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Last updated: December 03, 2019

Salon Owners: This One Easy Change Will Save You Money

how saving money on haircolor waste can add up vish color management software
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One Thing Salon Owners Can Do To Save Money

Salon owners, we know your struggle—you want to offer your staff and guests the best salon environment possible…but it’s EXPENSIVE. Coffee for guests? It adds up! A fully stocked backbar? That adds up, too! What if we told you there was one place you could cut expenses without cutting perks for your staff or clients? And what if we told you your savings would seriously add up (like saving over $3k a year in just lightener!)? Keep reading for the tea!


BTC spent the day with Andrea Swanson, owner of Taylor Stevens Salon in Algonquin, Ill. Andrea’s owned her 10-station salon since 2000 and years of hard work are paying off—she’s a team-based pay owner with high retail numbers, a loyal and hardworking staff of 14 and a beautiful space that not only offers hair services, but also nails and facial treatments. Plus, she’s opening a second location soon.


Andrea with her daughter Taylor at Taylor Stevens Salon & Spa.

Andrea shared her secret to staying profitable—SO profitable that she’s been able to give her staff raises, remodel her salon and offer increasingly high-end benefits to her clients. Ready to know what it is?


The one thing Andrea did to save money in her salon was start using Vish, a color management software. Here’s how she went from wasting $2,000 a month in color and lightener to a fraction of that—and saving enough to make serious salon improvements.


taylor stevens salon and spa algonquin illinois uses vish color management software
Andrea mixing a color for a client.



You Think You Aren’t Wasting, But You Are

Andrea and her husband were already tracking color waste. “Every night we would take color waste and put it on a scale,” she said. “It wasn’t accurate, but it was kind of a game. ‘We wasted 3,000 grams of color this month—what would that be in revenue if we actually used it to do services?’”


She also religiously tracked inventory and had what she thought was an advanced inventory management system. “We really had it down,” she said. Her team was trained to use a scale for mixing all color, and travel cards for every client tracked handwritten formulas, when stylists had time or could remember to write down accurate formulas.


For Andrea and her team, they were doing just fine, but she was always trying to identify areas to save money, and couldn’t reduce her fixed costs like rent or utilities. That’s when she looked more closely at the dispensary. “As stylists, it’s a scoop of lightener,” she said. “Everything’s a scoop. Doing a partial? That’s a scoop. Doing a crown? That’s a scoop. And I would see the waste, and it was sickening.”


So when Andrea heard about Vish, she decided to implement the technology in her salon.




Here’s How Vish Works

Vish automatically records and organizes formulas as you work, intelligently refining formulas based on previous waste and recalculating them to the exact consistency your client needs. This is what happens.


  • For a new client, place a color bowl on the scale and tap through the program as you create a formula. The software is loaded with your salon’s color lines already, so it knows every product.
  • Mix the formula and go about the service as usual.
  • After application, come back to the dispensary and reweigh the bowl. Vish will calculate how much product is left and remember what was really needed.
  • Next time you see that client, find her in the Vish software. The program will guide you through how much color you really need to mix.


Here’s Vish in action:


Place bowl on Vish scale and begin adding formula.


Stylists and salon owners can see their waste at any time on the Vish software. 


taylor stevens salon and spa algonquin illinois uses vish color management software
Keep track of which colorists need more coaching on color waste with the Vish software.
taylor stevens salon and spa algonquin illinois uses vish color management software
Vish lets you see what services have the highest color waste!


The Numbers Prove It

Let’s break it down. The salon was going through three tubs of lightener a week.


$65/tub x 3 tubs/week = $195

$195/week x 4 weeks/month = $780


After 6 months of Vish, Andrea determined she could cut her lightener order per week by one tub.


$65/tub x 2 tubs/week = $130

$130/week x 4 weeks/month = $520

$780 – $520 = $260/month savings x 12 months/year = $3,120


That was just the salon’s savings on lightener. After 6 months, Andrea determined she would be able to keep 30 tubes of each color on hand instead of 50 tubes—another significant savings. In fact, she reduced her inventory by 29% in her first year using Vish.



How To Get Stylists On Board

We can hear the salon owners now: “There’s no way my staff will do this!” Andrea thought that too—but her team members are totally on board now. Why? Because there are actual results.


“I talked to them all about the benefits,” Andrea shared. “Frame it as, ‘Here is what we’re saving, and here are the things we can give you because of those savings.’”


For example, in her first year using Vish, Andrea had enough profit to shut down her salon for a week at Christmas and complete a $10k remodel, adding two stations, an office and a lounge. She credits much of that profit to her Vish savings. Check out her gorgeous space below!


Instagram via @taylorstevenssalonspa


This year, she’ll have enough profit to upgrade the manicure and pedicure area with new equipment and all new polishes, plus she’ll have enough to buy her team members new brushes.


Andrea places a high value on coaching and appreciates that the Vish software offers actual numbers that she can speak to. Before Vish, when her staff wanted something (like a lounge area in the salon), Andrea could lecture about color waste—but there was no real data. “There was nothing holding them accountable except me as an owner complaining,” she said.


Now that they use Vish, their waste numbers are available to them. “It’s benchmarked into their coaching,” Andrea said. “You can’t argue with numbers. There’s nothing better as an owner or coach than having concrete evidence.”


Ready to try it? Request a demo of Vish!