Sola Salons Suites 

The World’s Largest and Fastest-Growing Salon Studio Franchise

You don’t need to be a beauty expert to run a Sola Salons Franchise.

As the workforce continues to shift towards a self-employment model, individuals from many different industries from tech moguls to farmers are becoming Sola Salons franchise owners.  Helping over 19,000 beauty professionals in 628 locations in North America, salon suites have become the business trend for those seeking to become their own bosses.

Meet Ron Magnuson, a franchise owner from Alberta, Canada who went from being a farmer in the prairies to becoming a multi-unit franchise owner of the world’s largest and fastest-growing salon studios franchise in North America. Magnuson is a franchisee of Sola Salons, overseeing three successful franchise locations in Arizona and Calgary.

“I barely knew a perm from a ponytail.”

We spoke with Magnuson to find out more about his transition from farmer to Sola Salons franchise owner.

How did you become interested in Sola Salons?

When I retired at 55, I wasn’t sure I liked people all that much after spending so much time as a farmer alone on a tractor.  Then when I retired I got bored.  I was looking for something fun so I used a head hunter to search for a franchise or a partnership opportunity.  After a close look at the Sola Salons business model, which was turn-key, I decided to open two locations in Pheonix and Calgary.

We started all locations from scratch. The first one was a trial to help us see what the beauty business looks like. I barely knew a perm from a ponytail. I liked the idea of being around a creative new group of people and had fun running it so a few years later we opened the second location followed by a third in Calgary.

Why did you think it was a good idea at the time of the Pandemic?

Going underground was the only thing stylists could do to continue to put food on the table. During the pandemic when many salons closed down we were able to stay open since the stylists have full control and privacy in a single or a double suite.  It was the perfect setup.

How big are the suites in your three locations?

Each location has a total of 25, 31, and 20 stylists and beauty pros.  Some of the suites are double and a couple of triples. Typically they are single suites.  

What type of beauty professionals do you have in your suites?

We have a community of like-minded people who get nice synergies from each other.  They can pull each other’s customers in to benefit the various businesses we offer.  They accommodate a full-service beauty environment.  We offer brows, massage, lashes, hair, nails, and even waxing. 

Stylists from Calgary who have been working out of their homes in the last couple of years are still coming in to join us. Many who have been in a home situation want to get back to working with other stylists.  They miss the social aspect. There are so many beauty professionals that have reached that point in their life where they are paying too much where they are at. They find the freedom of suites really appealing. They have flexibility with hours and when they work. They manage their life how they need to on their own terms for a good life/work balance. 

What kind of support do you offer your suite owners?

I am an economist by trade so I am able to assist the suite owners with business advice. I also support the stylists by providing moving incentives, yearly education events, bringing in photographers to shoot, accounting to help with finances, hair extension trainees, and bringing in experts for pricing and business advice.

We have more than just a landlord relationship with our suite renters.  We do lots of social and educational events.  We have a strong social media account to help them market themselves with business support.  For new stylists who do not have a business background,  I sit down with them to make sure they have a book of business and financial support since many of them are not as accomplished in accounting.   

What kind of special events are held at your locations?

In Calgary, we had a stampede party.  In Phoenix, we had a whole day of education where we brought in a photographer and an accountant, hair extensions specialist, and a social media business class. We did a charity event for the Make-a-Wish Foundation in the West Valley.  We also had a program for abused women treating them to free haircuts.

How does haircare retail work with Salon Suites?

Sola is brand independent.  It is entirely up to the stylist which products they use in their salon. They all have their own retail in their suites with a small display. Retail is a big part of the equation. They love the idea that they can sell their chosen brands of products that they are used to working with.  Retail is often an overlooked part of the business that can be a solid source of income. 

“I don’t need to do this for a living.  I choose to do this.  I love the success stories and that I have helped along the way.”

What do you enjoy most about being a franchisee owner?

Our renters are artistic and fun. Some also do other things like photography and painting. I enjoy being around them. We have a great social community that builds friendships.  I don’t need to do this for a living.  I choose to do this.  I love the success stories that I have helped along the way.  It makes me proud to know that we have helped these business owners.

Do you have any advice for someone considering being a franchisee owner?

When you are considering a franchise you should find a good location.  We are long-term players who want to sign a 10 or 20-year lease.  We would typically go into strip malls. Our Calgary location is on the ground floor of mixed-use with apartments on top and that works well for us.  

Sola Salons corporate team offers great support.  They made it quite reasonable for me to get on that learning curve. If you can turn an old farmer into a salon owner, it’s clear they do a great job as a turnkey franchise business!

Find out more about being a Sola Salons franchisee owner:

Photos by Taunie Magnuson Photography

Outside photo by MiArtMedia