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3 Tips on growing your salon from Pony Studios Co.

Brett Foreman of Pony Studios Co. shares tips and insights on how the brand became a salon powerhouse.

3 Tips on growing your salon from Pony Studios Co.
Emily Holzer
By Emily Holzer

Content Marketing Manager

Pony Education and Pony Studios are household names in the salon industry. In addition to their impressive review stack and noteworthy recognitions, they have received the Best Salon in Oakland award every year they have been open.

Brett Foreman, Pony Studios co-owner and general manager, recently sat down with John Hallberg to share his tips on elevating salon and spa brands. He attributes the brand’s success to three pillars: leadership, technology, and education.

Pillar 1: Salon leadership

Corinna Hernandez is the founder and heart of Pony Studios Co. As a skilled expert, leader, and mentor, Corinna has the perfect formula for what Brett describes as a “talent magnet.” She built a network of impressive professionals in her apprenticeship with a Sassoon Academy instructor and in her decade of work at Bumble and bumble., both in their NYC salon and leading education in the western USA.

By attracting industry leaders to Pony Studios Co., Corinna continuously lifts the brand higher. While it is unquestionably challenging to find (and keep) talented salon staff, her passion, charisma, and ability to teach new skills to even the most experienced staff members all help maintain the impressive lineup of professionals at Pony Studios.

Brett also acknowledges the importance of passing a generous share of commission on to their staff, allowing them to stay gainfully employed at the business.

While “exceptional overhead costs” can challenge salon owners, Pony Studio Co. helps balance their expenses by channeling a second revenue stream through education. This outlet also gives experts a chance to rejuvenate their passion by stepping out from behind the chair for a few days to flex their muscles as educators.

Pillar 2: Marketing and technology

Strategically collecting reviews

By creatively wielding his software marketing expertise, Brett has crafted innovative digital support systems for Pony Studios Co. Most notably, he built an automated review mechanism focused on customer sentiment.

NPS (Net Promoter Score) is a research metric that captures how likely a client is to promote a business. It is a simple one-question survey that rates a client's recommendation likelihood on a scale of 1 to 10.

By combining the power of Birdeye review management with Mangomint salon software, Pony Studios Co. leverages NPS data to amplify client voices. Mangomint created a custom integration with Birdeye to support this process:

  • First, the Mangomint software notifies Birdeye when a client has finished their appointment.

  • Upon receiving this notification, Birdeye automatically sends a text and email survey to collect the client's NPS score. Unlike a review request, this gives clients a private platform to communicate their initial feelings.

  • Lower scores offer the opportunity to reengage, understand, and improve the client’s experience — honoring their concerns with direct attention. At the same time, Pony encourages the more engaged clients to leave a review, amplifying their voices to the public.

Saving time on salon phone scheduling

Mangomint has long been an advocate of easing the stress and interruption of phone calls. For example, our Express Booking™ feature lets salons send clients a link during phone booking processes to streamline data input.

Pony Studios Co. takes this streamlining one step further. Rather than accepting the disruption of constant phone calls, Brett uses Birdeye to automatically divert all phone conversations into text threads. This process lets professionals choose when to answer questions and requests rather than requiring on-demand attention with every ring.

Slack for internal communication

Pony Studio Co's determination to relieve unnecessary interruption extends to employees’ personal phones as well. Non-critical messages are sent in a company Slack channel instead of through text. This lets employees access messages on their own time while promoting a healthy work/life balance.

Additional salon software features

Lastly, Brett mentions the benefits of enhanced booking and management features. He recommended Mangomint for advanced support, including the client self-check-in (Virtual Waiting Room) feature, booth renter POS support, and the ability to access custom integrations for advanced marketing efforts, like social media retargeting. Finally, Brett emphasized the importance of the software’s consistent uptime, helping keep the features accessible to salon owners.

Pillar 3: Ongoing education

It is easy to get overwhelmed in the tech world — but Brett highlights how ongoing education is the solution to salon overwhelm.

When you find yourself stuck in monotonous appointments, it is easy to become disengaged. Education provides a refreshing outlet to elevate your craft and introduce some variation into your career.

As Brett unpacks the benefits of their in-person training sessions, it is easy to understand why professionals fly from across the globe to train at their studio:

  • These classes let stylists learn new techniques with the comfort of expert oversight and guidance.

  • All of their “live models” sign a waiver and get their hair cut for free, eliminating the fear of error or consequence when introducing new skills.

  • Students can expand their portfolio while seasoned professionals are on standby to help correct any issues in the style.

  • As stylists become experienced, comfortable, and confident in new skills, they can justify higher pricing, attract new clients, and introduce more variation in their day-to-day work, solving many of the problems stylists face in the industry.

This environment creates a safe space for stylists to step outside of their comfort zones and grow. If you are feeling stuck, tune into education materials in the Pony Studios app for guidance. You can also view additional tips on growing your salon business here!

What is Pony Education?

Corinna Hernandez founded Pony Studio in 2014.

Brett describes Corinna as a leader so humble that she would never dare call herself humble. An exceptional stylist with roots in the intense and renowned Sassoon Acadamy training, Corinna rose through the industry ranks using skill, determination, and grit. She uses her platform to elevate other professionals around the world and support an impressive team of talent in their Oakland, CA studio.

Behind the screen, Brett supports the technical foundation of the business — carefully capturing Corinna’s passion and talent in the complex digital landscape, making the brand globally accessible and successful.

To get involved, you can book your appointment at Pony Studios Co. in Oakland, download the Pony Education Live app, or join the community of people who have traveled across the world for their hands-on training.

Mangomint salon and spa software

As demonstrated by Pony Studios Co., the right technology can help your business grow. Mangomint’s suite of salon management software features includes payroll processing, email marketing, online scheduling, staff management, client management, and so much more. If you are ready to give Mangomint a try, click here to start your demo or launch a free trial.

Emily Holzer
Emily Holzer is a Content Marketing Manager at Mangomint. She has a master’s degree in English and a passion for helping salons, spas, and other local beauty businesses thrive. When she is not writing, you can find her playing chess or tending to her houseplants. Fun fact: Emily has donated 8 ponytails (so far) across 5 hair loss charities in the U.S.

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