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.




Becoming Unstoppable;A Culture Checklist

I know you have heard of Salon Culture before. When you think about your salon do you wonder if your culture is apparent or if it exists at all? If you are asking those questions, it most likely means your culture needs attention. That’s perfectly okay! Now that you’re aware of it you can start to improve your culture and become unstoppable!

Let’s talk for a moment about what a culture is, it seems a very vague term. Culture is unique to every salon. It’s alive, it has movement and a personality, therefore cannot be duplicated! It makes decisions easy, it attracts the right people and guests, it gives you an edge, and it leaves your competitors behind.

Building your culture may not be easy but it will make all the difference in your salon and everything, in turn, becomes easier.  Are you asking yourself about your culture? First you need a few things in place to create your own culture. Here is your culture checklist!


□  Values


This should be easy to figure out and if you’re not sure check out  how to find your values. Values are the most important thing when building your culture. I talked about your culture being the personality of your salon, so ask yourself what traits/values does your culture carry? What do they look like, feel like, sounds like? Values make your culture transparent and everyone who enters your salon will instantly feel it.

□  Mission


Remember, your mission is a passionate statement about why you do what you do. It should be recited at meetings and it is your salon slogan. Every Tribe member should know the mission and feel proud when reciting it, either as a group or to your guests. Remember your mission statement is truly for your Tribe, it will allow them to know why they are apart of your salon.

□  Structure/Etiquette/Procedures


A culture makes every decision easy. Your structure will help your Tribe know how to treat each other and your guests. It gives expectations, both in work and in behavior, but also freedom to be who they are at the same time. It makes the culture uniform and becomes a way of life.

□  Tribe Status


As I’ve said before your Tribe will up hold your salon and they will hold up your culture. The right Tribe members will bring your culture to life, they will maintain it and make salon life easier. Every decision you and your Tribe make become based on your culture and will help make hard times easier, hiring easier and growing easier.

□  Allow for Innovation

Crystal Globe - Europe and Africa

Allow your culture to be alive, know that it will change, grow and become more influential and that your Tribe will help accomplish this. Whether you are improving your culture or implementing a culture it is important to let your Tribe have a voice. Do the ‘Find your values’ exercise with them, talk about your mission and improvements to your structures. This will help your culture grow into the most powerful organism. Your culture will become more than you ever thought possible!


How many things have you checked off? After checking off each of these things you should have a clear vision of your culture. Now it’s time to execute it!

When your culture is a living breathing part of your salon, you will be unstoppable.




Tribe Series: How to Remain a Tribe

Now that you’ve worked so hard on your tribe we need to talk about the maintenance. There is a significant way to help your tribe head in the same direction – Meetings.

I know you have meetings but what type of meetings do you have and how often do you have them? There are three types of meetings that will help your tribe remain a tribe.

#1. One on Ones (One hour Monthly with a fifteen minute follow up bimonthly)


One on ones are so important to your tribe! This is how you will be able to connect with them, grow with them and keep them on mission. A Gallup survey found that tribes engaged with regular one-on-one meetings are 16% more profitable, who wouldn’t want to be 16% more profitable! A tribe can also become demotivated without one on ones (especially millennials) One on ones promote focus, contribution, alignment, adjustment, strengthen your relationship and gives them a voice.

I know you’ve probably heard that you should do one-on-ones, but what does that really look like? How should you do them?

It should feel comfortable and relaxed, it should be a conversation and nothing to stress over (for both of you!)

Ask lots of questions but listen to their answers. Jay Williams, a salon coach, says to talk 30% and listen 70%, we need to know their thoughts and ideas. Never ask ‘why’ questions, these can sound accusatory and make them answer in a defensive way rather than in an open and honest way. Give them constructive feedback in a non-judgemental and caring way. (The sandwich system works well for this, one compliment, one improvement, one compliment.)

Begin simply with – how are you feeling /doing? This will make it more comfortable and flow into a conversation rather than a meeting!

Some great questions to ask might be:

  • Are you happy here?
  • What is your favorite service to do on a guest?
  • Are you happy with your work?
  • What area would you like to improve on? What education will help you? What can I do to help?
  • What was your best accomplishment so far? Did you feel celebrated/acknowledged?
  • Can you name three things that would help you love being here more?
  • What part of the day do you feel most productive?
  • What was your biggest roadblock last month? How did you overcome it?
  • What do you do when you feel stuck or unsure?
  • Who do you turn to for help?
  • Who inspires you in the tribe?
  • Whose opinions do you respect?
  • Is there anyone you find difficult to work with? Can you tell me why?
  • Do other tribe members give you feedback? Would you like more feedback from them? From me?
  • What would help us work better as a tribe?
  • What things do you worry about?
  • Are there times you feel Undervalued? Overwhelmed? Stressed out?
  • Can I do anything to make things easier for you? What can the tribe do to make it easier?
  • What do you like about our culture/tribe? What don’t you like?
  • How can I support you better?
  • What is the percentage of my involvement with you? Would you like more or less?
  • What is something I can do better?
  • Is there any situation that I could  of been more help?
  • Did you achieve your goals? Do you need our/my help? What is your next goal? What are your next steps to achieve these goals? How Can we help you achieve these goals? (For goal setting structure see blog post: Goals or whatever you’re calling them)
  • Is there anything else you’d like to share/discuss with me?
  • How are you feeling about our conversation?

Don’t forget to celebrate their accomplishments! A tribe member needs this and is 71% less likely to leave your salon just by acknowledging their hard work.

These questions will help you understand their mindset and how they feel about the salon and the tribe. It will help you make the salon better and help your tribe grow. After every one on one you need to create a summary that provides you with a list of discussion points, goals, issues, development paths, next steps and needs. This is important for your business plan, follow-ups and future one on ones.

A follow-up should be made by bimonthly, a quick check in with your tribe members to see if they need any help or how their next steps are going. This keeps focus on goals and growth!

Now you can see how important one-on-ones are to your tribe and how it will help you remain a tribe!

#2. Salon Meetings  (Weekly – One Hour)


Salon meeting done weekly will help you stay connected as a tribe. This is where you celebrate each other, learn from each other and keep each other on track.

You want to start with a fun activity – an ice breaker exercise, learn a yoga pose or listen to a feel-good video for the first five to ten minutes. This relaxes everyone and makes everyone feel open to ideas and sharing.

Then share numbers and goals for the week. Talk about strengths and weaknesses and solutions to problems. Talk about promotions, upcoming events and ideas.

Having weekly meetings might become boring or familiar so to switch things up learn a new technique, go on a short field trip, bring a speaker in or let them contribute/lead the meeting.

You will want to have an agenda to stay on track but don’t worry, as you develop your weekly meetings this will become easier for you and you’ll learn to organize your time.

Make sure you always allow extra time for enjoyment, creativity and innovation. Always take the time to celebrate accomplishments, birthdays, anniversaries or anything else you wish!

Monthly meetings will keep your salon and tribe on the same path, plus they are fun and productive.

#3. Tribe Building (Quarterly)


We have all heard of ‘team’ building, we know what it means but do we know how important it is to a tribe?

It will build bonds and relationships outside of the salon. It allows the tribe to be together in a fun and relaxing way and it breeds trust and honesty.

Tribe Building does so many wonderful things; it helps everyone see each other in a different light, it allows connection, it increases morale, motivates, gives a chance for celebration, team spirit, fun, innovation, creativity, communication, imagination and creates a friendly work environment. Tribe members will have larger imagination when they are around people they are comfortable with. The positives are endless!

There are lots of things to do for tribe building and best of all; they don’t have to cost you a lot! There are many inexpensive and fun ways to bring your tribe together, here a just a few:

Minimal Cost

  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Yoga/Dance
  • Nature Walk
  • Paint or Coloring
  • Board Games / Cards / Charades
  • Outdoor Games (balloon toss, three legged race, egg & spoon race, follow the leader, ect)
  • Cook a meal together / Potluck
  • Dream Boarding / Inspiration Wall
  • Fashion show (dress eachother up)
  • Battle of the Bands (karaoke)
  • Volunteer together
  • Walk in a Parade together
  • Engage in activities tribe members do as outside interests/hobbies
  • Book Club
  • Pretend your in different professions (photographer, make up artists, nail techs, massage therapists ect)

Of course there are many ways to do Tribe Building with an expense attached to it,  I would try to do one of these at least once a year and let your tribe know it’s because they are so spectacular!

Some Cost

  • Go to anther salon and get your hair/ nails/ make up done
  • Dinner at a restaurant
  • Escape Room
  • Night away
  • Paint ball
  • Axe Throwing
  • A Movie/ Drive In
  • Theater/Concert/Speaking Event
  • Flower Arrangements class
  • Hot Air Balloon Ride
  • Paint Night
  • Museum
  • Tour your City as tourists
  • Yoga Class
  • Swimming
  • Adventure/Amusement Park


It is extremely important that your tribe remains engaged with you and with eachother. These meetings will help your tribe remain a tribe and the salon become  healthy, happy and profitable.




Tribe Series: How to find your Tribe: The Interview

I know you will have time to get to know your new tribe member once you’ve hired them. I love what Heather Yurko, owner of PIP University, calls this; your dating period. I want to make sure you get a real feel or vision for your potential tribe member before you start dating. Let’s face it, most blind dates don’t end well! You want to have some information before you enter into a dating relationship. How can you do this? The interview.

Interviews are tricky because, like a date, they generally show up with their best possible self or in some cases; their false selves. This is why it is important that you do multiple interviews, yes, multiple. Take the time to do three or four interviews, this will give you opportunity to get to know your potential tribe member.

The first interview is the most important. This interview should be all about them and their personality. We all know skill can be taught but a tribe member is more than the job, more than how well someone can cut or color hair. If they are weak in an area it will be easy to teach them, personality cannot be taught. We really want to get as much information as we can from them; ask unique questions and lots of questions to better understand their mindset. Most importantly – you must answer the questions for yourself. Your answers will help your intuition and you will know how like minded they are to you and your tribe.



First Interview: Let them know this interview is strictly for you get to know them better and to please answer as honestly and accurately as they can. Some of these questions are light and fun, some are more thoughtful but together they will help you better understand the person who wants to be apart of your tribe.

  1. What’s your story?
  2. What’s your why?
  3. What are your values?
  4. What’s your super power?
  5. What’s your spirit animal?
  6. How would your best friend describe you?
  7. What do you want to be when you grow up?
  8. If you had six months with no time or money constraints what would you do?
  9. If you won $20 million tomorrow what would you do with it?
  10. If you could have dinner with anyone who would it be?
  11. What type of car are you?
  12. What teams/groups/hobbies do you devote your time to outside of work?
  13. Who is your role model and why?
  14. Tell me about time when you were a leader.
  15. How do you handle criticism?
  16. What are the titles of the last three books you’ve read?
  17. Would you rather be liked or respected?
  18. What brand of shampoo and conditioner is in your shower right now? Brand of products?
  19. What is your favorite song?
  20. When you are alone in your car what do you think about?
  21. What was the last gift you gave to someone?
  22. What was the last thing you watched on TV? Why did you choose to watch that show?
  23. Tell me about a time where you were a mentor.
  24. If you were Shipwrecked on an island and you had plenty of food and water what two items would you want with you?
  25. Rate your memory from 1 to 10.
  26. What do you worry about and why?
  27. Who has inspired you and why?
  28. How do you define and measure success?
  29. Tell me about a time when you worked as part of a team.
  30. Tell me about a time where you worked as part of a team with an interpersonal conflict, how was it resolved?
  31. Tell me about a time when things didn’t go the way that you hoped, promotion, a project, ect.
  32. Explain a situation where you wish you would have handled things different.
  33. Tell me about your most stressful situation and how you handled it.
  34. When were you most satisfied in your life?
  35. What impression did you get from walking into our salon?
  36. Why do you want to join our salon?
  37. What excites you most about working here?
  38. What are your expectations of me?
  39. How will you contribute to our goals and Mission (if stated on the website)
  40. Why should I hire you?
  41. If I hired you and granted you three promises – what would they be?
  42. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  43. Do you have any questions for me?

I know this seems like a lot of questions but you need to invest some time into getting to know them. It will save you time in the long run and your tribe will be happier because of it.  Reflect on their answers, ask yourself if they fit into your vision. Do they have similar values and can you see them as part of the tribe? If the answer is yes, then on to the second interview.



Second Interview: is skill related, you want to find out their strengths and weaknesses and how they will grow and help grow the tribe. What can they bring to the salon? What level of skill are they at? Can you help them grow? Can they help you grow?  This is where you want to see their portfolio and resume.

  1. Please tell me your strengths and weaknesses.
  2. Would you rather improve your strength or weakness?
  3. What is your specialty/What is your favorite thing?
  4. What skill do you want to improve on, what is your plan to improve it?
  5. To date; what professional achievement are you most proud of?
  6. What don’t you like to do? Why?
  7. What three attributes or skills will you bring to the tribe/salon?
  8. What did you contribute to your last salon?
  9. What, professionally, have you done that you would not want to repeat?
  10. Tell me about a time you set a difficult goal.  Did you achieve it? How did you accomplish it?
  11. Why did you leave your last salon?
  12. What would your last tribe members say about you?
  13. How do you plan on developing your skills and knowledge?
  14. Give me three words that describe your ideal Salon environment.
  15. A year from now what have we achieved together?
  16. Do you have advice for your previous boss?
  17. If you do not get this job what is your Back-up Plan?
  18. What is your average retail and sales per guest?
  19. Do you work well with a structured environment?
  20. Why do you want to join our tribe?
  21. Do you have any questions for me?

After this interview you should have a better understanding of them and their capabilities. If you think they are likely a good fit for you and your tribe there is at least one more interview to go, depending on you, maybe two.



Third Interview: this interview is for your tribe. Always involve your tribe in the hiring process, they have to accept this new member just as much as you do. Let them ask questions, they will surprise you and ask things you would never think of! Keep in mind this can be intimidating. Set it up as a friendly/ informal gathering, we do not want to scare them! You could have some snacks and drinks. For the first 15 minutes let the tribe mingle with them and eachother, watch how they interact. Then do an icebreaker – have some fun and break the tension! After that you can leave the rest of the interview up to your tribe! (Bonus! This is a fun team building excersice!)



Fourth Interview: (if you wish) this is where you can test their skills, if that is what makes you more comfortable with hiring.  Don’t forget, as I mentioned previously; skills can be taught. Ask them to bring in a model or mannequin and get them to show you their skills!

After the three to four interviews you should feel comfortable with the decision to hire them or not. However, most importantly trust your instincts, they will guide you to the right fit and most likely you won’t go wrong when you trust yourself and your tribe.

What questions would you add to this?