What makes a successful salon stylist?

Being a successful salon stylist is like combining the best of several worlds. Firstly, technical proficiency is PARAMOUNT! You’ve got to know your way around hair, have a deep understanding of various cutting, colouring, and styling techniques, and stay up-to-date with the latest trends and innovations in the industry.

Continuous education is imperative in this industry, with fashion trends and techniques frequently changing you have to stay on top of your game in order to succeed – however this can come with a lot of pressure.

To me, I consider everything an opportunity for education. Found a spare five minutes in your day? Watch a colleague finish their haircut. Scrolling on your phone in the evenings? Watch a YouTube tutorial on a technique you don’t feel confident in instead or create colour inspiration Instagram folders to show your clients.  Watching TV with your partner? Pick out three hairstyles or colours from the cast and practice those on a mannequin head when you get to work.

Education doesn’t always have to mean booking an expensive course that requires travel and time out of the salon, utilise the inspiration around you so that you are always learning!

But that’s not all – you’ve also got to be a great listener and talker. Understanding what your clients want and making sure you’re on the same page is vital. Effective communication is key. The ability to actively listen to your clients’ preferences helps create a personalised and satisfying salon experience.

Good communication also aids in providing accurate advice and managing client expectations. Building strong relationships is crucial for client retention and word-of-mouth referrals. A successful stylist fosters a welcoming and comfortable environment: making clients feel valued is how you keep them coming back for more hair adventures.

If you’re anything like me, I sometimes struggle to remember which client was going on holiday with their family or which client told me they were moving house. Because of this, one of my top tips is to USE THE NOTES!

Utilising the notes section in your booking system for each client is a great way to leave yourself reminders from each appointment, starting with a colour record and finishing with the key points of your conversations that day even to how they take their coffee. Then, when the client returns for their follow up appointment you will be armed with memorable information to help make their experience personalised and special. This will make the client feel important, that you’ve taken the time to remember details about them and helps to further build your relationship and customer service experience.

Taking all of the above into consideration, I believe the most important tool to ensure a thriving career is time management. It’s not just about knowing how to wield a pair of scissors or mix colours – it’s about orchestrating a symphony of appointments, style transformations, and customer satisfaction within the confines of a ticking clock.

Balancing multiple appointments! A successful stylist’s day is often a jigsaw puzzle of appointments, each with its unique set of demands and expectations. From consultations to actual services and managing the flow of clients while ensuring each one feels attended to and valued requires a deft touch. It’s like being the conductor of a bustling salon orchestra, where every note (appointment) must be hit just right. However, this can be made even more easy for you if you have an effective salon software system like iSalon.

Maintain punctuality: Time is money, and in the salon world, it’s also a measure of professionalism. Punctuality isn’t just about showing up on time; it’s about keeping the entire schedule on track. When clients trust that their appointment times will be honoured, it contributes to a positive salon experience and in return encourages them to be punctual to you. Make sure you have allocated yourself enough time for each service, have you considered the time to take photos or social media footage of your clients finished result? Be prepared, there’s nothing worse than keeping a client waiting because you’ve squeezed too much in! Being consistently punctual establishes credibility and demonstrates respect for clients’ time.

On the back of this, are you pricing correctly? If you know Mrs Smith always takes you an extra 15 minutes because she has hair down to her knees, charge for it! That’s 15 minutes less that you can fit another service in. Your prices should coincide with your timings to ensure you are earning fairly for the work you are creating. Creating a service button on your booking system called ‘Extra Time’ can help you to price accordingly for those slightly larger jobs. It creates a simplified supplement that you can add on at the point of sale per 15 minutes extra needed, and it will show in the client’s appointment history so that your receptionist can see that they need to find them a space large enough to have that service in the future.

Create a smooth flow: Effective time management doesn’t just benefit the stylist; it also ensures that the salon operates like a well-oiled machine. Smooth transitions between appointments minimise disruptions, allowing clients to enjoy a seamless experience from start to finish. This creates an environment where clients can relax, trust the process, and leave the salon feeling pampered. Personally, I hate dead space in my column, because of this I only offer times that ensure my appointments can be stacked back-to-back. If I have a whole afternoon free in six weeks’ time, I don’t let the client pick a random spot in the middle, I will calculate what I can fit around that appointment, or I simply offer the next available slot that will keep my day efficiently stacked. Having a good knowledge of your service times helps to maintain a fully booked column!

In conclusion I think the success of a stylist comes down to these main points,

  1. Inspiration
  2. Education
  3. Communication
  4. Time Management
  5. Productivity!

Sophie-Rose Goldsworthy

Senior Stylist, Colour Specialist, Educator, Salon Manager

Goldsworthys Hairdressing



Need some help with your appointments? iSalon software offers features including Appointment Book where you can book new clients, allocate treatments to specific team members and rooms and make rebooking effortless. Appointments are also entered directly into your calendar, where deposits or prepayments taken when necessary. The Online Bookings feature iBookings also has a ‘squeeze me in’ feature allowing you to fill last minute appointments more easily. You can book a free demo via the iSalon website at www.isalonsoftware.co.uk.