Hair salon storefront

A 'Masterclass' in beauty with SumUp

Want to get started in the salon industry but don’t want to read 10 “how-to” articles? Check out this lightning round interview with Masterclass Hair & Beauty owner, Iva Taseva. After spending years in the industry and moving to London, Iva finally opened her own place just under a year ago. 

Her London-based salon opened shop on Finchley Road in 2018. She focuses on “revolutionary hair transformation” and ensuring her local clients get the best-of-the-best treatments. 

But like all businesses, this neighbourhood staple wasn’t built in a day. If you’re looking to start your own business, here are some lessons from Iva's journey.

1. How did you know where to even begin with launching your shop?

“I have a huge passion for what I do and have always been dedicated to becoming and being a hairstylist. It’s a huge part of my life and identity and I really feel like this particular craft defines me. Over the past year, my passion has finally lead to success with the opening of my own successful business, which means a lot because the first 7 years of my career here in England, I was only able to be self-employed, not an actual employee. After obtaining the proper permit, I became part of the Rush family which was such an honour. Being a foreigner in the UK had its difficulties and obstacles in the beginning, and it was hard to survive as a hairdresser. But I knew that eventually, I would open my own salon.” 

Top tip: Opening a business is so much more than an idea. You’ll need to have a name, get your business registered, investigate permits and finances, and see which licenses you need. The UK government put together this handy link with a step-by-step guide on where to start. And you can apply for your hairdressing license here.

2. How did you decide where to locate your business?

“The location of my business was incredibly important to me and I did quite a lot of research. I had a business plan and a bit of an understanding of how I wanted the salon to look, where it would be located (not in the centre of London, but rather a residential area with a strong neighbourhood feel), and I knew that I wanted strong transport links so clients could easily find and come by my salon.” 

Top tip: Be sure to look into foot traffic, competition, the history of the location, and the infrastructure of the building you’re about to set up shop in.

3. How did you make your business stand out from the crowd?

“I wanted to keep things as simple as possible, but to also stay true to myself and add a bit of sparkle to the place. Having good quality products was also integral.” 

Top tip: Always put your spin on things. Playing it safe only gets you so far, and your added flair could make all the difference.

4. What tools did you use to make things easier?  

“Having high-end tools for the day-to-day salon work is a must, and when it comes to the financial, business management side of things SumUp has made my life a lot easier, and the device fits perfectly into the style of my salon.” 

Top tip: Quality over quantity. Always.

5. How did you want your customers to feel after an experience in your salon?

“I really believe that a good haircut or treatment can make you feel brand new. I want them to leave feeling like they’re walking into a fresh start.” 

Top tip: Customers are more likely to tell people about a bad customer experience than a good one. That’s why hiring the right employees is crucial. Be sure to hire people who share the same values as you and your business.

6. How did you handle the financial side of business?

“Very easily with SumUp. I can check and control every payment and transaction in one place.”

Top tip: Look for an affordable, faster solution. Old-school isn’t always best.

7. How did you decide what you were going to offer your customers?

“It’s pretty simple. I always hold a consultation with my customers before I do anything. I want to get a sense for what they personally want, what they do professionally, etc.”

Top tip: An American Express report found that 70% of consumers “say they have already made a choice to support a company that delivers great customer service.” And 17% of them are happy to pay more if the company has a good reputation. Map out your customer journey from start to finish, and update it based on feedback.

8. What kind of work environment did you want to create for your customers?

“Peaceful and creative.” 

Top tip: Multiple studies have shown that 50% of purchases are not planned, and are in fact influenced by the experience consumers have in-store. Make sure your customer service and store layout provide the feeling you want customers to have.

9. How did you decide to price your products and services?

“I looked into recommended pricing from other retailers and companies, and also did a services comparison with all the local competition.”

Top tip: There are multiple ways to price your products.

If you’re looking for a hiarcut, you can find Ivas’s salon on 279B Finchley Rd, London and if you’re looking for an affordable payment solution for your business, take a trip to our website.

Anna Marie Allgaier