Going To A Salon Isn’t A Luxury, Going To A Luxury Salon Is A Luxury

Your experience is your brand

In the awesome landscape of the beauty industry, you don’t just provide a service; you create an experience.

Understanding your brand story, and market position, helps you create experiences that are aligned with your brand, business model, objectives, and desired outcomes. Your brand story is the foundation from which you make all of your decisions for your salon, and clarity is the first step to simplifying your decision-making so you have more time for joy!

There are many different brand positions – from bougie luxury to the accessibility of value brands. Understanding where your salon fits into this spectrum is essential to help you create your brand story. Understanding your salon’s story, business model, and market position isn’t merely a strategic exercise; it’s the essence of creating an authentic connection with your clients, teams, and tenants (renters).

Your brand story isn’t just about the services you offer; it’s about the problems you solve and the emotions, values, and experiences you evoke. It’s the thread that weaves through every cut, every color, and every client interaction. Aligning your marketing with this narrative is the key to resonating with your target audience or what we call ‘brand people’. This alignment goes beyond aesthetics or your brand identity; it’s a strategic choice that extends to how you price your services and products. By understanding this intricate web, you’ll gain clarity, allowing you to make informed and aligned decisions and navigate building and growing your salon brand with purpose.

It’s super important to dispel the misconception that all salons are synonymous with luxury. The beauty industry caters to a diverse clientele with varied preferences and budgets which is awesome. Whether you’re a luxury salon offering high-value pampering or a value brand creating accessibility, each has its place and purpose. Your salon brand is a reflection of your values and the experiences you deliver, creating a space where individuals, regardless of budget constraints, can indulge in feeling and looking more beautiful.

This is just one of many tools and strategies inside the Creating Your Awesome Brand, a complete course for beauty professionals. Because when you have clarity around your brand, you have a strong foundation to make more aligned decisions, save a ton of time, money, and energy, and feel more confidence, courage, and joy. Click here to learn more.

Much love, in service to you-


Two Simple Ways To Keep Your Salon Clients Coming Back To You

Consistency builds trust. Trust builds relationships. Relationships build referrals. Refferals can be retained when you deliver awesome experiences consistently.

In 2023 and beyond, your salon clients are looking for more value, and to know you care about them. They have so many choices, and one of the reasons they choose you, again and again, is because they feel like they matter. That along with the experience you deliver, how that experience is aligned with what they care about and value, and clear, consistent communication.

Telling your salon clients you care is not enough. You must show them. And the truth is, it’s really simple to do that, particularly now that nearly every salon software program and booking app has these capabilities for you. And if you are not sure what is available to you, contact your salon software platform or booking app and ask them.

Two ways you can show your clients you care is in your post-experience follow-up communications.

Post-Experience Thank You Message
This is an awesome way to say thank you and invite your salon clients to share their experiences on your primary review and referral platform such as Google or Yelp.

Salon Client Check-In Message
This is a real game-changer. It is inevitable that your client won’t pre-book their next experience with you for whatever reason and some just ‘fall off your books’. Each week, or month, you simply run a report that shows which of your salon clients are outside their regular maintenance schedule, and you reach out. This not only shows them you care, it gets them back into your chair. One of our clients, who owns two employment-based salons, runs this report and sends this message every week. In less than a year this one action generated over $100K in new appointment revenue. Yes,  you read that right.

The truth is long-term growth happens when you execute the fundamentals consistently. And salon client care and communications are fundamental to building and growing an awesome salon business and brand.

This is just one of many tools and strategies inside the Creating Your Awesome Brand, a complete course for beauty professionals. Because when you have clarity around your brand, you have a strong foundation to make more aligned decisions, save a ton of time, money, and energy, and feel more confidence, courage, and joy. Click here to learn more.

Much love, in service to you-


The First Passion Squared blog March 2012 hd

5 Truths of Turning A Passion Into A Brand

Small business isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s for the brave, the patient and the persistent. It’s for the overcomer. Unknown 

This blog was originally written on  March 26, 2017, the day we celebrated our 5-year birthday at Passion Squared. As I was working on another project, I came across it and wanted to share a little update with you, as we approach year 12!

Years 6-8 were pretty awesome and then came the pandemic. I’ve never worked harder, or more hours, in my life for our clients during that time, and with the loss of so many of my most cherished loved ones, I fell into a deep, dark depression. Grief is hard, complex grief and trauma, are really hard. This made years 9, 10, and 11 the most difficult years at Passion Squared and that leads us to today.

I’ve never felt more hopeful, and continue to be incredibly grateful for our clients and community. I just poured my decades of brand development experience into a new course our industry has never had before and one that is needed, Creating Your Awesome Brand, a complete course for beauty professionals. This course brings the missing context salons and hairdressers need, to better understand how to communicate, market, and lead, to find more clarity, confidence, and courage, and to say goodbye to the comparison, confusion, and chaos that has plagued our precious salon industry as long as I’ve been in it.

You see, I’ve worked with thousands of salon pros, from employment-based salon owners to lease-based salon owners, to independents, and the problems, are almost always the same. Having clarity around your brand story is the solution to nearly every problem, and is the foundation for making decisions for your salon business. You need this. Our industry needs this. Click here to learn more and get started.

Original Post March 26, 2017
Five years feels both so very long and so very short. My first and only career lasted 25 years. My life, 50 years as of this writing. But there is just something about creating a business from scratch and reaching this milestone that is giving me all the feels, something I know all small biz owners can relate to.

How did we get here? It’s a simple story quite honestly, but far from easy. Actually, it was and continues to be, hard AF. The obvious is passion. But, and here is a big BUT, you can be passionate as all get out, and never turn that passion into a brand. It takes more. Way more. A lot more!

This comes first cause without this; we will never start. I gave up everything. Sold everything. Sacrificed everything. Do you need to do the same? Not at all. But no matter how you slice it, you gotta dig deep for the courage to take the road less traveled. To risk everything. To walk from failure to failure with grace. Courage will keep you going when you want to quit. There are still days I want to quit. But I don’t. And you don’t have to either.

There was never a doubt of what business we were in and why we were in it. From day ONE. Clarity allows you to make decisions, build strategies, stick to plans, and most importantly, not become distracted by the latest, greatest fad. Know what business you are in, and more importantly, WHY you are in it. Gain a deep understanding of your purpose, promise, and people. That is the foundation of an awesome brand.

Building a brand around the social + digital web in 2012 was not the most brilliant of ideas. We were too early, like 4 years too early. But knowing that business was changing, forever, and our belief in the social + digital web as a means of empowering small business was so strong, we stayed committed. No, after no, after NO. Most people are committed only for as long as it’s easy. It’s never easy. Which is where commitment comes in. Commit. And take action. And commit again. Adjust your strategy but never your vision or purpose.

Once you have committed, now comes the even harder part, consistency. And I do not mean consistency as in never changing, boring, status quo stuff, nope. I mean consistency of purpose, vision, message, voice, of focus, of story and of simply showing up every damn day. A big part of our success has been simply; consistency.

Without relationships and a tribe, we got nothing. From community comes clients, from clients comes revenue, and from revenue comes the ability to create more value for your community. Simple in theory, but not easy in execution. Building relationships takes time and good intentions. If you think you are going to make something and all of a sudden the world is going to start calling you, it just ain’t so.

You see, I didn’t just fall into creating brands and businesses. Nope, I had a long, awesome, and very successful career as a leader, marketer and educator. I spent over two decades creating stuff for others, but I had never, created something of my own.

But on March 26th, 2012, I finally hit the LIVE button; on our website, newsletter and social pages. OMG! I totally wanted to throw up. You feel me?

Passion Squared began with a vision of empowerment and engagement. Myself and my former biz partner saw something that we believed could “change everything” for creative small businesses. But nobody would listen. We had some pretty turbulent times, and every day came with at least one WTF moment, well, actually, a ton of them.

Early on, my biz partner decided to move on, and I was left with what to do next. I began again, from zero, about 1-½ years in. Throwing in the towel was on my mind, almost on the daily. But how could I throw away something I believed in so deeply? How could I throw away the idea of waking up each day empowering the people I loved? I just couldn’t.

Pushing my ego aside, I got back to work. And worked, and worked, and created, and showed up, and delivered value, and built relationships, and community and… finally, one day, it all clicked (pun intended, kinda).

Here is what the first few years of Passion Squared looked like;
Daily blogs
Daily newsletters
Daily Facebook engaging
Daily Instagram engaging
Monthly webinars
Weekly vlogs
Online Courses

This was my strategy. I did not create an Internet marketing funnel. I did not take any Internet marketing courses, I did not need to. If I knew nothing else, I knew how to build a brand, a community, and how to market. It’s what I did my entire career and quite successfully. But, what I also did was stay true to my purpose, and promise, and that was infusing personal development into everything I did. Every course I created. Every piece of content. As one thing I know for sure, MOST of what gets in the way of creative small biz owners after all the stuff, is confidence. And that is an inside job. It requires self-awareness, therapy, losing the notion of perfectionism, setting healthy boundaries, processing traumas, and dropping the co-dependency bullshit.

As the community was built, I built more online courses and offered one on one coaching. I created more products and services that I knew would add value to my community. I wrote a book and sold lots of them, and helped a lot of people in doing so. I created A School, by far the most awesome service I ever created, and to this day, my greatest pride and joy. As our A School Members remind me on the daily WHY I started and WHY I stay.

I got into a ton of debt, took side jobs as needed, and even worked a few hours a week for $15/hour, after making millions as a big executive. And I did all this for two reasons; to save my life, and to live my purpose by empowering the people I love.

You see, I never, ever thought I would leave my career. I had not planned on it, not ever. Money has never had much value to me, so I did not have a nest egg significant enough to last me the early years of not generating revenue. But I persisted. And never gave up.

And here we are. This is not a unique story. This is all of our stories. And this is mine. Today, I can breathe. I can wake up each day knowing I have one job, and that is to help people by empowering you to create your own kind of awesome.

To our beloved tribe, thank you for 5 awesome years of passion + awesome. And while this is a milestone that I am proud AF of, we still have so much work to do! Heeeere weeeee go!

Love + Awesomeness-


PS: We made a little love note for you to say thank you. For reals. Watch it. THANK YOU!


Passion Squared PEOPLE PASSION PURPOSE podcast Navigating Difficult Conversations with Salon Clients hd

Navigating Difficult Conversations with Salon Clients

In this episode, Nina responds to a question from Evan Joseph about dealing with a salon client who is being unreasonable and combative. There are several things to consider when deciding how to handle upset or angry salon clients; your business Agreements, your brand, lifetime client value, and the outcome you seek. Having healthy boundaries is essential in business, and Nina shares a few different ways to respond to these situations in a healthy way along with an example from My AwesomeAF Healthy Boundary Handbook which has several conversation frameworks like this to help you navigate the most common issues that arise. You can find Nina on the socials here and here, and on the web here. You can get a copy of My AwesomeAF Healthy Boundary Handbook here. Thank you so much for listening. And thank you @evanjosephcurls for inspiring this episode. 

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Your experience matters. We would be so grateful if you shared your experience with our podcast by leaving a review wherever you enjoy your podcasts. It matters to us, and so do you. Thank you- Nina

Passion Squared PEOPLE PASSION PURPOSE podcast Dear Salon Industry We Need To Talk About Home Care Solutions hd

Dear Salon Industry, We Need To Talk About Home Care Solutions for Your Clients

In this episode, Nina talks about the true purpose of providing home care solutions for your clients and some of the false narratives being shared in the professional salon industry. The truth is, your client’s happiness matters not just on the day of their salon visit, but also, all the days in between. The purpose of offering home care is not about money or profits, it is one of the results, however, not the most important result, which is client happiness and convenience. Nina also breaks down the simple math of professional home care, dispelling a narrative about it not having any profit. These narratives, which lack significant context, cause harm and create confusion. It doesn’t have to be that way. Together, we can change the narrative, which allows you to make more aligned decisions for your business and brand. Thank you so much for listening. You can find Passion Squared on the web here and on the socials here and here


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Your experience matters. We would be so grateful if you shared your experience with our podcast by leaving a review wherever you enjoy your podcasts. It matters to us, and so do you. Thank you- Nina