From Transition to Triumph

Owner: Misty Burbridge
Jacksonville, Florida
Consultant: Sharmaine Giorgio
Year Opened 1990
Sq Ft 1,750
Number of Locations: 1
Now, 16 stylists, average income $35,000 with the two highest earners making $92,000
Favorite Retail Contest: Writing down the 3 products on the travelers and rewarding people for their consistency.


Rio Hair Salon

Misty Burbridge entered the professional beauty industry and wanted to become a hairstylist because of her early love of fashion and people. Her natural abilities became evident at the age of 13 when she was practicing haircutting and styling techniques. So, she went to beauty school in 1980. Fast forward 10 years and she was opening her very own salon company, Rio Hair Studio.

“When I first opened Rio in 1990 it was because I wanted to be my own boss.” She explains, “I ended up taking us through many transitions. We were commission based and then went with the trend to booth rent. We were going back to commission but I was not sure where we were going or how to get there. I was burnt out as an owner. The blended salon was good but we still had no direction. We all loved each other, the industry and education but we had no way to move forward.”



The biggest challenges were:

  1. Structure for New Talent
    • How to motivate and guide the new talent.
    • Guidelines for Assistants and Associates.
  2. Structure and Rewards for Experienced Stylists
    • Systems to measure growth.
  3. Budgeting
    • Misty did not know where all the money was going or how much to budget. Her main form of budgeting was making it up.
  4. Recruiting new Stylists
  5. Confidence to Follow Through

Misty was feeling discouraged. She felt like she could never get ahead herself. “The salon was my responsibility to maintain, remodel, promote… but my income was limited because of my lack of knowledge. I was scared to disappoint the stylists but resentful of the situation and at a loss to change it. My leadership was more hands off, I worked hard so felt like I was leading by example. I was a friend, confidant and party person to all, not a boss. I think they liked me but I was not sure.”

Misty came to a crossroads where either she needed to sell Rio Hair Studio or be willing to try something new. She knew that she needed help and had exhausted all of her brain power. “I attended an SSBC class at Focus that gave me inspiration. I felt helpless when I left his class, but I knew there was a path. My DSE at the time, Shirley DeTreville, recommended that I attend The Summit. I moved to my new location and then attended The Summit for the first time in 2009.”


At The Summit, Misty found determination and vision. The paperwork gave her hope, structure, and something to strive for. Her eyes were set on a ten year plan with shareholders and an exit strategy.

Three initiatives that made the greatest difference:

  1. Performance based compensation
    • The service providers are in charge of their paycheck.
    • The hours they work are based on industry standards.
  2. Monthly One-on-Ones
    • Gives insight into what is happening in their lives. Keeps the owner in touch with them. Gives them a safe place to let go of negative emotions and focus on the numbers and their career path.
    • There are two aspects of growing a business: Numbers and People. You have to grow both, the one-on-ones provide that space.
  3. Budgets
    • She now uses budgets to keep spending in check, even if she exceeds them she knows why and how much.

Misty’s relationship changed dramatically with her employees. She is now unafraid to hold her service providers accountable and implement new systems. She is no longer held hostage. “I feel they respect the fact that I have a coach, Sharmaine Giorigo, that helps me learn.” Misty explains, “They are happy I take the time to help and listen to them. They know my strengths and weaknesses and we have an understanding of each other and know that neither is perfect. Communication is key! I am now a different owner because I have less resentment and more hope. I realize that now the business is not about me it is about growing the stylist and the salon company. It is a whole new focus.”


“I feel very blessed every day to know that the professionals that work in my salon have a passion for hair.” Misty says, “As owners we complain about our employees but should find the diamond in that rough exterior. The culture of love and camaraderie is one of the most important aspects I try to cultivate in all my stylists. If someone doesn’t seem to gel with the team, then I do not hold on to them. It doesn’t make that person a bad person, just not a good fit. As an owner I aspire to help my team go where they want to go personally and professionally. This will become the ultimate win-win for everyone.”

Stylist Spotlight

Laura Carmicheal has worked at Rio Hair Studio for four years and is a Level 4A Stylist. She spent the early part of her career as a booth renter- but was daunted by the responsibility to keep up with color costs and rent on top of building a clientele. This is when she started looking for other opportunities.

“I found Rio Hair Studio and knew instantly this is where I wanted to be.” Laura explains, “The salon was absolutely gorgeous and there was an energy about it that was captivating. When I realized what the Summit Salon Systems were all about, I became consumed with my Summit Salon Stylist Planner that was provided to me. I logged everything as it was designed in the training at the front of the book. For the first time ever I was consciously aware of my business. I began to really focus on my goals and climb the ranks quickly by level jumping. I have excelled to a level 4 in that short time working with an associate. The structure of the Summit Salon Systems has changed my life in so many ways. The level of support I have is endless and I have successfully gone up $20,000 every year which is NOT stopping next year either. That in itself is life changing!”


Are you ready?

If you are thinking about taking the leap and implementing PROVEN salon business strategies into YOUR salon company, Misty has some advice for you:

“This program will change your salon life. It is scary because change is scary but it is worthwhile in the end. It will make you love being an owner again and proud of our industry. Nothing worthwhile is easy or everyone would be doing it. Try it, if you don’t like it you can always go back.”


Qualitative Data:

Pre Summit (2007)
Total Annual Sales: $236,502
Average Retail/Month: $4,809
Average Services/Month: $19,708
Average Ticket: $53.55

1 Year after Summit Launch (2009)
Total Annual Sales: +65%
Average Retail/Month: +14%
Average Services/Month:  +80%
Average Ticket: +9%

Currently (2016, 7 years later)
Total Increase in Annual Sales: +365% $1,100,742.79
Total Increase in Average Retail/Month: +40%, $6,722
Total Increase in Average Services/Month: +365%, $91,728
Total Increase in Average Ticket: +55%, $82.78