Santana Row Entrepreneur: Karie Bennett, Founder of Atelier AVEDA Salons
Atelier founder and Master Artist Karie Bennett is a busy business owner these days. With 2 salons here at Santana Row, 40 team members, and an acclaimed in-salon training program, how she finds the time to write 3 online blogs boggles the mind. Here is her latest blog, a question and answer column, excerpted from Salon Today magazine, the nation's leading publication for salon businesses.
Dusting retail shelves, folding towels, sweeping the floor—those are all thankless daily salon tasks that must be performed but ones that no one wants to do. In this installment of Owners' Forum, a reader asks how we get these accomplished at Atelier. I share my story, then turn the tables and invite you to share your own suggestion.
How do you handle salon chores—those little pesky jobs that need to get done that you'd love everyone to pitch in on?
--SALON TODAY Reader in Illinois
"Great question! I love the teamwork aspect of assigning chores on a rotating wheel, or changing job teams on a monthly basis. But really, at Atelier, I prefer to keep hairstylists styling hair, not washing dishes. And I believe it's my job as a salon owner to bring guests to our chairs and spa room for the talented artists to work their magic on.
"I found it to be a huge improvement to hire a "shopkeeper." This option may not work for everyone's budget, but it's important to consider the benefits. My shopkeeper cleans everything, all day, as well as changes accessible lightbulbs, etc. She cleans the retail shelves, which frees up the front desk team to make confirmation calls, answer the phones, give out guest gift bags and check in/out guests, as well as assist guests with their Aveda product questions. She handles most of the laundry and dishes, helped by our assistants, sanitizes and sterilizes all salon brushes, combs, and tools, keeps the restroom stocked with paper and handsoap, runs to the store when we need something, and also organizes our storage rooms. So that means the hairstylists can completely focus on their guests.
"Another bonus is that having this service has taken our salon environment to a whole new level. Wherever the guest's eye goes, clean goes. So the guest sees how much care. And this is a major point of difference for us.
"I know a stylist's time is valuable, and in my opinion, it's time better spent pleasing a guest than washing a dish."
Karie Bennett's career in the beauty industry is approaching the 30-year mark and shows no signs of slowing. Bennett and her salons, Atelier Studio and Atelier Salonspa in San Jose, CA, have captured a number of industry awards, including the Global Salon Business Award, the SALON TODAY Top 200 and is one of only 5 finalists in North America for the 2010 NAHA Master of Business Award. Bennett continues to share her knowledge to help a new generation of hair artists and business owners find their way to success.