Over the Top Hair Salon: a team approach for this client-centric business

Over the Top Hair Salon: a team approach for this client-centric business

It’s early morning at Over the Top Salon in Stellenbosch and at first glance it’s just a bustling morning at the salon. However, the familiarity and complicity between staff and customers is clear. Passion for the craft and commitment to their employees and customers alike are the guiding principles at the cosy salon, which has its home on the vibrant Dorp Street. As part of My Business, My People, we sat with founders Jeremy and Nicky Weber to chat about how they carved a sizeable niche in the market for women who want more than just feeling beautiful.

Started in 2015, the salon has shown great understanding of their community, by offering competitive pricing and undivided attention. ‘Most our friends started off as clients; we have become family now’ says Jeremy.

Simply: Did you ever see yourself as an entrepreneur?

Jeremy: Never! I wanted to be a lawyer, and I got into the industry because of my wife Nicky. Since she was a teenager she knew she wanted to be a hairstylist, this is her first love. We decided to complement our skills when we opened our door; I am feeling honoured and privileged to support her and co-create this business with her. The economy is driven by small businesses so when Nicky told me she wanted to start her own salon I couldn’t say no. It’s been a rewarding journey ever since.

Simply: What drives you?

Jeremy: Our employees drive us - we think about them as family. We always think about their family responsibilities; they need to go home and feed their family. We want to make this business successful; if we have a tough week or month we start again the following month, tomorrow is a new day. We take the challenges as they come, with their positives and negatives. Our employees are our drive - what we wake up for and why you start again the next day. The beauty of working with my wife is not only complementing skills but we support each other through the ups and downs. We help each other put bad days in perspective. If we closed our doors where would our clients go? What would our employees do? This is great motivation to take each day as a new day.

Simply: How many have helped you build your business?

Jeremy: We have learnt from all our employees, irrespective of the length of time they spent with us. As a collective, they all contributed and helped us steer the salon and the team one step closer to the direction we are heading.

Simply: What is the team spirit behind Over the Top?

Jeremy: Everyone pitches in at all times, and we all work together; whether it’s dusting off the products to serving customers, respecting each other’s personalities. If we have a really good day whether you have had one client or ten clients, whether you have made target or not, the business has done well. We all celebrate; we are a family and we take care of each other.

Simply: Could you tell us about a time when you celebrated an achievement together?

Jeremy: A few years back we had an exceptionally good month and reached a turnover milestone! That was one of the best months we have ever had and we celebrated together as a team as it took a great deal of effort and teamwork.

Simply: What are some of the challenges that you faced, as a team?

Jeremy: Once a few members of staff left at the same time. At first we thought we would have to close the business. But Nicky pulled it through doing it all on her own. Luckily, after a few days, we hired some stellar team members that jumped on board and got stuck in.

Simply: What if when something terrible happens to one of the employees or their families?

Jeremy: We are a family and we stick together; It’s not just about the business making money, it’s about family and human connections. It’s important to check in and put in place a Plan B for the day-to-day running. Employees run your business, it’s about your employees. They are the heart of your business. If they aren’t happy or not here, we need to make sure they are happy.

Simply: Why did you purchase the Simply group policy for your staff?

Jeremy: In the hairdressing industry covering staff with insurance is usually the last thing on an owner or employee’s mind, as they assume it is either too expensive or too much of a hassle; some owners think it’s the stylist’s responsibility to have some sort of policy in place. The bargaining council is making a big effort to address this issue by enforcing salons to comply and making sure salon owners are given the various retirement and disability policy options to present to their staff. Nicky and I think that having these policies in place gives the employees more protection with regard to funeral and disability cover. If you think about it, stylists work with blades and scissors and they need their hands to earn a living; if they cannot work because of a permanent injury to their hands they would be without an income, and possibly a job.

Simply: How did you find the process of purchasing the cover?

Jeremy: The process was quite easy, I went online and requested that someone call me back, I also had the option to complete my application online. A few minutes after submitting my request, someone from Simply called me back to discuss my needs.

Simply: Why is Over the Top Salon unique?

Jeremy: We are about individual care, attention and long-term relationships with our clients. We strive to be client-focused and deliver value at affordable prices. There is no one size fits all solution at Over the Top, and this is why our clients come back! We hold high our commitment to quality standards; it doesn’t matter how many times a client has visited the salon, we still work to make them feel as special as their first visit.