Enabling Entrepreneurs to Thrive

Salon Z Studios owner Zach Scribner nurtures small businesses

As is so often the case, life takes us down a career path we never imagined. That was certainly true for Minnesota native Zach Scribner, who moved to Omaha to play hockey for UNO. He decided to stay after college and started a career in the medical recruiting industry. Through a contact and friend he started helping manage a local salon studio, which he later purchased. Before long Scribner purchased two more salon studio locations and is about to open his fourth.

Scribner said salon studios are not a new business model. “I didn’t create the model, but they are certainly unique.” Rather than a traditional salon in which an owner employs a number of stylists, salon studios are made up of individual beauty professionals, each with their own studio, their own schedule, their own clients, and ultimately their own business. Scribner owns all of the equipment and fixtures and leases it to each professional for a flat fee, making it a tenant/landlord relationship. Each space comes fully equipped with the necessary cabinetry, sinks, and chairs, allowing the tenants to only provide their specific tools.

However, he is very hands on at each location, ensuring all of the business owners have what they need in order to operate successfully. “I’m available and responsive to them, whether it’s plumbing and electrical issues or simply differences in opinions amongst co-workers,” Scribner said. “They are not my employees, and I am not their boss. We are simply working together. But my pledge to them has always been I’ll try to fix an issue that day, and if I can’t get to it, I’ll at least communicate with them.”

What makes the studio business model so attractive to stylists is they get to keep a larger percentage of revenue than they would at a traditional salon. Scribner explained that anywhere from 40 to 60 percent of a stylist’s revenue is given back to the salon owner, whereas with the studio model they get to keep about 50 percent more because they are the salon owner. He doesn’t take a commission or percentage of revenue. “It works because I have a large space I’m subleasing, and they’re leasing space without giving up revenue,” he said.

There is no front desk receptionist at the studio, and stylists must keep their own schedule. But Scribner said many prefer it this way because they can work as many or few hours as they like. Most of the stylists are seasoned professionals with established clientele, making the studio a destination rather than one with a lot of walk-in traffic. Each of the stylists are unique in how they operate their business, which Scribner said is what you want from small business owners. “Stylists are artistic people and everyone has their own vision for their business, so I give them space and let them do what they’re good at,” he said.

There are currently three Salon Z Studios locations: 144th & Maple; 168th & Center in Legacy as well as one in Armbrust Village. A fourth location is set to open September 1st on 175th & Center in the Tivoli development area and still has studio space available. Once completed, all four locations will house 85 private studios with 110 professionals, including hair stylists, aestheticians, massage therapists and nail techs. “Many people have asked me, why three locations within close proximity to one another?” Scribner said. “But with the way the area has developed, the demand for more studio space has grossly increased. So many people want to work off of West Center.”

And he isn’t done expanding. Scribner hopes to continue to add locations as opportunities arise and eventually hire some additional help from the management side. But he enjoys the flexibility of being a business owner himself and nurturing other business owners. “It’s all about listening, being responsive, and treating people with respect,” he said. “I love what I do and working with so many different people, it’s rewarding. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

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