When Kim Hofer found herself struggling to keep up with regulatory compliance, student count and student salon training area count at her independent beauty school she started looking for alternatives to closing the doors. She knew she wanted to take her school to the next level and offer a better education, but was having difficulty doing it on her own. “I wanted to be able to offer more for my students and team.”, said Kim.

Ten years ago, Kim became part of the SPEC Franchise; opening The Salon Professional Academy in Altoona, PA. Today, TSPA Altoona is at its highest enrollment in the history of the Academy with 70 cosmetology students! Learn about her experience converting to a franchise in the interview below.


Q: What were some of the problems you were experiencing as an independent school owner?

A: It was very hard to make sure we were staying compliant and meeting our yearly composite score in our audits. I couldn’t grow our student count and student salon training area. My biggest fear was we would have a program review and not be compliant!

Q: What were some fears you had about making this big change?

A: I didn’t want to lose the family atmosphere we had and become so different that we were no longer known for our education and training. I was also afraid the change would cause me to lose my staff.

Q: How did your staff react to the change?

A: I was actually able to keep my entire staff! I made sure I was open about everything with them and let them see where I wanted to take our Academy. It brought an excitement to know we were going to grow and have more opportunities.

Q: What were some challenges you had with operations prior to working with SPEC?

A: I did EVERYTHING!!!! From ordering inventory, admissions, financial aid, repairs and maintenance, reporting… the list never ended.  When a problem came up, it was one more thing I had to solve instead of teaching someone else how to solve the problem.  Life was exhausting!

Q: What are some things that SPEC brought to you that have made the biggest impact?

A: How to delegate and put competent, well-trained team members into roles that work best for them. SPEC gave me systems to follow that work. When you follow the systems, you get results!

Q: How has SPEC grown your school?

A: I moved into my new location in June of 2015.  We managed around 35 students for many years. We are now at our highest enrollment in the history of our Academy at 70 cosmetology students! I have also learned how to focus on the student salon training area and make it the best form of education for our students. Being able to work on real people instead of mannequins gives them more confidence in their career path. It has also helped grow our income for the academy. I have more than tripled our yearly income, just from the student salon training area!

Q: What was the transition from an independent school to a franchise like?

A: It was very lonely being independent. There was no life line, so to speak, to reach out to someone and ask what they do in situations. Now, I can reach out to any SPEC trainer or academy owner with any question or concern and get opinions and advice in an instant! It is like being a part of an amazing family with mentors and role models that I never would have had an opportunity to be around.

Q: How has SPEC affected leads coming in to your school?

A: I now work very closely with our marketing vendor to increase our lead count. The look of our Academy, its location and website have been a huge help as well. They’ve also taught me how to utilize social media to increase student count.

Q: How has SPEC helped you train your trainers?

A: The onsite education is amazing! Plus, all lesson plans and materials needed are available at our fingertips. The annual conference provides all the education needed for admissions, financial aid, compliance, daily operations, etc. We go to Las Vegas every year for Symposium and the Redken Artist Connection as well. It’s been awesome!

Q: What has working with SPEC done for you personally?

A: I have truly learned how to be a better person and have made it my mission to grow myself into a better leader. There are some amazing role models and mentors involved in SPEC and I have had the pleasure to learn from them. The personal development and professional development has made the largest impact on me and I love sharing that knowledge with my team. It has been a very humbling experience, and I feel it has made me more open minded to learning new things.

Q: Would you recommend an independent school to be part of the franchise?

A: It’s a no brainer! Why be by yourself in today’s over-regulated industry? Why try to offer small opportunities by yourself, when you can offer huge opportunities together? I have never once regretted making the move to joining the franchise. Life is better when you are a part of something special!

TSPA Howell Hosts Sam Villa Workshop with Andrew Carruthers

  Andrew Carruthers, Education Director for Sam Villa taught an exclusive, hands-on workshop at The Salon Professional Academy in Howell, NJ on Monday, May 8th. The workshop garnered 17 attendees; focusing on advanced hair cutting technique, long layers and short haircut.

TSPA Howell students were amazed. “They were able to observe a workshop that professionals were paying hundreds of dollars for. They also observed, no matter how long you are in the industry, folks will still take classes to enhance their skills.” said TSPA Howell owner, Sujal Wadhia.

Sujal shared that having the exposure of professionals who can come in and see the academy and refer friends and peers is a great benefit of hosting a workshop at the school. The event was a huge success and Sujal and Jyoti Wadhia would absolutely host an event like this again.

Welcome, TSPA Holland!

Holland Team

Holland, MI is known for its Dutch heritage, beautiful beaches, historic windmills and wooden shoe factory. Today, we’re adding a TSPA to that must-see list! Please join us in welcoming Scott and Rachel Harned of TSPA Holland!

This is not Scott and Rachel’s beauty industry debut. In 2014 the couple created and opened Bombshell Blow Dry Bar, a full service salon with a blow dry bar concept in Holland, Michigan. In the summer of 2015 Bombshell launched its associate program which employs newly graduated cosmetologists and focuses on molding them and teaching them to fit the role of a successful, full-time stylist in the salon.

With a background in advertising and communications, it’s no surprise that Rachel’s strongest attribute is her drive to help everyone understand her business and know why it’s a place they want to receive services. She is always doing all that she can to get the word out about her business in the most creative ways. Her dedication to supreme customer service and continued education is by far one of her biggest priorities. Watching her employees grow and achieve the highest level of success is what makes it all worth it to Rachel. She hopes to extend that same growth and success to students at TSPA Holland.

Scott has done consulting for large Fortune 100 companies, including Chevron, BP and Koch Industries. In 2010 he joined a national restaurant industry vendor as Director of Sales and Marketing. He is in charge of facilitating business growth and building the corporate profile and service offerings for companies, such as Taco Bell, Wendy’s, Chili’s and Red Lobster. Scott’s strongest attribute is his ability to understand and meet the needs of his clients.

Since January 2014, Scott has served as CFO for Bombshell Blow Dry Bar. In collaboration with the entire management team, the salon turned a profit in its first full calendar year. The couple plans to expand in the upcoming years. They believe opening TSPA will help to achieve that goal with highly qualified candidates who can hit the ground running.

We are thrilled to welcome Scott and Rachel to the TSPA family, as we know they are capable of great things!

TSPA to Sponsor Scholarships for Miss USA and Miss Teen USA


Salon Professional Education Company (SPEC) is proud to announce that it will be offering a variety of scholarships at our participating beauty school franchise locations across the country for contestants and winners of the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA Beauty Pageants beginning in 2016.  Both The Salon Professional Academy (TSPA) and Elevate Salon Institute (ESI) brands of beauty schools will provide scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 to be applied to cosmetology programs at the participating location of the students choosing.

Participants in any of the 50 state competitions will be eligible to receive $2,000 to be applied toward the cost of their cosmetology tuition at the participating school of their choosing.  Winners at each of the 50 state competitions will receive $5,000 scholarships.  Winners of Miss USA and Miss Teen USA will be awarded an additional $5,000 for a grand total of $10,000 in scholarship awards.


National Student Competition Judging Begins


The 2016 TSPA National Student Competition has entered into the judging phase with winners to be announced in late-Spring.  This nationwide competition, available exclusively to The Salon Professional Academy franchise school locations, provides a creative opportunity for both students and educators to compete in texture, color, contemporary style, make-up, and nails.  Winning students and their sponsoring educator win a trip to NYC to visit the Redken 5th Avenue headquarters, receive hands-on training from Redken artistic director Chris Baran, and participate behind-the-scenes at a professional photo shoot.  SPEC wishes all of the contestants good luck and looks forward to the celebration of winners this May.