Q&A with Sarah Rasmussen of The Avenue (Top Performing Stylist) | The Industry Awards 2020

Sarah Rasmussen - winner of the Top Performing Stylist of the Year award

How does it feel to be the winner of the Top Performing Stylist award?

It has been really nice to be recognized for all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to enter these awards. I have entered in the past and been a finalist, but this year I was determined to win, so it has felt really really good. The hard work paid off!

How long have you been working in the industry?

I am 37 and I began working in a salon as a shampoo assistant when I was 13 years old, so 24 years. I have had a number of different roles over the years now but always within our industry, from working on cruise ships to being an area manager to owning my own salon.  The opportunities in this industry are endless! The sky's the limit.

What or who has been the biggest influence in your career so far?

This is a hard question to answer, I feel that my biggest influencers have varied, as it’s the people that surround me at any given time that are the most influential. From successful salon owners that I’ve met, to successful female business owners in my local area right through to my business coach and staff members.

I strongly believe in the law of attraction and I have often found my biggest influencers are people I know and already interact with. I love meeting like-minded people and hearing their story, these moments are always so inspiring.

How do you ensure you’re delivering the service your clients will love?

Consultation is 100% key to this success. If you don't get that right in the first place then it's always going to be up to the luck! Listening and asking the right questions and allowing that time for a thorough consultation gives you all the information you need to deliver not only great hair but a service that has your client returning again and again. This, along with always being consistent is the key to a successful client experience.

What do you think is the main reason clients come back to you?

First and foremost I would have to say it's because I listen. An in-depth consultation helps lead to a 5-star client service, which always leaves the client happy with the desired outcome and a great experience.

We have a beautiful salon and a great team. When you visit our salon, the vibe is always great, so not only are they leaving with beautiful hair, they have a great experience in the salon too.

How do you ensure you’re on top of your game when it comes to the latest trends and techniques?

2020 was exceptionally great for education, especially with all the extra time from lockdowns. There have been so many amazing training sessions online which have really helped keep us connected during challenging times. We’ve also attended academy courses and in-salon training sessions with our brand partners, Matrix and Kerastase, which keeps us on trend. We also have our own in-house training which makes sure we’re all on the same page.

Obviously social media has been great for learning new trends and techniques. I find working alongside my younger generations in the salon keeps me learning new techniques.  That's one of the reasons I love training apprentices, you never stop learning with them.

What are your top KPIs and what do you do to work towards increasing them?

Rebooking and retail are my two highest KPIs. Every month we have a staff meeting which includes benchmarking our KPIs using the Kitomba benchmark feature. I find this a really great tool to compete amongst each other and other salons across NZ.

We have targets for each of our KPIs so the whole team is on board with these targets. We aim to reach these targets by ensuring each of our clients receive a 7 step client journey. This mirrors our KPIs and gives us the tools we need to be offering each and every client the opportunity to use good homecare, to experience a professional hair colour, to have a future plan for their hair and when we would need to see them again.

Having the right hair care in the salon is 100% key to having a high retail percentage. If you believe in the product you endorse, it’s only natural to recommend this to your client. Earning your client’s trust starts by listening to them and their needs, creating that relationship allows you to share your knowledge, expertise and recommendations with them. It's this combination of things that we do in the salon that keeps us achieving our KPI targets. If your KPIs are great, it means you have offered your client a 7 step client journey, it's that simple.

What would your advice be to other stylists wanting to enter The Industry Awards?

Go for it! Don't hold back. Put yourself out there and give it a go. Planning is very important, if you’re thinking of entering the awards this year, now is the time to get really familiar with your numbers. Set yourself goals and measure these weekly. Talk to others who have entered before and become finalists or winners, and don't be afraid to ask for some advice or guidance along the way.

Entering the awards is a great exercise to do. You learn so much about your business and it's a great opportunity to reflect on how far you’ve come. Don't leave it to the last minute to get your entry together, you really do need all the time you are given to create an entry you can be really proud of.


Sarah Rasmussen is the owner and a Style Director of The Avenue Hair Studio in Stanmore Bay on the beautiful Hibiscus Coast. With over 20 years industry experience, her career started off as a part time shampoo assistant during school.

The Industry Awards