How Louisville’s Best Hair Salon Hit $1M in Revenue Just Two Years After Launching

How Louisville’s Best Hair Salon Hit $1M in Revenue Just Two Years After Launching
Square’s integrated suite of tools for hair salons made it possible for TRIM NuLu to pivot their business model during the pandemic. They’re now recognized by the Salon Today 200 as one of the top growing salons in the nation.
by Square Jun 04, 2024 — 5 min read
How Louisville’s Best Hair Salon Hit $1M in Revenue Just Two Years After Launching

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Business Type

Hair Salon Locations: 1


Louisville, Kentucky
United States
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When COVID-19 hit, Sean Stafford, CEO and co-founder of TRIM NuLu, had to make a difficult decision. As a self-proclaimed “tech geek,” Stafford and his business partners had spent the prior year launching and growing an app called The app powered haircut bookings at mini-salons located in offices around Louisville, Kentucky, catering to corporate employees in need of a quick trim during the busy work day. “The locations we worked with closed down during the pandemic, though there was still a need for salon services,” Stafford said. We could either furlough our stylists or pivot completely.”

That’s when TRIM NuLu was born. Stafford and team shifted their business model by opening a new full-service salon in Louisville’s vibrant NuLu district. And they’ve been on an exciting growth trajectory ever since. TRIM NuLu was just named Louisville’s best hair salon by the Louisville Courier-Journal for the third year running and was honored as part of the 2024 Salon Today 200 in the growth category. Here’s how TRIM NuLu grew from a brand new salon — in the middle of a pandemic — to what Stafford says is a $1 million-plus operation in just two years.

TRIM NuLu’s path to success

After making the decision to open a full-service salon, Stafford and his team had an enormous but challenging path ahead. First, they needed a tech platform to power their business — from accepting appointments and managing schedules to taking payments, launching marketing campaigns, and more. “We evaluated every salon software on the market,” said Stafford. “And none came close to Square in terms of the automation and customer experience we were looking for.”

Everything is automated through Square, so in the early years we didn’t have a receptionist on staff, freeing up capital to hire more talent, run marketing programs, and eventually move into a larger space. We get online bookings at all times, day and night. ”

Sean Stafford CEO and co-founder of TRIM NuLu

Getting up and running with Square

Once the TRIM team decided to bring on Square as their beauty tech partner, they were able to customize Square Appointments to meet their unique business needs, making it a reliable cornerstone of daily operations.

One unique TRIM practice is to allow all stylists access to Square booking software on their personal devices. This approach not only fosters a trusting and collaborative environment but also allows stylists to easily teach each other how to master new features. Square Appointments training is a fundamental part of new stylist onboarding at TRIM, ensuring all staff members feel confident and empowered with the system.

Cost saving through automating online bookings, customer communications, and no-show policies

A key growth driver for TRIM has been automating elements of the customer booking process without losing the personal touch customers have come to expect. “We put a lot of work into building a strong web presence in the Louisville area, and the whole experience is centered around online booking,” said Stafford. “Square makes it easy for customers to book appointments online without having to call the salon or go through too many steps. We have a lot of hospitals in the area with staff that work all hours, and we get online bookings at all times — day and night.”

From there, TRIM leverages automated appointment confirmation messages, reminders, and follow-ups through Square to reduce no-shows and keep happy clients coming back. “Square allows us to secure every booking with a credit card and charge a fee for no-shows. Prior to implementing this policy, our no-show rate was at 20%, and now it’s nearly zero.”

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Our rapid growth over the past few years has largely come down to marketing that creates virality, and the built-in Square tools have unlocked that. One of our most popular marketing campaigns is our annual gift card discount for Black Friday — last year we sold $17K in gift cards on that one day alone. ”

Sean Stafford CEO and co-founder of TRIM NuLu

Leveraging smart marketing programs to drive growth

With key aspects of the booking experience fully automated, TRIM didn’t have to hire a receptionist on staff in the early years and was able to free up capital to invest in growth. With that capital, they grew their staff from three to twelve, moved into a larger and more comfortable space in 2023, and leveraged Square marketing tools to become one of Louisville’s most popular salons.

Seasonal email and text message campaigns

Stafford and his team know full well that in order to achieve consistent growth, “You need to both attract new clients and retain existing ones. Square has been a major lever in allowing us to do so.” In TRIM’s early days when they had an email list of loyal customers but needed to spread awareness about their salon to gain new clients, they leaned into smart seasonal campaigns to drive viral word of mouth.

“For example, we’d send an email campaign offering a free eyebrow wax for Mother’s Day and encourage our current customers to share it with all the amazing women in their lives,” said Stafford. “Square marketing analytics showed us that one email could get forwarded up to 30 times! We ran campaigns like this on limited occasions throughout the year and leaned into seasonal moments to make them feel rare and special.”

Annual gift card discount

Like many salons, TRIM NuLu doesn’t discount their services. “We run one and only one discount a year, and that’s our annual Black Friday discount of 20% off on gift cards,” said Stafford. “We promote this one-day event via word of mouth from our stylists, emails, and text message campaigns in the week leading up, and it’s become something customers just can’t wait for every year.

“While folks may not know which salon treatments their loved one prefers, it’s easy for them to put a couple hundred dollars on a gift card and rest assured that person can get exactly what they want,” said Stafford.

“We started out offering eGift Cards through Square, and last year we ordered physical gift cards as well, which makes an even more tangible and special gift. Last year, we did $17K in gift card sales on that one day alone!”

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With Square as our partner, we’re confident in our ability to not only maintain our reputation for excellence but also to continue the expansion of our footprint in the Louisville hair care scene. ”

Sean Stafford CEO and co-founder of TRIM NuLu

What’s next for TRIM NuLu?

Stafford said TRIM Nulu was able to grow to a $1 million+ operation in just two years, in part by leaning into online booking and automation in the areas where clients want and expect it, crafting seasonally relevant and viral marketing programs, and providing all staff members access to and training on Square tools to make their work more efficient. As Stafford says, “Our revenue per stylist surpasses many of the other salons on the Salon Today 200 list, a testament to the ability of Square to drive efficiency.” 

TRIM Nulu is on track to nearly double its employees and have all 20 chairs bustling with activity by the end of 2025. As expansion continues, they’re beginning to scout opportunities for a second location. In Stafford’s words, “Square has been an indispensable ally. Its suite of features not only meets our current needs but also promises ongoing enhancements in automation and user-friendliness. This reassurance gives us immense confidence as we envision the future of TRIM NuLu. With Square as our partner, we’re confident in our ability to not only maintain our reputation for excellence but also to continue the expansion of our footprint in the Louisville hair care scene.”

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Products mentioned

Square Appointments

Square Appointments

Book more clients with free scheduling software.

Learn more -/^
Square Marketing

Square Marketing

Reach more customers through email and text.

Learn more -/^
Square Register

Square Register

Take payments with an integrated POS register.

See how -/^
Square Gift Cards

Square Gift Cards

Keep customers coming back with gift cards.

Learn more -/^

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