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Articles > How Sola Salon Studios Is Handling The Pandemic
March 31, 2020

How Sola Salon Studios Is Handling The Pandemic

Salon Suite Renters & Owners Advice During The Coronavirus For Paying Rent & Communicating
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How Sola Salon Studios Is Handling The Pandemic

Salon suite renters, we know you have some questions during the coronavirus pandemic. Are you required to pay rent if your salon suites are closed by government mandate? And how should you navigate the conversation with your suite owner? We talked to Sola Salon Studios Chief Marketing Officer Jennie Wolff and Sola Salon Studios Culture Ambassador Kim Bennett to hear what Sola’s 150 franchise groups around the country are doing now.

 

How Sola Responded to the Crisis

Like everyone else living through this unprecedented time, Sola’s team had to navigate fast-changing situations every day. The team began by developing resources for its 15,000 salon owners and communicating extensively with its franchise owners. As of right now, Sola Salon Suites franchise owners are not actively collecting rent from its suite renters at any locations that are currently closed, Jennie said.

 

It’s important to note that not collecting rent doesn’t mean rent won’t eventually be due—waiving rent versus pausing rent is a franchise-by-franchise decision, and Sola can’t mandate that all franchise owners do one thing. There are so many different circumstances that a blanket rent waiver isn’t possible. The goal, Jennie said, is to help franchise owners understand that stylists should be able to get back to work quickly when social distancing requirements are lifted.

 

The company also just launched the ability to purchase gift cards via the SolaGenius app, meaning Sola salon owners can immediately generate income without working directly behind the chair.

 

How Suite Renters Should Negotiate With Landlords

While Sola has strongly urged its franchisees to proactively communicate their rent situations to Sola salon owners, that may not be what all suite renters are experiencing. So this is Jennie’s advice for opening that communication door:

 

  • Understand that this is a global crisis that no one has ever experienced, and everyone is attempting to work through it. Beginning conversations with that understanding will make your discussion a lot easier to begin.
  • Reach out to your building owner or suite owner in a calm way and say, “I know you are navigating this new, unprecedented situation. What are my financial obligations to you during this time?”
  • “I encourage stylists not to panic or get angry first,” Jennie said. “Everyone is being impacted, and the owner is probably trying to do work on their end to work through this.”

 

What Suite Owners Can Do For Renters

Because you still want your renters’ business after this crisis has waned, it’s important to be understanding and flexible. As Sola Salon Studios’ first renter ever, Kimi has been renting for 16 years and said she is grateful for the flexibility.

 

“Mentally, I’m preparing myself to do catch-up [when this is over],” said Kimi, who rents from a Denver Sola Salon Studios location that waived rent during the closure. “I have a huge, grateful heart, because I do not know what I would do [if they didn’t,], and this gives me more pride in Sola’s culture than ever. I’m prepared to help them back when I can.”

 

Because suite rental is already typically a solo ownership, Sola already has resources to keep the salon owner community feeling connected and open for communication. Now, the company is urging franchise owners to take advantage of technology like the Sola Pro app to make sure that community stays strong. Franchise owners are even hosting virtual happy hours and other digital team-building events to keep Sola salon owners connected.

 

Sola is also opening its resources to any stylist—not just Sola salon owners. “There are stylists out there that are very vulnerable, and this could cause somebody to leave the industry. We don’t want that to happen,” Jennie said. “We want everyone to get through the other side of this.” Check out the Sola Salon Studios COVID-19 Resource Center, which includes:

 

  • Info on topics specifically for independent beauty professionals
  • A calendar of digital events anyone can participate in
  • Info on grants, loans and financial assistance

 

 

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