Episode 025

Barrie Stephen

Podcast Length: 57:05 min | Date Published: 4th February 2020

Some of the most successful salons I see are not in the biggest cities. Barrie Stephen Hair in Leicester in the UK is right up there with the best of them.

Over the years I have seen many big-name salons in capital cities with high profile locations, expensive fit-outs and celebrity stylists. But sometimes those businesses don’t actually make any profit! They might generate a lot of revenue but the high overheads and often transient populations of both clients and staff create problems of their own. 

Then I see other salons, all over the world, that are maybe not in the capital cities, and maybe don’t quite get the prestige of being in such high profile locations. But despite that, they are very successful profitable businesses and can compete with ‘any salon anywhere’, no matter where they are. 

One such salon group in the UK is the Barrie Stephen salons in Leicester, which is a city with just over 300,000 people about 2½ hours north of London. 

Today’s guest on the Podcast is Barrie Stephen part-owner of the salon group who with his partner Joachim have created a great business. 

In today’s podcast we will discuss:

  • What does it take to build a great team today? 
  • How to create a team culture?
  • How do you motivate and lead a team…
  • The importance of being part of the community
  • What are the keys to successful expansion?

In This Episode:

[02:02] Welcome to the show, Barrie!

[02:29] Barrie shares with us a little about his background and why he decided to be a hairdresser.

[04:06] Barrie always had a dream of opening his own salon, even when he didn’t know how that could happen.

[06:04] Barrie speaks about buying a salon in Leicester and letting everyone know they were there with a massive launch.

[07:51] Barrie chats about his partner Joachim and when he came on board. 

[10:06] Is owning the building your salon is better than leasing?

[10:42] Barrie is still behind the chair on Saturdays so that he can engage with the clients.

[12:08] Is your mom a part of your business? Is she a stylist?

[12:50] Barrie added a Barber Shop in his salon, which increased profits exponentially.

[14:28] They are adding a whole floor in the King Street salon dedicated to men where they can get their shoes shined as well as a wet shave.

[16:09] Barrie speaks about being one of the first salons that added a blow-dry styling bar.

[17:18] Barrie says that having a sound business model is one of the keys to successfully expanding a business.

[19:45] How do you create an influential culture within a company? How do you take care of your team?

[21:22] Barrie details what he calls his 100K Club and how the incentives to his team.

[22:33] Barrie believes that young people today tend to want things yesterday and not work to get there. He shares how he tries to motivate them so that they can be successful.

[23:52] Can you share with us some of the practical things around health and fitness that you implemented in your salons?

[27:35] Barrie speaks about the charities they support and how engaging with the community can boost morale.

[30:10] Barries stylists are working with chemotherapy patients in local hospitals.

[31:35] What system do you have in place for paying your stylists? Basic wages? Bonuses? Commissions?

[34:50] Barrie is the creative, front of the house, and marketing person while his partner Joachim takes care of the business side. Separating the roles is essential to run a successful business.

[36:43] With your experience, what would you say is a realistic profit margin for salons today? What is your profit margin?

[38:35] Barrie shares the good and the bad when it comes to social media and how it has affected his business.

[40:52] Where is your key focus? Instagram? Facebook?

[41:47] Barrie speaks about the apps they have launched for the salons and the for phone calls that they use to enhance the customer experience.

[45:23] What is your stand on stylists being self-employed or contract labour? Are your team members employees?

[47:35] Barrie shares what drives him and makes him want to come to work.

[48:30] How do you stay relevant and reinvent yourself year after year?

[49:58] Barrie always looks for the positives, so when adversity presents itself, he focuses on how to make it positive.

[51:44] What lessons have you learned over the years, in business or personal?

[53:24] Any final words or bits of advice you have for our listeners before we wrap up?

[54:15] Barrie believes that awards are still relevant because bringing an award back to your team is a great motivator, but they are overdone.

[56:12] Thank you, Barrie, for taking time out of your day to share your passion and knowledge of the industry.

Find Barrie

Barrie Stephen


Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

Thanks for listening!

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Special thanks to Barrie Stephen for sharing his passion and words of wisdom with me for this week’s episode. Until next time!