Irish Design Spotlight: MNW Design
Irish Design Spotlight: MNW Design

Sarah Finnan

Meet Virtue Shine, the designer behind the vivacious and vibrant Emerald & Wax
Meet Virtue Shine, the designer behind the vivacious and vibrant Emerald & Wax

Sarah Gill

My Life in Culture: Violinist Gwendolyn Masin
My Life in Culture: Violinist Gwendolyn Masin

Sarah Finnan

Crochet: How to wear the beachy summer staple
Crochet: How to wear the beachy summer staple

Sarah Finnan

Meet IMAGE staffer Megan Burns, hockey player and editorial powerhouse
Meet IMAGE staffer Megan Burns, hockey player and editorial powerhouse

IMAGE

The top tech investments to help keep your life on track
The top tech investments to help keep your life on track

IMAGE

This charming Cork cottage is on the market for €450,000
This charming Cork cottage is on the market for €450,000

Sarah Finnan

Social Pictures: Jameson’s tenniscore summer soirée
Social Pictures: Jameson’s tenniscore summer soirée

IMAGE

5 inspiring self-help books that will change your life
5 inspiring self-help books that will change your life

Jennifer McShane

Changing the script: Claire Mooney and Nell Hensey of Pure Divilment Pictures
Changing the script: Claire Mooney and Nell Hensey of Pure Divilment Pictures

Meg Walker

Image / Agenda / Business
Sponsored

‘I always thought the salon couldn’t run without me, but it can and that’s a good thing’

Sponsored By

By Shayna Sappington
05th Jul 2023
Sponsored By
‘I always thought the salon couldn’t run without me, but it can and that’s a good thing’

After her breast cancer diagnosis, salon owner Yvonne Curtis has learned how to work smarter, not harder, choosing this clever appointments tool she’s nicknamed her ‘business manager’.

Yvonne Curtis took the leap to start her own salon Hair by Yvonne in Navan seven years ago. Alongside being a mum to three and a business owner, she was sadly diagnosed with breast cancer late last year.

Naturally, she had to take a step back from her business, but by hiring more staff and implementing an appointment booking system, Square Appointments, she has been able to make the transition as smooth as possible.

While her passion for doing hair is unwavering, she admits her business administration skills aren’t always up to scratch. Here’s how she’s been able to master an area usually out of her expertise…

What inspired you to start Hair by Yvonne?

I was working in a big hair salon with over 20 staff, and I realised that many clients were coming to see me specifically. I wanted to give them a very personal approach to hairdressing, so I took the opportunity to branch out on my own and open a smaller boutique salon. I founded Hair by Yvonne seven years ago, and my clients love it.

What was one of the biggest challenges you faced when starting your business?

For me, one of the biggest challenges was running a business. I’m a hairdresser, not a business owner (at the time), thus running the day-to-day business was difficult. I was so busy doing hair that I didn’t have time to actually sit back and look at the administration part. 

I see that with hairdressers across the board. I’m an educator for Goldwell as well, so I go around salons on a daily basis. It’s a massive challenge for hairdressers to become business people, and I really struggled with that in the beginning.

What prompted you to start using Square?

I was looking at all the different appointment systems available, and Square Appointments really appealed to me because it was so new. All the reviews from America and the UK have been incredible, so I went for it. I love their system; it is so sleek, and it looks amazing. And they have lots of different things that other companies don’t offer.

How did your cancer diagnosis affect things, both personally and professionally?

In October, we had increased the team so when I had to take time away, the girls at the salon were able to step up, and Square were there to manage the rosters and the clients. Square also reduced phone and reception time, as the appointment system just works for itself, so I was able to step back.

*WIN a Square Appointments Kit worth over €200*

I always thought I was indispensable in the salon. I always thought the business couldn’t run without me, but it can and that’s a good thing for me to remember when I’m taking this personal time to recover. We’ve taken all the positives that we can from me getting sick – the kids are delighted to have mammy around more. We’ve made the most of the good days amidst the bad days, but we’re choosing to stay optimistic.

How have you balanced managing the salon with looking after your health?

Square is actually running the business for me. I don’t have to do anything; I can keep an eye on the business on a daily basis through my phone. In the evenings, I can check what the girls did throughout the day and on any upcoming appointments. It allows me to keep track of stock as well because I know what’s coming down the line if we’re booked up in advance. I can run the business from my phone without having to step foot in the salon.

What was the switch to Square like?

Making the switch was so easy. One of their team members actually came down to the salon and spent a couple of hours with the girls showing them how to set everything up. It’s so simple to use in every way, and I say that as someone who is not tech-savvy at all. Plus, Square are there to support you whenever you need them.

I call Square the ‘business manager’ for me as it does literally run the salon for us. It has just taken so much pressure off me since I’ve been sick. By letting the girls work the appointments, seeing where they are at and having visibility on how the business is doing – it has been great for me.

How has Square benefitted your business since? 

Reduced work hours

Clients can book appointments online themselves, so Square has reduced hours worked by managing all the scheduling. It has decreased our workload by about two hours every day. 

Also, we run such a small salon and we don’t have footfall where we are. So once somebody cancels, that leaves us with a big slot of free time (usually around three hours). Square has changed that for us. Square sends out three appointment reminders to clients and as a result, we’re having fewer cancellations and no-shows. We’ve reduced them by about 20 per cent. 

People actually book before they leave the salon and they really love it because their appointment is there on their phone and they know exactly when it is. They feel like their appointment is set in stone; it’s a nice feeling for a client. All the information and questions are answered there through the app.

Increased revenue

It has actually increased revenue for us as well because of the reduction of no-shows and cancellations, as well as the shop online. People can book extra services that appear when they’re making their appointment, whether it’s an additional treatment or a toner. They can also see exactly what a service is, what it includes and if there is anything on offer at Hair by Yvonne.

Going forward, we’ll be using Square to take deposits too. So if you are a no-show or you forgot your appointment (and three messages about it), we can take a small percentage of your appointment cost. That will fill some of that space when we’re paying our staff, which is a really good thing for us.

Added convenience

Square has everything that you need. It will do your website via Square Online and your online booking; it’s your point of sale, it manages your roster and it has your shop. It’s a very reasonably priced system and I love that its cost is taken out of the account on a daily basis rather than being left with a bill at the end of every month. 

Before I had Square, I used to put the children to bed at 7:30pm and sit down for an hour and a half minimum to do appointments, to catch up on phone calls or messages throughout the day that I missed while I was working. So, Square has been a real time saver. The only reason I have to go into work now is to do hair because Square does the rest of it. Also, the Square Register is pretty sleek and cool, even clients love it! It’s really modern compared to any other system out there.

Any advice for someone else looking to open up a salon?

A massive part of starting your own business is having backup from other people, especially like-minded hairdressers. I’ve been so lucky with the people that I have around me. Since COVID, hairdressers have come together for the first time in a long time, forming a little bond with each other. It’s only by talking to other business owners, that you realise how important this connection is.

I contact hairdressers and salon owners all the time and ask them how are they getting on – we discuss percentages, how business is doing, and where it’s failing. Again, we’re hairdressers, we’re not great business people so it’s important to discuss and understand those business elements.

You have to be really strict with yourself. It’s like any business – if you’re starting out, you need to view it as a business and not just a passion for doing what you love. I’d always advise anyone not to forget their love for doing hair but you also need to prepare and manage the business side of things.

To learn more about Square, visit squareup.com.

*WIN a Square Appointments Kit worth over €200*