Why is the Salon Industry such a mess?

Why is the salon industry such a mess?

I love the Salon Industry with all my heart and soul… but why is the salon industry such a mess?

This industry has provided me with such amazing opportunities, career satisfaction and unlimited earning potential.  I have worked in large salons, small salons, salon suites and corporations around the word.

Salons I have worked in all seem to have the same issues. Let’s dive into why the salon industry is still problematic, from my POV.

Salon Frustrations

While my love for the industry is strong, my perpetual frustration is markedly present. Outsiders are shocked with how chaotic, disorganized, and polarized the salon, spa and barber world can be. As industry professionals we come to understand this is “normal”.

Upon graduating from Cosmetology school in 1995, I immediately encountered a sense of confusion surrounding my opportunities. Product companies were tugging me in various directions, leaving me in dire need of genuine insights and guidance.

During that era, available resources were primarily determined by personal connections and the level of one’s diligence.

Researching Salons to Work In

Walking into and researching salons to work in was the only way to find a salon job.  There was no way of knowing all that was out there for you.

Trial and error were my go-to for figuring out what the heck I needed and where I fit in. Consequently, I had 4 different jobs in salons before my 2nd year in the industry.

house of heavilin contest
Susan Wos judging a hair competition for a Kansas City Cosmetology School

The Salon Industry and Technology

The introduction of the internet, social media and savvy tech skilled industry professionals should have improved the chaos of looking for a salon to work in

Unfortunately, the industry has become more polarized due to the easy access to a wealth of information. This surge in available data has left us feeling overwhelmed, unsure about which offerings to trust.

We conducted an extensive amount of industry research for our salon hiring software program, Enlightened Hire. Through this research, we gained an incredible opportunity to comprehend the salon, spa, and barber industry as a whole.

Undeniably, the software research also gave us an opportunity to analyze organizations and seek out facts.

Salon chaos starts with the Cosmetology State Board

Requirements for hours, testing criteria, licensure processes, statistical reporting and website capabilities vary as widely as your choices in nail polish. 

Therefore, some states have their act together. Some states are drowning in ineffective protocols, lack of implementing current technology, miscommunication, wavering or low standards and government policy.

Ascertaining accurate information from each state has proven to be incredibly challenging. We would not have obtained the direct facts unless we had contacted each state board.

The fluctuating levels of standards, technology, organization and communication state by state is nothing short of appalling. 

cosmetology state board
salon brand alignment

Salon distributors fuel industry chaos.  

Aligning oneself with brands and corporations furthers industry polarization. Large corporations intentionally design salon brand alignment.

Salon Distributor Education

By exclusively seeking resources from influencers, product companies, and distributors, you limit numerous salon opportunities. Salon distributors structure educational opportunities to encourage increased purchases.

Classes from product companies are elaborate product promotions, with a little education here and there. Independent educators have to fight tooth and nail just to get classes booked, yet they offer the best quality education.

Choosing Sides: Salon Brand Alignment

The ability to provide a full spectrum of offerings for your clients and staff. Yet, most of us choose sides early on and only open our eyes to new offerings when something goes wrong.

We Feel Lost in The Chaos

It’s like our stuff and tools are just spinning around us in this crazy social media storm, mixed with opinions and knowing how to present yourself well. There aren’t any one-size-fits-all rules that work everywhere.

You can pretty much choose to open a salon, rep a brand, push products, or go freelance if you feel like it.

But a lot of times, we don’t really think deeply about what’s effective, why it is, and how to patch things up when money’s waving at us.

Is perfection possible?

Until 2021, my personal contribution to the industry had contributed to the chaos. I faced numerous challenges with technology, organization, communication, and crafting effective and robust strategies.

Taking on the wild unicorn of salon employment and booth rental has been no small task. This adventure has provided me with an education and insight I never imagined possible.

Learning from salon failure

I’ve experienced failure multiple times. I’ve attempted several approaches that haven’t yielded results.

I would be lying if I said it’s been easy. The struggle to please everyone and provide an invaluable, neutral, non-brand affiliated resource is a massive challenge. In a world where we are controlled by salon brand alignment, this is the ultimate challenge.

Creating a platform for those seeking representation and assistance in finding ideal salon job, takes a lot of perseverance and belief that things can change.

Success without salon brand alignment

My failures, successes, trial and error, experimentation and experience are finally paying off… We are extremely determined to provide the most valuable resources possible in the salon industry.

Salonspa Connection was built on the dreams of a single mom who is tired of just thinking why is the salon industry such a mess.

When looking for salon career answers and insights without corporate influence, please consider us as friend in the industry.

Salonspa Connection’s Pledge


  • Further contribute to the chaos and mess of the salon industry.
  • Align our business with companies and people we do not believe in or trust, just to get ahead. Listen to our podcast guest appearances to learn more.
  • Accept that our industry is unable to have standards.  Clarity in hiring needs to become the norm.
  • LISTEN TO NAYSAYERS that we am unable to help our industry on a large scale.
  • To accept that salon hopping, and high turnover is our industry standard. 


  • Change the way we determine if potential job and booth rental opportunities are a good fit, for the entire industry.
  • Help salon industry owners who care about who works for you.
  • Provide the ability for ALL hairstylists, barbers, nail techs, estheticians and massage therapists to have insight into employment and booth rental opportunities.
  • Provide ALL industry schools and students with free resources. 

Explore Salonspa Connection to day to get the help you need in the salon industry. Utilize our search, below to get started!

-Susan Wos, Owner of Salonspa Connection