Smith & Davis, Chicago, IL

There’s a fun little story on how we met the owners of Smith & Davis Salon, and even though we were interested and excited to get to know Stevie Smith and Michael Davis (and their entire team) on a more personal level, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on all the information on what has made this small-space salon so successful.

Specializing in precision cutting and creative color, Smith & Davis Salon is one that embraces the art of collaboration amongst their salon team and with their clients. They are continuously creating collections collaboratively that not only help support their brand but also to evolve their staff member’s experiences and skillsets. As a whole, they embrace education on all levels, both for students and in-salon instructors and more importantly for their clients.


From having a clear and defined mission statement down to knowing what social media platforms work for them and why the following information is here to give you a roadmap and an overview of a successful salon specializing in specific services to a defined age group.


Salon Name: Smith & Davis Salon

Salon Address: 735 W. Wrightwood Ave, Chicago, IL

Year Opened: October 2012

Size: 1200 ft²

Average Cut & Style: $70

Average Color Service: $110

Most Requested Cut: Bob Variation

Most Requested Color Service: Grey Coverage

Most Requested Non-Cut/Color Service: Blowout

Most Effective Form of Marketing: Social Media

Rewards Program: Providing consistent quality service.

Method of Client Retention: Providing consistent quality service.

Average Length of Client Relationship: N/A. Hard to determine since Stevie & Michael have clients that have been going to them individually for 15-20 years.

Average Client Growth: Increasing client count by approximately 23% each year.

Average Revenue Growth (Annual): Averaging 20%

Mission Statement:

At Smith & Davis, we are devoted to making you feel and look your best. We know that our best work is born from a culture of collaboration. While grounded in the traditions and foundations of our craft, we are continually inspired by the ever-changing world around us and most importantly, by our clients themselves. Smith & Davis is committed to creating an environment, which celebrates diversity, where regardless of generation or gender, from the avant-garde to the classic, we use our skills to best serve, our clients.

Three Biggest Obstacles:

  1. Being in a historically old space where problems may arise more than often.
  2. Finding apprentices that are passionately motivated to endure the rigors of a training program. To overcome that, Smith & Davis has tightened up their interviewing process.
  3. The struggle with opening the salon (zoning, permits, bureaucracy, etc.)



Designer: Collaborated with friends who are web/graphic designers.

Logo/Site Cost: Bartered services.

Cost of Branding Materials (Monthly): $75

Method for Maintaining Consistency: Shoot and use their own imagery, use of specific font and Pantone color.


Front Desk Software: STX

Throughout the Salon: WiFi available to guests and a laptop is available for use to view and reference photos and files.


Price Determination Formula: Time + Product Used + Level of Stylist

Services Based on Experience/Training Price Determination: Years in the business, years with Smith & Davis, demand, and level of productivity.



Designer: Owners Stevie and Michael were responsible for the décor.

Contractor/Professionals: Michael Sommerlad at Sommerlad Builders

Description in 3 Words: Unique, Warm & Thought-Provoking

Personality: The space is unique, warm and is a great conversationalist.

Color Scheme: White, charcoal, and wood with pops of red throughout.

Chosen “Theme”: Wanted a clean, warm and easily transformable space.

Chairs: Vintage, American-made, well built.

Sink/Bowls: Compact due to being in a small space.

Accent Pieces: Each individual piece has a unique story or adventure. The art is from a local artist/furniture maker named Miquel Menedez who uses repurposed materials. Shelves were built from an old barn Miquel Menedez dismantled. The table used for color was an actual desk from Leo Burnett’s from the 1950s.

Flooring: Original from 1891.

Lighting: Clean, simple and utilitarian. Tin ceiling is also original from 1891.

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Number of Employees: 10

Levels of Expertise: Senior, Junior, Assistant/Apprentice

Qualifications/Determination: Years in the business + Years with Smith & Davis + Demand + Productivity.

Team Description: Collaborative, enthusiastic and focused who are extremely knowledgeable, inviting and always innovative.

New Hire Qualities: Must have passion, have humbleness and possess creativity.

Methods for Continuing Education: Apprentices have class every Monday while the entire staff has quarterly workshops. Smith & Davis teach CE classes to outside hairdressers a few times a year that staff can also attend. Smith & Davis staff has also attended different demonstrations by stylists visiting Chicago in addition to “Look & Learn” classes at Sassoon. At the one-year anniversary of the completion of the Smith & Davis training program, they send the stylist to Sassoon or Wella Studio NY for continuing education.

Continuing Education Costs: A combination of staff paying out-of-pocket with assistance from Smith & Davis.

Front Desk Qualities: Must be trustworthy, proactive and engaged.

Front Desk Phone/In-Person Script (Y/N): Yes

Departmentalized (Y/N): Yes

Pay Structure: Commission. It is raised from time to time based on years at the salon and productivity alternated with raising service prices.

Team-Building Strategies: Workshops, photo shoots, and team education.

Conflict Resolution Strategies: One-on-one meetings and straight talk.

Maternity Leave Policy/Structure: N/A

Health Insurance: N/A

401K/Profit Sharing: Both

Substance Abuse Policy: A non-issue at Smith & Davis.



Retail Line(s) Carried: Sachajuan and Malin & Goetz

Criteria for Retail Lines:

  1. Independent Lines
  2. High Quality
  3. Ingredients
  4. Packaging
  5. Price Point

Profits from Retail: 11%

Retailing Selling Strategies: Educating clients on individual products.



Backbar Products: Sachajuan, Malin & Goetz, Olaplex

Criteria for Backbar Lines:

  1. Independent Lines
  2. High Quality
  3. Ingredients



Color Line(s) Carried: Wella (full line), Sebastian Cellophanes, Joico Vero K-Pak (limited quantity), Pravana (limited quantity).

Criteria for Color Lines: Selected Wella as primary color line because, “it is the most innovative, high-quality product and Wella provides top-notch educational opportunities” per Smith & Davis.


Average Age: Thirtysomethings

Average Income: N/A

Lifestyle/Type: Run the gamut—some are classic, avant-garde, and even trendy. They all appreciate high-quality service in a relaxed environment.

Target Market (Y/N): Yes

Percentage of Referrals: 50-60%

Strategy for Unhappy Client: Listen and try to talk directly to them rather than via email or through Yelp. Always asks them to come back in for an adjustment and/or assessment.

Method of Client Removal: If a client is rude and disrespectful, management will tell them they may be happier somewhere else.

Online Reviews (Y/N): Some

Social Media Engagement: With the ones who were introduced to the salon via social media.

Technology Available for Clients: Instagram and Facebook

Additional Correspondence: None


Platforms Used: Instagram and Facebook

Marketing Strategies: Used to mainly attract other hairdressers to attend their Smith & Davis Sunday School classes.



Type/Frequency: None

Provider: N/A

Photo Graphic Source: N/A

Email List Building Strategies: N/A


Type/Frequency: POP UP Craft Shows, Client Workshops, Sunday School (CE for hairdressers)

Method of Marketing: Social media, word of mouth


Want to meet the owners behind Smith & Davis? Read the 1ON1 interview with Stevie Smith & Michael Davis, HERE.

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