Our Community – Featuring Kerry Harrison of Transcona Salon Spa

February 15, 2019

When I first began writing a community page I thought of several different ideas, and over the course of its evolution I hope to write about many of them. This page is a link from us to all of you. It will highlight different people within our own organization and within our salon community. It’s important to me, and to Salon Centre as a company, to connect with all of you, the Salon Centre family. There is so much to learn from each other, and in doing so we grow as a whole industry, together. My commitment to this page is simple. To connect you with us. To connect you to others, maybe spark an idea, or inspire, or motivate you.


Further to this page, our commitment on social media is to our Salon Centre community. Every beautiful head of hair on our page is from salons that we do business with. We feel it’s important to promote and celebrate those who also make us a success. It’s time to change how distribution is viewed. We are your partners. We want you to succeed. I welcome any of our salons to post on social media and tag us in your work. Allow us to elevate together. Allow us to inspire the industry though your work.


When I was thinking about the first article I wanted to write in the Beyond magazine, I instantly thought of Kerry Harrison in Winnipeg who currently owns Transcona Salon Spa. She has owned three salons in her career, and as we spent a few hours together, I was inspired by her. She told me very candidly that she was afraid to do this article as she thought “I may not be good enough to highlight”. But as I listened to her, I thought about every salon owner I’ve ever come across. We all wonder if we are doing the right things as leaders for our team and our business,
and we fear the question, “Am I good enough?”.


I listened to her speak about her years in the industry, and what attracted me to Kerry was her willingness to embrace change. She has been a hairstylist for over 30 years, and a business owner for over 10 years. And this year has been nothing short of an epiphany of new beginnings for her.


Kerry leads a staff of six hairstylists and four spa technicians. After years of doing business she decided to do something that many of us dream of doing. She invested in herself. She started the year committed to working with a business coach. Realizing she wanted to change the way she did things, she knew she needed some guidance and invested in a program run by Strategies. It takes a lot of time and finances to do so, but it is someone holding her accountable, and coaching her to be the best leader and salon owner she could be. As stylists we grow and change, and some of us know we want to own the business one day, but do we really know how to run a business? And a profitable one at that? Who do we go to when we need new ideas and new motivation?


I was so impressed by all the things she was showing me – growth charts for her team, team incentives and actual goals in the back rooms for service and retail. And when they win as a team, they get incentivized at the end of the year, as a team.


Some of the things she does are simple, but effective – prescription cards for retail that go out the door with salon or spa guests, monthly promotions for service to increase new business and retention, featured products, and so on. Then she hit me with the most innovative change I’ve seen in a while. The concept of “team based pay in salons and spas”.


She strategically launched this new concept with her business coach to her team, and has seen an exponential increase in productivity and stability across the board. “Guests come in and know they can see anyone, and are loyal to us as a salon and a brand. We work together to keep all of our clients happy.”


While commission or hourly-based compensation may work for some salons, she wanted to see what other options could be put into use to create a strong, unified and successful team. She stated that the way our business has been done for so many years has made it so, that stylists and owners are viewed as unstable in many economic facets. This new way of pay makes them viewed no longer as a liability to lenders, and the stylists themselves can bank on their monthly earnings with more certainty.


These changes aren’t for the weak of heart I assure you. Time, effort and follow up are crucial to everything she is doing. Kerri keeps everything measurable, and follows up regularly – in team and one-on-one meetings. After all, what cannot be seen cannot be achieved, and what cannot be measured cannot be managed.


Kerry has told me she has a long way to go in her journey of change, but she doesn’t ever stop learning and trying, and to her that is the key. Too many times we become complacent and don’t know what to do. Sometimes getting an outside perspective is the best thing we can do for ourselves and our teams.


In our lives as leaders in salons we must balance the creative side with keeping the business running smoothly. She offers co-financed education for her team and encourages them to take any classes they feel will benefit their craft. She encourages salon owners to share their “business books” in staff meetings to be transparent and to have open discussions about how to grow together. Kerri explains, “Salon owners should not be scared to share their struggles and successes because if the right people are in place, they will strive to be better with you”. Humans innately need structure. They like attainable growth.  Achieving such things, recognizing it and rewarding it, we all can agree, is some of the most beneficial things we can do as leaders.


We spoke for hours and then attended a social media class together. I watched this woman, who has been in our industry for years listen to others. The true power of this experience?


Understanding you don’t know everything, and finding support for those things you need to elevate your game and to help your team elevate their game too.


Kerry, I hope you’re reading this – I want to tell you that I have met with hundreds of salon owners all across Western North America, and I’m inspired by you. To inspire what I can for my
own team and spread that to our industry peers. Please don’t stop chasing change.


And leaders – take a moment to reflect on your personal goals and don’t be afraid to ask for help to get there.



For the love of our industry,
Annette Quinlan
IG @saloncentrecanada @annette.quinlan


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