If you’ve taken a peek at Salon Today’s Total Salon Makeover application and considered entering, Estelle Bouras, owner of the Jon Kailey Salon in Wilmette, Illinois, encourages you to do it. “Last year, I deleted the email several times before I finally filled it out,” she admits. “I’ve never won anything in my life. So, I thought it was impossible. But, now I’d tell owners, fill it out, you never know!”
Much to her surprise, Bouras did win the 2015 competition, including a prize package valued at more than $30,000, including new front desk or furniture and interior design services from Takara Belmont; a complete salon management system, including hardware and software from STX; a full retail collection, fully stocked backbar, the Color Therapy product portfolio and a marketing and education package from Keratin Complex; and a business assessment and makeover plan from Strategies.
Last year, Bouras got the process rolling with a 4-day Strategies’ Incubator training program. “Estelle is discovering her company’s true potential, and she’s been such a joy to work with,” says Strategies Founder Neil Ducoff. “During the Incubator training, Estelle learned about how to read financials and critical numbers, drive productivity and conduct huddles and scoreboards. And, she built her company’s very first 12-month cash flow plan.”
Upon her return to her salon, Bouras began working on her business with Ducoff and slowly started rolling out new management ideas to her team.
The next phase of her Total Salon Makeover included working with Carolyn Collins at Takara Belmont to decide how to use the furniture and interior design package to freshen up her salon design. In the following Q&A, Bouras details that part of her journey.
SALON TODAY: When you won Salon Today’s Total Makeover competition, what changes were you hoping to make to your salon’s design?
Bouras: “Our prize package from Takara Belmont included $10,000 worth of furniture and complimentary design services. My design goal was to remodel the color area of our salon, but I also knew we’d need a bigger front desk to accommodate the new hardware we’d be receiving from STX. Well, we walked into Takara Belmont and found a front desk/coffee bar cabinet combo (originally listed for more $9,000) on sale for $1894.00! It was on sale because it was last year’s floor model, and so we grabbed it right away for that price! The remaining $8,000 covered the cost of five stations with mirrors for the color area and a few rolling carts that hold tint bowls. So, all the areas we were trying to improve on were covered!”
SALON TODAY: Did you add to the renovation budget to help transform your look?
Bouras: We were able to stay within our $10,000 budget at Takara Belmont, but we did spend some additional money on painting the entire salon before the new furniture arrived. We have been in our location for seven and a half years, so it was time. The clients were equally excited about the new paint colors and the new furniture.”
SALON TODAY: How did you work the design changes into your busy salon schedule?
Bouras: “The painting and installation of furniture took place over a 4-day period of time. We are closed Sunday and Monday, and then decided to close the shop Tuesday and Wednesday to give us enough time to finish up. My husband is a contractor, so the stations were installed by him.”
SALON TODAY: What has been the reaction of your staff and clients to the fresh design?
Bouras: “I didn’t really tell the staff in advance what the remodel would look like. In all honesty, the stations were delivered hidden in boxes, and we truly didn’t finalize our decision on a wall color until the weekend we started the work! We started with some pretty neutral colors, so decided this time we needed something with a kick, and that’s how we ended up with the vibrant teal! The team members were surprised and excited about the changes when they arrived for work on Thursday. And, the clients stop me in the salon constantly to comment on how beautiful the salon is looking! There’s definitely a fresh energy in the when changes are made … it’s exciting and fun to watch that happen!”