Image of Jeff Grissler

Don’t get bored with the basics

“People are more likely to believe you and like you when you know you look fine.”


When it comes to the daily things we do in life, we sometimes lose track of what is important. Let’s face it, Covid has changed the entire world. What was once a daily routine has changed in so many ways. It has become easier to avoid doing things we know are good for us if they take a few minutes in a day- like going to the gym or eating healthy at home or instead on the go. How many of us put on the Covid 15 or more? What about maintaining the much-needed hair color or having your nails done? The norm for the past two years is to be underdressed, with no makeup, and bad hair. Why look good and feel good when no one can see you? It’s easy to promise you’ll start tomorrow or next week or you’ll eventually get back on track, eat right, put makeup on, dress up and go to the gym.

The problem many salons are having with their staff is this new relaxed look is cascading around the salon on the regular. Many salons have lost the basics. Like going to the gym or eating right, offering 5-star service in your salon is no different. It’s easy to lose control of your salon staff, relax your standard dress code and forget about the things that are important to you as an owner, your staff, and the customers you serve.

Most customers understand that you had to close for Covid. All bets are now off. You are trying to play catch up for lost revenue. What has happened is simple. Many salon owners are walking on thin ice with their staff. They are afraid of applying what was once standard policies may cause a revolution in the salon or worse, a walkout. Yes. This may be true. That is still no reason to not get back on track and maintain the look and feel your customers expect from your salon.

Great companies and successful individuals keep a keen eye on the basics all the time. Like great athletes, they know that mastering the fundamentals makes all the difference between success and failure. You can’t expect to hit a game-winning home run without mastering everything else that goes along with swinging the bat. In business, the seemingly small things are easy to overlook, but they can set your salon business apart from the competition and in turn your sales, your repeat business, and your bottom line.

Why is this so important? Because it’s the basics that your neighboring salon or spa overlooks-the small things that turn out to eventually be big things. Mastering them will continue to set your salon or spa business apart from the rest. It also may weed out the staff that doesn’t fit your salon culture, as post-Covid salon business gets back to normal.


I visited a spa while on vacation. The first thing I noticed was how the staff was dressed. They all dressed professionally and looked beautiful. Each carried themselves in a professional manner.

When I entered the reception area, I was impressed by the way the receptionist welcomed me. She asked my name, where I was staying and if I was having a great morning. She never lost eye contact with me and had a perpetual smile that would not go away. I also have to say her makeup, hair, and nails were perfectly done. She looked amazing!

She then walked from behind the desk and escorted me to a spotless waiting area. The magazine rag was in perfect order. Yes, the magazines were back. Post-Covid! She offered me a choice of several beverages and a hand wipe for sanitation. I thought that was a very clever gesture.

In return she handed me water that was wrapped in a clean paper towel, she said that she had sanitized her hands before touching my beverage. This blew me away. All basic things that lead up to a 5-star experience.

Wow, I was completely overwhelmed with the experience, and I hadn’t even set foot in the spa area! This employee was well trained and obviously following company procedures. This spa was not bored with the basics and never deterred from the culture they expect from their staff in offering a 5-star experience.

Let’s look at my experience. What can be more basic than a salon’s receptionist welcoming smile, she looked clean and sharp makeup done and her hair was perfect, she was ready for business. These little things- let’s call them company procedures added to the total impact of my guest experience. It was simple but genius. Best of all, there was no cost associated with it for the spa director and or owner.


The close cousins of cleanliness are personal appearance and hygiene. Again, this is about as basic as it gets. Losing control of your salons’ dress code can happen very quickly. Covid was the perfect excuse to throw away all boundaries.

There is a reason Chanel employees wear white lab coats at high-end department stores. It’s because they give the shopper the appearance of professionalism, almost the impression of being a doctor, if they’re in white lab coats they must know what they are doing, right? They command respect, making almost anything they say believable. Most Chanel employees even have the same (almost clone-like look) hair tied back in a bun, makeup was done to the nines, and a sleek, model-like appearance and figure, Chanel has not forgotten about the basics of dress code, appearance, and hygiene, and neither should you at the salon. The Chanel “look” personifies 5-star products and services. Their employee dress code is one of the small things that make their brand a force in the fragrance industry. Remember, this is about not forgetting the basics. The dress code is one of the most important basics your salon and or spa must insist upon.

I have been involved in many discussions about the dress code over the past few months. Should we or shouldn’t we put a salon dress code in place? Every salon is different. Each salon has its own standards and look. Your image may be different depending on your location, clientele, and staff. Your salon may be in a high-end hotel or strip mall. Your customers may expect your staff to be in lab coats. You may be situated in the East Village in NYC; this location may require a trendier look. All these places and things are different. They will all require specific dress codes. Nonetheless, you still need to put one in place.

My mother once told me that it is always better to be overdressed than undressed. I believe this philosophy is also true in the salon or spa business, whatever the address and customer being a tad bit overdressed gives the perception of an upscale place of business. My advice is to always go for the overdressed, professional look. It symbolizes competence, intelligence, preparation, and character, and these are major factors in how the customer, consciously or not, evaluates your staff and your business.