This interview was requested and done for The Salon Chair Guys in San Diego California.
La Mesa Salon owner, community leader and stylist, Kim Creekmore
Since we first met you at the Beauty Gives Back event a few years ago you have been a great resource for all things hair in San Diego whether it’s the Facebook Groups you admin (Salon Professionals of San Diego and Salon Professionals of California), advice on changing state guidelines, or just a healthy dose of encouragement. I’m sure everyone who is involved in hair in San Diego should know you but for those who might not please tell us a little about yourself and your hair journey?
I started doing hair professionally in 2006. I went to work at a big salon that gave me a ton of education and crafted me into a very strong haircutter. Through that 6 year journey I started to feel like I was always going to be Kimmy the haircutter and wasn’t going to be anymore to that company. I wanted more freedom to play bigger, I needed something different and I was certain that even though I was making amazing money, I was burning out fast.
When I left the comfort of that salon, I went to rent a booth in a small salon in La Mesa. It wasn’t great, I didn’t fit in and I felt alienated from the people working there. I was without a team environment, and yearned to share information with other stylists that was given to me.
The Salon Professionals of San Diego was born out of the desire to bring this big, separated industry together and create a place for people to find educational events to elevate our industry.
The group has morphed into a place where our community comes to ask questions, give advice, find information on all the craziness with California State employment laws, and has allowed us to meet people we would have otherwise not had a chance to connect with. We launched sister groups to find jobs, one to find models for education, and last year we launched one for all of California and a sister group for their job postings.
My hope is that if you are a beauty professional in San Diego or in California that you think of us when you need some guidance. My other hope is that we stay united and help elevate one another instead of competing with one another. My next goal, is to move all the groups onto our website so everyone has access to the information that is available to them. For now all the action is on Facebook and Instagram.
https://salonprofessionalsofsandiego.com Our Beauty Industry Unites Here
Your salon Cultivate A HairLoveDesign Salon in La Mesa has won several Salon of the Year awards, with the chamber of commerce describing you as “A Hidden Gem Salon in the center of the iconic La Mesa village”. Please tell us, how did you build your business and brand to such high esteem and what advice would you have for a new salon owner?
I created Cultivate in La Mesa with the desire to create a team with a strong culture. I wanted a place where anyone who entered would feel welcome as soon as they passed through our doors. We focus on, and deliver a consultation to the client that they cannot get anywhere else. We put our Egos aside and listen with our ears and our hearts. We go above and beyond to maintain the comfort of our clients through every step of the process.
Last November we moved away from booth rental and moved into an employment business model. It was the best decision for our business. I know that you need to create systems that give people guidance and a with that, opportunity to create their own success behind the chair. We were not able to do that in a rental model. Now, I get to nurture new stylists from the ground up and give them personal attention on their journey.
~When I give new salon owners advice it sounds a little like this. ~
This journey will be hard, but it will be worth it. Don’t spend a ton of money on fancy decorations and try not to get into debt over it. Make sure you can handle the lease on your own, as there is a really good chance it will be a bit of a challenge to fill your chairs right away. Open a salon if you love the business. Doing great hair can get you far, but it won’t necessarily be the driver in the success of your new business.
Find ways to create consistency in your culture. Make sure your clients come first. Be all about YOUR business. Decide if you want to be hands off and be a landlord (rent out booths). Or if you have the passion to train and want a strong culture, consider starting small, hiring new stylists (pay them hourly) and train them. Keep going to education, take business classes, technical classes and ask for help.
Don’t play small and give your services away for next to nothing. Calculate how much money you need to make and charge accordingly. SAVE for retirement every week. Pay your taxes, seriously pay your taxes.
Success doesn’t come fast or for free but the return is worth every bit of heart that you put into it.
With the beauty industry changing so often, going from different trends even faster now with the advent of social media, what would you say the next big thing is? What’s the new wave? We keep hearing about baby bangs…lol
Oh dear god, baby bangs… Noooooooo. J/k I love baby bangs on the right person.
I am actually the worst one to ask about trends. I am all about creating looks that my clients want based on their current challenges with their hair and what their overall desire is. I’ve never been great at following or predicting trends, except the grey hair movement. I love seeing women embrace their natural beauty. It is such beautiful thing to see a woman who has been coloring her hair for years finally say out loud that they want to see who they really are. Ughh my heart, I’m such a softy.
Oh and social media, don’t get me started. I love it, but it really creates a lot of insecurity for stylists. Listen, you do not need to post 57 times a day to get clients. Be authentic, tell your story and people will find you. And don’t underestimate the power of connections with someone outside of the salon.
This will be the last question and we really appreciate your time. So before we go please tell us anything you would like us to know or look out for in the next few hair-months.
Salon Chair Guys, I just want you to know how much I appreciate you for all the support you have shown me along the way. My heart is full.
I hope to be refocusing on the Salon Professional Meetups so please be on the look out to how we can connect in person. And as I tell everyone when I meet them, if you need something please reach out. I’m open to you.