How StyleSeat Works for Hair Stylists and Salons

Hairstylists and Salons in Styleseat

It’s 9:30AM, your first haircut is scheduled for 9AM, and your client still hasn’t showed up. Then you get a text message saying they won’t be able to make it today because of an emergency situation that probably has to do with them oversleeping. What do you do?

For most Hair Stylists, it’s time to suck it up and get back to adding more “before and after” shots to your Instagram profile.

But for you, it means charging them a late cancellation fee and actually getting paid for the time and energy it took you to get to work this morning.

How do you do that? Just log into your StyleSeat account and charge the customer a cancellation fee.

If you’re a Hair Stylist or Salon owner, you’ve probably heard of StyleSeat from your friends or clients.

The platform is geared towards helping Hair Stylists and Salons manage their business.

The app helps stylists and salons manage their schedules with online booking, and of course, with charging late and cancellation fees.

In today’s article, we’ll reveal the history of StyleSeat, how it works for Hair Stylists and Salons, and highlight some unusual practices that you may not know about StyleSeat.

Styleseat Logo


StyleSeat was founded in 2011 in San Francisco, CA by Melody McCloskey.

StyleSeat has raised $40M to date, backed by “big name” investors like Ashton Kutcher and Uber co-founder, Garrett Camp.

The company has hired popular people such as Andrew Dempsey, previously the Director of Business Intelligence at Netflix.

They’ve also added two high profile executives to their team.

Travis Kalanick (the former CEO of Uber) and Melissa Kim from Minted joined their Board of Directors.

StyleSeat even acquired BeautyBooked in 2016 in order to expand their customer base and secure a partnership with Allure.

The company’s focus is to become “the OpenTable for beauty salons and independent hairstylists.”

CEO Melody McCloskey
StyleSeat Founder / CEO Melody McCloskey


The female founder has talked openly about how she spent 2 years over-thinking before starting the business.

McCloskey had a hard time convincing investors of StyleSeat’s viability as they were primarily male and couldn’t relate to the female target market.

Most of the hair stylists working on the platform are women, and half are minorities. McCloskey said this turned lots of potential investors off.

Despite challenges, the startup has processed over $3B in payments so far.

Even with this massive expansion, there’s still lots of room for growth in the $445B Beauty industry.

For example, competitor Wahanda has raised $75M in the UK.

It seems the beauty industry is experiencing an infusion of technology unlike any we’ve ever seen.

Next we’ll cover how StyleSeat has attempted to be the go-to solution for both Hair Stylists and Salons.

Styleseat to You


StyleSeat’s mission is to help all Hair Stylists and Salons in the same way OpenTable is helping restaurants get more customers.

The company has guaranteed new hairstylists that would join the platform 70% revenue growth in 15 months.

The company is also pursuing Salons, not just independent Hair Stylists.

In fact, StyleSeat has been toying with the idea of integrating with Booker, which would make it accessible to 90% of salons in the US.

In addition, they’ve launched a feature called To You, which lets customers book hair stylists to do their hair at their home or office.

The company will be taking a 10% cut on these appointments.

Because of these unique plays, StyleSeat came in at #5 on Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies in 2013.

Part of StyleSeat’s success has been offering an equity-based model to their employees, which has helped to galvanize the team and create a strong culture.

The CEO has proclaimed that they’ve walked away from a multi-billion dollar business model by not trying to fill their stylist’s schedules and charging customer acquisition fees. In otherwords by not focusing solely on becoming a marketplace.

The company also famously does not focus on marketing and instead acquires customers mostly through word of mouth.

The company is poised for meteoric growth, but it’s not without its challenges, as we will discuss next.

Style not without challenges


Despite having over 1M reviews on the App Store with a 5 star rating, StyleSeat has some complaints when you look beneath the surface.

For example, the company has a 1.5 out of 5 star rating on the Better Business Bureau.

Most of the BBB reviews are from customers who were unhappy with their hair stylists, but several are from unhappy hair stylists and salons complaining about the lack of basic features such as Google Calendar sync.

Scraping the internet to collect data on Hair Stylists has also been a shadowy tactic employed aggressively by StyleSeat.

This questionable practice helped them to create profiles for Hair Stylists that haven’t joined the platform yet.

StyleSeat created temporary placeholders on these Hair Stylists’ profile pages, saying ‘This Provider Can’t Be Booked Here.’

In effect, StyleSeat hijacked leads from Hair Stylists and Salons who are not their clients without their knowledge or approval.

Tips for Hairstylists and Salons


It’s difficult to choose an app to manage your small business as a Hairdresser or Salon owner.


Pro Tip: Be wary of depending on an app that is both a marketplace and a platform.

Marketplaces usually aren’t focused on the Pro.

In fact, they typically utilize the Pro’s SEO traffic for their own benefit, as shown in the example mentioned above.

This usually means the company is less focused on building tools to help Pros grow and more focused on getting traffic to their website to make more money.


Another drawback for Hair Stylists using StyleSeat is that everything must be done inside the platform.

There are no widgets to share with your community.

PocketSuite, on the other hand, has tools Pros can use anywhere.

From online booking to online leads to online chat, you can place these widgets on your website or your Facebook / Instagram to get online bookings from new and existing clients anywhere you market online.


Another benefit of PocketSuite is that you can add an unlimited amount of contacts, unlike StyleSeat.

StyleSeat nickel-and-dimes you by asking you to pay for this basic feature.

If you’re going to choose an app to manage your Hair Stylist business or Salon, go with one that focuses exclusively on their Pros.

You’ll have everything StyleSeat offers you, and more.

For example, with PocketSuite you’ll be able to:

  • Manage your schedule
  • Accept online bookings and credit card payments
  • Message your customers thru the app
  • Collect deposits
  • Charge cancellation fees
  • Manage your staff (if applicable)
  • Sell products
  • Manage your inventory
  • Get a dedicated business line
  • Unlimited business texting and calls
  • Automated marketing
  • Income and lead reports

And so much more…

It’s important to go with an app that gives you the freedom to grow your own business and supports you as much as possible to making the income that you deserve.

PocketSuite genuinely wants the best for your business.

We’ve even written an entire article specifically explaining How to Get your Hairdresser License.

Don’t settle for less, go with the best.

You want to partner with an app that cares about your business, not a self-centered marketplace that wants to own the relationship with your clients.

See how PocketSuite works for Hair Stylists and Salons.

Check out PocketSuite’s free plan to get started today.

Like this article? You’ll love these articles:

PocketSuite For Beauty Professionals

One of the things that we hear most from beauty professionals, including hairstylists, nail techs, and makeup artists is that managing the “business-side” of their spa or salon is actually the hardest part of being an independent business owner. Some have even gone to work for larger spas and salons because it was just too exhausting to keep everything together and make time for themselves.

That won’t be your story! We’re going to share how you can continue to “be your own boss” without all of the stress. We know that you are too blessed to be stressed.

Hair stylists, nail technicians, and makeup artists handle everything from finding new clients, scheduling, taking deposits, making your clients look fabulous, collecting final payment and a whole lot more. To better understand all of the things that beauty professionals do on a day to day basis, we interviewed some successful, hair, nail and makeup professionals who actively use PocketSuite.

They highlighted 6 common challenges:

1. Scheduling, Scheduling & Scheduling: We know that your day to day schedule is EVERYTHING. You’ve got to get butts in seats and it’s always better when a client books you ahead of time. Your time is too precious to have to wait and see who comes through each day. Besides just knowing what your schedule looks like, there are two things that literally drive beauticians crazy. Not knowing which appointment on your calendar has been paid for and which hasn’t been paid for yet. You have to go back and forth between your email, Instagram DM, Facebook Messenger, and your text messages to figure out who paid and who hasn’t. Ugh!!!

2. No Shows: The other thing that is a big pain in the #$% are “no shows”. The worst thing is for someone to take a really popular time slot like Saturday afternoon and then not show up for their appointment…no call, no text, no heads up whatsoever. Besides the fact that it is super rude and disrespectful, it costs you money. Someone else would have literally #killed for that time and you can’t replace the money that you would have made for that appointment.

3. Product Sales: Some don’t just do hair, you sell products too. Whether you are selling bundles of hair, organic shampoos &  cremes, or accessories, it’s hard to remember who bought what and to have it ready for when your client shows up for their appointment. Not to mention, having to keep track of how many products you have left on a notepad that you may not always have with you. #Help Products really boost your income, but the back and forth “remind me when did you buy it…” and “sorry, we just ran out…” messages to your clients are starting to look really unprofessional.

4. Getting New Clients: When you get a client and treat them right, they will stay with you for life! That’s, of course, if they don’t move or have some other major life change. Even though you have some loyal clients, you always need to build relationships with new clients. You should know how many heads of hair you need to do a week to hit your income goal. The typical hairstylist in the U.S. makes $3,000 a month, that means they make $750 a week. If 30% of their income comes from products, that means they will sell $225 in products a week. The rest of their income needs to come from doing hair. If the average client pays about $75, a hairstylist earning $3000 per month has to do 7 heads of hair a week to make $525 ($2,100 per month) in hair styling income. That income plus the product income of $225 per week ($900 per month) will get you to $3,000 per month. That’s basically serving 1 client a day if they work all 7 days or 2 clients a day, if they only want to work 3 and half days a week. That’s the cool thing about being “Your own boss!” You can decide how much you are going to make. Set your prices. Set your hours and do what you love for clients. To serve 7 clients a week when most clients do their hair every 2 weeks and some every month, you need to have a minimum of 14 and more likely ~30 regular clients to be able to earn $3,000 a month as a hairstylist. If you currently have 5 clients now, then getting new clients should be a top priority for you.

5. Rebooking: If you take the example above of the hairstylist who wants to make $3,000 a month, besides finding new clients she needs to make sure that every client that she serves becomes a repeat client. Otherwise, she will need to keep finding new clients in order to hit her goal. The best way to make a client a repeat client is to deliver 5 Star service. You know what they say, “If they love you, they’ll never leave you.” The second best way to make a client a repeat client is to remind them to book you again (and if necessary, give them an incentive like a discount or a free extra service to rebook you). Sometimes it isn’t enough to remind a new client to rebook you just once because they may not do it immediately or at all. You have to regularly remind them. If you are seeing 1 or 2 new clients a day, that’s a lot of people who you have to remember to remind to rebook. And it’s a royal pain because you already have so many things on your mind…

6. Tips or Gratuity: I’m sure I don’t have to say much about tips. You work hard for “your money” and really appreciate it when clients recognize that and tip you. But sometimes they forget to tip and that hurts in your heart and your purse. It’s awkward to have to remind them or ask for a tip. The whole point of a tip is that your client gives it to you because they recognize on their own how great a job you have done. If you have to remind them, it feels weird like you’re cheating or fishing for a compliment. But if you don’t remind them, then you really will miss out. The worst is when you take “the high road” and decide not to mention it when they forget to tip you and then your client gets home an hour later and sends you this message “I’ve gotten 3 compliments on my new look already. I’m so jazzed about it! You did such a great job. Thank you, thank you! Ooh, I totally forgot to give you a tip. So sorry.😭” That’s super frustrating because it is such a hassle to collect tips after the fact.

Did any of that sound familiar? If so, we totally understand. We are going to walk you through how PocketSuite slays all of the problems above. It makes it stress free for Pros like you to get booked and paid by existing clients as well as super easy to find new clients.


Solutions to these Pesky Problems

“Once I started serving more than 5 or 6 clients a week, keeping track of schedules, deposits, products, and messages became way too much… I knew I needed help.” – Jane S.

  • Appointment Scheduling & Calendar Booking

    • You do everything on your phone already. You may as well manage your schedule there too. PocketSuite makes it super easy for hairstylists and beauty pros. Clients can book you and pay their deposit from Instagram, Facebook, your website, or over text message, using your PocketSuite online booking link. You don’t have to send messages back and forth with your clients anymore to find a date and time that works. Your calendar syncs to PocketSuite automatically so anyone can visit your Instagram profile, your Facebook page, or your website, see when you are free, and book you. You can block out your schedule whenever you want too. So clients can only see the availability that you want them to see. You can require clients to pay a deposit when they book you or require them to put a credit card on file (just in case they cancel super late or no show).
  • Inventory Tracking

    • Products are a great way to earn more money! You should be able to sell them without any hassles. You can use PocketSuite’s “add on” product feature to offer your clients products when they are booking you online. They buy the product from your online booking site and it gets added to their appointment. So you’ll know exactly what they bought, when they bought it, and you’ll have it ready when they come in for their appointment. PocketSuite also tracks how much inventory you have left, so you are never caught by surprise. You can track sales activity and re-order before you run out.
  • Getting New Clients & Hitting Your Income Goals

    • Getting new clients isn’t easy for successful beauty pros like you because you are always in the salon serving clients. You don’t have time to go out and network and you don’t need to. All you need to do is make sure that you post all of the beautiful before and after photos of your clients on Facebook, Instagram, and tag your clients so they’ll share those pictures with friends and family.  If you do that, PocketSuite will take care of the rest. PocketSuite has 3 online marketing features that beauty pros really love. These features help them get new client leads: (1) Online Chat, (2) Suite link, & (3) Online Booking.
    • With Online chat client leads can easily chat with you anywhere online, including on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or your website. The chat message from clients is sent directly to you via the PocketSuite app. You also get the contact information of every client lead … so you can follow up with them easily. Next, you can have your very own Suite link . A Suite link can be added to your website or Instagram and Facebook. You can use it to share your marketing links with your service information/products/other items, social media, pictures of clients that you have served. A Suite link can also be used by client leads to book and chat with you… the options are endless. Your Online booking site makes it possible for new and existing clients to schedule and buy anything from you. You can offer a free consult as a way to build your email marketing list and begin building a healthy, long term relationship with new client leads.
  • Rebooking

    • PocketSuite is the only mobile first, business management app for beauty professionals, including hair stylists, nail technicians, and makeup artists. Studies show that text messages have a 90% open rate vs. 40% or less email open rates. Most people check their phones obsessively throughout the day, so text based appointment rebooking reminders are never missed. When hairstylists use rebooking reminders, they see a 5x increase in client’s scheduling repeat appointments. Hairstylists simply set up a “Reach out to past client” smart campaign, which will automatically contact to any client who hasn’t (re)booked or paid you in a whatever time frame that you specify with a personalized text message from you focused on getting them to schedule their next appointment. The appointment rebooking reminder includes dynamic field options… in English that means they can be personalized automatically to include your client’s name, appointment date, special promotional offer, etc.
  • Tips or Gratuity

    • You shouldn’t have to worry about asking for tips from your clients. Let PocketSuite do the work for you! You can setup PocketSuite to automatically request a tip from your clients when they are booking or when they are checking out of an appointment with you. Either way, it’s not you doing the asking, it’s PocketSuite. So no need to worry about any awkwardness. Check out the dozens of other features that we offer you, your business and your clients.

PocketSuite has thousands of hair stylists, nail technicians, makeup artists who all started where you are right now. Our community of beauticians are always happy to help you ramp up, grow your client base, and achieve your income goals, both within the app and as part of our exclusive Facebook Community Group. PocketSuite’s vision is for any beauty professional to be able to work for themselves and make a great living. It starts here. It starts with you. It starts today.

Let’s get started, download PocketSuite now! Feel free to reach out with any questions (we’d love to hear from you)! Text us @ (415) 841-2300.

Podcast: Harry Josh Shares His Story on Becoming a Top Celebrity Hair Stylist

Listen to “Episode #26: Harry Josh Shares His Story on Becoming a Top Celebrity Hair Stylist” on Spreaker.

On this episode of Professional-on-the-Go, we are talking to Harry Josh who is a legend in the hairstyling, beauty, and fashion industry not only because of his tremendous skill in dressing the hair of celebrities like Jennifer Garner, Gwyneth Paltrow, Tina Fey, Ellen Pompeo, Gisele Bundchen, but also because of his super successful product line, called Harry Josh Pro Tools, including the most instagrammed hairdryer in the world, the Harry Josh Pro Dryer.

This episode is an inspiration for anyone who has a dream of working for themselves and making a good living. You will hear about:

– Harry’s journey from working at a hair salon in Vancouver to achieving his dream of being a model and celebrity hair stylist in New York City and beyond. His hunger, hustle, passion and inspiration comes through so powerfully every step of the way.
– The pivotal decisions and unobvious connections Harry made along the way that ultimately lead him to his dream.
– Harry’s lessons learned on the way to achieving his dream, including the importance of always working toward the bigger picture, even if it looks like a lateral or backwards move sometimes.
– Why Harry decided to start building his business and iconic brand of hair tools, Harry Josh Pro Tools, and how he built his brand and business model with an emphasis on quality and sustainability.
– Harry’s idea of the good life and how he lives it every day.



Why you should get your Cosmetology License – Hairdresser

Let’s say you’re a solo-preneur hairdresser out to build your business. You may be asking yourself if you need to get a license. Or let’s say you own a salon and still haven’t been licensed to do hair in your state. You may we worried about the risks associated with operating without official state approval. You may even take pride in operating under the table, believing that your life is easier when you only accept cash, Paypal or Venmo. (or any of the other plethora of money-sending apps).

There are some issues with this, however:

1. Legal risks

2. Hidden expenses

3. Missed “money making” partnerships

If you are licensed and you haven’t realized all of the benefits of being “legit”, we’ll help you connect those dots.

First, we’ll tackle why you should get your cosmetology license as a small business owner that does hair.

Then we’ll discuss the practical steps that you can take to get your license.

But first, we’ll talk about why this is important.

In this article, we’ll absolutely answer that question, so you can rest easy on your silk pillow (so you don’t mess up your beautiful hairdo!)


Globally beauty is a $382 billion a year industry and it keeps growing at an insane rate.

Hairdressers are a huge part of this industry primarily because of how popular these services are.


There are several subcategories of hairdressers – in this article, we’ll make the distinction by breaking up the industry into two main parts – those that do braiding/weaves and those that use chemicals.

The main reason we’re separating folks into these two categories is because those doing hair braiding/weaves typically don’t need a license. On the other hand, those using chemicals (to do perms, for example) have to get a license to operate legally.

If you are doing braiding or weaves, you don’t need a license because there are typically no chemicals used.

On the other hand, if you’re using harsh chemicals (or even some eco-friendly alternatives) to deliver services like coloring, dying, and some forms of curling and straightening, you are most certainly a candidate for getting your cosmetology license and going all the way with your salon services.

Speaking of harsh chemicals, the Women’s Voices Organization created a very useful list of chemicals to avoid when you’re working with clients, as well as chemicals to be wary of.

If I were you, I would pay close attention to this list and try to avoid as much contact with these chemicals as possible!

At the very least, wear eye and mouth protection to limit your exposure when dealing with these harsh substances.

But I digress… let’s discuss the specific reasons why getting your cosmetology license is especially important for hairdressers.

The first is the legal ramifications of not being licensed.


In just one year, the Better Business Bureau received more than 2,400 complaints about hair stylists about everything, “from bad cuts to severe scalp burns.”

Apparently, the possibility of chemical burns is a serious and ever-present threat when subjecting yourself to an unlicensed hairdresser.

Not only that, but under-the-table salons use super-glue instead of proper bonding solution to apply hair extensions, further damaging their clients’ hair and their reputation as well.

Here’s what Anthony Civitano of the Hair Dresser Institute had to say about unlicensed cosmetologists, specifically hairdressers:

“When you get into chemical work, or your working with sheers, sharp instruments around somebody else’s body, it’s really very important that you have the proper training and dexterity.

Unlicensed salons or solo-preneur hairdressers can easily get a $500 citation for operating under the table – how’s that for motivation to get licensed!


If you are unlicensed, you’re missing out on opportunities to work with payment providers that can help you with online booking, accepting credit cards, and paying your salon team (if you have a salon).

Most payment providers will want to see proof that you are operating with a license, as this protects them from potential chargebacks from unhappy clients with damaged hair who are not happy campers.

You may also be turned away for emergency funding (should your business require it) in the event of a downturn, an economic crash, or another calamity that may leave you penniless and force you to close up shop and run to the safe harbor of a full time day job.

Wouldn’t that be a shame! If you need money for your business and your passion, it’s always good to have options in case you need to use them.

So another reason for getting licensed is that it opens up your business to a whole new world where you can accept credit cards, put an online booking form on your Instagram, and other perks.

Additionally, typical costs of hairstyling services for licensed versus unlicensed pros range from 3-4 times, so you’re leveling your business up to another tier of additional income by getting licensed.


There are many professional organizations, such as the Professional Beauty Association (or PBA for short), that require you to be licensed in order to join. It is an exclusive group that also gives you access to perks and business opportunities.

One of the business opportunities that is very popular at the moment is becoming a hair product reseller.

The way this works is, you receive the product and get a white-labeled, personalized website built for you. All you need to do is find the clients and sell them the products, and you get a generous cut of the profits.

However, being unlicensed prevents you from taking advantage of opportunities like this.

So with no license, there’s less income for your business and less money in your pocket at the end of the day.

When you get your license, you’re opening up your business to new types of clients and diversifying your income (such as being a product reseller) so that you can grow your bottom line and build on your current success.


Finally, we arrive at the practical steps that you can follow to get this accomplished and start to sleep better at night.

The first step would be to check with your state licensing board as every state is different.

Here are the education, exam, and other requirements necessary to get licensed, according to

Required Education

Cosmetology training program at a school or through an apprenticeship.

Exam Requirements

Written tests on theory and procedures, practical demonstrations of skills in eight areas and written tests on state regulations.

Other Requirements

Minimum age requirement, HIV/AIDS training (specifics vary by state).

The next step is to find a cosmetology school that offers programs for hairdressers.

Here are some frequently asked questions that explain how to find a school and goes into detail on the requirements and process for getting licensed.

You can also find more information here on a state-by-state basis.

Once you’ve completed school and graduated (many of these you can do online, although the exam may be in person), you can go to your state licensing website to apply for a license.

Here’s what California’s Board of Barbering and Cosmetology website looks like (you would go here to apply for your license if you lived in California, but like I said it varies by state, so find your state’s website through Google):

In this example, you would click on ‘Breeze’ on the bottom left and then follow the prompts to get your license.

And there you have it – the main reasons you should get your license, as well as how to do it.

I hope this article has clarified why you should get your cosmetology license as a hairdresser.

Now go out there and make the world beautiful, one hairstyle at a time!

If you haven’t already, you can try PocketSuite for free to manage your hairdressing clients, accept deposits and payments online, process credit cards in person using their built in credit card scanner, manage your bookings online and from Instagram & Facebook, sell products, and practically everything else you’d want to do in your business. So you can do your job “making your clients deliriously happy” – worry free! 🙂

Like this article? You’ll love our guide on how to generate leads for service businesses in 2020, and of course our Frustrations with Square article!

Hairdressing Software Free Download

black hair brush

Hairdresser Software Downloads

Starting up your new beauty salon business can be challenging with lots of choices for software packages to manage your business. Many of the well-known salon apps cost tons of cash, stiff enrollment fees, and monthly subscriptions.

Free Download for Hairdresser Software

Depending on your studio size and needs, PocketSuite might be the answer for you. You can download and try it for FREE!

You can schedule services online like cuts, styles, blowouts, braids, and also message with prospects and clients, take payments, scan cards, and payout partners and friends helping you out. It’s a completely mobile app and takes out all the complexity compared to other popular salon app.

There’s no office laptop needed, nor going back to your desk to invoice and wrestle with setting up class schedules. It scan cards for new customers using the camera so no hookup a reader.

There’s a great revenue dashboard to see your earnings, and all your data can be exported to run deeper analysis on everything.

Also, for marketing, there’s built-in features for targeted messaging for clients that have booked a specific service or those who haven’t seen you in a while.

You’ll also get a business phone number automatically assigned so you won’t need to give up your personal number.

Instructors can be assigned classes and have access to everything they need on their own phone to run it, and the owner has oversight over everything.

Free Download to Hairdresser Software

You can get a free version, and also 30-day trial on Premium levels of service, and it’s way cheaper than Vagaro, Salon Iris, or any of the other popular salon packages.

Free to Try and Use