take, you’ve led by example and now you can show them all their hard work is paying off.  Be sure to Celebrate it!

In the age of booth rental & suite salons you have to work harder, you have to make your salon the best place to have a career.

You have to make your culture a way of life.




Tribe Series: How to Uphold your Tribe!

Last week we talked about employee versus Team versus tribe, I love having this conversation with salon owners because I can see the light bulb go on in their head. They are forming groups of people in their salon and can see how far or close they are to tribe.

Aim for the tribe. If you feel like you have a few good tribe members and want to reach full tribe status here are things you need to be for them, here are the things that you must uphold to keep them.


1. Give them Purpose.

50% of all people would take a pay cut if they felt like they had purpose in their work. This is where your mission and values come in, your mission; clearly stated will attract your tribe, your values; known to everyone will make your tribe feel in sync with you. Let them know your purpose so they can join the mission and feel apart of it.

2. Leadership

The salon needs more leadership, let’s be honest, the world needs more leadership! As a leader you must help your tribe, help them set goals, give them the independence to reach them and always be open to their ideas. Your tribe needs you to be there for them and guide them, but remember, a great leader does not do all the work for them! Failing is apart of learning, be there to pick them up and encourage them from a loving and kind place.

3. Structure

Your tribe needs responsibilities and they need to know exactly what is expected of them. I want you to know that it is okay to have systems and rules! The more structure the better. Understand they may not always 100% follow the structure, however, they will try their best to do everything in sync with the structure and rules.  It is much easier to be a tribe when you know what is expected of you and others.


4. Transparency

Your tribe does not want to feel like they do not know something. They want your transparency and to realize you are human too. No one has it all figured out, isn’t that what having a Tribe is all about!  Let them know you need their help, you will work together and make the salon even better.

5. Trust

I know that trust is hard thing to give, especially when it comes to something so important like your Salon.  But, frankly, without trust there is no tribe. You probably feel like trust comes with knowing people first, especially when you have had problems before.  Please know that your tribe members want the best for your salon, just as you do. If there are structures and rules in place it will be easy for them to make the right decisions. Giving Trust will make the salon run smoothly and help your tribe work together.

6. Equality

Every tribe member wants to be equally challenged, equally helped and equally celebrated. This is so important to a tribe because if they are not treated equally animosity can creep in, which leads to your tribe falling apart. Even something as simple as competitions in the salon should never be tribe member against tribe member, it should always be about individual growth. Equality can make or break a tribe. Rules and structure can help keep equality in the salon.

7. Opportunity for Growth

Every one of your tribe members wants to grow. You want to be sure to offer help in this area! This could mean sharing ideas, helping pay for education or time to practice techniques. Offer your tribe members one hour of innovation time a week to improve a skill or technique. I always suggest this hour to be spent on both personal and professional growth.  A tribe member will continuously be learning and they will want to share all they learn with the rest of the tribe, let them share and teach at meetings, this will grow the tribe on a whole.


8. Recognition

Every one of us likes when we are told we did an awesome job. We love when someone clicks like on our Facebook or loves a picture on our Instagram. Your Tribe needs that too. You can celebrate their Milestones, achievements and hard work (just remember to have equality when doing so) It doesn’t have to break the bank either, having everyone clap for them at a meeting or doing a happy dance together will mean a lot. A cupcake to celebrate their anniversary or a fun trophy that can be theirs for the month for reaching a goal. You can do a spotlight on them on Facebook or Instagram. In the salon, as in life, it’s all about the little things.

9. Compensation

Of course money comes into the tribe equation, but as you can see it’s not everything. Your tribe wants to know they can make more and have more (don’t we all). You can design bonuses, ascending pay structures, incentive programs or individual growth benchmarks.  Please be sure that you are paying your tribe appropriately, they do not want to feel unappreciated for all their hard work!


10. Work/Life Balance

I left this one for last because I think it is one of the hardest things for stylists and salon owners. We love our job and guests so much that sometimes we spend 12 hours a day in the salon. We really need to stop doing this, our bodies especially do not like it after so many years! Our stylists want to choose their hours, they want to have a guilt-free vacations and they want to be able to call in sick when necessary. It’s hard, I know. But here’s the thing you need to know, a tribe member would never abused this generosity, ever. Offer unlimited vacation (not all paid) let them know that their life is important; their family, friends, health and Adventures. This will make a huge difference to your tribes morale and don’t forget to give it to yourself as well!



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