Business Mindset with a Leadership Focus!

Canton, Michigan
Owners: David and Melissa Coughlin
Consultant: Lana Martell
Opened in: October 2005
2013: 15 service providers, Total Sales: $619,000
2016: 3 years into Summit, 24 service providers, Total Sales: $1,312,000 +111%


Driven by the desire to provide a better work environment for others and themselves, Melissa and David Coughlin left one salon to create their own. Despite being excellent service providers and intuitively picking great people, they were left with the big questions which revolved around business. Read on to see how Summit Salon Business Center transformed their stylist mentality to a business mindset with a leadership focus. In only 3 years they increased their sales by 111% and close to $1.4 million.

 Lucky Hair Co.

Melissa is a second generation hair stylist who grew up surrounded by beauty. Watching her mother work sparked her creativity as early as eight years old. She was also very close to her grandmother. “She was an absolutely gorgeous lady,” Melissa explains, “and an amazing entertainer. She sang and performed with the big bands of the 30s and 40s. I was always in awe of how glamorous her photos were. Those eras still inspire me to this day.”

Melissa admits that opening Lucky Hair Co. was more of a reaction to her surroundings than a true dream. After surviving the frustration of working in four different salons and feeling unmotivated, used and not valued- she turned to her husband, David, and said, “we can do it better!”

While they truly succeeded at selecting trustworthy, skilled and motivated service providers, they realized quickly that it’s not finding great people- but learning how to motivate and inspire them- that is the challenge.

“We struggled with culture expectations, direction for our company, clear career paths and deciding when someone was not a good fit.” Melissa explains, “I believe my employees all felt positive about us as owners but I would guess that they were frustrated. Being salon owners made us feel proud and accomplished but we were missing structure and systems. What constitutes a raise? What is the front desk responsible for? What do we expect from our team? How do we grow them? If we can’t grow our salon is it worth all the work and time put in? We knew that if we did not find a better way to grow our team and the whole salon financially it would not make sense to continue on the way things were. We felt we had grown as much as we could without learning more.”

Melissa and David had heard about The Summit many times, but had always blew it off. Melissa recalls thinking, “Oh great! More CD’s to collect dust in our back office!” But when they realized that they had no more options and it would be either closing the doors or trying something new, they figured it was worth the shot.


While at The Summit, the 3.5 day leadership training course held by Summit Salon Business Center, Melissa and David discovered it was what they needed. Here they were able to identify exactly what was holding them back:

  1. Financial Growth
    • They were always dreaming of the stylist with 1,000 clients to walk through the door.
  1. No set system/growth
    • There was no method for how to base raises for staff.
  1. Leadership
    • Melissa recognized that she had to get comfortable having a backbone as an owner while still showing respect. Up to this point, David had to do everything that required holding our staff accountable as well as parting ways with team members.


Tracking, Customer Experience, Leadership

The initiative that made the biggest difference in Lucky Hair Co. is Tracking. There is now a clear path to growth and accountability. You cannot fix what you are not aware of. Through tracking alone, the average prebook percentage went from 30% to 75%.

Lucky Hair Salon“We now focus on a team atmosphere as well as an exceptional guest experience.” Melissa says, “The clients have noticed a difference, they compliment us on a daily basis about our team, salon friendliness, atmosphere, talent and amazing reviews. My relationship with my employees has definitely changed. I see now that team meetings, personal development sessions and publicly celebrating wins all play a part in building a positive salon culture.”

“As an owner, I am a lot different. In the beginning my husband David and I played good cop, bad cop. I was always the grey area person, put myself in someone else’s shoes kind of girl. Where my husband was pretty black and white with NO grey. We have both grown so much and continue to push ourselves to be great leaders and mentors to our people. I am now very comfortable as an owner and a mentor in our salon company because of The Summit. Plus, we now have enough to start retirement later in life!”

When it comes to establishing change, it is common for not everyone to be on board. The beauty of the Summit Salon Systems is that they weed out the service providers who are not career minded. “Sadly, we did lose someone when we implemented the Summit Salon Systems.” Melissa explains, “We had one ‘negative back room meeting leader,’ and we were not able to turn thing around with her. When she left, I lost not only a stylist… but a friend of 15 years. It was a very hard decision but also one of the best ones we made. Since then, we grew by NINE service providers.”


For Melissa and David, they are still striving for more. They attended The Summit a second time to reinforce the business principles and ensure they were implementing everything the right way. Having gone through implementing the Summit Salon Systems, they heard the information in a completely new way. “The second trip was defining to me as an individual because I had the realization that for me stepping away from the chair and focusing on our people and our business was the key, it was hard to swallow but has paid off greatly.”


“Seriously Summit could hire my husband and I to walk into salons to pitch them! We honestly believed at first that this was just another way to waste money, more cds to collect dust in our office. No, going to Summit that first weekend and committing 100% to the system changed our lives, really it did. Our salon team grew, their incomes grew, confidence grew, clientele grew, salon profits grew… I only wish we had implemented this when we originally opened in 2005. Commit to it, do not cherry pick from it and your salon and team will benefit in so many ways!”

Quantitative Data

Pre Summit
Total Annual Sales: $619,000
Average Retail Sales/Month: $6,000
Average Services/Month: $45,000

1 year after The Summit
Total Annual Sales: +21%
Average Retail Sales/Monthy: +26%
Average Services/Month: +21%

2 years after The Summit
Total Annual Sales: +30%
Average Retail Sales/Month: +32%
Average Services/Month: +28%

3 years after The Summit
Total Annual Sales: +36% (3 year total, 111%)
Average Retail Sales/Month: +40%
Average Services/Month: +50%

Total Increase in Annual Sales: +132%
Total increase in Average Retail Sales/Month: +133%
Total increase in Average Services/Month: +134%