House of Blonde: Reaching New Heights


One Year after attending The Summit: Total Annual Sales +48%, Average Retail/Month +28%, Average Services/Month +22%

Two Years after attending The Summit: +82%

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Meet Sharon Bonder and her team at House of Blonde in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Sharon opened House of Blonde in her very own basement and at first she struggled with the decision to sacrifice her own time behind the chair in order to grow a strong team. But with the support and knowledge of Summit Salon Business Center, Sharon has grown House of Blonde into not only a Redken Elite salon, but also one of the program’s greatest success stories.


Sharon always had an obsession and talent for doing hair, but decided to attend nursing school instead, due to pressure from her father. After two years, she finally worked up the nerve to leave nursing behind and pursue what she had always to do. From the very beginning, Sharon’s career skyrocketed. She launched ISO’s color line, was promoted to director of education, and travelled all over the country to teach. In between, she worked at some of Chicago’s most elite salons.

As is the case with many stylists who make the leap to ownership, Sharon saw opening a salon as a form of stability, and when her daughter was born, she decided she was ready to give it a try. With her wide range of knowledge and experience in the salon industry, Sharon opened House of Blonde … in her basement.


She grew this business into a solid five-day, ten-hour-per-day work week and was making great money, but had no boundaries between her personal life and her work life. And, stylists were beginning to take advantage of her home, smoking on her porch and making themselves a little too comfortable. Sharon’s final wake-up call came when she experienced some severe medical issues and was not able to work for quite a while. She watched helplessly as her business went from booming to “Oh no, what are we going to do?” This experience made her realize that she needed help; it no longer made sense for her to be the only one bringing in money for the business. So Sharon and Karen set out to find a location.

They lost guests in the transition from basement to salon space and Sharon was really struggling. “As a service provider,” she explained, “I was not able to focus on one client at a time, because most of my staff was young and inexperienced and still needed help even mixing color. I was completely broke and living off of credit cards. I felt lost, inadequate, and frustrated. I had no sense of direction, and no idea where to lead everyone.”

When she attended the ABS show, she fatefully found herself in the VIP room. “When everyone asked me how the new salon was going, I just started crying. I felt very lost and confused,” Sharon remembers. After sharing her story, she was encouraged by those around her to attend The Summit.


For Sharon, her defining moment at The Summit was the realization that she didn’t have to do it all. Dave and Heather told me that it was time to pay it forward,” Sharon explained, “That I didn’t have to be the superstar in the salon.”

At The Summit, Sharon learned how to train, mentor, and lead her staff. These salon leadership skills allowed her to grow little rock stars of her own, so that she would never have to feel that pressure of having the salon’s success or failure dependent upon working behind the chair full-time.


Sharon experienced some push back when she rolled out the Summit Salon systems in her salon, but she explains that the stylists who left really needed to leave. She described it as a tool to get rid of the “bad eggs”—those with negative attitudes. Of the ten stylists who worked in the salon, only two remained through the transition. Now Sharon had the perfect opportunity to really grow her own salon with the attitude and ambition she had always dreamed of.

“Now there is a sense of pride in the air. They no longer complain about extra activities or extra responsibilities. Everyone has goals, and it’s this focus on goals that keeps them all excited,” Sharon explains.

As a leader, Sharon has noticed a different, more positive attitude in the salon. “Everyone has a greater respect now for management, and, they all get along with each other,” says Sharon. “They are more than willing to help someone out if they get in a bind.”

Best of all, the salon’s guests have noticed the shift, “We get compliments all the time about our marketing and follow through,” Sharon points out. “Guests like to keep up with all the education that the stylists attend. They also appreciate that we do appointment reminders and follow up with all new guests.”

Sharon works hard to hold everyone to task in terms of utilizing the Summit Salon Planner and other planning materials provided through Summit Salon Business Center. More than anything, she wants to see her employees succeed. When asked what advice she would offer to stylists who struggle with the tools, claiming they take too much time or are too complicated, Sharon doesn’t hesitate, “I’ll tell you what’s complicated—FAILURE is complicated!”


As a direct result of working the Summit Salon Systems, Sharon and her team were able to nearly DOUBLE their business in two short years. After only three years, House of Blonde became a Redken Elite Salon. Looking forward, Sharon’s goal is to open a second location within the next five years.

Sharon talks about her journey with great enthusiasm, humility, and gratitude. Now, with the right foundation in place, their passion will lead them to fulfill their highest dreams. Sharon credits the Summit Salon leadership and training initiatives for setting the wheels in motion. “It changed our lives,” she says.

If YOU are ready to take your salon company to the next level, then click I WANT THAT!


Before attending The Summit seminar:

  • Total annual sales: $395,363
  • Average Retail/Month: $4,977
  • Average Services/Month: $34,675

One Year After Summit Launch

  • Total Annual Sales: $583,747
  • Average Retail/Month: $6,371
  • Average Services/Month: $42,274

Two Years After Summit Launch

  • Total Annual Sales: $719,817
  • Average Retail/Month: $7,923
  • Average Services/Month: $51,823

House of Blonde’s Summit Salon Consultant is Roberta Dotson