Whether you are a hair stylist starting your career or a seasoned expert in the industry, an understanding of the business landscape is critical to your success. The beauty business isn’t a 9-to-5 kind of industry, and Adia Bell knows this very well. A licensed stylist for 13 years, Bell is the owner of Posh Hair Boutique, a full-service salon in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia.
Rolling out had the opportunity to speak with Bell about business ownership, key tenants to success, and advice for young women and men interested in owning a salon.
When did you realize that becoming a hair stylist was the career you wanted to pursue?
I realized it when I was in high school. I used to do my friends’ hair, and my mom saw that I had a talent so she suggested that I go to hair school. One thing I realized is that college isn’t for everyone, so I took my mom’s advice and opted to go to a trade school. This was the best decision that I made. I was glad that my mother suggested that I go in this direction because it all worked out.
How did you go from working in a salon to owning your own salon?
While in school, I began working at a salon while working toward my degree. Upon graduation, I started my full-time career at a hair salon owned by members of my family, where I worked for 10 years. During this time, I gained vast amounts of experience learning the business of salon ownership while building my clientele. Once my clientele grew and became as big as the owners’, I realized it was time.
What is one of the most important elements to successfully running a business?
Professionalism and customer service have to be on 100. Having a full-service salon, it is important to have people market for you. Word of mouth is still one of the biggest marketing tools business owners have, and too many bad experiences can result in leaking customers to other businesses. Generating repeat customers happens when you have a great product or service and your customer service is also exceptional.
What key piece of advice do you have for young women and men of color who are interested in owning a salon?
Be on time. Owning a salon does not mean that it is OK to develop a lack of professionalism with your time and your customers’ time.
Business representation. Take the time to make sure you have an accountant and [a] business lawyer. Accurate accounting of your business and taxes will help you to have a clear picture of your finances and alleviate any issues with the IRS. A business lawyer is important because you just never know when there may be a need for their services.