Scottsdale Living sat down with owner Robert Quinn, owner of Zolton’s Salon & Day Spa, which is celebrating the business’ 10-year anniversary this year.
Why did you decide to come to the United States and open up a salon in Boston? Have you always wanted to work in the salon and day spa industry?
It was a big decision. The economy in Ireland was worse in the USA; there was a potato famine, then smoked salmon. It prepared me for the 2008-2010 economic crisis in the USA. It was an opportunity for work, and we took it. I always wanted to work with people. You make them feel good and look good, and you automatically see their gratification ― and you get paid for it. I entered the craft in 1974 when I was 18.
How do you balance the budget cuts while expanding your staff in this economic climate?
Working with a CPA from day one and hiring a CFO helps a lot. Having systems in place to make sure it was a finely-tuned machine. It also helps make sure that you hit your mark every month.
What advice do you have for other business owners?
Surround yourself with good people. Starting the business and building the clientele are important, but having great management and dedicated employees is important. Eighty percent of the staff have been here for 10 years. Sometimes hairdressers get a bad rap for not taking it seriously and they don’t really care, but at Zolton’s they are focused and work hard.
What separates your salon and day spa from others?
A new trend is using vegan all natural products. It is a little more expensive, but it is better for the environment, gentle on the hair and better for employees and clients. People are becoming more health conscious. Not only in the sense of eating healthy, but the skin is the largest living organ, and people are concerned about the products they are using now, which is a good thing.
What hairstyle trends do you foresee for 2012-2013?
A trend that will probably stay around for a while is the beach wave. It is a soft wave that moves naturally. It’s not a chemical service, and it is a very romantic, soft, beautiful look. In Europe, you see a trend in having shorter hair, but in the United States, that is not the case. Another trend is the push for organic products for the youth. Trends come from a lot of television shows ― like Jennifer Aniston’s hair.
Should a client know what they want done or just trust your staff to make them fabulous?
I think it is great when clients bring in a photo from a magazine. Some other hair dressers hate it, but we love it. I get to get to know what the clients are thinking. There is something for us to use that is in front of us. It helps my mental picture match their mental picture. It is good when I know what the client likes, and I can adjust if I need to ― like to match her bone structure and the texture of the hair (fine, thick, curly, straight).
What do the next 10 years look like for Zolton’s?
We hope to expand the business, working on a few new programs for staff incentives.
The cosmetology program is great in the Valley. The schools are putting out wonderful and talented new talent. We have a new talent program that clients can get any service they want for $69.95 ― for example, a cut and a color. It is a good way to expose the new talent who have less than three years of experience, and it is a great deal for the clients.
Any final thoughts?
My family and I are privileged to work with these people for 10 years. Many had the opportunity to leave and most did not. We don’t take our clients for granted. I know our success is because of the wonderful staff and our great clientele.