With over a decade of experience of providing eye-catching cuts, vivid color and enviable styling, award-winning master colorist Stephanie Karellas opened Kroma Salon. What’s even more impressive than those accolades? The fact that she was able to create one of the most highly sought-after hair salons in King City, Ontario in just nine months.
Kroma Salon is the product of her passion for modern hair design, her dream of owning her business and her thirst for educating and sharing her experience with other stylists in the industry. She also credits her success to her hands-on approach to keep her love for pampering her clients’ tresses alive and her ability to design an environment that continues to inspire her and her team on a daily basis.
We had the pleasure of chatting with this ambitious entrepreneur to pick her brain about her journey with Kroma Salon and how Booker simplifies how she manages her business.
Q: What prompted you to open Kroma Salon?
With 10 years of experience, opening a salon was always my dream and apart of my ambitions. I always aspired to create something of my own – a place where I could continue to do what I love, and have a true passion for. I see Kroma Salon as a studio, the same way an artist sees their working space. I really wanted a place where I could take what I love and continue to create. Another reason that encouraged me to open Kroma Salon was because I wanted to take an opportunity to inspire, help, and teach other growing stylists in my field.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge as a small business owner?
One of the biggest challenges as a small business owner has definitely been continuing to find stylists in the hair industry with the same passion I have. Fortunately, I have been blessed with the most dedicated, and hard working team recently. My biggest goal is to ensure I have a business that runs smoothly, and a business where people are always respected, valued and happy.
Q. What has been the most unexpected experience about starting and owning Kroma Salon?
The most unexpected experience I had with opening Kroma Salon was being pleasantly overwhelmed by the positive feedback and support from King City and the surrounding areas. I was not expecting such a quick transition, nor was I expecting to grow as quickly as we did. With that being said, the loyalty our clients have given us over the past nine months has been the biggest surprise to us, and we are incredibly thankful for that!
Q: What advice would you give to other people looking to make the jump to entrepreneurship?
One of the biggest pieces of advice I could pass to someone planning on starting their entrepreneur adventure would definitely be this: be ready to give 1000% of yourself to the business. Another point I would make would be to not let the operational side of running a business interfere with the love and focus you have for your craft.
One way I maintain my passion for hair is continuing to stand behind my chair at the salon six days a week, doing what I love. You also have to learn how to delegate within your business where applicable to ensure that your business can run smoothly, and do everything you can to keep you and your staff inspired and motivated. But more importantly, be a leader — work to inspire and motivate your team. Lead by example, and everything else will follow.
Q. Where do you get inspiration for how you run Kroma Salon?
I have been inspired by the people I have worked with in the past, and by networking with people in my field of work. Many of these people and my past co-workers have left a huge imprint on the person and stylist I am today. I have experienced various ways of running a salon over the years, so I have been able to identify the things I respect and value, and avoid the things I did not.
The way I run my salon now is reflected by me as a person, but more specifically by my team at Kroma Salon. My team and I meet once a week and discuss ways in which we can better our operations daily, and work together to achieve those things. Therefore, working as a team to grow my company, I believe, is my biggest inspiration.
Q. We obsess over your Instagram page on a daily basis! Do you have any tips or tricks on how to use Instagram effectively?
One of the biggest tips we have for others who are growing their Instagram page is to try to maintain a very consistent posting schedule. We take photos daily, and stay on top of getting our work out there everyday! We see Instagram as our team’s portfolio, therefore we really take pride in posting quality work and photos.
We value the importance of staying in touch with what is current, and just go from there. We also realize how big of an impact Instagram can have on our current clients, and bringing new ones in. If a prospective client is looking for a new salon, they will want to see work that is trendy and professional. This is what will bring in your business. Take pride in your page, and be as active as possible. This may require having to delegate one person to this job and having them engage on there as much as they can. Hiring someone with marketing skills would definitely be handy for growing your company online and through social media!
Q. How has Booker impacted your business?
Booker has been a tremendous asset to Kroma Salon for the reason that it is an online software that our team and stylists can access wherever they need to! We find that having an online database is very important to ensure that we can access our bookings and schedulings whenever we need to. Also, the online booking has been exponentially helpful to our clients who are also able to book their upcoming appointments in the comfort of their own home. We receive compliments daily about this feature and will continue to make this accessible to our clients! We are very thankful for the software and will continue to utilize this into the years ahead.
Q. How do you learn what your customers want? How do you get their feedback? Has there been any insight from customers that helped you meet their needs better?
Learning what your clients or customers want can be very simple – just talk to them! At Kroma Salon, every appointment starts with very thorough consultation where we discuss their hair aspirations. We talk about what they like, what they do not like, and work to give them exactly what they are looking for while protecting the integrity of their hair. We are very transparent with our clients, and I think this also helps build a very trusting relationship with them. We also consistently encourage our clients to leave us feedback over a thank you email that Booker has provided where they can provide us with their thoughts and feelings about their service(s).
Q. What role has technology played in the success of Kroma Salon?
Technology has played a very large role in exposing us to the community and our clients. With social media growing more and more everyday, we make staying prominent on there a very big priority. Technology has also allowed our clients to book their appointments online which is incredibly convenient, it has allowed clients to send us inquiries about hair or bridal bookings, and also has given us the easiest way to figure out what our clients’ needs are by simply showing us photos of their hair inspiration!
Q. What do you see for the future of Kroma Salon, and your industry generally?
Branding would be the biggest aspiration I have for the future of Kroma Salon. We would love to continue to provide the knowledge and expertise our stylists possess. In regards to the industry, I only see the hair industry growing from here out. It’s simple: people love getting pampered and love getting their hair done – and we love doing it!