Episode 141

Van Council

Podcast Length: | Date Published: 17th May 2022

There are many qualities to take into consideration if you are going to refer to a salon business as being one of the best in the world’

When it comes to great leadership, a fantastic culture, excellent training, a real career path, great team retention, and consistently having 20% plus in retail and having a very profitable business, there are two salons that really stand out to me.

The first one is JUUT Salons, whose owner, David Wagner, I interviewed on a previous episode. If you haven’t checked it out yet, go back and have a listen. 

The second is Van Michael Salon, and today I’m going to be speaking to Van Council, the founder and co-owner of this incredible business which sets the bar at a level that very few salons can come close to! 

In today’s podcast we will discuss:

  • Adapting your business model to the times
  • The importance of standards, training, systems and exceptional service
  • Lessons in leadership… 

And lots more!


In this Episode:


[04:36] What drew Van to hairdressing, and an overview of his +45 year career in the salon industry (and his experience working in construction).

[13:01] Valuable lessons that Van learnt during the time he spent living in London.

[16:37] Van explains what motivated him to open his own business, Van Michael Salon. 

[20:44] Growth that Van Michael Salon has experienced over the years. 

[25:05] What Van wishes he had known when he co-founded Van Michael Salon.

[27:08] Key elements which have resulted in the very successful expansion of Van Michael Salon. 

[34:48] Examples of the effort that Van puts in to make his salons stand out.

[36:36] Unique features of the Van Michael Salon call centre.

[41:24] Skills that Van drew on when he was working behind the chair, which he is now teaching to his staff. 

[43:31] Van’s thoughts on why Atlanta has a particularly strong salon based business culture in comparison to other areas.

[45:59] How Van branched his business out into Japan, and lessons from there that he has brought back to his American based salons. 

[51:49] Changes that Van is working into his business model.

[59:54] An overview of the two-year training program that Van takes new employees through, and the philosophy that he instils in them during this time.

[1:10:32] The level system at Van Michael Salon.

[1:13:48] Metrics that Van aims to maintain in his salons (and goals that he has for the future).

[1:20:15] Van’s approach to creating a healthy company culture, his biggest strength as a leader, and advice for hiring employees. 


Thanks so much for joining me this week. If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a review. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! 

They do matter in the rankings of the show and help other people find my podcast. 

I also love to hear what’s been helpful and what you love about the podcast! Just click here to review, scroll to the bottom, tap “Ratings and Reviews” tap to rate with 5 stars and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favourite part of the podcast is. Thank you for your support!

Special thanks to Van for sharing his story with me for this week’s episode. Until next time!



Links and Resources:


Grow My Salon Business 

Website | Facebook | Instagram


Van Michael Salon

Website | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook


Van Michael Studio



Van Council