Extreme Salon Makeover (Dallas/Fort. Worth) Edition - The Huetiful Salon
Ever met someone that is so laid back, easy to talk to and doesn't mind sharing on-point business hacks.
Meet Ken Burkeen aka Mr. Huetiful, CEO & Founder of The Huetiful Brand who opened his third salon in Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) in January 2016. His first salon opened in Atlanta in 2012 followed by Chicago in 2013. Why DFW we asked, Burkeen tells us, “I selected the Dallas/Fort Worth area because the region has one of our largest existing Huetiful communities that was created by our original product – the Huetiful Hair Steamer. Other cities, like Houston, Washington DC, and the Bay Area, were in my consideration set. But ultimately, the combination of the market size, cost of real estate, and the size of the existing Huetiful community won me over.”
If you're not familiar with The Huetiful Brand, then you're truly missing out. If you haven't noticed, the natural hair care business has grown exponentially over the past 5 years. What’s different about The Huetiful Salon, Mr. Huetiful calls a visit to the salon, an EXPERIENCE. “First, our heritage is in creating innovative, effective hair care solutions such as the Huetiful Hair Steamer. 70% of the products that we use are made by Huetiful. So, we have an in-depth understanding of the products and ingredients that we’re using and it allows for us to provide a better service.Secondly, we use customer data from our e-commerce customers and salon clients, to help create better products and hair care services. Being a client-centric salon allows us to not just provide services but to provide the type of services and products that will help our clients resolve their most serious hair care frustrations.”
Outside of creating innovative, effective hair care solutions; we’re a data-driven business “Every month we service over 1,500 clients and we’re able to collect data and share knowledge across all of our salons; making us a better and better natural hair salon company every month.”
When you thought that was enough to make The Huetiful Salon Brand stand out, “we have employees, not booth renters," says Mr. Burkeen. If you don’t understand the difference just look at an organization that has employees and ones that have contracted workers. With employees, you are able to set a precedent for the values, goals, and expectations with the ability to hold employees accountable. “We do not rent out stations or booths to the highest bidder. By employing our stylists, we are able to ensure that each and everyone has gone to cosmetology school, excelled professionally, and is offering services using techniques and processes that we have perfected over the years. When a salon merely rents its styling stations out, you aren’t guaranteed a consistent quality. I can guarantee the service and stylist experience across every chair in all of our salons. So – the clients can schedule with any stylist in any city and feel great about what their experience may be.”
I recently caught up with Mr. Burkeen, a little over 6 months into the opening of the Huetiful Salon DFW. The first question that I had to know…..
TPV: What’s different about Huetiful DFW Salon compared to Chicago & Atlanta?
Burkeen: Each salon is a little different. In Atlanta, we have two adjacent salon suites and a total of three styling chairs. It is an intimate experience with more of a boutique, personal hair stylist feel to it. In Chicago, we have 10 styling chairs, a dedicated hair color lab called the HueBar and are open as early as 5AM from Thursday through Saturday. It is a big, major operation. Huetiful DFW is a mix of both Chicago and Atlanta. With each salon, we get better at knowing how to design and operate. For instance, we have 7 styling stations but also have 5 shampoo bowls with 270-degree access around each shampoo bowl. We wanted to have an excess number of shampoo bowls to ensure that no client is ever held up waiting. We also wanted the stylist to be able to work from the left, right, or behind the client; providing a better hair cleansing experience. So – we’re learning how to design and layout and operate a more seamless experience for our DFW clients.
TPV: Has there been an immediate change in your workload since adding Huetiful DFW?
Burkeen: There hasn’t been a significant change in my workload for two reasons. First, I spend more time up front working to hire the right people so that I don’t have to spend a lot of time managing people. Secondly, we have a very structured approach to how we operate the salon. If I have to be highly engaged with the operations of the salon, something is deathly wrong. I want to spend my time doing what I love; focusing on marketing and demand creation. Building the Huetiful brand. I realized early on that if I have a significant increase in my workload with each opening, I will never get to a point where I can have 10 or 20 or 50 salons throughout the world.
TPV: What was your first official “Open for Business Date"?
Burkeen: We officially opened the first week of December. I always give our salons a few weeks to work out the operational kinks before we aggressively start to promote and bring in heavy demand. I call it the Salon Stress Test. You want to know if your electrical amperage can handle a busy Saturday. You want to make certain that your staff is extremely well versed in your products, process, and styling techniques. You want to have your grand opening AFTER you’re assured of being able to provide exceptional service experiences even on your busiest days. This is something I’ll never compromise on.
TPV: Let’s stay on memory lane. What was your feeling walking into the salon for your grand opening on January 21st? What do you remember?
Burkeen: It was incredibly gratifying. We had to do an Extreme Salon Makeover to get it from where it originally was to where it is today – from a layout, décor, and operational design standpoint. So, to go from the BEFORE to the AFTER was simply amazing.
It was also great to be so warmly welcomed and greeted by the DFW community. I got to meet local bloggers, owners of the Huetiful Hair Steamer, followers of our brand. It was just a great night. There was also a tad bit of trepidation. Having opened up two other salons in the past, I realize that a great grand opening does not make a business. The “real work” begins after the balloons deflate and the champagne bottles are popped. All of these emotions were present on that night.
Huetiful Salon Grand Opening (DFW) executed by The People's Voice PR Agency
TPV: Today is Wednesday and if someone went on to book for the weekend, would they have trouble finding an open time slot? In short, how is business going? To book click here.
Burkeen: Business is going extremely well as we are running about 95% full on weekends. We are an Appointment Only salon. So, it is always better to schedule your appointment a couple of weeks out if possible;, especially for weekends. One of the reasons why we are so busy is because we don’t take walk-ins and we don’t double book our stylists with multiple clients. The stylists stay with their client, one-on-one, throughout the duration of the service. While this No Double Booking policy makes it harder to get into the salon, when you do come to the salon you’ll find that you can get in and out faster than most any other salon you’ve ever been to. I am a stickler when it comes to respecting other people’s time and it is one of the reasons why we’ve been successful.
TPV: Tell us about the talent (stylist) in your the Huetiful DFW Salon.
Burkeen: The talent is top shelf. We actually have 7 styling stations but just 5 stylists (and one assistant stylist) right now. One of the reasons why we have two empty chairs is because I refuse to rush into hiring a stylist that cannot consistently meet the Huetiful standard. All of our stylists are extremely passionate about healthy, natural textured hair and uncompromisingly great hair styling. I would recommend any of the stylists to any of my personal friends or members of the media wishing to come to the salon.
TPV: Between now and January 2017, what’s on the horizon for Huetiful DFW?
Burkeen: We will fill out our staff so that we can operate all seven chairs on weekends as well as provide services from sun up to sun down, 7 days a week. We’re also in the process of adding our HuExtension product and services to the DFW market. We offer the services in Atlanta and Chicago along with our premium, 100% virgin textured hair extensions so I’m excited to bring it to Huetiful DFW, as well. I am also going to have a series of hair and beauty educational events at the salon; providing an opportunity to meet and rub shoulders with our incredible staff.
TPV: Can we expect a one-year anniversary soiree at the Huetiful DFW Salon?
Burkeen: Funny you ask that. I don’t celebrate anniversaries at the salons. At least, I haven’t to date. We do have a holiday party each year, though. I guess I don’t celebrate anniversaries because I’m leery of losing focus and not being around for the next one. This is an extremely tough business and I know firsthand that you are literally only as good as the service you just provided – 10 minutes ago. I prefer to do micro-celebrations. Let’s celebrate making the client’s daughter smile. Let’s celebrate above-industry client retention scores. Let’s celebrate the completion of an educational class. But celebrating “duration”, in my opinion, is less important than celebrating the drivers of your duration. "Celebrating duration is less important than celebrating the drivers of your duration" -Ken Burkeen, CEO & Founder of Huetiful