Updated: Feb 23
January 13, 2023
Hello to our beloved Caribou Crew,
First off, a big thank you!
Artisan Salons is coming up on 5 years of business and growth through those five years was exponential. Having gone from a single suite out of my parents basement in 2017, now to two world class salons, 40 of the finest and most educated professionals in our industry, as well as a brand that has matured to be one which represents excellence, compassion and fun, I could not have dreamed such things would have come to fruition.
Having said that, it’s important for us to share with you, our loyal and valued following, that 2022 was our most difficult year yet. The aftermath of 2020, recent legislation from our California State Board of Barbering & Cosmetology, as well as recent mandates by the California Labor Commissioner has forced our industry to evolve quickly and aggressively. I am predicting massive shifts to the status quo over the next few years, in which we must stay ahead of the curve.
These changes include lowering state board requirements for salon artists to 1000 hours of school time (previously 1600) and removing the practical portion of the exam (now only a written test is required). Meaning, no actual skill of the profession is needed to be licensed. The CA State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology has made it abundantly clear that quality of skill set is of no concern to them and will be focusing on the artists knowledge of health and safety for the public's concern. This has forced salons like mine to evolve, creating intense and effective training programs in order to groom the future generation of stylists to be world class. These training programs must prove profitable in order to be sustained, our industry literally is relying on it. Newly licensed professionals have no other choice but to compete for narrow positions at salons like mine in which they will receive fair compensation as well as cutting edge training.
Coincidentally enough, California is now also mandating that commission eligible employees for the beauty industry in CA must be making an hourly base pay of $31 per hour pre tax. Traditional salon commission models of a 40/60 split are not only outdated but now against the law. This has forced salons into one of two options, become a fully booth rental salon allowing independent business owners to rent time and space from them, or employ artists at a legal and fair hourly wage. Artisan Salons legally and fairly, does both.
I want to take this opportunity to explain how these mandates and recent legislation will not only be affecting your services but our industry as a whole for all consumers of salon services. Firstly, you will be noticing a quick hard split in quality of services within our industry over the next few years. Without a doubt, there will be a clear and inarguable difference between the highly educated and mostly uneducated artists. With that, the quality of services will begin to create a deep chasm within our industry. Those who are not pricing responsibly to create room for education and fair wages will be the first to shut their doors including salon suite owners. The weight of these words do not fall short on me, there is a family with needs behind every small business like mine.
Our promise to you is that Artisan Salons is that we will always and unequivocally be at the forefront of premium education, knowledge and excellence. We promise to only ever use the highest quality products, as well as respect your time and financial resources you have portioned for our luxury services. We promise that we will be the very best in the industry. We promise to meet your expectations service after service for years on end.
I, Lauren, have built this brand along side of many of my amazing friends and co-salon professionals including Amanda, Sol, Adrianna, Desiree, Tami, Alyssa, Elaina, Loreyna, Megan, Jazmine, Krista, Makenna, Katie, & Sammi (now with The Academy by Sammi Touw) and many recent others to be a business that puts our clients experience first.
This will never change.
As we fight to stay at the tip of the spear with this amazing industry, we must also create a sustainable, long term business plan that allows us to adapt to this incredibly competitive industry. We, Artisan Salons, must implement an average approximate price increase of 15% (of most services) immediately in order to sustain the cost of business. We know personally and exactly how this may affect our professional relationships moving forward. In response, we reiterate our promises of excellence, and will strive to improve on that excellence daily.
As we increase the value of your services over 2023, you will notice that my staff and I will no longer be double booking clients, myself included. We will be working with timing efficiencies and a support staff to meet timing goals to keep client costs to a minimum. Artisan Salons will continue to set itself apart with excellent client experiences unlike any other.
With you in mind, we have created solutions for your time and budget now made available to you on our website. You will notice a price decrease for services which yield a higher margin such as Global Keratin Smoothing systems now $185 (down from $260) and hair extension installations including sew-in weft, hand tied and tape-ins now $225 average (down from $350). We have added things like “dry cuts” to our salon menu that shorten our time behind the chair in order to keep you clean and fresh without the cost of a wash and style. We are also offering $50 blowouts (down from $65) with select artists as well. You can even earn free hair products for any new client referrals given by you to the salon.
In this approximate 15% price increase, 4% of every transaction is dedicated to industry leading education (up from 2% last year) of our salon staff and independent renters, comparatively to the industry standard of less than 1%. The largest portion of your services (nearly 50%) directly covers the cost of wages for staff and independent artists alike. It is a core value of ours to advocate for fair and livable wages for our staff and artists as many of them have masters equivalencies and qualifications for their services. Beyond that, nearly 40% of service prices covers the direct costs of the service including but not limited to rent, utilities, chemicals tools, health and safety equipment, communications, & insurances. The remaining 6% is discretionary which pays for marketing, events, consulting, accounting, owners wages and savings (roughly 1% each). For a detailed breakdown of what an average service should look like, please see the blog “how much should a salon in CA charge?” on our website.
These changes will be implemented immediately on our website for your convenient review. If you have any questions or feedback please, do not hesitate to reach out. Our team of skilled leaders and salon coordinators will always be happy to assist you if changes need to be made. In addition, I (Lauren, the salon owner) would be happy at any moment to give you a direct and clear breakdown of each service cost to show the actual distribution of cost of labor, chemical, facilities, tools and salon costs to be sure you will never be over or under charged.
This is a promise.
In closing, this is what we are asking of you, our beloved clients and friends...
Firstly, please consider what your trust means to us. We would simply not be able to continue serving our valued guests like you without your belief in our skills, knowledge and passion. Know that integrity in all things is a fundamental core value for us, “integrity in all we do”. This includes pricing fairly. We are asking for your continued support and patronage as your business truly puts food on the table for so many families of the Temecula Valley.
Secondly, I, Lauren, am asking for you to consider the social and economic consequences caused by paying for ‘less than fair wage’ services. We believe these practices are unethical and drive a continued pattern of low consumer satisfaction along with long-term poverty for service workers in our industry. To combat this modern industry crisis, I personally have dedicated my career to coaching and educating artists of all services types across California into successful practices of long, sustainable careers. I will never cease to advocate for the millions of passionate individuals across this beautiful state.
Do you remember singing the petition “Liberate Barbers & Cosmetologists of CA” circa 2020 which was signed nearly 100k times? That was only one piece of literature I was able to submit at the county and state level to advocate for the careers of so many. I will not stop, and I am asking for your support.
I can not stress enough, this letter is not intended to harm any one or their business. My intentions are simply to be a voice of advocacy for this industry and consumers of this industry.
As a rule of thumb, if services are not priced relative to what you see on our website for artists in CA, then these artists are without a doubt, earning less than minimum wage. More often than not, these artists are not even aware they are running negatively in their businesses. Many, tragically, are unable to pay necessary taxes needed to protect their licensure, nor afford continuing education, or even sustain supporting themselves outside of state aid. Unfortunately, this is an epidemic in our industry and change for fair standards starts with us.
Last and final request, even if you are not a client of our organization, would you consider sharing this letter with a friend? The future of the salon industry, suite renters, and independent artists statewide depend on the partnership and awareness of supporters like you.
Our Vision “To change the way the world sees the beauty industry by revolutionizing professional industry standards”
Our Mission “To produce and employ the highest educated, most accomplished, most dedicated industry professionals while delivering world class quality services and experiences.”
Our Promise “To provide a premium barbering and salon experience for today’s premium client”.
Servanthood from all for all.
Artistry in our craft.
Excellence within ourselves.
Integrity in all we do.
Community with the like minded.
May God’s face shine upon you throughout 2023 and in years to come.
Advocate for Barbers & Cosmetologists
Artisan Salons Owner & Founder