“The beauty industry is a different beast!” That’s what my boss used to tell me when I worked at Urban Retreat. From hairdressers to medispa and beauty, this business had all of the industries together under one roof. And my boss was right; starting with mindsets. Therapists’ and hairdressers’ views on things were completely different.
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Diversifying Your Salon Service Offerings When You’re In The Business Of Hair
As a business strategist, it’s not uncommon for me to work with hairdressers who:
- also offer beauty services within their business, or
- want to introduce it to their menu.
And while most expect it to be an easy process – “I have the space for therapist to come in, use it and rent the room, easy as 1, 2, 3” – it’s never that smooth.
Understanding Your Customers And Their Habits
You run a hair business; your customers come to you for their hair. When it comes to beauty, chances are they already have their habits and go-to places. If you’re thinking of introducing beauty treatments in your service offerings, then you must do your research first. Survey your customers by the means of a questionnaire, get your staff to ask their clients about their thoughts, habits and needs; and if you can manage, put together a focus group with ten of your top clients and make sure you find the right offering.
Defining Your Marketing Strategy
Sure you’ll want to focus on generating bookings before the opening, host a launch party and perhaps have an introductory offer to entice clients, but for your marketing strategy to have a substantial impact in the long run, you need to have your branding in check. So, here are some things you should define before jumping right in:
- If a beauty therapist is renting a space, are you marketing her to your database? Is she instead expected to bring her clients?
- If you expect her to do her marketing, what will that look like? Will it be reflective of your brand?
Beauty Therapists Can’t Be Treated The Same As Hairdressers
Not because their personalities are different; everyone has a unique character. They can’t be treated the same simply because it’s a different job altogether.
When it comes to the welfare and understanding of beauty therapists’ needs, you must think differently. For example, having a break for lunch is crucial for their wellbeing. They spend all of their days in one room, and the energy can be quite cumbersome.
The Danger Of Renting A Room
Your understanding of what the beauty industry has to offer will be crucial. Too often I’ve dealt with hairdresser clients who lacked control over that aspect of their business because they didn’t get it and the therapist was doing whatever she/he pleased.
Beauty is a different way of working altogether.
Working With Brands: Do Your Research
You’ll need to define the brands you will be working with on the beauty side of your business as soon as possible. They need to reflect your brand’s voice, ethos and vision of the future while also answering your customers’ demand.
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Taking The Leap: 5 Things To Put On Your Checklist
Your Treatment Menu
When it comes to profitability, your menu and pricing will be the heart of your success — every single minute matters in beauty. Your pricing should reflect your salon service offerings to ensure you aren’t losing out.
Creating a new venture is your investment; whether you rent out a room or not is your decision. Have you considered other options?
- Could an already established salon perhaps take over the space?
- What about a beauty franchise?
- A facial or skincare expert with lots of followers?
Take your time, it’s not a race. Defining what your setup will look like both on a financial and branding level will be instrumental to your success.
If you employ a therapist rather than rent a space, you’ll naturally have more control over that side of your business. It can also be beneficial for creating strong HR practice, but on the flip side, can be more expensive.
Employment also comes with management which I know many of my hairdresser clients wish to avoid, for various reasons. The rental isn’t a bad idea as long as you’re not going in blind and leaving the therapist to choose everything for him/herself. That’s a recipe for disaster!
For instance, I once went to a client whose therapist decided to set her own hours. The salon’s clientele never knew when she was in, and after six months, she was only 30% occupied. It was a disaster from a customer’s perception of the beauty side of the business. To top it all off, we discovered that the therapist had another job on the side… this one “wasn’t busy enough!”
No wonder; she was hardly there!
Whatever you decide, whether that is rental or employment, make sure your contract focuses on your business’ needs.
It’s crucial to create strong guidelines and procedures alongside having employees contracts that suit you. A Salon Operating Procedure Manual will help you to do just that as well as ensure that all your staff understands, signs and is accountable for the important aspects of your business (like grooming standards for example).
Having a therapist (or more) suddenly join your team will have an impact on your culture. It is essential that your leadership focuses on bringing the team together and getting everyone working towards the same goals.
In all, the beast of beauty has to be thought about strategically. If you go in thinking hair and beauty are cut out of the same cloth, you’ll be in for a shock.
Also, before making any decision, define a budget. Although the margins are higher in beauty, from the customer journey to the duration of the treatments, it’s the small details that matter. Well prepared and in control, diversifying your salon services will add a powerful and lucrative dimension to your business.
Looking for personalised advice? You can always email Valerie at firstname.lastname@example.org! Got general feedback? Let us know either in the comments below or tweet us @ThePhorestWord! (Pssst! We’re on Instagram too!)
Thanks for reading! #LetsGrow