5 Pro Tips to Prepare for the Holidays by Adriana Ermter

“The people are coming, the people are coming.”

“I’m not ready!”

“The people are coming, the people are coming, the people are coming.”

“Lots of people!”

“The people are coming, the people are coming, the people are coming.”

“The people are coming, the people are coming! Huhhh!”

“The people are coming, the people are coming, the people are coming, the people are coming!”

“Still not an A.”

“The people are coming! Huhhh!”

“The people are coming and what a beautiful thing that will be.”

Do these words sound familiar? You probably heard them in an IKEA commercial when you were watching TV. But they could easily be the thoughts and real-life words spoken by you or your team right before the hustle and bustle of the holidays take over your salon. “Many salons do twenty to thirty per cent of their business in December,” affirms Daniel Naumovski, co-owner of TAZ Hair Inc. in Toronto. “The holidays are a really busy time and that can be overwhelming for a lot of owners and their staff, especially if they’re not used to dealing with that kind of volume on a regular basis.” Here are Naumovski’s pro tips to remain calm and cut, colour and style on through the festive season.

1. Pre-book

Speak with your front of salon staff, as early as September or October to identify the regular clients and ensure they book their holiday appointments well ahead of schedule. “Organizing your regulars by pre-booking them in should be an ongoing task for your reception staff,” advises Naumovski. “This will not only cut down on the amount of bookings you’ll have to do in December, but also will ensure that your regular clientele are taken care of.”

2. Hire extra assistants

It seems like a no-brainer, right? And yet, hiring extra assistants is such a basic need that it often gets forgotten until the last minute. “And then there’s no one left to hire,” says Naumovski. “Budget to bring them in for the month of November if you can, so that they are integrated members of your team who know what they need to do by the time December arrives.”

3. Set expectations

Leading up to the holiday rush, hold one to two team meetings to set expectations with your staff. “This is especially important for new team members or junior staff who have not worked a holiday season before,” explains Naumovski. “Even if you’re a busy salon and your December is no different from any other month of the year, take advantage of the timing for a team refresh.” He says your team check-list items can range from advising teams to pack a lunch with easy-to-grab snacks since there’s no time for breaks and bringing a change of shoes to relieve your feet to reminding staff of your salon culture and the new holiday hours. 

4. Map out your day

Chances are your reception staff prints each stylist’s’ daily client list and leaves them at their stations before the day starts. But sometimes, staff needs a hand with their time management. “Pair your senior staff with a junior team member to help review their daily client list and map out their day,” says Naumovski. “It’s not always as straight forward as Mrs. Jones is coming in for a blow-out at 12 o’clock. Some clients have more needs than others and that requires time management skills that an experienced stylist can show or recommend to a junior.” 

5. Know when to step in

“Sometimes when you’re under holiday pressure and your timing is tight, a service can stump a stylist and they struggle a bit,” says Naumovski. “Having an owner and senior stylist on hand who can recognize when this is happening and offer some advice is always beneficial.”