Employee ManagementLeadership

Getting Advice Straight from the Source

The specter of burgeoning booth rentals and independent suites is a huge challenge for commission-based businesses like K Charles, snatching away experienced service providers we spend many years and dollars developing. It’s difficult sometimes to understand the attraction. Our top artists can earn $120,000 a year without the responsibility and stress of running their own business, and all that entails, from paying their taxes on time to maintaining a solid inventory.

Yet, like many in the business, we see key people give up safe, comfortable positions for the vagaries of self-employment. We wanted to understand why, so earlier this year we set up an advisory board, consisting of one team member from each of our five salons, apart from our largest one, which returns two members. They are voted by the team in each salon rather than picked out by managers; we wanted people who the teams felt could best represent their views.

Our aim is to open a line of communication where everyone can speak freely, including senior management. Everyone signs a non-disclosure agreement to aid freedom of speech and allow us, the senior management, to share our aims and ambitions for the company. The meetings, held quarterly, are designed to be enjoyable and non-confrontational. We gather at happy hour over dinner and drinks to ease the conversation.

So far we’ve met twice and both times have had hugely enlightening conversations with our representatives where we have listened carefully, without judgment. It is imperative that our elected members feel confident to speak freely about various ideas and issues, and that we will listen and absorb what is discussed without becoming defensive. No one is shot down for bringing up far-reaching ideas.

From the start, we’ve been very transparent – otherwise what’s the point – explaining our initial purpose is to halt the hemorrhaging of experienced people by understanding the attraction of booth rental while still running a profitable company. It has provided a fascinating and incredibly useful insight into the thoughts and desires of not just our existing teams, but also those lost to booths or to other businesses.
Topics discussed so far include education, marketing, recruitment and, possibly the biggest elephant in the room, flexible working.

We moved forward immediately after the inaugural meeting to show the team we are committed to the board. We’ve instituted taster sessions so potential new recruits can experience working in one of our salons before committing to the job, as suggested by one of our members. We are developing a brochure about the business, which our team can give to any friends considering a move. But probably the most important innovation, the meeting sparked a serious investigation into the possibility of part-time working.

The advisory board has given senior management a platform to explain the potential impact of part-time working on business, and that if more go part-time then we have to find more staff and all that entails. Plus, we could reiterate that part-time means seeing fewer clients, which means lower commission. But we’ve made it clear we are open to the possibility and have been able to present options to the board for consideration.

It’s still early days for the board, and we are still defining what is discussed and how all members on both sides keep an open mind and an understanding of each other’s point of view. But the consensus so far is that this is a hugely positive move within the company, where we can really discuss in detail those subjects that strengthen the salon business and improve the conditions and take-home of every service provider.

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Holly Vaught

Holly Vaught

A 1989 graduate of the Aveda Institute Minneapolis and third-generation beauty professional, Holly (Zapata) Vaught has worked as a licensed Hairdresser for 28 years in her family’s owned and operated Aveda Lifestyle salons. She obtained a Texas Educator License in 2004 and currently serves as Corporate Education Director and Co-Owner for three K. Charles & Co Aveda Salons in San Antonio, and two Salon Syzygies by K.Charles one in Schertz, Texas and one at the Mosaic close to downtown San Antonio as well as the Barbershop by K.Charles. Working closely with Kathy Thalman, who is company CEO and her mother, Chase, joined the family business, working in partnership with his mother and sister as Corporate Systems Director and Co-Owner. Working together they establish the Aveda Institute San Antonio in 2004 and Aveda Institute Corpus Christi in 2010. Recently selling those schools to Beauty Basics to focus on the Salons full time.

Holly’s passion for education and industry advocacy is manifested by her tireless participation in organizations important to the promotion and advancement of her profession. Eager to raise professional standards for the industry, Holly was elected to the Leadership Council for the Professional Beauty Association (PBA)in 2012 . She served the Board for Career Colleges for 6 years and led the Cosmetology School Licensing Committee for CCST. Holly previously served on the Government Relations Team for the American Association of Cosmetology Schools, the Advisory board for All Aveda Institutes. She is an excited new member at ISBN 2017. With the help of these associations she successfully lobbied for the passing of two industry-related bills at the Texas Legislature in 2013. The Razor Bill and the Mini Salon bill. In 2017 Lobbied to kill and or streamline any legislation deregulating or reducing hours for cosmetology in Texas. Holly is an avid golfer, a mother of two, and Wife of Anthony Vaught, Holly is an excellent role model for young women and men in the beauty industry.

has worked as a licensed Hairdresser for 28 years in her family’s owned and operated Aveda Lifestyle salons. She obtained a Texas Educator License in 2004 and currently serves as Corporate Education Director and Co-Owner for three K. Charles & Co Aveda Salons in San Antonio, and two Salon Syzygies by K.Charles one in Schertz, Texas and one at the Mosaic close to downtown San Antonio as well as the Barbershop by K.Charles. Working closely withKathy Thalman, who is company CEO and her mother,Chase, joined the family business, working in partnership with his mother and sister as CorporateSystems Director and Co-Owner. Working together they establish the Aveda Institute San Antonio in 2004 and Aveda Institute Corpus Christi in 2010. Recently selling those schools to focus on the Salons full time.

Holly’s passion for education and industry advocacy is manifested by her tireless participation in organizations important to the promotion and advancement of her profession. Eager to raise professional standards for the industry, Holly was elected to the Leadership Council for the Professional Beauty Association (PBA)in 2012 . She served the Board for Career Colleges for 6 years and led the Cosmetology School Licensing Committee for CCST. Holly previously served on the Government Relations Team for the American Association of Cosmetology Schools, the Advisory board for All Aveda Institutes. KCharles is an excited new member at ISBN 2017. With the help of these associations she successfully lobbied for the passing of two industry-related bills at the Texas Legislature in 2013. The Razor Bill and the Mini Salon bill. In 2017 Lobbied to kill and or streamline any legislation deregulating or reducing hours for cosmetology in Texas. Holly is an avid golfer, and a mother of two. Holly is an excellent role model for young women and men in the beauty industry.

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