After 25 Years in Commission Salons, Why This Stylist Went Solo – Career



Stylist David John (@davidjohnla) has had a long and successful career at some of the busiest, buzziest salons in Los Angeles, including Fred Segal, Serge Normant and Sally Hershberger. He recently opened his own studio inside the Salon Republic in Beverly Hills.  A combination of factors, including the after effect of COVID lockdowns in California, led to his decision.

During the salon shutdowns, I was doing house calls at people’s homes and so I basically began running my own business,” John explains. “I was taking my own appointments, scheduling, processing payment—everything.  Then, when we were able to go back to the salon, I didn’t necessarily want to be in a crowded environment, and I found that my clients were feeling the same way. They didn’t want to be around a lot of other people as we were figuring things out with COVID.”

Business-Minded

John also found that he liked keeping the full price of his service; he was charging the same price on his house calls that he would have charged in the salon, but he was able to keep the full commission and when her returned to the salon, he had to give a percentage back to the salon. 

During the last year, John had lost a few of his longtime clients; they had moved out of the area or found they could no longer afford his services. “We also lost the ability to double book appointments because of COVID restrictions, so it was important to me to maintain my level of income but I wasn’t going to be able to do that in the salon.”

A previous assistant had posted some pictures of his suite and John thought it was beautiful…so he started to investigate spaces.

“I chose this location because it’s so close to my home so I can walk or bike to work.  It’s very clean, they have towel service, and I love their business model—things are run very, very well. This Beverly Hills location also had natural light, which was important to me. And my clients like it because they feel very pampered, getting one-on-one attention.”

Other pluses include an on-site retail center, a small beauty supply store, where renters can purchase from leading beauty brands. “You buy the product at wholesale and you can sell to your client at retail,” says John.  He is carrying Renee Furterer in his new studio space and gets full commission on all the products he sells. 

The person most surprised by this move might be John, himself.  “I never wanted to own my own salon, before, because I didn’t want to manage other people, I didn’t want the overhead, I didn’t want the headache. But I can handle myself and I kind of like that.”

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