Career progression: making the move from beauty therapist to salon manager

Q: I want to make the move from therapist to manager. How do I do it?

Being a manger is about overseeing the business as a whole – managing a team, taking care of the operation and being responsible for the day to day. To succeed, you need to have walked in the path of the team you’re managing; hard work, determination, willingness and passion are the key credentials.

So, when you start out in the industry, you need to have a long-term plan to make the most of every opportunity. Firstly, never say no. You need to impress and prove that you can get on with it, without fuss, and this includes tasks like tidying up or doing laundry.

You should also gain knowledge of all areas of the business you are working in; you will be trusted with tasks such as stock taking, ordering, staff rotas and reception. These give you a valuable insight into how the business operates, understanding costs and controlling budgets.

Never turn down an opportunity to develop your skills. As you progress, you should become more business aware and look to take courses that will support your growth, ensuring competence in areas such as computer skills, accounting, budgets, payroll and reporting.

Don’t be afraid to move to progress. If you’ve reached a stagnant point, look for roles that take you up the ladder, such as team leader, supervisor, head of beauty, manager, or director.

Also, it’s OK if your career trajectory takes time; my journey from beauty student to general manager took 23 years.

Jo HarrisJo Harris is general manager of the London School of Beauty and Make-up and founder of Business of Beauty. Previous roles include general manager of Urban Retreat Salon in Harrods, managing a team of 250 staff.