Seeing beyond the chair requires a clear vision

July 1, 2020

By Demetra Moore

When will the cosmetology industry recover from the COVID-19 pandemic? That’s the question on the minds of  barbers, hair stylists, nail technicians and estheticians as states implement their reopening plans.

The answer to this question remains unseen but I have a question that’s just as important for this group of professionals: what will you do to move your business forward?

If nothing else, the quarantine has reminded us that change is inevitable and the importance of preparing for a rainy day. That said, it’s time for barbershop, hair salon and spa owners to see beyond the chair and into the business of beauty.

 As a consultant for beauty industry professionals, I often see entrepreneurs fall into a rut of day to day activities that keeps their businesses stagnant or failing.  Entrepreneurs who want to recover financially from this pandemic and thrive in the future must have a clear vision and set concise goals for their businesses.

Shantika Holliday, an esthetician living in Columbia, SC, is a great example of someone who is looking beyond the chair and setting new goals for her business. Like many in her industry, Holliday experienced a loss in revenue when government mandates required her to close the doors of her style suite Beauty by Shantika. She used the quarantine as an opportunity to study her craft, work with mentors and focus on expanding her business.

Today, Holliday has reopened Beauty by Shantika and is seeing benefits of her professional development.

“The quarantine was a blessing for my business because it created a high demand for my services, accelerating the growth of my clientele in a short period of time,” says Holliday. “It was  a reminder of the importance of having multiple streams of income within my business and making it a priority to establish them. It also required me to figure out other ways I can service my clients without physically performing a beauty service.”

The quarantine has given Holliday a new path forward for Beauty by Shantika. Here’s a few ways you can join her by gaining clarity and seeing beyond the chair:

Find your focus

After completing their studies, cosmetology school graduates often find themselves equipped with skills but no specific career goals. Holliday was in this boat too four years ago when she graduated from the Academy of Nails and Esthetics.

“When I started out I tried things that weren’t really me,” she says. “When you don’t know what you want, you can do things that waste time, energy, and money. I eventually found my niche and it became my focus.”

Holliday found her niche through years of working in multiple salons, studying and continuing education. Today this licensed esthetician offers her clients brow grooming and maintenance services in a calming holistic setting.

Get seek feedback

We all know that the relationship between stylist and clients is very intimate.  Clients trust industry professionals with their secrets, goals, and outward appearance. This is why seeking and giving honest feedback can be difficult for anyone in a salon, barbershop and spa. However, it’s necessary for the survival and growth of a customer-driven business.

Holliday has made feedback a central part of her business model.

“I ask my clients for feedback directly after their service and I invite them to write a review. I also communicate with them before even starting the service informing them of what I have in mind seeking their feedback even before execution,” says Holliday, who encourages others in her industry to get feedback too.

‘You have to think like a consumer would think and see if that’s what  you want to bring to this industry.  Would your clients say that you bring excellent service to the table?  We have to remember people have options. They don’t have to accept what you offer.”

Set clear goals 

In addition to collecting feedback, having a clear vision for your business requires you to assess and set clear and concise goals.  Creating specific objective goals is crucial to putting entrepreneurs on a path to success because in the words of Steve Maraboli “if you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?”  During the quarantine, Holliday dedicated time to reevaluating her goals and her process for obtaining them.

“ I’ve added new goals making certain things a higher priority in the short term including establishing retail to offer an additional income stream,” she says. “I’m also always reassessing my long term goals.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly created a lot of uncertainty for the cosmetology industry. At the same time, this health and economic crisis has also given many in the industry a fresh start with a clear vision for the future. If you would like to better position yourself during this difficult time, start thinking beyond the chair.


Demetra Moore is the owner of Moore Out of Life, Inc. She  resides in Charlotte, NC. Learn more about Seeing  Beyond the Chair and other trainings at ,