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The salon and The “S” word Review

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A great resource of vital information. Many, many exceptional hairdressers set up in business because they are excellent hairdressers. Sadly the business focus is sometimes lost in the excitement of owning their own salons and that is when failure can take hold. This book is a great tool to teach you how to raise your business acumen to match those excellent creative skills, a perfect partnership for a lasting business in a wonderful industry.

The salon and The S WordRoss Smith Calgary Alberta Canada. 

Like Mike, I have been a hairdresser for decades.
Everything that I have learned by trial and error is in this book and more.
This book is very thorough, makes you stop and get out your highlighter pen and also a pad of paper and pen.
It will take you step by step through every subject that a stylist,manager,owner or sales rep could think of.

A great book for anyone in the business who wants to achieve success.
I wish that this book was available when I started my apprenticeship in the business.

The Comb magazine USA

I wish I had this book when I first started out in my salon 9 years ago! as it would of been invaluable even so I got loads of tips and I really loved how its layed out so easy to read it for us busy salon owners/managers/stylists who don’t get much time, you can jump to each chapter as and when you need it. example- How to get your staff to retail.
Mike Vallance is well respected in the hairdressing industry and I recommend this book 100%

Also great read on many topics

Sal Lo Gerfo Sales/ Floor Support of the product line.

New york.

I got a copy of the book and loved it. I keep thinking I wish this was around years ago when I had my first salon. I think everyone in this industry new or longstanding should read it. I felt good reading it because many of your concepts I had put into acton and that made me feel great.
Ian Marc Smith 
Owner of Imagine Salon & Spa
Nova Scotia, Canada
Master hairstylist, salon owner, educator and teacher.
Great job in your book! I am on a beach in The Dominican Republic and I have just finished your book!The Salon & the ’S’ WordBy Mike VallanceI am a Canadian Hairdresser since 1975. I have a true passion for our beauty industry, similarly to Mike Vallance who has just written The Salon & the ’S’ Word. Published by SalonStudies 2015.I have read Michael’s book with admiration, and gratefulness to the work and commitment he has written about in his book. He has given ‘his all’ in sharing his years of knowledge and wisdom to better our industry and the new and experienced cosmetologists. Whether you are a hairdresser, and or a salon owner or simply a beauty supporter, there is much to gain and learn from his open, honest and through understanding of what is needed to succeed, I highly recommend reading this book.Michael’s desire to share his wealth of experience in The Salon & the ’S’ Word is simply times at making us better professionals. This book reads like a ‘how to’ guide in navigating your personal journey to be a better stylist or salon owner. The fundamentals of how to avoid pitfalls or gain insight on topics such as Service, Sales and Selling, how to work with Suppliers to handling Staff or just being a better staff member is a must read. Our profession as old as it is, is ever changing and today’s cosmetologists need every opportunity they can to serve our very core, our guests, our clients and our relationships with sales representatives and Manufacturers.The world today demands we have a full understanding of social media, and branding if we are to succeed. Michael’s experience of working in both Canada and Europe since 1973 has given Michael to ability to cross all borders. This is the reason I endorse The Salon & the ’S’ Word.I am looking forward to reading his book for years to come.
phil Townsend
This is a great book. No matter how much you think you know about running a salon, this book that will open your eyes to more. It is written in a generic manner and is as relevant to a large ladies salon as it is to a small barber shop. It is up to the reader to interpret if and how the information applies to them. It is not a one-size-fits-all magic wand, nor does it claim to be. However, if you want to benefit from the many years of experience of an industry expert, this book is a wise purchase.
It is well written in an easy to read, non-patronising manner and will remain a useful source of reference material for many years to come.
Ginny Greb. 

Beyond Beauty Osoyoos 

BC Canada.

For everyone who owns, or is planning to own a salon, this book is a must read. Too often as hairdressers we don’t think about what goes into a successful salon beyond the styling chair, yet sometimes the other aspects can make or break our businesses. In this book you will find an organized, straight forward approach to all of those other things.

Van Hoeff-hairdressing Canterbury Kent.

By john verhoeff on 
I have been hairdressing since 1981, I started in the West End of London, and have worked for large international companies, worked abroad, gained a degree in education, lectured in colleges, managed hair & beauty departments over three colleges of further education, I was responsible for 36 lecturers and 2000 students. I am now winding down a little bit and I own a lovely salon where I employ 5 people and train up apprentices, so I thought that I knew all there is to know about the hairdressing industry, but I was wrong.I met Mike at a hairdressing competition where we were both invited to be judges, typically we chatted about the industry and some of our experiences and he told me about his book. I bought the book soon after, I was very impressed with the content and I use some of Mikes’ valuable advice on a daily basis to improve my business (and it does) ! ! !Mikes book will be a valuable read to all salon owners, managers and stylists, Mike thinks outside the box and looks at every aspect of running a salon from all different angles, including the most productive way to lay out your salon, the main attributes for a stylist to build up a regular client base, selling techniques and identification of the client base that you wish to attract.In summary an essential read for all salon owners, managers and stylists !


Michael Vallance

Ken Moshier

Stylist/Educator: Greater San Diego Area     Consumer Services

When I first heard that Mike and Martin had released yet another salon guide to sales success, I assumed it was for salon super-nerds and salon trolls that live under the salon roof and only come out in daylight for hair shows. (my apologies to all salon trolls) “Boy was I wrong”! Obviously the hype on The Salon and the S Word hasn’t died down & after reading it I found myself writing this review.

Now that I have read the book and am writing a review, what can I possibly say to sum it up? I liken owning a salon and having the responsibility of training my staff to that of birthing a child. Without the proper guidance and structure, that child could develop into a monstrous and self centered little child …. Okay, so maybe that is a little too far fetched for some of you. Let’s go with comparing salon management to a marriage – you have to enter it as an owner knowing you are committing for “better or for worse”, in staff sickness or in health. It will be a love-hate relationship. You won’t always be in love with the salon team. Reading over the reviews & reading posts on the book have confirmed to me that most of us easily compare salon ownership as a relationship & one that is a very individual experience. Mike has included a great set of “marriage vows” (tips) for you to work off and get you on top of your game.

“In the book The Salon and the S Word, Mike Vallance gives the humblest pieces of advice for the humblest hairdressers that someday want to have a salon of their own”.


Pam Decharo. Salon Owner,

Hair International, Stanford Shopping Center, Palo Alto, Ca

Hair international Facebook

I wanted to not comment on Michael’s book until I had fully read it, but it came quickly [even from the UK!] and I read fast, so here goes.

The Salon and the S word is probably the highest level book you’re going to be able to but for such a low price. It covers many VERY advanced topics – who are your customers? [demographics] how do your customers think? [psychodemographics] salon locations, stylist development, salon development…

Specific chapters address profit-center areas [retail sales, customer service, color sales, customer retention, increasing customer count] in a way that the reader can absorb and make use of, which is not too surprising considering the author. Mike is a very hands-on, boots-on-the-ground kind of hairdresser. I have a million books which I had purchased in hope of getting help increasing sales, and I’m embarrassed how much money I spent on them. This book costs next to nothing and gets right to the heart of what we all are wanting to do, or at least salon owners, managers and success-minded stylists.

The book even touches on pit-falls for new salon owners – negotiating leases, hiring and retaining stylists, mentoring and training stylists- in a manner that can be thought about, re-creating and accomplished.

This book was more than I expected and I expected a lot. I learn so much from these message feeds, and much of the content is a combination of Michael’s experience and expertise plus responding to questions posed, in a digestible, useful format.

I’ll be using this book regularly. It’s easy to read, interesting, doesn’t talk down to me as so many other books of this type do, it’s to the point and wastes no time on useless topics.

It’s the hair industry best-buy of the year, ha ha, if any one ever has the good fortune to find out about it.

My hat’s off to you, Michael. I would love to have the knowledge and judgement to write such a book, but since I don’t, I’m grateful I can buy it for less than 15.00!

Good luck with it.


Jane defrancesco. salon owner

owner/manager at Ten slater rd

I agree with everything Pam has said. I to have been reading the book, although I haven’t finished it all yet, but what I have read is sound to the point straight talking advise.
What a great book for students, how I wish I had it to hand when I was teaching. It should be on the reading list for all students on a hairdressing course.
I just wish that it had more colour. The bold text and the titles could have been highlighted in different colours . We hairdressers are very visual and use of colour in the form of text or illustration, cartoon & animation style drawings would really make it stand ou.
That said, a great book Mike that every hairdresser should have on their shelf
Congratulations!  Just wanted you to know that I have been using your book to write a new salon handbook for the new staff.


Siobhan Clark. salon owner

The Salon and the ‘S’ Word is an invaluable resource for our industry. The level of Mike’s knowledge and expertise is clear as soon as you start reading. Every topic is explained and discussed in a friendly approachable manner, making you think about how your salon is working for you. Its incredibly important to realize that as a salon owner there are areas that can be improved upon or considered differently at work. This book challenges your own ideas and methods whilst providing thoughtful insights on what you can change and enhance. The book would also be a great addition to education, I wish I had had access to material like this when I was training, the difference it could make is substantial. I think this book is a fantastic injection of expertise we can all appreciate and go back to time and again, I will continue to use it as a business reference and cant recommend it highly enough!


Multi award winning stylist Jon paul Holt owner of the much acclaimed Avantgarde hair studio in Vancouver BC Canada just posted a review on The Salon and the S Word.
I am a salon owner and stylist for over 40 years. I got this book shipped out to Vancouver in time to take it away to read on a sunny holiday. It was riveting and totally hit the pulse of our hairdressing profession. All the important things that every stylist and owner recognize are what make a successful business. I took notes when reading it as it gives me a better understanding and enables me to explain the points to my staff. Even if they just manage to take a couple of the “S” words to heart, it was and is a success to me..and then to them. I recommend every school,college and salon take time to read and take to heart the things written in this book.. It was a super read,,, wether to take it on your holidays or read it at home or in the salon!

Nanette Ferguson

Nanette Ferguson

Hi Mike, I too write to congratulate you publicly on the tremendous achievement of writing your book. It arrived in my mailbox last week and I am truly impressed by it. I’ve submitted a review to Amazon this morning. Don’t know how long it takes them to publish a pending review, but hopefully it will be there for all to see soon. I recommend this great book to all salon owners and stylists wanting to educate themselves in all business aspects of their career. It’s a great professional development tool.
Best wishes to you.

Amazon Review: by Nanette.

Have just had this book sent to me in Australia and am very impressed with the breadth of salon related subjects covered. Mike looks at all aspects of the business, from salon layout, location, client demographics, your ideal client, relationship with suppliers, to the so called ‘soft skills’ of client care and communication, and much more.

Best of all it’s easy to read and absorb. I vote it a must read for all in the beauty industry, salon owners and stylists alike.

 Hair Loss & Scalp Clinic Trichologist Mandy Baldwin

This is a great guide book for Hair Stylist, Mike has taken the time to ensure it meets the knowledge required.

 adam snare:

This book provides salon owners and stylists with answers to industry wide questions, reaffirms what you know and should be doing, while giving the confidence to lead your teams and yourself with purpose. Plenty of top level industry experience, practical tools and research make this a valuable ‘go to’ bible for any ambitious hairdresser/salon owner. Not many in our industry employ these tactics and tools – but the most successful do. Thinking and acting differently are the first steps to getting different results – Mike Vallance shows you how. This book lives in our team room – those who read it and apply the tools/knowledge make more money, have more fun, charge more £ and keep more clients. They’re simply more successful.

Lisa Mullins

Award winning stylist freelance business owner operator.

I wanted to leave an honest review which I feel would help people make the decision if they should purchase the book or not. I am not a salon owner I work freelance and so was skeptical to see if any of the content could apply to me. There are many parts of this book that are purely for salon owners, but having said that there are many chapters that can apply to a freelancer as well. It has questioned the whole of my approach to being freelance. What is my unique selling point, who are my customers, what are my strenghts and weaknesses it has really made me think about things. This is such a competitive business to be in you really need that bit extra and you just might find your answers in this book.

Stewart Roberts SRSH

” A must read for anyone in the hairdressing industry !!! “

Thank you all for sharing in some case initial thoughts with me.

Philip Underhill

NVQ Assessor/Hairdressing Tutor

Stafford, Staffordshire, United Kingdom


I have found this book to be a great read. Having experience in all different roles within a salon from a stylist, management and as an educator, it’s full of solid knowledge which if/when implemented into any business would make vast improvements! Mike has captured how to right a lot of wrongs! A definite must have!

Mike B2MR 

order your copy click here   to find Amazon links!

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