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The Christmas List … My Mother!

Tamara Forrest-Smith

I’m not sure why but as soon as the kids are walking back along the street to school my brain goes into something that is still 12-weeks away – Christmas in the salon.

What are we doing, where are we eating, who are we seeing and what will I buy my darling wife so she keeps loving me until she can love me now more.

You see my parents who are old now have a habit of being disruptive at Christmas. I think out of all my siblings I am the only one that sees this.

They say they are coming for dinner and cancel sometimes on the day. They say they want this and when you give it to them they pull their faces. One year my mother went on and on about red wine. So I decided for fun I would buy her a gigantic bottle of red wine. I paid almost £200 for it and it looks amazing. Of course, we got her other things but this was one that I felt she’d love.

Guess what she said?

“I don’t drink” … despite the fact she’d been drinking red wine all year long and before!

And then my mother’s three dogs … That’s a whole new conversation of course.

But here is what I do know.

If I plan everything now the best way I can around 18 nephews and nieces, siblings, partners and parents it usually works out almost as I wanted.

When I was a salon owner it took me years to learn that and I mean years. Until finally I realised if we wanted to sell a ton of retail we had to stock a ton of retail. If we wanted to sell a stack of colour we had to carry a stack of colour. And if I wanted the best Christmas ever (and I can proudly say every year in 17-years only went up).

Our salon Christmas was totally nuts and I mean insane. First, we always had bookings a year in advance. We also had a stand-by column. Unlike most salons that had one crazy week before Christma,s I had it planned carefully so that not only December was crazy but also the week in-between was packed and January always broke a record or two.

We sold more colour than any salon for 100 miles. We sold more retail than anyone. Our party hair was insane. But for me the most important thing was this.

I would have enough cash to have an incredible Christmas for my family, to pay my salons bills, to pay all of my amazing staff and to leave enough cash still in our bank account to carry us through any possible quite moments in the new year.

Here is what I learnt.

Not a single thing happened by accident – nothing.

Everything had to be planned and everything had to be carefully thought through.

For example,…

Just after Christmas last year a salon came to be on its knees. In real salon takings and turnover terms, they were taking nothing. After working with me they not only turned everything around but they had the most incredible January takings that left them feeling exhausted but elated at the same time.



Now, I know you are interested and want more for your salon. You’d be nuts not to. But now is the time of year where you must plan ahead and must make decisions on how to move forward.

Running a salon isn’t just about marketing. It isn’t about Facebook or Instagram. It is about something more special, more dynamic and more doable than you maybe think.

My early salon years were terrible yet I knew to have an amazing Christmas I had to plan carefully ahead.

What are you planning?

OK, I’m doing my Christmas list and hoping it’ll be one of the very best ever. God knows what to buy mum but I can pretty much guarantee she’ll love it but say otherwise.


Alan Forrest Smith, The Salon Punk

Your Best Christmas Ever With



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