Tabatha Takes Over
Business/Location: Nadia’s Family Salon, Englishtown, NJ, 12 years in business
Owner/Background Info: Kevin Lichen is the owner of the salon. He is also a stylist. Tabatha finds it hard to be polite to Kevin after what she’s seen in the salon that day. Kevin is $250,000 in debt. Things used to be great in the salon and have only gone downhill in the past few years. The staff used to be like family. Kevin learned hair cutting from his dad, who was a barber. He now refers to his three senior stylists, Erica, Jen, and Danielle as the “three headed monster” because he thinks they completely undermine his authority.
Hidden Camera Reveal: Danielle, Jen and Erica are cursing and having a very loud conversation amongst themselves. They are not paying attention to the customers. They are bitching in front of a client. Kevin’s family (his wife Daisy and their two kids) hang around the salon at least once a week, getting services but not paying for them. Daisy is a part-time receptionist and helps out occasionally. Their family dysfunction is played out in front of the customers. Erica and Daisy both give Kevin a dressing down in front of clients, making them visibly uncomfortable. Tabatha is really frustrated and takes the keys from Kevin.
Facility Inspection: The staff is shocked and scared out of their minds when Tabatha walks in. Tabatha brings clients from that day back in to tell the staff how they feel about their experience. One of them says it seems like they hate each other. All of them felt animosity from the top down. The place is dusty and dirty with hair all over the place. Nobody’s used soap and water in a long time. Anyone who would sit in the VIP lounge would have to be an idiot and the waxing room is disgusting.
Meeting with Staff: Tabatha tells them the way they speak to their boss is thoroughly unprofessional. Kevin makes Erica want to kill him. She feels the three senior stylists carry the salon load and it would fail without them. The staff feels like Daisy doesn’t really help that much when she’s there even though she tries. Daisy and Kevin bring their personal life into the salon. Kevin is not good with money and their paychecks have bounced and they have been asked to hold their checks a couple of times in the past. Kevin used to have a gambling problem. The staff doesn’t think he gambles anymore but he spends his money on vacations and expensive dinners. The staff is used to Kevin but they feel like battered children because he seems so angry all the time. When he was in his addiction, he let Erica and Danielle run the shop. The staff cares about Kevin. Tabatha tells them she has to get through to Kevin, but she also has to get through to them because they have to take responsibility for their part in this mess.
Skills Assessment: Erica told her client what she was going to do instead of asking her client what she wanted and why. Kevin doesn’t really explain what he’s going to do for his client and needs to communicate better. Danielle was so nervous she felt like a complete bumbling idiot. Kevin wants the clients to fill out information forms and Tabatha tells him she would never have a client fill out a form. They need to communicate with their clients. Kevin is mad that Jen agrees with Tabatha and lets her have it. Tabatha tells him he’s acting like a child and it’s killing his business. Once the stylists are finished, Kevin is the only one who didn’t really do a great job. Tabatha tells them all they are good hairdressers and she tells Kevin he’s lucky they are because he would be in a much worse mess if they weren’t.
Tabatha’s next step: Tabatha sits down with Kevin to discuss what his staff said; that he’s inconsistent and he doesn’t follow through. She brings up the fact that Kevin sometimes asks his staff to hold their paychecks for a couple of days. Kevin gets mad and says he is going into his red zone. Tabatha tells him they should NEVER have to wait two or three days to cash their paychecks. How can they trust him when he takes vacations and spends money on expensive meals for his family? Kevin agrees he depended on Erica, Jen and Danielle to run the salon when he had a gambling problem until he quit a couple of years ago. Tabatha tells Kevin his staff cares for him and the business but they think Kevin hates them. Kevin has a lot of guilt. Tabatha tells him until he can own up to his past behavior and apologize, things are not going to change,
The next day, Tabatha shows up at Kevin and Daisy’s house. She has invited the staff over to their house for lunch. She feels they need to feel like a family again. Tabatha tells them it’s all about Kevin and the staff and asks Daisy to step aside. Tabatha wants Kevin to direct the staff in preparing the barbeque. Kevin is really uneasy giving directions to the staff. The barbeque was a step in the right direction. When they are eating, they talk about having a staff meeting and Kevin suggests having Daisy attend. The staff tells Kevin that Daisy isn’t there consistently and they want to take direction from him, not Daisy.
Next, Tabatha asks them all to put on a blindfold and has Kevin and the staff bend down and pick up pieces of rope with which they must make a perfect square. The staff interrupts Kevin when he tries to figure out how to do it. They finally realize he needs to take charge and figure it out for them. Eventually, Kevin gets them going in the right direction. Tabatha sits down and tells us it normally takes children 15 minutes to do the exercise. It took Kevin and his staff an hour. But they did it nonetheless. They realize they have to rely on each other and they do care about each other. Kevin apologizes to the staff, tells them he cares about them, and he will be more open-minded and try to stay out of the red zone.
Remodeling/Reopening: Tabatha presents them with a sledge hammer so they can demolish the front desk where so much conflict happens. The makeover consists of a new seating area for the clients, new custom made front desk, all the stations have been refurbished with new styling chairs and mats. The walls have been painted with lighter colors. They also each got a new set of styling tools.
Tabatha wants to see exceptional customer service and tells Kevin to stay out of the red zone. Kevin takes charge and acts like a boss. Danielle feels recharged and motivated. Daisy shows up and is amazed at the new salon. She goes behind the front desk and starts answering the phone and making appointments. Tabatha asks Kevin why Daisy is doing this. Kevin’s not sure and asks Daisy to come back to speak to him. He asks her to have a seat on the couch and have some coffee. He is very calm. Tabatha tells Daisy Kevin doesn’t need another person bossing him around and Daisy says she is very happy to let go. Daisy leaves but Tabatha is not sure how long Daisy can keep out of Kevin’s business.
Final Recommendations: Kevin tells Tabatha he feels like the owner and the three senior stylist did an awesome job that day. Tabatha tells Kevin that he can’t revert to the old Kevin because they will never trust him again. Tabatha tells him not to let his family come in unless it is friends and family day and they have to pay for their services. She tells him he has to keep Daisy out of the salon business because it’s disruptive. Meanwhile, talking amongst themselves, the staff doesn’t want Daisy in the salon because they think Kevin is more decisive when she’s not around. They think it will help Kevin’s life in general if Daisy stays away.
When they all get back together, Tabatha tells them they still need to have staff outings and continue to work together. It’s not going to happen overnight. Kevin tells them Daisy’s new role is to be Kevin’s wife and he will take advice from her behind closed doors and not at the salon. He tells him he’ll do his best to be a better leader for them.
Six Weeks Later: Tabatha returns and the salon is very busy. Daisy is not there and hardly ever comes to the salon. This makes Kevin less tense, which makes the staff less tense. No more red zone for Kevin. The staff has been paid consistently and the clients are getting a better experience. Kevin has paid about $14,000 off of his debt, which is good for six weeks. Nadia’s is starting to feel like a family again.
This is my last recap of Tabatha Takes Over for this season. Next week is the season finale, but it will not be a takeover episode. It will be a retrospective about four businesses Tabatha has helped in the past and how they are doing today. It should be interesting.
That’s all for now folks. If you have anything you want added, like a birthday or something, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org . Don’t forget the minus/dash before ‘mel’ .