by Lori Merrall, VP of Franchise Sales of Sola Salons


What do you foresee is the future of the salon industry, and how does Sola Salons play a role in shaping it?

Sola Salons has spearheaded a significant transformation within the salon industry, empowering over 20,000 beauty professionals to embrace entrepreneurship through the provision of essential resources and support. Our franchisees are also deeply committed to our mission, recognizing the economic opportunities it presents. With over 700 locations, we expect our growth to continue and anticipate the same trajectory for the greater salon industry. This momentum is fueled by a continuous flow of beauty professionals, including nail technicians and estheticians, who aspire to experience entrepreneurial opportunities.

We take pride in leading this movement, as evidenced by the enthusiastic response from across the beauty industry, and foresee this growth continuing into 2024 and beyond. Distributors are increasingly attuned to the diverse customer base, encompassing not only traditional salon establishments but also a large market of independent professionals who exhibit sophistication in their approach to business and retail. Likewise, we see renowned brands aligning themselves with this paradigm shift, collaborating closely with us to develop tailored educational content for our network of beauty professionals. This collective effort underscores our commitment to advancing the industry and fostering a community where innovation and inclusivity thrive.


Sola Salons has disrupted the traditional salon model with its emphasis on entrepreneurial freedom. How do you uphold this brand mission while ensuring a cohesive and supportive community for Sola Salons’ independent beauty professionals?

At Sola, our mission is to empower our incredible community of beauty professionals with entrepreneurial freedom. We firmly believe that by providing these talented individuals the latitude to express their creativity and to manage their business, they not only thrive individually but also contribute to a more vibrant and dynamic industry. Our salon suite concept at Sola is designed to give each beauty professional the independence to build the business of their dreams by providing freedom (a private space of their own), support (education and career guidance), and community (a network of 20,000+ pros they can lean on for inspiration).

We also recognize the value of fostering connections and providing support within our community. To this end, we work to create strategic partnerships with brands and figures within the beauty industry, developing a robust pipeline of resources and events. We host a variety of events ranging from virtual webinars to multi-day education events. Each branded series is tailored to fit a unique mission based on our network of beauty professionals. These events simultaneously create memorable learning experiences for attendees and invaluable brand engagement for our sponsors.

One of our largest initiatives is our annual flagship event, Sola Sessions, a multi-day event that convenes hundreds of our independent beauty professionals. Here, participants come together to participate in curated breakout sessions facilitated by experts in the field, covering a spectrum of topics ranging from industry trends and artistic methodologies to strategic business components including crisis management, pricing strategies, marketing, and customer service. This collaborative environment encourages a spirit of community, where individuals can tap into the collective knowledge and experiences of their peers. While similar educational opportunities are customary within certain business realms, their integration into the beauty profession is new, and we are proud to spearhead this advancement within our sector.


Sola Salons is often regarded as a pioneer in shaping the salon suites concept. How do you stay ahead of the competition and maintain Sola’s position as an industry leader? 

Sola maintains its industry leadership through strategic innovation and commitment to our mission. Recognized as a pioneer in the salon suites sector, our focus extends beyond mere real estate to empowering beauty professionals. By prioritizing the needs of our stylists, we foster a culture of recognition and loyalty. We continue to prioritize modernization, and in the last year, we introduced a design refresh, enhancing our brand stature. We continue to look for ways to grow and adapt, ensuring Sola remains at the forefront of the competitive landscape.


How do you approach brand partnerships and collaborations to enhance your brand awareness in the industry? How do these initiatives benefit both the franchisees, beauty pros and overall business goals? 

At Sola, brand partnerships and collaborations are strategic endeavors that hold immense value in enhancing our brand awareness, strengthening our network, and advancing our collective business goals. Our scale gives us access to brands that smaller concepts might not be able to touch. Given our tenure and size, brands are eager to partner with us for educational collaborations and events like Sola Sessions. We’re always looking for both major brands and niche brands that will resonate with our community. Our approach to these initiatives is guided by a commitment to mutual growth, innovation, and delivering exceptional value to our franchisees, beauty professionals, and the overall Sola Salons community. A specific example of enhancing our brand awareness and strengthening our industry network is our recent and continued participation in New York Fashion Week. Experiences like these position our brand’s profile as a trusted hub for cutting-edge beauty solutions.

As part of our brand partnership and collaboration approach, we also strive to give back to our industry and communities. Most recently, Sola partnered with Beauty Changes Lives, a nonprofit whose mission is to make the beauty profession a first-choice career and committed $25,000 to the organization. This partnership will continue to grow in 2024 and confirms Sola’s commitment to building confidence for beauty professionals who are looking to further their careers in the industry.



Sola Salons has grown rapidly in recent years. Could you share some of the key leadership principles and strategies that have facilitated this growth while preserving the brand’s essence?

Sola’s rapid growth in recent years is a testament to our unwavering commitment to our core values and a strategic approach to innovation, collaboration, and community-building. We consistently open over 55 units a year in the US, and we’re seeing increasing interest in Canada. Much of that growth is from our existing franchisees. There is no greater testimony to the strength of our brand than that. They value the strength of the model and our culture of collaboration.

One key leadership principle is a dedication to engaging franchisees in our strategy. We work together to continuously scan the horizon for emerging industry trends, consumer preferences, and technological advancements, and we ensure our franchisees are aligned. We have a highly engaged Franchisee Advisory Board (FAB) that contributes to our annual priorities, and they help us to engage the larger community in strategic initiatives through a robust program of working groups. We benefit from the collective experience of these franchise owners, who are very close to their stylists. Their engagement helps us to stay nimble despite our size.


What makes Sola Salons an attractive franchise model to prospective franchisees and how do you set up these business owners for success? 

Sola Salons is attractive to franchisees because it provides a fantastic recurring revenue stream that can be easily scaled and managed with a very small team. Our systems have been proven for nearly 20 years, and our success rate is unsurpassed in our sector. Due to our scale, we have unique partnerships with lenders, landlords, contractors, and other vendors, and we provide world-class support on site selection and design that streamline the opening process for franchisees. Our training covers all aspects – from operations, marketing, sales, and customer service to facilities management. Beyond opening support, our dedicated field representatives offer ongoing support for franchisees and facilitate regular communication and touch bases that allow owners to tap into the collective wisdom within our organization.