Opening a salon is one of the most exciting moves you’ll make in your journey as a beauty professional. As you start the process of opening up shop, creating a vibe for your team and your clients can be as daunting as it is thrilling, but we hope to make one of the more daunting elements more digestible. From how to budget, where to buy, and everything in between, here's all you need to know as a beauty pro when it comes to filling your space with salon and spa equipment.
Aside from rent, purchasing salon equipment and furniture is one of the largest expenses you’ll incur as an independent professional. Before you spend a penny, do your homework by researching and planning before you start shopping so you can determine exactly what you need for both your physical space and your services.
Despite your specific menu of services, there are a few basic pieces that any spa or salon owner will want to have in their space to create a clean, comfortable environment for clients and staff.
Furniture: When it comes to furniture, you’ll need chairs and tables to create a waiting room or reception area. These can be simple and minimal but should be comfortable and aesthetically appealing.
Mirrors are a must (both mounted and handheld) for any professional in the beauty industry. Clients will want to see how they look, whether they're watching you work your magic as a stylist or making post-massage adjustments to their outfit before walking out the door.
You’ll want to keep hampers, storage, and laundry appliances for washing and drying items such as towels, robes, or sheets nearby as you’ll regularly cycle through items that need to be laundered.
Think about furniture that will also be used for storage and displays throughout the client-facing space and your back of house. If you plan to sell retail, you’ll need somewhere to show off your products and somewhere to keep extra stock organized and tucked away.
Protective Equipment and Cleaning Tools: Now more than ever, cleanliness and hygiene are paramount to ensuring client safety in your salon environment and securing loyal customers. To create an atmosphere that makes customers feel at ease, consider the types of protective equipment such as dividers, sanitation stations, cleaning tools, and disposable masks or gloves that should be on hand at all times.
After you’ve secured the basic salon or spa equipment and furniture you need to run your business, it’s time to consider the specific salon supplies required for the services you’ll offer in your establishment.
First, take a look around at the physical space and conceptualize an idea of what will go where and how it will fit in your salon or salon suite rental. Before you spend hours scrolling through websites looking for the perfect chair, spa table, or nail polish display, take measurements of your space. It will save you time, money, and potentially heartbreak if you have a solid understanding of the dimensions you need to work within before you get your mind set on a certain piece of salon furniture. You may even want to sketch out a floor plan of your salon and plot out where different pieces of equipment and furniture may go. Aside from new standards for social distancing, you want clients to feel a sense of privacy or personal space at the least while they’re receiving their services.
Next, consider your team and your clients. What will make them feel good about being in the space, and what will be comfortable for them if they plan to spend hours sitting, lying, or working on or around specific equipment? Salon furniture must take into consideration both form and function – clients should feel at ease and staff should be able to easily maneuver around each piece at their stations.
Once you’ve narrowed down the needs of your team and considered any restrictions of your space, you can start homing in on what you really need. Keep in mind, however, that there are several options for shopping salon and spa equipment and you’ll want to consider the condition, quality, and durability of the pieces you’re looking at before you start spending. For example, you may be more willing to snag a used shelving unit that might be hidden away for your back of house storage, but may be willing to shell out a bit more for brand new chairs in order to get the best mileage out of the product while keeping your clients comfy.
Depending on the set up and services offered, the individual needs of every stylist are subject to change, but these are a few of the basic stylist-specific pieces that might be necessary for your success:
Styling Station and Chair: This is likely where both you and your clients will spend the most time as they sit for their styling and you move around them performing your service. At your station, you’ll want to keep your most-used styling tools and products within arms reach.
Shampoo Bowls: The shampoo bowl sinks are where all your washing and rinsing will take place. Keep in mind you’ll also need chairs that are adjustable to the height and comfort of your client along with space behind the shampoo bowl for products, tools, or towels you may need easy access to.
Dryer Chairs: The obvious use for these functional chairs is to help set styles and process hair color, but they also help maximize your time by taking over one part of the styling process for one patron, freeing you up to get started on the next.
For nail artists or spas who offer mani/pedi services, these core pieces of equipment will be essential to providing clients with pampered hands and happy feet:
Pedicure Chair: These pieces of salon furniture are specially designed with plush seating where clients can settle in and relax while soaking their feet in the attached foot bath at the bottom. Keep in mind that these pieces are pretty sizable (and heavy!), will require access to electrical outlets, and may have specific plumbing requirements.
Manicure Station: These salon furniture pieces can be fairly minimal as they simply provide a place for clients to sit as they get their nails buffed and painted. Make sure you have space for chairs on either side of the station – one for your nail tech and one for your client – and have access to electrical outlets for nail drills or drying lamps.
Nail Polish Rack: Whether it's built-in shelving or a stand-alone furniture item, you’ll need a space to keep your polishes on display for patrons to choose from.
Sanitation Station: This area should be in plain view for your patrons and may include a sink for hand-washing and specific pieces of equipment for sanitizing tools in between uses.
From med spas to therapeutic massage, there is a wide range of services that may fall under the spa category. While your equipment and furniture needs will depend on what exactly you offer, some of the most common pieces include:
Massage Table: These service-specific tables are designed with comfort and ergonomics in mind. Some may be portable so that they can be easily stored or taken offsite. Massage therapists may also consider a massage chair that can be used for events or for clients with specific concerns or accessibility issues.
Wet Table: These specially designed tables are resistant to water and are most often used in spa wet rooms to allow you to offer body wraps, scrub treatments, or hydrotherapy.
Multipurpose Treatment Table: These versatile pieces give you the flexibility to set up your space for facials or massages. Multipurpose tables may have automatic elements that allow them to electronically shift positions for different treatments or different processes within a treatment.
As mentioned before, purchasing equipment for your spa or salon will most likely be one of your loftier expenses. Before you start spending, it would be wise to have a solid business plan in place that outlines your expected income and expenses so you have an idea of what you can or can’t afford based on your current situation.
Similar to getting your finances to start your business, there are several options for financing your salon’s furnishing requirements. Options for financing may include everything from paying cash to opening a line of credit, but whatever you decide to do make sure you know your numbers ahead of time and understand how each option may affect your bottom line, relationships, or credit score!
When you’re ready to start shopping around for the best equipment for your beauty business, remember that not everything you need has to be shiny and new. While some items may make more sense to buy new, others may be more affordable to purchase gently used on marketplaces such as eBay. You can also get creative with thrifted furniture items and turn them into fun DIY projects that infuse your salon with your creativity and personality in spaces like your reception or retail displays.
Before the final step in buying any major salon purchase, read the fine print. Take your time to ask the manufacturer or seller questions about the warranty and return policy. There’s always the possibility that something may not work as expected, may not fit how you hoped, or may prematurely break down, and you want to make sure you have the steps in place to resolve any issues so you’re not stuck with a product that is not helpful to your business.
A shopping spree for your salon may sound like fun, but keep in mind that once you buy all these items, they don’t magically appear in your salon. You’ll need to keep a close eye on the delivery process, and once they arrive, you have to take into consideration the time and energy it takes to get things assembled or installed. Consider, too, that if you’re not a handy person, some items may require professional installation services and this should also be factored into your salon or spa equipment budget.
GlossGenius can help ready you for this step in your salon management journey with all the tools you need to manage inventory, run your numbers, and track your expenses. If you’re not already a GlossGenius user, sign up here for your free trial.