Part of my off-the-grid post-graduation time involved road tripping approximately 3,500 miles around the big open middle part of our country. We stopped in a lot of small Midwestern towns, and I felt like I was seeing beauty salons, barber shops, and nail salons everywhere we went. So I started snapping pictures.
One reason is that I love — absolutely love — the awesome names that these small mom-and-pop type businesses come up with. (In my New England hometown, there is now a salon called “Breath of Fresh Hair.” I do not even know what to do about that.)
But another reason is that it makes me anxious to see how many salons seem to crowd into every Main Street everywhere you go now. In one place (Imlay City, Michigan, where most of these images are from), we counted at least two salons or barber shops on every block. But rather than that working in their favor — like when a certain part of town gets known as the shoe district so everyone goes there to buy shoes — at least a third had “For Rent” signs in the window.
When Simon Scott came to speak at Beauty U, he told us that 80 percent of beauty school graduates would leave the industry within five years. And that new beauty salons have the second highest failure rate of any small business (after restaurants).
Then he told us that it was entirely possible to earn $100,000 per year.
Loved this hand-stenciled signage.
This guy is diversifying his business and I like anyplace you can get a haircut and a treestand. (Not sure it would be Scott-approved.)
Another salon for rent in Imlay City, MI.
Great name. Not sure which town this was, in Illinois.
We probably saw more nail salons than any other kind of beauty business.
Whoop Dee Do! (In Wisconsin, I think.)
[All photos by me, hence the very non-professional and artistic — sometimes taken from a moving car — quality.]