Vanity Salon

Thanksgiving weekend started off normally for Vanity Salon in Houston, TX. Fiona Tolunay, director of operations, and her brother Rory, human resources manager, had a lot to be thankful for: an amazing team, a thriving business, and a beautiful second location opening in two weeks.

The salon’s office, after the fire was put out.
Source: Vanity Salon

Business at the salon was brisk the day after Thanksgiving, and locking up that night, Rory Tolunay had no indication that everything was about to change.

Blackened Friday

“We didn’t actually get the call from the fire department. Our manager’s friend drove by and saw the trucks, and then had to hand the phone to the firemen because she though her friend was joking.”

Once they realized it was really a fire, the calls went around and Rory and Fiona rushed down to the salon to see for themselves.

What they found was a mess. The fire was out, but the office was blackened, the salon was flooded, and fire hoses had soaked the computers. All they could think was that they were thankful it wasn’t worse, and that there was nobody in the salon, but they were also opening a new location and booked solid going into Holiday, so they needed to come up with a plan, and quick.

Rebuilding Over a Holiday Weekend

Part of fire damage is the fire itself. Then there’s the smoky smell and the water from putting it out. The back office itself had to be completely gutted and rebuilt, but the whole salon needed to be re-floored, re-sheetrocked, and have new ceiling tiles put in.


For a hot minute, it was Black Friday, and Vanity was holiday-ready. (Unfortunately, floor dryers aren’t all that festive, nor do they work on soaked computers).
Source: Vanity Salon

They also had to figure out a way to get business back up and running, which meant accessing their salon management software and rebooking all the appointments that would be affected until they opened.

Vanity’s computers and server were destroyed by the water, so the challenge was to find a quick solution to rebuild their network and to get up and running again in a new location that wasn’t under emergency construction. This location ended up being their manager Su Yuen’s living room.

Not knowing what to do first to get their system up again, Rory called SalonBiz.

A Tech Game Plan for Recovery

The whole SalonBiz customer service team was shocked when we got the call. We know how important that time of year is for any salon, let alone for a business that’s opening a new location in two weeks. We put our heads together and came up with a game plan. First step: purchase new computers and printers that work with SalonBiz.

Our customer service team coached Vanity on the best printer to buy with the easiest setup, which would still be useful when they got back into the salon. They went shopping for hardware, and once everything was back at Su Yuen’s house, Rory called us back. We set up an online support session and were able to remotely connect to their new computers, install the salon management software, and set up the printers.


Owner Fiona at the temporary Vanity headquarters (Manager Su Yuen’s home), immediately contacting guests after the fire.
Source: Vanity Salon

The next step was rerouting the IP address so Vanity’s database could be restored to their new computers. Because SalonBiz hosts our customers’ databases remotely, Vanity’s info was all safe and backed up.

Not a Payroll was Missed

Once we loaded the new computers set up with their existing data, the salon software itself functioned almost as if they were simply reopening for business the next day—no gap in the information—so the Vanity team was able to start calling guests and rescheduling appointments.

Perhaps even more importantly, because it was a payroll weekend, Fiona could get back into the system to run the reports so her team’s paychecks weren’t delayed.

Rory was particularly impressed at the speed with which our customer service team was able to help:

“Once we called SalonBiz, it was really quick. It took about a half-hour to explain our situation to them and come up with a plan, then another hour and a half to two hours total to get us up and running again once had the new computers and printer.”

Even though it was a holiday weekend, they worked tirelessly to get things set up and to get calling their customers, who were incredibly understanding and supportive.


A newly renovated “conference room” replaces the damaged office, above. A new pocket door adds instant privacy for one-on-one coaching sessions.
Source: Vanity Salon

Because of all the hard work and some amazing feats of construction and cleanup, Vanity was able to reopen the Wednesday after Thanksgiving, missing only two full days of business and sorting out their guestbook before the fire was even cleaned up.

“There were a few cosmetic things we’re still working on but it’s pretty amazing how everyone banded together and made it happen. To only be closed two days is pretty remarkable.”

Rebuilding Beautifully

A few months on, Vanity is just about back to normal. Their stunning new location in Houston Heights opened right on time, and some of the fire-renovations in their original location are even getting some attention.

Fiona says, “We joke that if Glennis [Tolunay, Rory & Fiona’s mother and Vanity’s former owner] was jealous that the new location was getting all the attention, she didn’t need to light the place on fire to get new floors!”

Fiona says she’s extremely grateful for all the help that SalonBiz provided:

“I don’t know many other companies that would have provided that kind of support, that quickly, at that time of year, to get us back up and running again.”

We’re so happy to see them right on track.



Not even a fire could stop their growth: Vanity’s second location across town opened right on time, despite this ill-timed disaster.
Source: Vanity Salon