By Cheryl Gushue
The Rise of Salon Suites with Eric Taylor from Salon Republic
“Bridging the gap between the commissioned salon to the hairdresser that wants their own store front – there is a big gap!”
We sat down with Eric Taylor the founder of Salon Republic to find out more about the trend towards salon suites and how he has helped beauty industry entrepreneurs open their own businesses without all the hassle of owning a typical salon or spa.
Taylor was made for this role since he grew up in an entrepreneurial and artistic family. His mom is an oil painter artist and his dad is in industrial real estate while his brother is an architect. Eric had entered the salon business with a smart idea and the expertise to open 15 locations across the US, mostly in California. By the end of this year there will be 20 locations that are in high visibility office space generally in main street intersections with some a little off the track or second floor locations. The Salon Republic community has grown to a total 12,000 stylists and will be at 17,000 by the end of the year.
The first Salon Republic opened in 2000 and has seen plenty of changes in the industry since then. He has tapped into the market for the established stylist that has worked in a large salon and wants to go out on their own or for the stylists entering the industry that don’t have the capitol to start up their own place or for stylists that worked for a salon that had closed down – it’s an easy transition to have a short term lease. Taylor is solving many problems for hairdressers or beauty professionals starting or starting over in the business.
“When we started thirteen years ago it was before Instagram was around. Now it’s possible to use it as a marketing tool to build your client base faster.”
Each location has about 75 studios ranging from 16,000-18,000 sq feet on average. The biggest is 26,000 sq feet with over 200 stylists. You get an empty space free to design your own style. Stylists rent by floor plans ranging from space for a single hairdresser that wants to sell product with second chair all the way up to as large as you need for a group of stylists. His locations include valuable amenities such as a full time receptionist, restrooms and a full retail outlet for hair products with a well trained full time manager at the front of the salon.
The retail space is very extensive carrying 25-30 of the most popular brands like Redken, Pulp Riot, Olaplex, Kevin Murphy, L’oreal, R&Co and more. The same brands are at all locations and according to Taylor are about 80% of what stylists normally use. That means as a single operator no running out in traffic to the beauty supply or no waiting on a rep for shipments.
On the education front Taylor has regular classes supported by brands at four of the locations usually once a week which is free for all Salon Republic stylists. Classes range from cutting to colouring and every type of request that he gets from the community feedback.
Two years ago Taylor created his first episode of The Hair Game Podcasts. He started this to give recognition of high profile people that were renting in his salons. He thought that his conversations with these people would be great to share with his community then soon realized that the podcast goes well beyond the walls of SR. The audience grew so they had a sense of duty to be more regular to produce weekly episodes. So far they have done 70 shows. They have now developed into a world wide community with most listeners in US and Canada.
The Salon Republic locations have become a community of like-minded beauty professionals which has created many great friendships. This modern concept of a collaboration of many business owners in one location offers the ability to network and connect with others to help grow your business.