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How to Keep Stylists When the World Is in Turmoil

Featured image by jacqueline macou from Pixabay 

Currently, salons are losing stylists as they migrate to more secluded salon suites. COVID-19 may have sped up the migration, as individual spaces became more appealing to clients and stylists looking to limit their exposure to groups of people. However, there are many reasons why stylists are opting for their own salon suites.


Long before COVID-19, beauticians were moving to individual salon suites to start their entrepreneurial journey and create a name for themselves outside of a singular salon. There is a lot more flexibility that comes with doing hair in a salon suite. However, there are still many benefits to working in a salon with other stylists, especially today. If you’re wondering how to retain and recruit stylists as COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted on salons, keep reading this guide to find approaches that can help you reach your goal.

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Offer Stylists Incentives

While salon suites have become more appealing, there are still many perks to working in a salon. As a business and salon owner, you’re in control of the perks you offer that make working at your salon more desirable to stylists.

For example, you can offer certain incentives like reducing chair rent. Or offer incoming stylists a chance to build their clientele with special initiatives. If you’re not sure which incentives are appealing to your stylists—and feasible for you—start surveying your hairdressers and estheticians.

Also, seek advice from outside stylists. Retaining stylists is all about making them happy. And what better way to learn about their needs and wants than through their own advice and experiences?

Provide Social Media Support and Growth

Today, clients are finding new hairstylists via social media. That means that it’s of high interest for stylists to boost their following and have a strong social media presence. If you have the social media game figured out and you’ve amassed a pretty decent following and audience, it may be appealing to current or incoming hairstylists. They will understand they can tap into the audience and clientele you have built.


Feature your hairstylists regularly on your salon’s social media account by photographing them at work and sharing their stories. This potential visibility will encourage stylists to want to work for you. Additionally, it also helps your social media presence seem more personable. Storytelling and personable brands are what people love to see on social media.

You can also empower your stylists by helping them create a social media presence. Set up a photo-worthy spot in your salon where stylists can capture their work to post. It’s a win-win for your business. Consider setting up a photo area with a ring light for perfect and professional-looking photos.

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Fill Your Salon with the Latest and Greatest

From new products to salon equipment, you’ll want your salon to have state-of-the-art equipment. This will motivate beauticians to do their job well. People love coming into a salon where they feel pampered and empowered.

Also, ask your stylists if they might benefit from your stocking the retail displays with new products. Getting their feedback shows them you care about them and value their opinion. One of the major perks of working at a salon rather than a salon suite is being able to focus on your craft. Meanwhile, hairdressers can allow the business owner to focus on handling the everyday things like restocking products or investing in new pedicure chairs.

Make Their Space Personal

Many stylists are turning to salon suites because they want more creative freedom over their space. They want something that feels like it’s their own.

So if you could take one page out of the salon suite playbook, it should be the personalization approach. Encourage stylists to make their styling station reflect their personality. Let them use their own decorations, or offer to print branding materials such as business cards or social media plaques. This will help stylists feel like you’re invested in them.

Something as simple as a picture frame with the stylist’s name, social media tags, and contact information could make someone feel like that styling station belongs to them. Also, make sure to choose stations that have ample storage for stylists’ tools, personal items, and more.

Get to Know Your Stylists and Estheticians

As a salon or spa owner, it’s your job to keep your finger on the pulse of everything. It might benefit you to learn about the types of services your stylists love providing. Find out what they’re good at and what they want to do more of.

For example, say one stylist wants to do more extensions while the other wants to try her hand at balayage. Knowing that can help you point new clients in the right direction while giving your stylists more of the jobs they love doing. This act shows your stylists that you care about their happiness at work and that you have faith in their abilities. This could go a long way toward making stylists want to stay.

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Provide Protection and Enhance Safety Measures During the Pandemic

This may be a given, but you need to make sure your stylists feel safe coming into work every single day—especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the leading reasons why stylists are leaving salons for their own salon suite is for safety reasons.

To keep your stylists happy and excited to come into work, you’ll need to invest in personal protective equipment and proper cleaning supplies. Additionally, install barriers to keep clients separated and stylists socially distanced.

As a salon owner, you will want to be the one enforcing social distancing and mask-wearing. Don’t leave that responsibility to your stylists, as it could create turmoil. Owning this process and making sure everyone feels protected and safe will win you huge points with your stylists and estheticians. It will also take the pressure off their shoulders. They will know that you’re looking out for them and all they have to do is show up to work.

Treat Stylists Right to Keep Them in Your Salon

Are you feeling inspired to create a salon or spa where stylists and estheticians want to work? Whether you can implement a few or all of these strategies, chances are your beauticians will love you for taking this extra effort. At the end of the day, listening to feedback from the people who currently work for you is the most important way to keep them.