Home' INSTYLE Magazine : INSTYLE MARAPL 2016 Contents business -- just to get her out of a very difficult time, "it's crazy
what goes through your mind," she said.
How things have changed -it's almost four years ago Sharlene
realized she was already outgrowing her new space and purchased
the shop next door -- for double the price she paid for the original,
" ere really was no option. I just had to pay what it was worth
and if I could rewind I could probably have bought an even bigger
premises -- I'm outgrowing the 255 square metres I have."
So what's the Circles point of difference? A 255 square metre
salon is relatively unheard of in our major cities like Sydney and
Melbourne, so why Perth? For Sharlene it's not even about location
-- it's about culture and the size of her team that has created
enough momentum that people will come with confidence they
are at the top of their game, during a period when Perth has too
been at its pinnacle of growth.
Over and above a winning atmosphere that draws you in,
Retail has been a strongpoint for the business, and it starts with
retail as part of the initial consultation process, clients form an
understanding of the products prior to making an emotional
connection and as a result the sale is almost guaranteed.
"We are very strong with all of our brands and by limiting our
retail to three brands that complement each other, none of the
retail suffers," Sharlene said.
Always keeping on top of the latest trends -- the current top
sellers are the big names of the moment -- Olaplex and Oribe Dry
Brought on by the powers of social media, clients are a lot more
educated in styling their own hair. Sharlene admits that exceeding
expectations is a lot harder than 10 years ago now. " ey read
more, they search more, they google everyone and everything and
want 'what she's got' so we have to be on it." Yes, her salon attracts
clients and has an approachable
rather than a high-brow
aesthetic from the street but to
retain them she says is a constant
process of development.
Just like may businesses, the
first years are the hardest but for
Sharlene she says even the first
five to 10 years were tough when she was trying to build both her
client base and a brand that people wanted to be part of. Managing
finances she says were the biggest challenge for her budding new
brand -- something now that she seems to take in her stride.
So how does Sharlene keep her team motivated now? What new
incentives have been introduced and how do they change it up? Not
only are the Circles team one of the most social salon teams I know --
it's not uncommon to see them out drinking or socializing together
on a Friday night. In tune with this is the attitude when it comes to
the day to day salon hours -- they work seamlessly in a salon that can
have more than 25 clients at any one time. "I always have different
incentives running in the salon geared towards the individuals and
their needs -- whether it be a car as part of their salary structure or
a ticket to their favourite event or voucher." Sharlene admits it's not
just about the money, but what it is you are actually offering that
will further encourage them to reach their goals.
Attendance at company conference both nationally and abroad
are a big part of the salon career for Sharlene and her team --
from front flying across the country to be front row at Ssh or in
Cannes at an international business forum -- it's a presence and
relationship she says also ensures her business is a leader and the
first to be recognized in all areas. "It's also important for clients as
they see us at leading events and it gains respect," she said.
"I'm not scared to make changes in the salon, I always come
back from a trip on a high which inspires my team but it's
important for me that every time I implement a change it is a
positive experience for everyone. "I involve the staff personally in
these experiences when I make change," she said.
While change is a constant and Circles embraces change from
the top down -- just look at how many pairs of shoes Sharlene can
buy in one weekend and you realize she is not afraid of changing it
up. Not only this, but spend five minutes with this energy and you
learn she loves the satisfaction of selling and she's damn good at it.
An often misunderstood element to hairdresser -- if you can
master the art of selling and creativity you can be always ensured
of a good business. "If I wasn't a salon owner and hairdresser, I
think I'd sell real estate -- I get so much satisfaction from it."
A client once told Sharlene she was Wonder Woman -- overflowing
with energy and forever effervescent and enthusiastic about life -
she's one of those people who can connect with anyone and accepts
people with sincerity. When connections can be so impersonal
nowadays, Sharlene always treats every client with a relatable and
personable manner -- no salon owner or manager hierarchy exists
within the walls of Circles -- a brand who's graffiti heart centre is as
strong as it was the day the old premises was continually tagged.
e Circles graffiti provided a brand philosophy that was about
acceptance and creativity and thus the entire salon powerhouse
has been built on this phenomena and things like the café wine
bar, the sushi train retail and the curved basin wall have become
synonymous with a salon experience a step above others in the area.
"You've got to look at where your weaknesses are so I trust a lot of
my younger staff in social media knowledge. We also meet regularly
with a digital strategist to ensure the salon stays in touch with the
latest ideas and we are ultimately ahead of other salons in this area."
Even down to the details of understanding the back-end of her
website Sharlene says helps her stay aware of what works and what
needs to be improved -- even if it is just an online review, being
present with your brand goes
far beyond servicing clients for a
brand that continues to grow.
"In our industry you need to be
proactive in every area and not
be afraid to try something new
but recognize if it doesn't work,
you don't dwell on it and you try
Time is of the essence in a business the size of Sharlene's and
with that many staff -- she said If she had more time, more staff
meetings would be at the top of the agenda. "And two of me, that
would be great too." For most of us that could also be scary -- but
there's no denying that Sharlene's energy is one of the biggest
assets for her business.
It hasn't been all smooth sailing -- when Sharlene expanded,
making sure her weekly turnover didn't suffer and ensuring her
clients still felt comfortable in the space were concerns, just like in
any business. Clients were still in the salon while works were taking
place. "I wanted clients to feel like a million dollars even though
there was dust everywhere."
And if she could expand again she would do it a thousand times
over, in a climate when a lot of salons are getting smaller -- this is a
It's people, hair and money that make Sharlene go to work
everyday and she's not afraid to admit that new staff come to her,
"It's very rare I advertise for staff anymore. I didn't receive a few
emails each week about employment in my early days."
e biggest piece of advice? Face challenges rather than directing
energy away from them or onto something else. "If only I had this
level of maturity of handling staff and KPI's I had in the beginning."
ere's no going around in Circles for this savvy salon -- it's one
step up the luxury belt each and every day -- where growth and the
new frontier of luxury is guaranteed.
"Clients want to see change in one
visit and they want it 'now'. ey
are so much more demanding
and they want your blood."
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