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Interviews with Indies: Making the Transition from a Salon to an Indie Luxury Studio

studio salon in Boulder

Considering making the transition to a private (or shared) studio salon suite? We understand it’s a big decision, and our Indies are here to tell you why making the switch is a smart business (and lifestyle) move. We hope this insider-look will help you determine whether becoming your own boss is the right step for you. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out!

Q: Why did you decide to leave your previous salon and move to an Indie luxury studio salon in Boulder, Denver, or Lone Tree?

Kiki Feenstra, @boulderhairbykiki: I was in a 21-chair salon as a booth renter before becoming an Indie. When COVID-19 became a concern, I decided to transition to a more private environment.

Sarah Denison, @iamwildandfreehair: I was motivated to leave my previous salon because. I wanted a safe environment and a way to control my schedule and business.

Katie Thran, @theeclipsesociety: I wanted more flexibility and the ability to make my own schedule.

Rachel Noe, @theersalonstudio: During these strange times with COVID, Erin and I knew that things were going to change dramatically with no true end in sight. Both of us are working moms that have been in the industry for quite some time and we knew all the new strict guidelines we needed to take in order to start our business. Now we have a beautiful, intimate environment that we can control for the safety of our families and our clients. This was the innovative concept we knew was a right fit.  (Erin and Rachel share a studio together.)

April Markley, @aprilmarkley.hair: I was feeling hesitant about working in a shared space after the Pandemic. I wasn’t confident that each individual would maintain the level of disinfection of shared spaces I was comfortable with.

Q: As someone who was previously either on commission or renting a booth, what advice would you give to other stylists out there who are thinking about making the switch to being their own boss?

Kiki: My advice is to make sure you have your clients’ contact information and inform them when you make the move. (Kiki was previously renting a booth at a large salon before becoming a successful entrepreneur at Indie.)

Sarah: I would tell anyone currently on commission and thinking of making the move to a salon studio suite to DO IT!!! For so long I was scared that it would be too much work and that I didn’t have enough clients, but I am so thankful that I made the leap. It is beyond rewarding to be your own boss and to take home the rewards of all your efforts. The only person that benefits from your talent are you and your clients, and that is how it should be!

Katie: If you are a commission stylist and have the clientele, it’s absolutely worth it. I no longer have to double book clients and am actually making more money. It takes a lot of stress out of the day and in turn creates a much more personable relationship with clients.

Rachel: If you’ve ever wanted to reap the benefits of owning a salon but don’t want to take on the responsibility of managing multiple people, this is the perfect situation for you! As much as I enjoy the relationships and the feel of other salons I’ve worked at, I take my business very seriously. I’m very proud of the clientele I have built. By moving into a private studio, it has actually made my business bloom and become stronger than ever. I have many new referrals coming regularly because everyone loves that we can provide a special one-on-one experience for them. People love getting their hair done! And even more, clients love that the focus and attention is just on them and no one else.  (Rachel and Erin, who share a studio suite, were both renting a booth prior to becoming their own boss at Indie.)

April: It is an easy transition especially for seasoned stylists with a thriving clientele. If the timing feels right, then it probably is!  (April moved from booth renter to busines owner at Indie.)

Q: What has been the best part of being your own boss and having your own salon studio?

Kiki: The best part has been to decorate my own suite.  I love being able to show my own style and personality. It’s also great to have the ability to continue to rearrange and have fun with it.

Sarah: The best part is seeing the fruits of my labor. I care more about my job and my clients and truly enjoy going to work every day because it is a space I curated just for me and my clients. P.S. I listen to my favorite music all day!!!

Katie: Having the creative freedom to design my own space.

Rachel: As hairstylists, we are creative people by nature. We crave it and need it in our lives. I LOVE that we get to design our own unique, beautiful studios to express our individual style. Clients love it! It’s like it tells a story and lets clients get to know you on a personal level. Now, every day I get to go do my job in a place that Erin and I designed that is our special home away from home.

April: The best part is really having complete control of your environment. From the music, to the experience and just the over-all vibe of the space you are presenting to the client. It’s all up to you!

Q: What is something you wish you’d known before you made the move?

Kiki: How fun the community is. I didn’t know that I would still be part of a team with talented stylists.  I thought I would be all by myself in a room and lonely…but it’s not that way at all at Indie!

Sarah:  I wish I would have known how supportive everyone is at Indie. I didn’t feel alone making this move and I don’t feel like I go to work alone every day. I have a team of 30+ people around me encouraging me and who are there to offer any helpful advice they have.

Katie: The ONE thing I wish I had known was the actual cost to get started. The cost of backbar and retail products were the most surprising to me.  I wasn’t as financially prepared to do it quite yet but I made it work and I paid it off in no time!

Rachel: Honestly, I feel like it was a no-brainer. You get to be your own boss, be in total control of your business, and sell your own retail. With all the strict guidelines right now, it’s also going to save you time and money for sanitation. We only have a handful of surfaces to clean rather than a whole salon, so it gives us peace of mind.

April: I can’t think of anything!

Q: Why did you choose Indie?

Kiki: I chose Indie because of the location. I also love that it’s new and fancy.

Sarah: I chose Indie because of my ability to truly make my space my own. I loved the idea of decorating my suite exactly how I wanted it, and they made it so easy to see it come to life.

Katie: I really felt like the Indie team wanted me to be successful and that they would do anything to help me get there!

Rachel: I worked in a salon studio space many years ago when they first started popping up. It was fine, but definitely not created equal. All the extra perks that Indie offers truly makes your experience so much easier. Some of the biggest ones that sold me are the fact that they offer education and business classes for a fraction of what you would pay normally. They are very proactive with social media and constantly updating information for the Indie community, which will only make your business even better. They did such a beautiful job with decor of the building in all the common areas. The parking and location are a huge bonus! It’s been nothing but a great experience so far.

April: I chose Indie because of the location, the polished and more modern feel of the interiors. Also because of how generous and capable they were in supporting all their stylists during the pandemic closures with rent forgiveness and going above and beyond to research all the available resources for us as independent small businesses. Lisa took the time to research it all and communicate it very clearly to us which was truly more than I could have expected.

Now that you’ve learned more about the process from real-life Indies, we’re here to offer a consultation whenever you’re ready. We’ll provide you with a complimentary business analysis if you’d like, as well as discuss additional perks of being an Indie, such as our wholesale beauty supply and rent rewards programs, and our awesome, supportive community. To arrange your meeting with our Market Manager, Kandice Meylan, please call or text her at 303-792-8222. We’re ready to help you make the transition to a studio salon so you can be your own boss and take your business to the next level!