Is Sola Salon Studios changing salons for the better?


Have you ever heard of Sola Salon Studios? If you haven’t, they are a salon studio that allows for established hair stylists to be on their own without all the business and building stress. Each owner has their own independent room (studio) to style and customize themselves.

Here is my story:

I opened my salon studio at a local Sola Salon Studios in August of 2014 after coming from a commission based salon. I first knew that I needed to find an accountant that can get tax information set up for a self-employed business. I’ll admit the first year was hard getting set up to be on your own; I had to pay self-employment tax and local/state sales tax. Saving receipts to monitoring product inventory required a lot of work I wasn’t used to.

One thing to understand, is the main way to grow your clientele is from referrals; quality of your work matters. The major downfall from coming from a popular local salon to working independently is the lack of walk-ins and random new clients. My husband came up with a strategy in May of 2015 to be listed on the first page of Google. This has so far worked out great for the salon, enough to bring in a second stylist.

With the high volume of growth of our business, we decided to look in to opening an actual independent hair salon outside of the Sola Salon Studios once our lease expires in August of 2016;  seems to make sense for business expansion. We looked at the start-up costs for a hair salon and it seemed doable. My husband sat down with a realtor and went over the actual costs. It turns out that the IRS, State Cosmetology Commission, and Local Building Codes have much stricter rules and regulations than what we had initially anticipated. It was a shocker to have a full business plan ready to go to only find out that the start-up costs are doubled and the operational expenses are higher with triple net (real estate limbo). We determined it would take 3-4 years to finally be turning a profit, that is, if the business succeeds (80% of business fail within the first 18 months of operation, according to Forbes). Not to mention all the extra work and stress that goes in to managing the building as well as the business.

From a personal business aspect, Sola Salon Studios is growing and eliminating several stress factors in operating a business. We ended up signing a new lease for a larger room with the possibility of opening a studio in another Sola.

We receive approximately 50% of new clients from referral, 30% from a high ranking site on Google, and 20% from Sola Salon Inquiries. 2 years ago nobody had really heard of Sola Salon until recently. New clients as well as random people I have spoken to, almost all have heard about Sola Salon as being regarded as a place for successful stylists.

Previously in 2014, people would ask me as a hair stylist, “Do you Booth Rent or work off Commission?” Now (2016) with Sola Salon’s concept, I hear people ask me, “Do you Booth Rent, do Commission, or Have your own Room?


My husband and I have loved the experience here at Sola which has allowed me to be an almost stress-free salon owner that can just come in and do what I love! I’d recommend any hair stylist that is looking to go independent that is swaying towards just booth renting, check out Sola!

Is Sola Salon Studios changing salons for the better? Absolutely! They have successfully bridged the gap between a booth renting and salon ownership.

merissa with a client

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