The modern hairdresser has a lot of different options when it comes to the business models and Sola Salon Studios is one of the main companies giving independent beauty pros the freedom to become their own salon owners.
We met with Kim Bennett Horvath, the first Sola Studio Salon hairdresser who has been with the company since its inception and has stuck with it since. We talked to her about why her experience is so uniquely comfortable and how others can use this system to find the freedom and independence necessary to be their own boss.
Tell me about your journey with Sola, how did it begin?
“I heard about the concept and set a meeting with the co-founders, Matt Briger and Stratton Smith at a coffee shop. I had many questions for them about particular aspects of the studio itself, the model and how it would come to fruition and every answer they shared was either “yes” or “whatever is best for you, Kimi.” I recognized their level of integrity immediately because with every answer, they wanted to put the beauty professional first. I felt taken care of. I was happy to have no responsibilities for the build out or ongoing operations and knew I could focus on opening my own salon without all of the additional. I jumped and said sign me up! I basically signed an agreement on a napkin to seal the deal!“
What were some of the different reactions you’ve received when you started with Sola as opposed to now?
“Being the first to open, I had all kinds of reactions. Clients were pleasantly surprised that their time with me was now one on one and my sole focus was on them. Now after almost 14 years, my clients feel a part of my business. They are my biggest advocates and cheer me on constantly. They truly feel a part of my salon and the culture I created!“
What do you think has made Sola so adaptable?
“CHOICE!!! I have evolved professionally and personally over the last 14 years. Whatever choices I made, I was able to adapt my salon business to any kind of change. Success means something different to everyone at Sola. You get to create your journey as you go because of the freedom of choice.“
What did you learn from the Sola experience?
“When I took the leap of faith in the beginning (2004) I only looked at my business from a stylist / booth renter perspective concentrating mainly on the service aspect. I quickly learned that I was a true salon owner embarking on all the responsibilities and tasks. The reward was the magic! Taking advantage of all the benefits to being a salon owner, but also embracing my artistic talent helps my business grow every year!“
As an important member of such a successful team, what is the question you get asked about most by stylists looking for alternatives?
“This is such a great question because I believe the industry as a whole is embracing the “independent/ salon owner” lifestyle now. Having my salon at Sola for 14 years I have seen so much growth within the company. Stylists ask different questions now. The Sola team listens to all their needs, from all kinds of education on our Sola Pro app to live education at the Sola Sessions and also technology assistance using the SolaGenius app to stay current with online booking and tracking salon numbers. Most importantly being on their own, it’s important for them to feel a part of a community like themselves and how to stay connected always comes up.“
Can you share your experience about being involved in the Sola company, not only as a hairdresser that uses a Sola space?
“I believe Sola’s home office team and franchisees and managers are some of the most passionate, giving and supportive advocates I have ever been around! They constantly break new ground creating new tools and platforms to provide more for their customers. I have the pleasure to be a part of projects that has never been done before in our industry. I get to have the opportunity to share our culture and connect the beauty industry to our community. It brings me joy to be included to help Sola owners reach their goals and dreams and I also learn from them all every day!“
In terms of the future and longevity with the brand, what are your long-term goals with Sola?
“Sola has given me the freedom to wear many hats and a platform to have a voice. It is an honor to have the opportunity to give back to this industry that I love! My goals are to continue to connect our Sola community to as much this industry has to offer! I hope to leave a legacy that ONE stylist behind ONE chair living her dream making people feel good MATTERS!!!“
When was the moment when you thought, this is going to lead to something?
“The moment I met the Co-founders Matt and Stratton in that coffee shop!! In that moment I saw the future right before me. I said to them, “You are going to change the Beauty Industry!”
To explore more about your options with Sola please click here!