Franchise Focus: Fort Myers and North Naples, FL, Phenix in Florida for Fun and Sun

Here is a chance to empower people. That’s why Karen Trisko and Bob Montgomery went with Phenix Salon Suites. “I just love the fact that we get to transform people’s lives,” Trisko said.

Karen Trisko

Karen Trisko

Their North Naples and Ft. Myers franchises opened in January, 2015.
“We don’t come from the beauty industry, but we do come from owning businesses in the service industry,” said Trisko, a management consultant. Husband Montgomery was a mortgage banker. And they both trade the financial markets.
They looked at probably 15 different business models, discarding most of those because they just weren’t very interesting. They discovered salon suites through a franchise broker, then visited several, including some traditional open-floor salon models and suite models.
“The last one we saw was Phenix, and we just fell in love with Phenix and Jason and Gina,” Trisko recalled. “They really care about the salon professional. That was very important to me and Bob.”
What they loved about the salon suite model is that “it really empowers people to take control of their lives, particularly financial control,” she said.
The suites provide stylists and other salon professionals with an affordable way to be independent business owners. They get to decorate their own suites, keep more of what they earn, set their own hours and focus on their clients without the withering drama of an open-floor salon or all the high overhead and distraction of owning a full-scale salon.

“It’s hard for people to build up much wealth for themselves or their families if they are working for someone else,” Trisko said. ”Owning an independent salon at Phenix Salon Suites changes that for salon professionals.”
“We view it like we are business partners with these salon professionals,” she said. “Our success is intertwined.”
Bob MontgomeryThere were several options in the salon suite concept but Trisko and Montgomery chose Phenix, because “we’re more interested in having a relationship” with the salon professionals. “To us, it’s more than a real estate business, it’s a customer service business” she said.
The couple had lived in a country club community of Larkspur, CO, south of Denver, for seven years. So, why Florida? It stays warm pretty much year round. And they have a sister in Ft. Myers. Phenix and family in the Sunshine State … what more could you want?

Bob Montgomery

Franchise Focus: Boulder, CO, Fostering Karma at Foot of the Rockies

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As Stephen Morgan sees it, the strategy is pretty simple: Create an environment in which the stylists are happy, so their customers are happy, then everyone will be happy, including the franchise owner. “Our job is so easy.”
Morgan just opened the doors of his first Phenix Salon Suites franchise in Boulder, CO. He plans to have his grand opening in February.
What Phenix provides, he said, is so much more than private suites for salon professionals. “We’re giving stylists an opportunity they would not normally have. We’re giving them the ability to pursue a better life.”

Stephen Morgan, right, at his newly opened Phenix franchise in Boulder, CO, with his property manager Thea Campbell.

Stephen Morgan, right, at his newly opened Phenix franchise in Boulder, CO, with his property manager Thea Campbell.

At Phenix, stylists and other salon professionals can own their own business. Morgan said he’s kept rates low to make it particularly easy for them to get started. They also keep more of what they earn, set their own ours, and decide what products to sell. They’ll get free technical training and opportunities to climb professionally with the Phenix organization.
Morgan said he looked at other franchise operations but, compared to Phenix, “they just didn’t have a team like this … The values of the people at the top are just head-and-shoulders over everybody else.”
Morgan was particularly impressed with Director of National Real Estate Robert Aertker and Phenix General Counsel Jason White, who negotiated his lease contract with mall owners.
The new Phenix Salon Suites is located at the Meadows Shopping Center on Baseline Road and Foothills Parkway, a key entry point for the City of Boulder and a major crossroads for commuters and thousands of residents in neighborhoods just to the east. This is also a proverbial stone’s throw from the University of Colorado in Boulder and the breathtaking Flatirons at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. Continue reading

What I Learned as ‘Ashley’ On ‘Undercover Boss,’ by Gina Rivera, Phenix Founder, President and Hair Expert

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First-ever episode of series to feature a salon company will air Friday, Jan. 9, at 8/7c, on the CBS Television Network.

I don’t wear glasses or contacts, but in my disguise as Ashley to appear on the Jan. 9 episode of “Undercover Boss,” the hit reality series by CBS, I had them both. The contacts were dark, dark brown. Getting used to the glasses took time.

Gina Rivera as Ashley

Gina Rivera is disguised as ‘Ashley’ for the Jan. 9 episode of “Undercover Boss” on CBS.

I can’t wait for you all to see the show, not just to watch me step on screen as Ashley but to witness the lives of these wonderful, strong people who work with us in the Phenix Salon Suites. Like most everyone else in America, I’d seen “Undercover Boss” before, but getting into my disguise and meeting these members of our Phenix family was life-changing for me.
This was also an opportunity to get some technique training … You’ll see. As Ashley I do a weave, a pedicure and a straight-edge shave. These are not on the A-list of my repertoire and, to say the least, I found them challenging. There is a lot of talent out there! That’s a great reminder: we’re never finished learning and we can gain so much from each other. Continue reading

How to Dance in the Rain: Lessons My Mom Taught Me, by Gina Rivera, Phenix Founder And Hair Expert

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I remember getting this call from my mom in a panic. She’d been in an accident at the golf course. “Yes,” you heard me correctly, at the golf course … she’d run over my dad with a golf cart!
Never a dull moment with my folks. Apparently, he bent down to retrieve a ball from under the cart, she didn’t see him and, well, he was bruised but survived to share the story that had us all crying with laughter. We always found humor in almost everything and, whether it was good or bad, our closeness always got us through. We got that from my mom and dad.
Then we got another call.
My mother, Janice Peneschi, was very young, active and beautiful. You know how that is sometimes, when it doesn’t matter how old a person is in years, they are still young. She stayed very busy, professionally and personally. My parents had been in the beauty industry for so long doing hair and nails, and at one point we all worked together in one salon. Those were very happy days.

Gina Rivera, Phenix Founder, President and Hair Expert

Gina Rivera, Phenix Founder, President and Hair Expert

My husband, Jason, and I had our first son, Phenix, in 2003. My mom eventually decided to stay home so that she could watch him. She was such a devoted grandmother. We soon added our second son, Priest, to the mix. She worshipped all her grandchildren, five boys. She would get down on the floor with them and play all day. Sometimes they would walk to the park and spend hours there. She seemed to have every bit as much energy as they did.
The Friday before Thanksgiving in 2008, she asked if Jason could take the boys. She had a terrible back ache, joking (as always) that she’d probably pulled a muscle playing with the grandkids and that she “needed a raise!”
I was home from work that evening when my dad called. The doctors had found a nine-centimeter mass on my mom’s pancreas. They conducted more testing through the night. The next morning, we knew. She had stage-four pancreatic cancer that had spread to her liver. We lost her 13 months later on Dec. 9.
I am so grateful that I had her for the time I did. She taught me so much about love and work, and even as tough as it got at the end, as sick as she was, she handled that part of her life with such dignity and strength. She was an inspiration to all of us. Her Faith was a testament on all levels for many people. She is still with me every minute of every day. Among her many avocations, she was a talented designer and every time I walk into one of our salons, I see the handprints of her work everywhere. She taught me so much about everything. Mainly, though, she taught me how to dance in the rain. I love you, mom.

Meet Your Team: Stylist John Aultman, Phenix International Artistic Team

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Stylist John Aultman was on the Phenix International Artistic Team that recently created the 2015 Phenix Hair Collection.

John Aultman says he “moved from a small town in Georgia to a smaller town in Colorado, went to South Park and then decided, I needed a bigger city.”
That ended up being Colorado Springs at the foot of the Rocky Mountains.
This path also took Aultman to the doorstep of his calling as a talented stylist with a passion for color.
“I love styles that can be punked out for a night on the town or dressed down for a day at work,” he said. For hair he loves “rich brunettes, sassy reds” and 3DeLuXe 7.32. This is also where Aultman found Phenix Salon Suites and became a member of the National Education Team and the International Artistic Team that recently created the first Phenix Hair Collection, dubbed “Reflections.” Continue reading

Franchise Focus: Coachella Valley, CA, Helping Stylists Make the Jump

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Emerald Williams and Marti Alter at their Phenix Salon Suites franchise in the Coachella Valley of Southern California.

Stylists long to be independent, but making that jump to self-employment can be intimidating. “They’re used to having someone else run their business,” said Marti Alter. To help bridge that gap, Alter plans on hosting a class on how to be your own boss at her two new Phenix Salon locations in the Coachella Valley.
Simple as it may seem, understanding the nuts and bolts of small business can be a high hurdle, Alter said. “A lot of them have always worked for somebody else. We can show them how to be successful on their own.”
In the meantime, Alter is set on having her new Phenix Salons at full-throttle by January, when the population really starts to buzz here in the Coachella Valley. That’s when this SoCal oasis is flooded by ‘snowbirds’ who migrate from painfully cold parts of the country for the warmth and luxurious spa atmosphere.
It was in the Coachella Valley community of La Quinta in early September that Alter opened her first Phenix Salon Suites and a second in  Palm Desert just two weeks later. She and her business partner have targeted Palm Springs for a third location. A big part of what Alter intends to provide in these business classes for stylists is the confidence to make the move by helping them understand self-employed functions like marketing, bookkeeping and tracking clients. She’ll bring a lot of experience to the classroom. She’s been self-employed for over 25 years, as an independent insurance broker.
A key player alongside Alter has been her assistant manager, Emerald Williams.  “She is the Spirt of our Phenix family,” Alter said. They initially hired her as a receptionist but quickly promoted her and now plan to hire two more part time receptionists. Continue reading

This Holiday Season, Get the Gift of Year-Round Revenue, Hold a Salon Party, by Gina Rivera, Phenix Founder, President And Hair Expert

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Gina Rivera, Phenix Founder, President and Hair Expert

Gina Rivera, Phenix Founder, President and Hair Expert

This is our busy time of year, which means we’re making more money … love that! Now, let’s make even more money and give our clients something fantastic at the same time.
We’re going to use this seasonal increase in volume to build a new stream of revenue in our salons, money we’ll earn year round, by hosting a Phenix Salon Product Party to introduce our clients to this high-end line of hair and skin products.
For skin, Phenix offers the luxurious Souffle body scrub, the ultra-soft protection of Glove hand lotion, the magic of Phenix Rise to erase the appearance of fine wrinkles. For your clients’ hair, Phenix has created Ash, an elegant hair volumizer in a vintage spray bottle, and Mystic Oil, a nourishing formula that adds lasting shine and body.
These products feature excellent quality at a great price that clients won’t find anywhere else. Here’s how to do it:
Make it a party! Offer refreshments and snacks, turn up the music! Fly solo or collaborate with a suite mate to make it an even bigger bash.
You don’t need everyone’s undivided attention to demo your products. Let the party flow around the fun. Offer demos to those who want them (hint: everybody will want one) and let the experience sell the products.
Team up with a colleague to share the demos. One can do hair products, the other skin and hands.
Make it too easy! Offer gift bags, tissue paper and note cards. Make your salon a one-stop gift shop.
No need to be pushy. These products will sell themselves. If someone doesn’t want to buy at the party, that’s not a problem. You’ve given your great clients a special Holiday hand rub to say “thanks” for being the best. And they’ll be back!
Make sure your clients know they can order from you anytime and get their products in just a few business days if you don’t have them in stock.
There are several Holiday opportunities to host a party – Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s … host more than one to multiply the fun. Any invitation doubles as a reminder to clients that all of these products are available.
I’ve been selling Glove and Souffle for several months and my clients have begun to reorder, usually in about nine to 10 weeks of their first order. These parties are a way to create repeat customers. They will love the products you provide, and you will have a new revenue stream.
I mentioned in a recent column about building an email list as a way to keep your business strong by staying in touch with your clients, providing them with appointment reminders and special offers over the year. These parties are a great time to use that list and build on it. As always, be open to change.

Franchise Focus: Tustin, CA, Doors Opened With a Waiting List

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Attracted to the “simplicity and effectiveness” of the salon suite concept, Sam Hilo and his partner, Shadi Najjar, opened their fist Phenix Salon Suite in Tustin, CA, just days ago.
How’s it going? 100 percent leased with a waiting list.DSC_0016_Phenix Fountain_200w_01
“We are delivering a product that is clearly in demand, and makes dreams into reality,” he said. Those are the dreams of the stylists and other salon professionals who come to Phenix to launch their own businesses.
Hilo also has faith in the formula that “high quality salons will never be obsolete or threatened by a highly evolving technology-dependent world, which is moving more and more transactions online and away from retail.”
Something’s working. Hilo’s franchise was 100 percent full when he opened the doors Nov. 5 with a waiting list in his pocket. “We followed Phenix marketing recommendations with post cards and Craigslist ads to make it happen,” he said. Hilo also let Phenix guide him on site selection, “which proved to be an excellent decision.” Far from content to rest on his laurels, he has plans for locations in Chino Hills and Fullerton underway and expects more to follow.  Hilo came to the salon industry as a real estate investor and business owner with several income tax service franchise locations.
Before finding Phenix, Hilo looked at another salon suite franchise but was put off by their “pushy sales tactics and vague answers.” He applauded Phenix’ Ken Aselton, Vice President of Franchise Development, for his straightforward and helpful demeanor throughout the process. Next up? Already in the planning are locations in Fullerton and Chino Hills. “We plan to open even more,” said Hilo.

Meet Your Team: Stacey Khuu, Stylist and Makeup Artist, Phenix International Artistic Team

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Stacey Khuu

Stacey Khuu

After a couple years of college, Stacey Khuu decided to “pursue a hobby that I thoroughly enjoyed sharing with my friends and family.”
That hobby became a rocketing career as a stylist and makeup artist. A Bay Area native, Khuu worked with the Rodney Cutler Salon as a hair artist at the New York Fashion Week preparing models for the catwalk at that pinnacle clothing designer event. She was recently featured as a makeup artist in Aspira Magazine and was a lead hair and makeup artist for the Asian Arts Museum Gorgeous Gal Exhibit in April.
Now a member of the Phenix International Artistic Team, Khuu recently created makeup for the 2015 Phenix Hair Collection and collaborated in assembling the wardrobe for the photo shoot. The theme of the collection was “Reflections.” Khuu said she skyped endlessly with fellow team artist Timka Tremouille, building on the inspiration board via Pinterest. The team wanted to show how versatile each custom cut and color could be, said Khuu, so she created two looks for each model. Continue reading

Here Come The Holidays! Tips For Taking Care of Clients, by Gina Rivera, Phenix Founder And Hair Expert

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The Holidays are fast approaching and this is a great time of year to say “thank you” to your clients and cultivate your business along the way. At the same time, don’t forget to take care of yourself and avoid stress.

Gina Rivera, Phenix Founder, President and Hair Expert

Gina Rivera, Phenix Founder, President and Hair Expert

Remember, you’re being helpful, not pushy. Ask clients whether they have upcoming holiday parties or big events. They may not have thought about making appointments yet. Letting them know that your calendar fills quickly this time of year is a favor.
Be very cautious of overbooking. This can get you into trouble, even cost you clients. If they feel they’ve been short-changed, they probably have. Just put yourself in their position. Even with an assistant or colleague, juggling multiple clients at the same time is tough.
This is a great time to get started on a client email list, if you don’t already have one. There are a number of great services online that not only help you achieve professional, creative results easily but also ensure that you steer clear of spamming.
Email and texting are virtually free, but never underestimate the value of a handwritten note or postcard. The problem with email, particularly a ‘campaign,’ is that it can feel impersonal. For a birthday or another special occasion, or to wish someone “Happy New Year,” even a quickly written note to a special client can have big impact.
New clients will be looking for appointments so call back quickly, be ready with a cheerful demeanor, a calendar in hand and a referral to a colleague if you’re already booked.
Obviously, put out some candy for Halloween! Seasonal treats around Thanksgiving and Christmas add to the fun.
Don’t feel like decorating your whole salon? Pick a vanity or floor-standing mirror to exercise your ghoulish talents. Put a wreath on your door.

The Holiday Season is nearly here! Get your Phenix Salon ready.

The Holiday Season is nearly here! Get your Phenix Salon ready.

Most importantly, take care of yourself. Remember to have some fun and get plenty of rest and leave time for family. The Holidays can be very stressful. It’s tempting to work, work and work some more, but this can take a serious toll and leave you diminished to the point of losing clients.
Be happy and open to change!