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Salon Owner Guest Special: How Sue Carter Created her Online ‘Image’

Connor Keppel

Salon owner Sue Carter is no stranger to success. Her salon ‘Image’ based in Ipswich is going from strength-to-strength and has won many awards over its 12 years in business.

Phorest caught up with Sue this week. We asked her if she’d put pen-to-paper and share her experience and guidance in building a fantastic website and social media presence with other salon owners. Here’s what she had to say…

1 – It’s naïve to think your website will stand the test of time:

I’ve actually had five websites for image since its establishment. Five! Admittedly when I started I was a little naïve and thought ‘Great, that’s the website done!’ when it first launched. It’s not like that at all.

For example, one year ago, Image moved into a new premises. We developed a new brand and I was conscious that the website needed updating. I was trying to be resourceful with our cash supply as the move was a BIG investment, so I thought we’d just update the colours and logo. But that wasn’t going to cut it. More and more of our clients at the time were buying products and booking services online and through mobile. Phorest’s online booking system integrated with a mobile-friendly website was not a nice-to-have, but an essential if we were going to grow the salon.

2 – A good website is informative. A great website is a discovery tool!

The core objective of our website was to bring people into Image before they actually darkened our doorstep. People can be intimidated when they go into a salon and perceive that therapists or stylists will look them up and down. While they may be wrong, it’s that preconception that will stop people from coming to your salon in the first place.

We’ve used Youtube videos to introduce people to the team for instance. It’s a great way to break the ice and people almost feel like they know everybody when they come in. It works! Another way in which we introduced people to our salon was through a virtual tour. We got a professional in to take photos and then string them together and create a virtual tour. It cost us £280 and was worth every penny. I suggest you you do the same and showcase your salon at every opportunity you get.

3 – You will never know what you are missing out on, unless you make a move.

You can run a profitable salon without a website or social media presence. The reality is this though – you simply won’t or don’t know that your business is suffering until you actually get it together online. If you’re starting out and money is tight, Facebook and Twitter are free. What you may not realise is that there’s so many off-the-shelf websites that you can buy now that are mobile friendly and really nice to look at and VERY reasonably priced.

If it’s time you’re worried about then get the team or family involved. I have such an amazing team. They love to get involved in ALL aspects of the business including updating the Facebook and Twitter. It makes their job more enjoyable as you’re taking their ideas on board and giving them the trust they deserve.

Sue told the Phorest blog that increasing Facebook interaction (even more) is on her list but her next upcoming and exciting online project is her Phorest iPhone app. (see here for more – )

Sue Carter is the owner of Image Salon in Ipswich Suffolk which has been open for over 12 years. The salon recently won the prestigious award of nail salon of the year voted by Scratch Magazine. If you have questions in relation to this post, please send them to

Interested in doing a salon owner quest special on the Phorest blog? Just contact Connor Keppel, Phorest’s Marketing Manager on

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