10 Business Tips for Young Salon Owners

How young bosses can manage staff smartly and empathetically.


The dream for many is to open their own salon, gain a loyal clientele and garner success. Some nail techs harbor this career ambition from an early age, and some actually make it a reality before they even reach 25. However, being a young boss comes with a laundry list of challenges—some of which are forced upon them due to ingrained societal biases. The resultis self-doubt that can plague the young owner before she even opens her doors. “I was concerned that I wouldn’t be taken seriously because of my lack of experience managing a team. I was worried that I would lack authority and people might see me as a bit of a pushover,” says Emily Jin, age 26, owner of Milly Nail & Jin Acupuncture in Brighton, United Kingdom. This line of thought can lead to what Jon Hill, Chairman and CEO of The Energists, an executive search and recruiting firm, calls the “proving period.” “The issue, I think, is that young bosses are more likely to internalize this reasonable skepticism from their team and feel pressure to prove themselves as competent, which can often backfire because it shifts the focus away from the success of the team and makes it all about the boss,” he says. “That kind of ‘me-centric’ approach is never going to be received well by a team, no matter the boss’ age.” So, how does a young manager push aside biases, take the focus off of her and lead her team with conviction so that staff and boss feel fulfilled? Here, young salon managers and veteran recruiters lend advice on how to navigate this tricky situation.

1. Come Prepared

研究是你的朋友。获取您需要建立业务的每一点信息,直到如何洽谈。知识是力量,正如索菲商业,23岁,涅瓦那的所有者,位于苏格兰东北苏格兰副央行,也发现了艰难的方式 - 即使您使用公用事业公司。“由于我的年龄,他们绝对利用了我,”她的重新打开了。她的建议:尽可能多地参加桌面。在线寻求来自沙龙所有者或研究信息的指导,以便您的年龄将是一个数字 - 甚至在谈判中也是一个威慑力。

2. Find a Mentor

而互联网无疑提供了一个丰富的advice for the young manager, Carla Hatler, owner of LACQUER nail studios in Austin, Texas, recommends leaning on a mentor. Hatler, who became a young salon manager at 27, says, “It’s invaluable to have someone who can guide you and give you tough feedback when you need to hear it. It has to be a two-way street, though.” Open yourself up to feedback and constructive criticism, and let your mentor know about your achievements and failures. “Most people who have been through the trials and tribulations of being a young manager or salon owner don’t want to see others make the same mistakes they did, so if someone you respect in your industry is willing to mentor you and give you advice—listen!” Hatler says.



4. Don’t Be Shy About Your Age

随着年轻人来到这个“年龄” - old问题:“你多大了?”你的泡沫员工是否应该得到一个答案?答案:是的 - 有一些警告。“我诚实地回答了这个问题,”乔治亚赖特,26岁,在英国汉普郡汉普郡的新米尔顿的工作室主人。“我这样做是因为我为我的年龄达到了成就而自豪,我不想隐藏。这对我来说这是一个如此巨大的积极态度,虽然我对员工有一些艰难时期,并且是一个老板,我从中拍了这么多,热爱我现在的位置。“符合您的年龄符合您所学到的态度可以让员工知道是的,你承认你的年轻人,但你也相信自己是一个老板 - 他们也可以。

5. Remember Who’s Boss

When Bárbara Pereira, owner of Heirs of Venus in Lisbon, Portugal, decided to bring on employees at age 22, she thought of them as friends first and staff second—a mistake she soon regretted. “It’s hard to start setting boundaries a few months into the job when you should have set them from the start!” she laments. “I think the lines can be very easily blurred when you become too friendly and close with your staff,” agrees Wright. One of Pereira’s employees, who had nearly nine years’ experience on her, exploited the friendship, refusing to listen to Pereira’s lead—and, because Pereira had invested in the friendship, she didn’t want to rock the boat. Wright warns that young bosses should prepare themselves for some painful “breakups” in those first years if they don’t draw a line between friendship and healthy staff relationships. “You’ll want to establish a clear hierarchy in the salon right from the start,” she advises.

6. stand Your Ground

“Don’t let employees use their age as a way to demean or belittle you,” warns Hatler. “I’ve been on the receiving end of this before and almost always it’s a cover-up for some type of insecurity.” Do some self-reflection: When you understand your strengths and weaknesses, and are consistent and fair in your management style, age becomes inconsequential—and you can say as much when veteran techs use their age as leverage. “I’d say consistency and follow-through are the most important things any young boss can do to establish credibility and trust,” Hatler says.



8. Encourage Growth For All


9. Never Make Age-Based Assumptions

Making assumptions that the older generation doesn’t know the trends or new techniques is a surefire way to alienate them. After all, as Goodwin points out, “Everyone was new at some point!” Like Jin, Goodwin suggests working as a team to learn everything together—age notwithstanding. “As a team, we encourage each other to try new things, whether it be using an online booking system together instead of having paper appointment books or trying out new trends and using each other as models and helping each other grow our businesses through social media,” Goodwin says.


Young entrepreneurship should be celebrated, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Put trust in your abilities, enforce rules, set boundaries and soak up as much experience as you can from those around you. “As a younger boss, you’re naturally inexperienced in certain areas, but you need to learn that experience will only come with time, and that it’s OK to not know everything,” says Wright, who just opened a bigger salon and admits she’s still learning every day. Mistakes will happen along the way—and that’s OK. “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; all of the most successful people do! And if you’re not, you’re not trying hard enough,” shares Goodwin. Use each mistake as a teachable moment, and you’ll earn trust from not only your team, but from your clients, too.

The old adage, “Age is just a number,” is true—if you put in the hard work to learn, be open to suggestions and criticism, and lead with positivity. “We created such a positive atmosphere that we often forget who’s the oldest and the youngest,” says Pereira. “When clients come in, if they booked through the salon’s Instagram, they have no idea who’s the boss. Everyone is treated equally!”

Karie L. Frost is freelance writer, copywriter and artist living in Glastonbury, Connecticut.


You’ve paid your dues, working a decade—sometimes several—to get where you are. But your boss is young, and you can’t help but feel superior. Here, Hill and French help you ease into this power dynamic gracefully.

descending language.”

For the full article, check out Nailpro's May/June digital magazine.

More in Business