Associate Program


by Lindsey Smith

I interviewed Caitlin Layton, the Director of Stylist Recruitment and Hiring at Annastasia Salon, to get her thoughts on our successful associate program. Not only is Caitlin a wonderful trainer, she is a Salon Partner and a sought-after stylist who has been with Annastasia since 2006. She is an absolute pleasure to work with and it’s a special treat to be in her chair. Caitlin has trained multiple associates who are currently on the floor in our salons. In the interview we discuss the associate application process, the program, and what it is like to be an associate at Annastasia Salon.

What do stylists learn? What are the steps of the program? How long is it?

It’s a seven month program where you are taught by stylists making over $100,000 a year. Essentially, you are learning from some of our top stylists who are not only good at what they do, but they also know how to grow their business. We are not just having them work on mannequins or giving them assistance with their weaknesses, but we are also teaching them a business model. So that means business verbiage, how to communicate with guests, what a consultation looks like, social media, and so on. The program is not just having your hands in the hair, it is all the things in between as well.

There is a 4 phase curriculum for each associate. We really try to tailor it to the individual. It is performance-based and during those seven months you are working with your trainer on their schedule. It’s a lot of juggling and looks nothing like beauty school. We get you involved in growing your trainer’s business. It’s the biggest gift the program offers because you’re learning from someone who has already made mistakes and perfected the guest experience. You’ll start your level 1 journey knowing exactly what to do to grow faster than they did! You also have an “opportunity shift” once a week where you can take your own clients and start to establish a business.

We do have tests, but each trainer is different. Personally, I have had more success talking it out rather than writing it out. But don’t stress out if you hate tests. If you don’t pass any of the tests, you can just study and retake it. The tests tell us what we need to teach more of. There is also a test where you bring in your own models and do their highlights or color. So, there is a little bit of hands-on testing as well.

What is your favorite part of the associate program?

For me, it’s when I see the light bulb go off. When I see that they are resonating with what they are learning and how they can apply what they are learning to their people. The other day I saw the light bulb go off for my current associate, Chelsea, and it really reminded me why I love being a trainer.

I also love all the ways we support our associates. We do daily debriefs so we can keep learning how to be the best team possible. We also do monthly 1on1’s with our Director of Associate Training. This way, we ensure both the associate and trainer are communicating about their needs and helping each other achieve their goals. Teamwork is DreamWork but it takes effort and willingness to be our best.

How do you apply?

 On our website! There is a link to apply under the careers tab at The applications go straight to me. We have potential associates come back for four interviews. It’s a thorough process so we can get to know the person and they can get to know us. Staff stay with us a long time, many, their entire career. We believe this retention success is partly due to the fact that we took the time during the interview process to make sure it’s a great fit for everyone.

Thanks for reading about our program! Check out @annastsiacareers on Instagram to see what our associates are up to.

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