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Turning a Collaborative Salon Team into a Business: A CoLab Salon

ACoLab Business Owners

Finding the right salon team where everyone complements, encourages, and vibes with one another is tough. Creating that environment from scratch is an even bigger hurdle. But that’s exactly what Angel Cardona and Jessica Rowe set out to accomplish when they decided to open a new salon. 

A CoLab Salon is the name of the Winter Park, Florida based space Angel created with his business partner Jess a few months ago. The closely knit salon team, which consists of about a dozen professionals, ranges in experience, age, and background—yet they all thrive together.

Already, Angel knows this place is something special. He describes the salon as the collaborative team environment of his dreams. And that says a lot for an educator, master level stylist, advanced colorist, and Booksy Ambassador with over 17 years of industry experience. 

Take a moment to learn more about the unique collaboration of like-minded artists working at A CoLab Salon. Angel founded this fresh, modern space with the specific goal of assembling a one-of-a-kind salon team where everyone in the room fully supports one another. 

Read closely to learn what inspired Angel to open this space where staffers are encouraged to collaborate, because it's rare when an industry professional with a level of technical precision nicknamed “pixie perfect” wants to share his craft and passion with so many talented artists.


Building a Collaborative Salon Team 

Despite the challenges Angel endured during the shutdown, owning and operating a salon had been a dream of his for some time. Because of his experience in the industry, Angel knew that being a salon owner could mean managing clashing stylists—a problem he wanted to avoid. 

Every stylist has their own unique set of talents and artistry. Managing those skill sets while making sure everyone remains open to feedback is a job all in itself. Angel wanted to create a conflict-free space with minimal clashes. And he wanted to build a supportive environment. 

His salon team would have to mirror his work on previous creative projects. The best industry experiences Angel encountered happened when everyone could share ideas and inspirations. Specifically, when people could leave their egos behind for something more important, he said.  

“Collaboration has always been important to me for many years. I’ve worked with magazines as well as different companies and brands. The most joy I’ve ever gotten out of any sort of collaborative endeavor was basically just working with other artists and getting the opportunity to share our ideas—what we believe in, what we enjoy, and what we like—and then coming together to showcase an end result that we’re all super proud of,” said Angel.

The salon Angel wanted to create needed to inspire him. He wanted to come into work everyday knowing that “no one person is a star who is beyond any other.” A CoLab Salon does just that. 

“Everyone comes together with minimal ego involved. It’s all about collaboration and teamwork and growth and finding out—how do we come together to create some sort of success for ourselves?” said Angel.

Angel Cardona styling at ACoLab

The Importance of Collaborating

Part of the reason that Angel felt so strongly about creating a collaborative salon team is because he has been in situations where collaboration wasn’t prioritized nearly enough. 

According to Angel, collaboration leads a group one step closer to achieving a common goal. Whenever a salon team has trouble collaborating, there tends to be a number of problems that happen, which one might not anticipate, especially in the beauty industry, he said.

“Working with other individuals who don’t share the same vision, don’t share the same end goal, and don’t have the same idea of what teamwork is—that is probably the most uncomfortable salon situation that there possibly could be. That really disrupts the whole growth of everyone involved,” said Angel.

Angel elaborated by stating that during a salon team project that he worked on, people simply weren’t on the same page. The struggle he faced in that situation involved not being able to work well with that team because of a conflict of ideas and a conflict of direction. 

“But if you could work through those conflicts and continuously move forward in the direction that, as a unit, that you wanna be in, then that only helps to strengthen your overall outcome of what the end goal is,” said Angel.

ACoLab Salon styling

The Benefits of a Collaborative Team

For Angel, the part about being in the beauty industry that he loves the most is the fact that “hair is ever-changing.” And the way that trends come and go in a manner that's similar to fashion is another reason to stay in touch with other industry experts who can share ideas. 

The industry evolves so quickly and without consistency. So, it’s best to work with a salon team, instead of trying to master everything on your own, he said. Some of the other benefits to working with a collaborative salon team include the following: 

  1. Flexibility within the shop
  2. Engaged staffers
  3. Healthier environment
  4. Increased productivity
  5. Wider range of talent
  6. More demand from clients
  7. Innovative styling ideas

Right now, Angel and Jess are reaping these benefits and so many more. She describes the A CoLab Salon  team as amazing. The creative souls inside the shop both challenge and motivate her. And the team keeps her connected to the ever-changing, always evolving world that is the beauty industry. 

“My team keeps me on trend, and my team inspires me. My team helps me grow,” Jess said. “Having a team of people that you trust is important. You know they would have your back if you’re in a little bit of trouble—if you’re running behind with a client or if you’re double-booked. You know they will jump in for you and help in any way possible. All those things really, really give you peace of mind because you have a solid, core group of individuals on your team.”

ACoLab washing hair

How Booksy Brings the Team Together

With regards to creating a productive space that’s both collaborative and inspirational, Booksy is an important tool that has helped Angel bring his dream into fruition. Angel raves about the scheduling tools and the accessibility to thousands of local clients. Booksy without a doubt has helped Angel make a dream a reality. 

Angel added that Booksy gives him more of an opportunity to spend time working with his salon team. Booksy frees his schedule, so he can feel inspired and inspire others. He can avoid dealing with the constant struggles of communicating back and forth with customers. The software also lets him simplify things within the shop in regards to marketing to new clientele.

In Winter Park, the city in Central Florida where A CoLab Salon is located, clients have a close relationship with the area. The salon is located near an active night-life, five-star restaurants, clothing boutiques, and thriving businesses. Booksy helps Angel and Jess connect to that community. Specifically, the people who appreciate the culture and collaborative spirit that helped to inspire A CoLab Salon.

“I feel like it’s super-important to simplify my own life and not make more work for myself by making things more difficult.  Why not use technology in the best way you can. And at the same time make yourself—or give yourself a little bit more freedom?” Angel said.

ACoLab Group picture

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