The Art of Managing Hair Stylists

Featuring, Marc Rockquemore

As a salon owner who came from outside the beauty industry, I can tell you first-hand that there truly is a learning curve in understanding how to work with the hair stylist-artist! Thankfully, my wife is a beauty industry veteran, so I had a lot of help getting up to speed, but let’s face it…hair stylists are truly artists, It’s important to remember that as creative people, stylists are unique in the way they respond to attempts to motivate and inspire them, and they are especially unique in the way that they communicate. It took me many years to learn the most effective ways to speak to stylists, and what type of management they respond to best. Managing personalities in the beauty industry sometimes translates into one simple thing-managing salon DRAMA (yes, the “D” word).

Do YOU Have any of the Following Personalities on Your Staff?

  • A 20+ year-in-the-industry stylist, who is the very definition of the term “old-school”? He likes to come and go whenever he pleases, wear what he wants, and seems perfectly content with earning 20K per year. He also doesn’t have much use for learning new skills and techniques, because he knows as much as he needs to, and he “just does what he does”. This stylist basically wants to be left alone so he can take care of his clients and do some hair.
  • A younger stylist, who is full of charisma and enthusiasm for the industry, but lacks confidence and technical ability.
  • A new mother, so consumed with thoughts of her baby, that it’s all she talks about. She spends 95 percent of each client visit discussing her new child, and she has the lowest service sales and retail sales in the building to show for it.
  • A stylist who is going through a divorce, experiencing extreme financial hardship, or maybe grieving over the recent loss of a family member.


Today’s challenging business climate demands that you clearly define the “identity” of your business, hold yourself accountable to the standards you’ve set, and establish a focused plan of NO COMPROMISE LEADERSHIP. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned as a salon owner is that at the end of the day, it’s your vision, your name on the dotted line, your reputation, your credit report, your livelihood, and YOUR RETIREMENT! Everything MUST ultimately be on your terms. Always keep your eye on the big picture; chart your salon’s growth and-with guidance from your Summit Salon Consultant-create a realistic plan for achieving future goals. Occasionally, playing the role of “THE BOSS” -rising to the occasion and stepping up to make tough decisions-goes with the territory. Whether you care to admit it or not, it’s part of the reality of what we’ve all signed on for, and very necessary for gaining the respect and confidence of your staff!

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