How To Start Your Own Brow Bar
Do you dream of starting your own brow, nail, lash or beauty bar? We have listed the 12 most important steps you need to take. And Ska from Mrs. Highbrow tells how she started almost ten years ago. Note: this article is written for Dutch beauty bosses to be, since the rules are different in each country. But most of the tips are universal!
By Anouk Bruel
1. Be Amazing
You cannot afford to have any bad reviews, especially when you are just starting out. So, before you start, you have to make sure the work that you deliver is of good quality. Take extra courses if you have little experience, and keep practising on models or on the people around you. Friends and family are most likely happy to help you on your road to become a professional. Make use of that, and get as much experience as possible.
2. Come Up With An Original Name
Think of a name that best suits you, that is easy to remember for customers and also sounds attractive and enticing. As a boring name is a bad name.
Make sure that the name is not yet in use, and check whether the domain name is still available. This is the URL or the link to your website. By immediately checking whether or not it is available, you can avoid being disappointed later on.
Less is more. Keep it short and sweet; the name should make clear what you stand for in one fell swoop. Even if it initially raises some questions, there has to be a link.
Do exactly what the competitor is not doing. There are dozens of salons which are now registered with the Chamber of Commerce with similar words and terms. This means that when your (domain) name is very similar to that of another company, customers will have to Google a lot to eventually find you. Try to stay original so that your name leaves an impression, is memorable and easy to find.
Brainstorm together. If you are starting a business with brow-friends or other specialists, you can discuss this together. If you are about to embark on this alone, make use of your own network to come up with an brilliant name. Write down all the possibilities, and review them later. What is the one name you keep coming back to, the most memorable?
3. Make An Appointment With The Chamber Of Commerce
Let's do it by the book. All companies in the Netherlands are required to register in the Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce. This costs you a one-time fee of € 50. You can make an appointment online after you have completed the registration form on the website. Do you have no idea what to enter for certain parts of the online form, or do you still have a lot of questions about topics such as finance? Do not worry, beauty; the employees of the Chamber of Commerce are happy to help you clarify these matters.
4. And What About The Tax Authorities?
You will now have to start dealing with the tax authorities, the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingsdienst). You need to file a tax return for your company every quarter, and you need to pay 21% of your turnover to the tax authorities. You do not have to register separately for this. If you have registered with the Chamber of Commerce, you will automatically be registered with the Tax and Customs Administration. After your appointment, you will receive a Chamber of Commerce number and a VAT number which is for your taxes.
5. Design A Logo
Now that your name has been decided and you are officially registered, it is time to design your logo. There are many agencies out there who are happy to help you with this. Visualize it carefully, and do not be afraid to give feedback. Your opinion matters. There is a reason why your logo is an important part of your business and you want to be able to use for a long time. It is not because of the amount of work that has been put into it, but because it represents your business and determines your recognisability. Scroll through Pinterest or Instagram for a little bit of inspiration. That is how Mrs.Highbrow got the inspiration for her logo. Ska, the owner, was scrolling through Instagram when she landed on the profile of a talented Canadian Jason Vandenberg (@jason_vandenberg). She was interested in his work and just sent him a message. Mrs.Highbrow’s lettering was established soon after. The illustration that accompanies the logo was designed by the creative Ingrid Bockting. Regardless of how well your logo has to be thought out, do not forget that you can always renew it. The Mrs.Highbrow logo is also not what it once was. At some point, a bit of restyling can be refreshing!
Het logo van Mrs.Highbrow, ontworpen door de Canadese Jason Vandenberg.
The logo of Mrs.Highbrow, designed by the Canadian designer Jason Vandenberg.
6. Start With Social Media
Make sure you exist. Part of this is opening up a salon but also making sure that customers can actually find you. You can already get started on this by setting up a Facebook and Instagram account to share your work. This is the best business card you can give a customer. The more customers that visit your profile - and like your work - the more recognition you can gather.
7. Find a Suitable Property
You might have plans of offering treatments from your own home. In that case, you have already found a suitable property, lucky! In all other cases, you will have to look for a location. If you are going to rent a property, keep in mind that you often have to pay a 3-month deposit, which is quite an investment. You will also have to deal with additional bills, including gas and electricity, municipal taxes, telephone and internet costs. If you are on your own, it is often cheaper to rent a chair or space in another salon. The cost of renting a chair can vary per city, or from one street to the next. This can be from € 30 to € 100 per day.
8. What's On The Menu
Which treatments will you offer at what price? Be realistic, and consider that you do need to make a profit. You should definitely not set your prices too low. List all costs, and consider, for example, purchase prices of the products you use, VAT on your services and rental prices. Start thinking about how many treatments you want to do and can do. You will then be able to calculate how many treatments you need to do to cover the costs and make a profit. Bear in mind: if you are good at what you do, your prices can match that!
9. Live in 3… 2… 1...
Publish a website with your domain name. Strato and MijnDomein are examples of websites where you can buy a domain name. However, that is not all it takes. How will you design your website and add information to it? You can opt for a platform that allows you to do this yourself, such as Wix and Wordpress. These platforms offer you existing templates where you can easily start entering your browmazing stuff. You can also opt to have a website built for you. This will cost you more, but you will have a custom-made system.
10. Choose Your Online Booking System
To prevent your phone from going off all day or having to note your appointments in a paper calendar, you can install an online booking system on your website. Salonized is one such booking system. This is a software that can take over almost all of the administration. It offers a calendar for your bookings, a POS system and client management. The monthly fee depends on the number of employees in your salons who can also be booked. The all-in-one package starts at € 29 per month. You can also choose individual parts for € 15 per month. It will save you time that you would rather spend on styling eyebrows, lashes or nails.
More info: www.salonized.com. At this site you'll also find a nice article about Mrs.Highbrow. Klick here to read it.
11. Take Out Insurance
Browtention, please. Last, but not least, you have to take into account that you need to be properly insured as a beauty specialist.
Liability insurance is essential. There are a lot of things that customers can hold you responsible for. Think of, for example, a customer slipping due to a bit of spilt water on the floor. Or worse, if something goes wrong during treatment.
Disability insurance. If you unexpectedly fall ill, have an accident or are unable to perform your work due to physical complaints, this insurance is your saving grace. The disability insurance provides you with an income regardless of whether you are unable to work temporarily or for a longer period of time. Another option is to set something aside for these kind of unpredictable moments.
Contents insurance. If you open your own salon, it is wise to have your little gem insured for things that are out of your control. In the event of a leak, fire, theft or vandalism, then at least you will know for sure that you can be reimbursed.
12. Find An Accountant
Because you will soon pay VAT every quarter and you must make a declaration every year, it is important that you have your affairs in perfect order. It is best to hire an accountant for that, so that you can focus your full attention on your salon. As a self-employed person, an accountant costs you between € 500 and € 1000 a year, depending on what you do yourself or outsource. Do you want to do your bookkeeping yourself? Then purchase an online accounting program. Download the entrepreneurial handbook from the Tax Authorities as a reference. Here you will find all the tax rules that you need to know to do your accounting and tax returns correctly.
And How Did Mrs.Highbrow Start?
Mrs.Highbrow was founded in 2010 by Saskia (Ska) van Buren. "At that time I was working as a freelance copywriter and editor-in-chief for magazines such as Glamor, Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan. A super fun job, but I had been doing it for almost 17 years and I was ready for a new challenge. I always had my eyebrows done with permanent makeup and found it super intriguing. I thought it was cool to learn that too. I had already noticed that there was so little attention for brows at the time. The magazines I worked for and the most beautiful cover models. But little care was given to their eyebrows. Strange, because strong eyebrows can do so much for your looks. In addition, pmu was often offered by beauticians, on the side. That had to be different. I wanted a stylish salon focused on eyebrows. The name of Mrs. Highbrow was quickly found. I made a website via Blogspot, creates a Facebook page - Instagram does not yet exist - and started advertising via Google Adwords."
Ska: "By the way, I hardly dared to tell colleagues this, haha. Permanent makeup still had a very tacky image at that time and people around me were not very into it. But I found it a challenge to do something far beyond my comfort zone. Certainly because I found a niche in this. Nobody did this yet: start a salon for eyebrows only. For that reason, my place was doing serious business in no time. Precisely because I focused on one thing, people thought: then she must be good at it. And so it is: you need to gain experience. So find your strengths and focus on them. For example, are you getting nervous of doing lash extensions? Don't start offering this. Do you like threading the most? Skip waxing and make threading your specialty."