Where’s the best place to start a business? Are most beauty professionals happier working in the city or in suburban and outlying areas? What’s the success rate of starting a salon totally on your own vs. tapping into the benefits of renting a salon suite from IMAGE Studios?
Great questions, beautiful! At IMAGE Studios, we are all about helping entrepreneurs like you reap the many benefits of being your own boss. That’s been our top priority since Jason Olsen disrupted the traditional salon business model in 2009 with his vision of a more supported, inclusive community of beauty pros empowered to realize their dreams of #success.
Let’s dive into one of the most important decisions about opening a salon business: choosing suburban vs. rural vs. urban locations.
The planning and prep for opening a salon business may seem endless. But the time you spend now on creating a salon business plan and thinking through the details will pay off in a solid foundation that keeps you on course toward a bright future. Once you’ve clarified your goals, you can move on to determining the best place to start your business.
Remember the proverbial first three rules of real estate: location, location, location! It sounds cheesy, but it’s absolutely true that you can alter many aspects of a property — like its appearance, layout and amenities — but you cannot change its physical location. That means vetting salon locations central to:
Fulfilling that wish list for your new salon while staying within your budget may seem like a tall order, especially if you’ve already started researching salon rental fees in major cities. Hear us out, though, because starting a salon with new business support from IMAGE Studios can be a game-changer for many ambitious entrepreneurs just like you. Part of our business model includes scouting and vetting salon locations that offer unbeatable benefits for beauty professionals.
Our experience has taught us much about the many advantages urban salons have over less-populated locations. The benefits of urban vs. rural salon locations include:
Your IMAGE Studios salon suite is the clean slate where you can unleash your creativity and craft your ideal workspace. From vivid artwork to lush live greenery to sumptuous furnishings to eye-catching wallpaper, our salon owners decorate their spaces with unmatched originality. And we reward the most innovative efforts with national and regional Studio Design Awards that incentivize brand building. But what good is a one-of-a-kind logo and ingenious branding if no one ever sees it?
Salon locations in highly populated urban areas naturally get more attention than those in small towns. And brand visibility is crucial to starting a salon with staying power!
What’s the secret to building clientele and creating brand identity as a beauty professional? Opening a salon business where there’s lots of foot traffic! Even if you don’t take walk-ins, getting newcomers to walk in the door and make appointments is key to keeping a steady flow of clients in your chair. We choose IMAGE Studios salon locations that welcome pedestrians with a good mix of retail and service-oriented businesses, as well as ample parking, good lighting and safe walkways.
A big advantage of working in the city is the opportunity to network with like-minded professionals. Where the traditional beauty salon model often kept talented pros isolated from their peers, we create mini communities of entrepreneurs who work together for mutual success. The types of salons that thrive at IMAGE Studios are as diverse as they come — including every category of beauty pro from hair stylists and barbers to lash and nail techs, tattoo and microblading artists, estheticians, massage therapists and more.
You can work right next door to other salon owners whose services complement yours, offering cross-referrals that allow clients to book multiple services in one visit (more on this in a moment) and keep both your schedules filled on the daily.
Beauty is your life — but you still need a life away from your salon chair to be happy and fulfilled. Here’s where urban area advantages really work in your favor! Whatever fills your mental and spiritual tank — from soaking up nature’s beauty to attending theater productions or concerts to dining on international cuisine to connecting with a lifestyle community — can be found in the urban centers we choose for IMAGE Studios salon locations. In fact, one of the benefits of touring IMAGE Studios salon suites before committing to a lease is getting a sense of how you and your family will fit into the wider community. An in-person visit reveals the many ways you can achieve a healthy work-life balance in your very own salon in or near a major metropolis.
From retailers to restaurant owners to factory workers, most professionals belong to a community that’s tailored to their industry — with the glaring exception of beauty professionals. That omission is part of the reason Jason Olsen founded our company — and it’s why IMAGE Studios has such a diverse group of beauty professionals working together toward mutual success. Each of our salon locations becomes a built-in community of entrepreneurs with similar goals, challenges and opportunities for growth. No matter what your particular specialty is, you’ll be in close proximity to other pros who understand the industry and can offer insights, share resources and refer clients for complementing services. You won’t feel alone or isolated in a new city knowing your colleagues have your back!
Need more convincing that an urban center is the best place to start a business? No prob! Let’s consider the customer’s perspective on urban area advantages for the businesses they’re more likely to patronize. Most people who are looking for salon locations to visit on the regular require:
No one wants to drive around a labyrinth of suburban streets or navigate unmarked rural routes to get to a salon. IMAGE Studios are consistently situated near major highways or at the crossroads of main thoroughfares. We do this deliberately to make sure your salon business is easy to find and quickly accessible as your clients are commuting or taking care of errands.
Opening a salon business next to other businesses is a smart choice for several reasons. First, your proximity to retail or other services allows your clients to coordinate their visit to you with other errands, like shopping or getting a pet groomed. Second, starting a salon in an urban center makes sense for attracting large groups of clients, like bridal parties, who may want to combine your beauty services with dress fittings or dining options. Also, working in the city makes it easier for you to take care of personal matters between clients, like picking up your dry cleaning or grabbing take-out for dinner.
Your IMAGE salon comes with lots of amenities that your clients value, like ample parking, restrooms kept clean by a housekeeping service and large, beautifully designed waiting areas. We also provide free Wi-Fi for you and your customers, as well as onsite laundry facilities for an easy, steady supply of fresh towels and capes. When you compare how much it costs to rent a salon suite from us vs. leasing and renovating a space on your own to include all this, the advantages of opening a salon business at one of our urban IMAGE locations really start to come into focus.
Your clients are busy people. If they can see you for a balayage hair treatment, then stick around to see your colleague for a lash or nail application on the same day, they’ll be more likely to schedule tandem appointments with regularity. IMAGE Studios salon suites become a one-stop convenience for your clientele with this business model. And we give you the day-to-day support to pull it off effortlessly by setting you up with your own personalized website and GlossGenius, the app that impressed us with seamless appointment booking and payment processing.
See for yourself how the urban advantages at IMAGE Studios locations across the country align with your life and business goals. Whether you’re looking for the ideal space in your own hometown or you want to relocate to the city you’ve always dreamed about, we’ve vetted salon locations that deliver the most urban area advantages for your entrepreneurial success. Catch our vibe in a virtual tour, then take charge of your beautiful future in one of the best places to start a business with staying power: IMAGE Studios Salon Suites!