Urban Betty Update: How We Increased Revenue 30% And Grew Our Team To 60 Full-Time Employees

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Chelle Neff
Founder, Urban Betty
$400K
revenue/mo
1
Founders
58
Employees
Urban Betty
from Austin, Texas, USA
started January 2005
$400,000
revenue/mo
1
Founders
58
Employees
961K
alexa rank
49.3K
followers
2.03K
followers
29
subs
market size
$47B
avg revenue (monthly)
$400K
starting costs
$22.7K
gross margin
13%
time to build
240 days
average product price
$65
growth channels
SEO
business model
Brick & Mortar
best tools
Envision, LegalZoom, Eventbrite
time investment
Full time
pros & cons
29 Pros & Cons
tips
5 Tips
Discover what tools Chelle reccommends to grow your business!
Discover what books Chelle reccommends to grow your business!
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Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

Hi, I’m Chelle Neff, and I’m the founder of Urban Betty Salon which opened in 2005. When I first opened, I had one contractor that worked for me in a salon that housed 6 hair stations. After six years, we had 10+ people, and we were running out of room. We upgraded to a space twice the size.

In 2017 I was able to retire from doing hair and focus solely on managing Urban Betty. The salon company now houses over 60 full-time employees (two of which are shareholders) and two locations.

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Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?

Our business has continued to thrive and grow, even amid a pandemic. Since 2019 (with two months of being shut down in 2020), we continue to grow our revenue an average of 30% per year.

Our salon company had its highest retail sales, service revenue, and new hires from February through April. These records have given me the confidence to put family first and let my staff make decisions independently.

Upon reopening after the pandemic, we launched a service charge. We figured out a way for everyone to win and our stylists to make more money, jump levels faster, and have higher retail sales. Urban Betty implemented a small service charge ($5-$25) to each guest upon checkout. We pay our Service Providers up to 20% of that charge. This new protocol helps cover our new sanitation processes, PPE, group health insurance, and retirement plans.

In June of 2020, we had our highest grossing month ever! In 2021 we've continued to break records and have come back better than ever, which has helped become a catalyst for the next stage of the Urban Betty brand.

We also developed a shareholder plan in 2020 and will be launching buy-in options this fall. We have two shareholders right now and will be bringing on more in 2022.

In October of 2021, we will launch a clean beauty line with 2 shampoos and 2 conditioners and plans for more products. In October, we will also be expanding our flagship location by adding a spa room, 6 chairs, and a new office with windows! This will allow us to provide all sorts of new services, including facials, dermaplaning, and body waxing, to guests.

In 2022 we will open our 3rd location in Round Rock, Texas (20 minutes from Austin). We chose Round Rock because it covers the northern part of Austin since our flagship salon is in central Austin and our SoCo location is south Austin.

I am a big fan of keeping up with the latest technology and marketing. This year we utilized two companies to help us grow our guest count and bring on more brand awareness. We brought on Tricycle Creative; their concept is to TEACH you (or, in our case, our marketing director) how to do Social Media, Instagram Ads, Facebook Ads, Google Adwords, Google Analytics, and SEO. What's remarkable is they will set everything up for you, get it going and then show you how to do it.

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The second new marketing strategy that we have utilized is a company called REACH. The REACH.ai will automatically fill your appointment book, including slow times and last-minute cancellations using AI-driven texts and email. It is exciting, because the minute we launched it, we had 3 new guest bookings within the first couple of hours.

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What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?

In February of 2021, I became a mother and met the love of my life through adoption. So balancing work and parenting was the next big obstacle for me. We were on an adoption list for 1.5 years and literally had 3 days' notice that our son had come into this world. I quickly had to take unplanned maternity leave for 3 months.

I announced to my staff that I would be putting my family first and that management should handle all things. I wasn't going to be answering texts, emails, or anything unless there was a literal fire (even then, I wouldn't have been much help). I learned that my team is full of serious, ass-kicking rockstars. My business flourished without me.

It's incredible once you get out of the way and empower others how much they can soar and take everything to the next level. I cannot thank my salon company, general manager, Hallie Spurlin, enough. She gave me the gift of being a stay-at-home mom for three months.

My advice is to get a coach, therapist, guru, business consultant, or someone who can call you on your BS, give you a new perspective, and be your biggest cheerleader.

Our salon company had its highest retail sales, service revenue, and new hires from February through April. These records have given me the confidence to put family first and let my staff make decisions independently.

What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?

My plan is to continue to grow our brand in the next year through more locations, new services, shareholders, and, most importantly, a product line. My goal is to empower other women through these endeavors.

The Urban Betty product line will be my launchpad to giving back to female entrepreneurs by donating 1% of its profits to Big Austin. We chose BiGAUSTIN because they are a leader in powering self-sustainable small business development by providing business consulting, business planning & funding solutions to women entrepreneurs in Texas. I was once that woman, and if it weren’t for Big Austin that helped me with funding, I wouldn’t be here today.

In the next 5 years, I want to create more leaders/shareholders within my company to one day take over and buy it out or make a return from a buyout. We have two shareholders right now and will be bringing on more starting in 2022. I feel like rewarding staff with raises or positions can only go so far; if you allow them to have skin in the game, it takes your salon company to a whole other level.

Have you read any good books in the last year?

In 2020 I read Profit First, and it forever changed how I look at my profit and expenses. I quickly learned a new way to budget and increase my profit. I recommend this book to ANYONE (not just business owners) that need to know how to improve their income and correctly create a budget.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?

My advice is to get a coach, therapist, guru, business consultant, or someone who can call you on your BS, give you a new perspective, and be your biggest cheerleader. The biggest mistake I see out there is people thinking that hiring a therapist or a coach is a sign of weakness or having a mental health issue.

That is 100% incorrect. Being vulnerable, asking for help, and making mistakes is part of being human. If you have another person in your life (not friends or family) that can work with you on personal or business decisions, I guarantee it will only help you grow and get to the next level. I have a therapist, a business coach, and a salon consultant. I wouldn’t be where I’m at or have the success I do without them.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We are always hiring! Especially for our front desk staff and service providers. You can apply here.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

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