Not Just Your Day Job

A 30-year veteran of the salon industry, Don Bewley is one of the few owners of a salon professional product manufacturer that is still a hairdresser today. He founded Eufora Intl. with his wife, Beth, just over a decade ago but his career began in New York City where he trained with the industry’s best and became a talented stylist. He went on to own multiple profitable salons in the Cleveland area and was recognized for owning one of the top five retailing salons in North America.

So, how did Don Bewley turn his early job as a stylist into his lifelong career? He shares with you his tips for becoming a career stylist and taking the plunge from stylist to salon owner...

Becoming a Career Stylist

I wanted to be an architect. That was my career path. After attending college for two years, I decided to take a break. Shortly after this, I realized that the beauty profession was the direction I wanted to take. Both my mother and sister were in the business, and I am sure this is what influenced me to get involved with the industry.

Starting out as a stylist over 30 years ago, I would not be where I am today if I did not make the conscious decision to turn this into my lifelong career. The hair industry is something I love and have decided to put my heart and soul into. In every profession, you will find those that approach it as “just a job” and those that embrace it as a career. Career centered people are often the most successful because they go the extra mile, take the time to educate themselves and strive to be the best. This does not just apply to hairstylists. Even attorneys and medical professionals can view their work as just a job.

From the beginning, I realized that if I wanted to make this a successful career, I would have to educate myself. Yes, I went through beauty school, but continuing education is just as important. If you do not invest in your job everyday, it will never become a career. I prided myself on keeping up with the latest hair cutting techniques, the trendiest styles and the best products. By investing in my education, I was able to take my everyday job and turn it into a successful business. Eventually, I opened my first salon, which turned into five, which turned into creating my salon professional hair care lines, Eufora and Eufora Hero for Men.

I believe turning your job into your career is all about attitude. As in any profession, you get out of it what you put into it. If you decide to make this your career, you too will get out of it, what you put in, so invest in yourself and you will be a success.

From Stylist to Salon Owner

After years as a stylist on the East Coast, I decided to take the plunge to salon owner, probably for the same reason as most. I believed that I had become a successful stylist and thought I could do a better job of running a salon than most. However, I quickly learned that I needed to educate myself on the many areas of running a business if I was going to be successful. Those early months provided me with a great lesson; this was not going to be as easy as it looked.

There is much preparation that goes into becoming a salon owner that many tend to neglect. During my travels to salons across North America, I meet so many people who go from stylist to salon owner without taking the time to understand all aspects of running a business. Any stylist that wants to take the plunge needs to write a business plan, research the market and secure proper financing.

Do not underestimate the fact that you will be running a business and it requires skills and knowledge in many areas other than providing great service and hair. You will also need to understand marketing, accounting, taxes, finance and human resource laws, with which most stylists are unfamiliar.

Along with becoming an owner, comes the realization that it is not just about you anymore. It is no longer just about cutting great hair and building clientèle. As an owner, you have a great responsibility to the team. You must think about everything that makes a salon successful. The way you run this business will not only affect you, but will affect every person you hire. You will find that if you are not financed properly from the beginning, you will be working harder and longer behind the chair in addition to running the business. If you have a love for hair, you may find that you spend more time doing things that you do not love as much.

Although it may all seem very overwhelming at first, owning a successful salon can give you a great sense of satisfaction and pride. If you believe that owning a salon is the right next step for you, ask yourself this question: Could you open and start a bakery? An auto body shop? A restaurant? To be successful, you have to love “running” the business and not just wearing the title of “salon owner.” Although your love for hair is the reason you are initially opening the salon, you have to love everything else that comes with it.

To this day, I am happy I decided to follow my dreams and open my first salon, but it did not come without many hard lessons learned. Lessons that I gladly share with my fellow stylists who want to become owners. Do not rush into things, take your time, develop a plan and make sure you have enough money to do it right. I also recommend reading “The E-Myth” by Michael Gerber. It is a great book for entrepreneurs, and if after reading this book you are still passionate about opening your own salon, go for it and do not look back.

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