Beauty Launchpad is spotlighting the winners of its Top 20 Salons contest for 2024.
Here, Brittany Thrower introduces us to Salon du Sud in Baton Rouge, LA, founded in August 2015.
Beauty Launchpad (BLP): What is the backstory of your salon? What motivated you to start your business?
Brittany Thrower (BT): Right out of cosmetology school, at the age of 21, I started working in a commission salon for four years. I built a clientele very quickly, and I knew I always wanted to own my own salon one day. Goals, numbers and the excitement of helping other young stylists grow as quickly as I did was always a huge passion of mine. I was a young mother of twins at the young age of 19. I would say I had a lot of motivation and support behind me from my loved ones. They constantly were motivating me to follow my dreams and pushing me to take the risk. When I was 25 years old, I felt it was the right time to leave my first salon job and open my salon with zero clue on how or what I was doing. I knew I wanted to create a place where young stylists could grow quickly, learn a lot – not just about hair but life! I would say I enjoy mentoring and watching others around me succeed. I wanted a team-driven environment where our clients would feel super welcomed and relaxed when they walk in the door. Being a team player and showing support of each other's goals and dreams while still rocking it out behind the chair is so important to me. My goal for all my stylists is to be 6-figure stylists. Most achieve that within 4 years, some have sooner. Salon du Sud means Salon of the South in French. I wanted to create that southern hospitality feel and a place of peace and positivity. When you come to us you can relax, breathe, feel safe and leave feeling your best self. Every stylist is very trained and does beautiful work! Salon du Sud did not start in this big, beautiful space we are in today. It took three years of learning and growing to be able to move into this big, beautiful salon. I truly believe after now being open eight years, my team has helped me build this dream business. I may have come up with the name and started the culture, but my team has evolved Salon du Sud to be what it is today. Listening to every single inspiration, goal and critique has allowed us to keep growing.
BLP: What was the most challenging thing that happened while opening your salon?
BT: What wasn’t challenging!? It’s all hard when opening, especially when you're new to business. I knew I could do amazing hair but had zero clue about business or management. I had my moments of mistakes, but every mistake helped me learn what not to do and what to do better.
BLP: What is the overall aesthetic of your salon? What inspired you when designing the space?
BT: Southern, boho, earthy and rustic, the inspiration came from using the original character of the home. The home is over 100 years old, so we kept a lot of the original wood and accents in the building. Each room has a fireplace and large windows with wooden accent walls.
BLP: What services do you provide your clients? Are any of these services signature and/or exclusive to your salon?
BT: We provide all hair services, including cut, color, extensions, treatments, styling, blowouts and more. We also provide esthetician services including eyelash extensions, brow lamination and microblading, waxing, spray tans and makeup. In addition to our in-salon services, we also complete ~100 offsite weddings every year.
BLP: What products are used/retailed in your salon? Do you have a personal favorite?
BT: Some of our favorite retail brands we carry are Oribe and Kevin Murphy. We also use Redken, Brazilian Blowout, Amika, Eleven and so much more on our back bar and color bar. We are always looking to try new and fun products for our clients.
BLP: What makes your salon unique and stand out?
BT: One of our favorite things about our space is the building itself! Rather than an open concept, we transformed an old house from the early 1900s into a modern, unique salon while still maintaining its original character. Each room has a purpose and reflects the stylists that occupy it. It's warm, homey vibe creates a relaxing and welcoming experience for our clients.
BLP: What takeaway do you hope clients have after a visit at your salon?
BT: Just feeling their absolute best. I want clients to leave with a huge smile on their face and comfortable enough to feel like they can stop in anytime. To say, there really isn’t any other salon like this one.
BLP: What piece of advice would you give to a new salon owner?
BT: Have a written-out plan of action like a business plan. Write down your dream salon you would want to work in. Then, write down ways you can create that. Do not be afraid to ask other salon owners’ advice. We are all in this together. We are not enemies with our salon neighbors! Work together to network, market and build. There are enough clients for all! Really make sure you're ready to commit. Owning a business is so rewarding, but it takes someone who is okay with failure to succeed. You have to take risks to grow. Even when times get the toughest and you question everything, keep going – do not give up!
BLP: What’s next for your salon? Do you have any goals for the year?
BT: More team trips, education and maybe one day a second location. For this year's goals, I’m focusing on education for my team. I want to travel to see other salons and learn from other talented artists. We are working on growing our extension clientele along with hitting higher retail sales. A silly goal I have is to get to 10K followers on social media.