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The 6 Fix: Poster Woman of Perseverance, Emily Chang of Birch Salon

Birch Salon Co. is an upscale salon with a hometown feel in the heart of Georgia. Birch is fairly new to the SalonBiz family, so we were excited to hear how owner Emily Chang and her team were able to quickly adopt SalonBiz’s new technology and navigate the obstacles of the past year. In fact, Birch not only survived but thrived, seeing tremendous growth in 2020! 

Read on to learn how Emily’s self-proclaimed get-‘er-done attitude and persistence have been key factors for Birch’s incredible success.

This post is part of a series titled The Six Fix. Semi-frequently we at SalonBiz interview salon and beauty industry professionals around timely topics, and industry trends. Each interview is captured in six questions and answers. We aim for these posts to deliver education, entertainment, and foster community between aspiring salon professionals, our customers, and the industry at large. 

Question 1: What was your pandemic journey?

Emily: We shut down about a week before the government mandate, and were closed for about seven weeks total. We stayed in touch with our staff through weekly zoom calls, and also notified all the clients on the book about our closure. Despite being closed, we were able to continue selling products to our clients through curbside retail using card-on-file and iPad checkout. This made a huge difference to being able to stay in touch with them!

I’m very much a get-’er-done person, so we dove right in and learned a lot during the pandemic!

Curbside retail using card-on-file and iPad checkout

Question 2: How were you able to reopen, and what did you do to help clients and staff feel safe?

Once we were able to reopen, we put protocols in place to help everyone feel safe: masks for both clients and staff, temperature checks, a COVID-specific waiver, hand-washing, and sanitizing of smocks and gear.

These protocols ended up totally changing the flow in the salon, since we were no longer able to have as many clients at once. We had to get very creative with scheduling and could no longer accept walk-in appointments. Because we had to keep the front door locked, we used the iPad to text clients to come in when we were ready for them. 

Question 3: From your perspective, is there a silver lining to pull out from the chaos? 

Emily: There’s a silver lining to everything! The situation has resulted in gratitude and a thankful heart on our team. It really created team unity; our teamwork has been amplified, with stylists helping each other hit their goals. 

Question 4: What product features helped your business during the pandemic, and what tools have you adopted that you’ll keep? 

We are so thankful for SalonBiz! We utilized mass emails as a way to communicate and connect with clients. We were able to let everyone know protocols and expectations as the situation evolved. It also allowed us to better communicate with our clients via text, which had been a life and timesaver! Our team can communicate via notes about each client’s desires for the appointment, saving precious time meeting with each other. 

“The more connected you are, the more loyal your customers will be.” 

Emily Chang

Texting through the iPad was also vital–we wouldn’t have survived without it. It allowed us to notify clients when we were ready for them to come in for their appointment. We also used the Stylist App and iPad app for rescheduling. Our three salon phone lines weren’t enough to contact all our clients when we reopened, so our stylists could use the Stylist App to help reschedule their book.

We will absolutely continue to use all of these new tools! 

Question 5: How has your business changed over the past year? 

We are doing better in revenue compared to the previous year. We are a teaching salon, so we have a career path and business model for growth. In teaching our stylists, I believe there must be a good balance of artistic skill and expression with business skills. The Stylist App has been really instrumental in developing the business side for them. They are able to track their stats for service sales, retail sales, and prebooking goals on a daily, weekly and monthly basis without me having to do anything!

It’s also created a buzz among the staff to show each other how close they are to goals. This has been HUGE as a motivation for them. My absolute favorite feature (which we’ve just gotten to enjoy) is that the stats show each service provider what our numbers were last year for the same time period. One of our stylists who did $70,000 last year is already at $130,000 this year!

Question 6: What’s next for Birch? 

In 2020, we went from eight to 18 staff, which has also really contributed to our growth. We have actually added people before, during, and after the pandemic–they have really come out of the woodwork! I think that’s because the pandemic gave people the opportunity to pause and think about where they want to work. We also moved to a new, bigger location and have been able to hire a front desk associate. 

We’ve realized we really are all in it together–and next year we are making a million dollars! 

Thank you again to Emily and Birch Salon Company! We can’t wait to watch you completely crush your 2021 goals. 

Get in touch to learn more about how SalonBiz can help you thrive! Our team will be more than happy to show you the features Emily mentions in this post and much more. Schedule your demo today.

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