Vimigo Case Study

JB Hair Salon: How Solasta Navigating Success during Pandemic

In the realm of business, the saying “one person can’t walk far, but a group of people can go a long way” holds true. However, for an employer willing to share knowledge, resources, and the future is rare. Jayniss Teo and Daniel Chong, the founders of Solasta Professional Salon, a hair salon in Johor Bahru, embody this exceptional spirit.

JB Hair Salon

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Jayniss and her husband Daniel have been in the beauty industry for over 20 years as experienced hairstylists. Transitioning from artisans to entrepreneurs, they have experienced a spectrum of challenges and triumphs along the way. This year, they were honored with the prestigious “2023 Golden Bull Award – Emerging SMEs”.

From a little shop to six hair salons, their journey has been marked by resilience and adaptability. During the Covid 19 pandemic when employees were leaving in droves, Jayniss was prompted to reflect upon her leadership approach. Soon she realized the importance of a performance rewards system to retain talent and steer her team towards success.

“If I have 10 techniques to share, I would rather teach 11,” Daniel sets a good role model for his team by fostering a culture of knowledge sharing. Today, Jayniss and Daniel have cultivated a strong core team, nurturing the next generation of leaders to perpetuate Solasta legacy.

Daniel Chong (center) won the 2023 Golden Bull Award for Emerging SMEs, posing for a photo with his wife Jayniss Teo (second from right) and team.

Artistic Talent: Nurturing the Seeds of Entrepreneurship

Jayniss Teo’s dream since her secondary school days was to become a fashion designer. Her path took an unexpected turn when she was influenced by her husband, Daniel Chong, to pursue hairstyling.

“When I saw my client was satisfied and confident with their new hairstyle, the sense of accomplishment further motivated me to pursue a career in hairstyling,” she recalls.

After graduating from hairdressing school, Jayniss spent 7-8 years working in a salon, accumulating professional knowledge and skills. With a growing desire for independence, she decided to venture into entrepreneurship. She rented a small, home-based shop and embarked on a solopreneur journey.

Due to a limited number of clients, Jayniss relocated to a shopping mall, enduring three relocations before finally establishing a stable presence, soon expanding to three outlets.

Navigating the Pandemic: Adaptability amidst Adversity

Founded in 2018, 80-90% of clients came from Singapore. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, however, posed unprecedented challenges. Under movement control orders, business dropped by 70%, and shop closures further compounded Jayniss’s struggles.

“We couldn’t wait for customers to come. If they couldn’t come to us, we would take our services to them,” Jayniss recalls. “We packed our hairdressing and nail art tools and headed to our clients’ homes for scheduled appointments.”

Unexpectedly, Solasta opened up the Malay women’s market, and also provided online reservation services to bring in more customers.

This transition required a complete overhaul of the business operations. Hairstylists used to wait for clients at their salons now had to adapt to the hassles of going to clients’ places.

Furthermore, as the company adjusted salaries, a significant number of hairstylists left the company, leading to a reduction in staff from 30 to 10+.

On one occasion, VIMIGO advertisement on Facebook caught Jayniss’s attention. Intrigued, she decided to enroll in the online preview to learn more about it.

“I vividly recall the advertisement featuring a red apple. During the preview, Shane addressed every pain point we are facing. I immediately called my husband to join the session.”

The idea of “bad apples” and “good apples” resonated deeply with Jayniss. “Without a clear distinction between good and bad apples, I had relied on intuition to manage my team. Those who were close to me and more flattering received preferential treatment, which inevitably led to resentment among other employees. Ironically, the first to leave were the very ones who had been closest to me,” she explains.

Jayniss realized that sustainable growth required a systematic approach, not just one based on personal intuition.

“This is why I remained committed to using VIMIGO. By data-driven and transparently evaluating employee performance, we could have a clear understanding of whether the individual is contributing and deserves the benefits,” Jayniss asserts.

Solasta annual dinner in early 2023

The Road to Reform: Embracing Change

Transformation is never easy. When Jayniss introduced the VIMIGO performance-based rewards system to her company, she received no support from almost everyone except her husband, Daniel.

“None of them was willing to follow,” Jayniss recalls. “They argued that their sales were more than the bonuses offered. Many didn’t understand the purpose of the system. They thought their primary role was to simply style hair.”

Undeterred by the initial skepticism, Jayniss remained firm in her conviction. She enrolled in VIMIGO offline courses to gain a deeper understanding of the system, while Daniel, head of human resources, explained to employees the benefits of VIMIGO and how it could enhance their long-term earnings.

“I had to convince the team that with VIMIGO, they could earn more,” Daniel said.

He acknowledged salary adjustment is an age-old pain point for employers. Raising salaries to reward high performers often left employers vulnerable to performance declines, rendering salary reductions difficult. VIMIGO‘s flexible remuneration system, however, allowed the company to link rewards directly to employee productivity, eliminating the need for constant salary change.

Jayniss and Daniel dedicated a year to engaging in open and honest conversations with their employees.

 “I spoke to them individually to understand their perspectives,” said Jayniss. “We even lowered our standards to encourage participation and build a sense of achievement among our staff.”

Under the unwavering guidance of the two leaders, the team began to embrace the new system. As Daniel observes, “When one person achieves their goal and receives a reward, it inspires others. It then creates a ripple effect, motivating more and more employees to participate in the coming months.”

To maintain employee engagement and enthusiasm, Daniel regularly reviews goals with the team, making adjustments as needed to ensure alignment and foster a sense of ownership.

Daniel (second from right) reviews goals with everyone every month and makes adjustments as needed to keep them engaged and motivated.

Empowering Talents to Envision a Future

Leo Chan, a nail technician with 12 years of experience, is one of the first team members to hit team goal and earn high recognition from his boss. Prior to joining Solasta in May 2022, Leo worked as a makeup artist and nail technician in the bridal industry.

Jayniss adds, “When Solasta first implemented VIMIGO, no one in the nail department was willing to pursue the goals. After Leo joined, he not only led his team in achieving their vimiGoal but also collaborated with them to reach the team goal, earning the entire team a vimiTeam reward.”

I’ve been in the industry for many years, and I’ve never seen bosses so willing to share their profits,” Leo said. 

“When I first joined, many senior employees told me, ‘Don’t bother trying. You won’t make it, and the boss won’t care.’ But I decided to prove them wrong. I set out to achieve all the goals and show them what it’s like to earn these rewards. I even calculated for them that if they met the targets, they could potentially earn up to 16 months’ worth of salary in a single year!”

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Thanks to Jayniss & Daniel’s relentless efforts, the team is now actively meeting their goals and participating in vimiChallenge.

In November 2022, the company awarded bonuses to employees who met their personal targets.

In mid-2023, the company awarded rewards to the staff. Leo Chan, who is in the last row on the right, took a photo with the team

Leo credits VIMIGO with empowering him to enhance his self-management skills. More importantly, he believes the system ensures that deserving individuals receive fair recognition and rewards. For many employees, the prospect of earning an additional few hundred ringgits a month holds significant appeal.

“If I can earn the same amount here, why should I leave my hometown and commute between Malaysia and Singapore every day, sacrificing time with my family?” 

His words radiate the deep sense of belonging he has cultivated at Solasta.

“Jayniss and Daniel are constantly striving to improve themselves and transform the industry. I have immense respect for their dedication. I believe that employers should be willing to share their profits. In today’s competitive talent landscape, if companies fail to attract and retain top talent, they risk being left out by the market,” Leo asserts.

As a leading figure in the company, Leo treats Jayniss and Daniel like his mentors and role models. He firmly believes that walking their path will accelerate his path to success, without the need for him to venture out on his own.

Jayniss and Daniel have a good relationship with their team. They have gradually formed a unique corporate culture at Solasta

Unwavering Belief: Facing Challenges Head-on

The unwavering commitment from employers determines the success of VIMIGO implementation. Solasta‘s three-year journey has resulted in a positive company culture, fostering a thriving core team.

Throughout this transformative process, Jayniss faced moments of self-doubt. She reflects, “The most foolish thing in the world is to ‘rush for results’. We must not overlook the importance of the ‘process’.”

During the first year, when Jayniss faced initial resistance from the team, she engaged in self-reflection and reevaluation, adjusting everyone’s goals and even lowering standards to boost employee confidence. Today, 80% of the team consistently achieve Class A. Even new employees proactively request for goal setting from their supervisor.

In a service industry like beauty, experienced professionals often hesitate to share their knowledge and techniques. Daniel, however, believes in the power of open sharing. “If I know 10 techniques, I would rather teach 11, to ensure the company’s legacy,” he affirms. “As we are aging, do we still have the energy to fulfill our mission? The sooner we pass on our knowledge, the sooner we can enjoy both wealth and leisure.”

Talent is rare, and retaining it requires more than just financial incentives. Establishing strong and meaningful relationships is equally important. Here at Solasta, Jayniss and Daniel have cultivated a unique culture prioritizing genuine connections with their team. By combining a performance-based rewards system with a nurturing company culture, Solasta has created an environment that attracts and retains top talent, paving the way for a brighter future shared by all.

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