Si Belle was formed by Lois Williamson in 2019 as a part-time job. At the end of 2019, she took on her own salon space and has continued to grow ever since, taking on her first staff member last year. Not a stranger to the beauty industry, Lois had worked for other salons before deciding to launch her own business. During lockdown, she set out to follow a dream of owning her own salon. She undertook research and found a space to establish Si Belle, and is already launching a second location on the back of its success.
The award-winning salon owner has gone from strength to strength since opening the first Si Belle location, being named in the top 50 best new salons in the UK’s Hair & Beauty Awards 2021, and in the top 50 for entrepreneur of the year. We caught up with Lois to learn more about the ins and outs of running a salon business, and how she uses Square Appointments to save time and maximise efficiency.
I launched the business in 2019 as a part-time job for a bit of cash, then at the end of 2019, I took on my own little salon space. In 2020 I then expanded more and in 2021 I took on my first staff member.
On Si Belle and what they offer
We are based in Great Dunmow and Halstead, both in Essex, providing treatments to enhance our clients’ natural beauty, boosting their self-esteem, and providing a comfortable space for everyone that visits us. I also provide training courses for budding therapists and treatment artists which I absolutely love delivering.
On the Si Belle approach to client relationships
We are all about going above and beyond for every single one of our clients from new client packs for every new client to making notes, so we can continue to provide a personable service. I’m so proud of the comfort that we are able to provide to our clients within the salon making everyone feel so comfortable - it’s so fun, it’s bubbly and we have even found our clients make friends within Si Belle Beauty too
On the business’ recent growth
Wow, I can’t even explain how incredible the business growth has been over the last few years. In 2020 before lockdown I was a one-man band in a small studio salon and here I am now I have just employed my 8th member of staff and have a second salon in Halstead about to open very very soon.
I think passion is what has enabled the business to grow so much. I am so passionate about what I do and what I provide to people and how I make them feel. I have loved to provide my team members with incredible opportunities, love and support constantly.
On the decision to use Square
I was using a different salon booking system before, as well as an iZettle card reader but I found that I was jumping between so many different brands and products for so many different things. For example, I was using one system for email marketing, another booking system for my appointments and a different service for payments. When I found out I could use Square for all of the above I decided I would make the switch, especially as the price point is also so so great.
Square and Square Appointments have created more ease and systemised processes within my salon, making it easier to take on more people, expand my business and take away the stress of feeling like I’m being stretched in every direction!! It has absolutely changed the mechanics of my business in the most amazing way. I am so pleased to have found Square and be able to implement it in my business.
On how the tools that Si Belle uses to manage the business all work together
Square works incredibly well for my business because I can use all different features and products with the one provider, including their hardware, Marketing, Loyalty and their Appointments system - the list is endless. What makes it so good is they work together meaning that it makes it easier to see where the business is from every single aspect whether that is cash sales, online bookings, treatment vouchers - everything is linked. This means that I really do feel more in control of my business which is needed in order to expand, excel and grow. The hardware is incredible as it links to every Square system meaning we can take payments and book appointments with it too.
On launching an Online Store
I recently launched a Square Online store to sell products to my clients, as well as offer sunbed courses. I haven’t yet fully put all my energy and love into the website but I’m so glad I was able to get it up and running quickly with so much ease. I will continue to build upon this to drive more traffic to my website meaning that I will sell more online without having to lift a finger.
Another beauty of the Square Online store is that we know where and when the money is coming into our bank account along with our normal card payments in the salon because it is all under the same wonderful Square umbrella.
On the importance of cash flow
Square is so quick at transferring the funds that I receive the money from the previous day the next working day which again is incredible. I also have the option of getting it the same day for a fee. I get a sales report at the end of every day so I can track what treatment was the most successful, how many new clients we welcomed, how many existing clients we had in and what therapist has earned the most that day. These have really helped me understand my cash flow more without the need to keep pulling up reports.
On Square Appointments
Setting up Square Appointments was easy to do. With opening a second salon and growing my team, I have had to train many people on Square and it is an incredible product to teach and train staff members as it is very easy to break each step and there are solutions for everything.
Square Appointments has enabled me to grow a business without having to spend as much time replying to messages, replying to emails and replying to phone calls. It has given me more freedom and has enabled me to be more organised and GDPR compliant as we now have all our clients on one secure database which is super helpful.
On what they’re excited about in the industry right now
Bearing in mind our industry is still so tiny I’m so excited to see the growth. I’m excited to see more regulation in the industry. I do really believe it is still only the beginning for the beauty industry and I’m so excited to see even more new treatments to continue to launch.
On what the future holds for Si Belle
I have madly taken on the second salon very very quickly after taking on my first but I’m so so excited about the adventure ahead and maybe when you next talk to me I’ll have another salon in the pipeline but for now I’m just gonna focus on building my second salon up, supporting all my team members and growing the business to suit me.
On recommending Square Appointments to other businesses in the beauty industry
I would absolutely recommend square appointments to other businesses like mine whether you are in the beauty industry, the hair industry, doing personal training or anything like that - I do believe it can suit any business and if you take your time to set up and look at all aspects of Square, you will find every single job is made simple because there is something to help with everything on Square.