Dear clients,

We are in the process of transitioning to a new booking software called Aura to further enhance and improve your experience with us. Please bare with us as you may receive several communications regarding your appointments and cancellations from our new Aura software. Please be assured that right now we are still using the Salon Biz software for all staff except our owner – Jessica Soler. Most of these communications are tests and not actually affecting the appointments you already have booked with your stylist.

Click on the link below and create your personal account. Please note, a credit card is required to book an appointment once you’ve created your new account; your information is encrypted and safe, and your credit card will not be charged.

We so appreciate your patience and cooperation through this time. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call our salons… Candler Park: 404-373-2868 and Brookhaven: 404-373-2003

Thank you again and we look forward to seeing you at Salon Red!

Kids Tips & Trends

It’s FALL season, that’s right, Autumn, your favorite time of year.
It’s your downtime before the Holiday rush, where the leaves get crunchy, and the long-waited Pumpkin Spice Latte is back on the menu. But wait- OH NO! Suzy’s back in school and just told you she’s bored of her hair style- eeeeek… Well, here’s a few tips this season that will keep your kids fresh, on us.

Clipped-backed Bob:
So now that the temperature’s dropping, Julie’s decided to grow out the bob you’ve been maintaining since she was two. We’ve dreaded this day, but it’s finally here! How are you going to survive? The class clip-back, of course! It’s super easy, cute, and clean! What’s more to ask? This will make growing it out a breeze! (For now, until she decides she wants a bob again.)

The Twisted-Top-Knot:
This is my favorite look for Fall. It’s cute and fun for all textures and ages! Your girl will have the freedom of flowing hair with the efficiency of it being out of her eyes. Now you won’t have to worry about her bugging you for bangs, problem solved! She’ll enjoy the season effortlessly with this look!

The Compromise:
This look is perfect for when you and your spouse can’t quite agree on a cut. You want it long and beachy, dad wants it buzzed (or vise versa) BUT the point is that’s no fun. Your excuse? It’s not summer anymore. But guess what, It’s totally in style to let it grow! Not enough to go with the ‘surfer’ look? Okay, well, here’s the haircut you both can agree on. Shorter on the sides, but, three words: Longer, Layered, and Feathered in the front.

Let It Grow:
You could also tell your spouse that they can pick his hair-style next season because this look is too cute to pass on! If your son has the curls to pull it off, embrace it! It’s a little longer than what you’re used to, but that’s why Fall is the perfect time to try it! Your Pumpkin Spice Latte now comes with cold foam, you’re a mom full of adventure and surprises, so should your son!

Funky Festive Bun:
This is the easiest, yet most creative style I’ve seen, perfect for all your fall festivities. You’re gonna need three things: A hair donut, orange hair-color spray, and fake leaves from Micheal’s. Put your daughter’s hair up in a bun the way you usually style it for ballet or dance. You’re going to spray the entire bun with the orange hair-color spray. TIP: Use a paper towel to protect the rest of her hair from the color to keep this look clean. Once accomplished, you can either bobby pin the leaves around the bun, or even hot glue the leaves to a green scrunchie. You totally got this!

Jennifer Parker

“Being a Mom is the most rewarding and fulfilling experience in my life. My three babies (although they are growing up quickly) amaze and surprise me almost every day. Their personalities are totally different and so are their life challenges. Helping guide them on their individual journeys to become responsible young adults fills my life with pure joy. Now don’t get me wrong… they can be little turds too… lol … but they are my little turds and wouldn’t change a thing.”- Jennifer Parker

Greta High

Motherhood is by far the most difficult, but also the most meaningful thing I’ve ever done. I have found in my kids the two people who know and love me most, and have a much higher opinion of me than I could ever deserve. They understand that I will always do my absolute best for them, but now that they are older (11 and 16), they also understand that I’m just a human and I struggle too. They believe in my strength, but also allow me to be vulnerable. They’re my best friends. I’m so grateful for this journey of being their mom.

Rebecca Hardin

Ruby grace is 6 and attends The Museum School. She is our one and only and she is kind, funny and smart. The truth is that I’ve been “ Momma”, a long time to many people. It’s an honor that I am endured and called that by so many ❤️

SalonRed Owner Jessica Soler: What Every Female Entrepreneur Should Know

by Sibley Fleming

SalonRed owner Jessica Soler models her “recycle” dress she made for the salon’s 15th anniversary.

Salon Red creator and owner Jessica Soler heads a mini empire with 100 employees who are spread out among five Atlanta locations—downtown Decatur, Candler Park, and Brookhaven (Candler Park and Brookhaven also have SalonRed Kids locations). Jessica started building the business 20 years ago because she couldn’t get a break as a 22-year-old with a felony record.

In fact, it was her record that launched Jessica, when she found herself standing before a judge who told her if she didn’t straighten out her life, she was going to end up in an orange jumpsuit permanently. The next day she enrolled in hair school.

“When I went to my first job interview, on the job application it asked me, ‘Have you ever been arrested for any crimes or felonies?’ and I actually [had] several, which is why I was in such trouble,” Jessica said. As she was filling out that part of the form, she had to draw an arrow and flip the page over.

“When I turned it in, they looked and they were basically like ‘pass.’ Even though I wasn’t that person anymore—that’s what people see sometimes,” Jessica recalled. “I thought ‘I’m just going to have to do this because no one is going to give me a chance.’”

So with $10,000 she’d saved from a job prior to getting in trouble, she opened her first Salon Red location without a computer, a front desk, or even styling stations—just some stools from Target and a few good friends.

“I had a fantasy that I would open a salon with my three best friends, and we would all work together and we would play with hair and make people happy, and we would all go home. That lasted about two weeks.” She quickly learned she had to be the boss, hired a financial advisor and a business coach, and proceeded from there.

Jessica has had plenty of challenges along the way, too. When she first began her expansion, she bought a salon in East Atlanta, a small neighborhood community that fit her brand. The former owner had six months left on her lease, and Jessica had initially planned to negotiate another lease—but the owner told her pointblank he would not because she was a woman. “He said it: ‘I don’t want another woman in there; I’m finally getting this woman out; none of my other businesses have women in there, and I’m not putting a woman in here.’ That was a huge eye-opener because I’d never worked in the corporate world,” Jessica said.

While the attitude may have surprised her, it didn’t stop her. She quickly found the downtown Decatur location and opened her second Salon Red, which is paired with a Salon Red Kids location next door. To date, Jessica says, 86 percent of her industry is made up of women, but there are no female CEOs, and very few women like herself who have created and franchised their own brand.

Full disclosure: I’ve been a Salon Red client for years (Big shout-out to Maurice!) and I have been physically and emotionally touched by the stylists there through many important life events–the deaths of both husbands, big interviews, meetings, travel, the birth of my first grandchild. And I always leave feeling uplifted, as much from what Maurice does to my hair as from spending time in a warm, caring community, where everyone knows your name and remembers your unfolding story.

Here are some of the things Jessica learned on her journey to success.

Be grateful for mistakes. “My mistakes are probably some of the biggest successes in my life—every mistake, I almost get kind of giddy and think, ‘Oh, I’m glad I screwed that up because now I actually know how to do it, and do it well.’”

“I had a fantasy that I would open a salon with my three best friends and we would all work together and we would play with hair and make people happy and we would all go home,” Jessica said. “That lasted about two weeks. It instantly turned into: I was their boss, I had to be a boss, I had to be a leader and start having expectations and also holding them accountable.”

Make a long-term plan. When Jessica started doing hair, she went to a financial advisor, who helped her define what she wanted—how many cars she would buy, how many vacations, how many kids she’d have. “That set me down the path of ‘What do I want my business to look like over the next 20 years?’ I decided every two years I was going to open another salon or business, and then after 10 years I would hopefully have five salons and then continue to grow.”

Get a business/life coach. Jessica works with business/life coach Wendy Watkins, has done so for 20 years, and says Wendy helps keep her on task. That help extends to every part of Jessica’s life, from managing 100 employees to her growth as a female business leader, and to balancing her hectic work schedule with being the mother of four children, 14, 12, 8, and 4. “What kept me with her was the accountability piece,” Jessica said. “There was no one to keep the owner accountable, and because it’s extremely lonely at the top; you have nobody else to understand or think things through—everybody just tells you what they want you to do, and that became such an issue.”

Engage your community. For women opening businesses, you have to have a huge presence in the community around you, for sure, because those are going to be the people who support you. You have to be secure when you go out to conferences or meetings; even if you’re intimidated, you have to hold your head up, and stand tall and proud, and be strong in your conviction and be passionate. If you make a mistake, admit it.

Community is also one of the biggest pieces of the Salon Red brand and culture, Jessica says. Trades between local businesses and her salons, for instance, are common, and Jessica lets her stylists trade with at least two people a year (Salon Red happily eats the cost). If people need a haircut but can’t afford one, they are never turned away. Employees spend a day every year giving haircuts and services to special-needs children and their teachers (often the first haircut these children get outside of their homes) and volunteering in homeless shelters.

Define your passion. Working with Wendy was, for Jessica, like an awakening of her soul, she says. “I’m basically here to serve, I’m here to give back, I’m here to help people reach their full potential.” Many people are physically touched only by family members, or their doctors, Jessica notes, and often your stylist touches you even more. “Physically it’s an intimate, emotional connection.”

She also notes that people share everything with their stylist, and that she shares more with her clients than anyone else. “Twenty years later, they’ve all seen me [about to] have babies and open all of my locations; I’ve seen them go through their journey. It’s like a continuation of a soap opera.” (Not to worry—stylists are the universal keepers of secrets!)

Accept people where they are. The salon industry, like other industries, has walkouts in which employees band together behind the owner’s back and leave to start their own business. Two years into her business, Jessica had that experience when eight employees walked out. “That was very challenging and slowed the growth of the process I had originally laid out with my financial advisor,” Jessica recalled. “I finally understood that  things happen, it’s not about me; they’re all about them … It doesn’t matter what anyone else wants to do, that’s not me, and I keep my eyes on the ball and I try not to lose focus.”

Lead by example. “You have to walk the walk, which is why I work so hard, because I lead by example and I would never expect anyone to do anything that I wouldn’t do myself. I still clean the toilets, I still build—I do everything that anyone in my company would do, plus more. And I think that’s important as women move forward.”

Jessica Soler’s youngest children: Rowan, 8, and River, 4, helping their mom out on a recent SalonRed Kids photoshoot.

Balance work and family.  Jessica’s four children come from three separate dads: an ex-husband, an ex-boyfriend, and her current boyfriend. The dads handle all the school and outside activities, as well as the house, while Jessica serves as the breadwinner. Her biggest challenge, she said, has been her guilt over not being present for her children, given her demanding business hours and extended business trips.

Even that issue—being a better mom—Jessica is working with her coach, Wendy, to solve. When she started mothering, Jessica says, she rated herself a 2 on a scale of 1 to 10. Instead of trying to figure out how to get from 1 to 10, she took baby steps, trying to get from a 2 to a 3. Slowly she added things like family dinner two nights a week and alone time with mommy on Sundays (it alternates between children), and she got to a 4. And the balance continues to improve, she says.

Take time for yourself. It’s also important to keep some hours in your day to meditate, reflect, or “just be with me a minute,” Jessica said. To do that, she keeps what she calls “vampire” hours, meaning that when she gets home from work and once all of the household dies down around her, she makes time for herself between midnight and 3 a.m. “It’s the only thing that brings me peace.” In those quiet hours, she’s also free to work on new ideas, like dresses made from recycled materials or brightly-colored “yarn trees” that are part of the window display at SalonRed Kids in downtown Decatur (and she’s up again by 7:30 a.m.).

Reach out for support. “I freak out and I break down, and I don’t like my life a lot of the time because it’s so many people depending on you, but you just keep going,” Jessica said. “Even after you break down, you call the person who supports you [so they can] share their strength with you.”

Don’t take shit. “It’s going to come at you from every direction because you’re a woman, especially if you’re blond and petite. I am very underestimated and overlooked and have been for a long time, but all of a sudden, it’s flipping.”

Salon Red owner Jessica Soler

What’s next for SalonRed: Rather than more locations, Jessica is now in the process of consolidating and extending hours to create flexibility for her clients and employees. The Decatur store closed September 10th, and hours and styling stations will expand in her Candler Park and Brookhaven locations. The end result will be “mega salons” where stylists can cycle through in shifts and customers can get service almost on demand.

She’s also working to expand her personal brand nationally as a business consultant and coach to help other women in her industry achieve success. Her message to women: “Keep fighting, keep driving, be smart, keep your numbers, be organized (even if you’re not, figure out a way to do it) … Get your orchestra and make sure you put them in the right chair so that you can make beautiful music together. Those people are gonna be what helps your company grow.”