While much of the media is frequently reporting on both the cost of living crisis and the cost of doing business, the state of the hairdressing industry is rather positive – according to Wella Professionals*, the salon industry has seen a growth of 12.7% in estimated market value, compared to 2021. When you consider this alongside the knowledge that hair and beauty service providers, which includes salons and freelancers, contributed £5.1bn to the UK economy in 2022 (according to The Value of Beauty Report, created by Oxford Economics for the British Beauty Council) then the hairdressing industry is actually a favourable place to be.
Sarah Mason, Wella Artist and Salon Director at Sarah Mason Professional, Galway, points out: “Women may prioritise their beauty treats, such as haircare and skincare, when there is an economic crisis.” This behaviour is known as the Lipstick Effect – the notion that women in particular turn to little luxuries in times of economic downturn, in a bid to boost wellbeing. We can see evidence of this across the past year, with Wella also noting that average spending in the industry is on the rise, increasing by 5.6% during this timeframe.
Unfortunately, this growth does not cover colour services, despite their tremendous potential. Sarah adds: “We know from challenging times in the past that clients may switch out their services, so it is up to the hairdresser to suggest a workable plan that is suitable for both your client and your business model. It’s worth educating your clients on some of the smaller services you offer, which may be a little more affordable for them to maintain the perfect hair.” However, to consider how we can best serve our clients, we need to determine why they’re not taking advantage of colour services, and establish which of the following categories they fall into. Let’s get clients back into our chairs.
- The One Cutting Back Financially
- The One with Virgin Hair
- The One Worried About The Environment
- The One Reducing Appointment Frequency
In the article we’ll be taking a look at clients who have been cutting back financially, and considering how we can adapt existing services, or introduce new ones, to continue to cater to their needs.
The One Cutting Back Financially
The number of these clients is likely on the rise due to the current state of the economy. While they may still be looking to spend money on their hair, they may have a smaller budget now– and watch out for clients that may be considering at-home colour alternatives.
How to Reassure your Clients about Costs
While clients may be tempted to turn to box dyes in a bid to save money, we need to educate them on how our services are likely to be more cost-effective in the long run, not to mention of a superior standard. Tom Syed, Educator for Alterego and Owner of Tom Syed Hair Spa, Stourbridge, explains: “When I apply a root colour, I always add a few panels of their root shade using a freehand board to create a multi-dimensional result. This is a great way to keep your clients loyal because you are creating something they can’t replicate with a box colour and adds value to the service without it costing you, or your client, a lot more. Plus, they feel their hair colour is extra special and won’t go to anyone else.”
Especially in light of the cost of living crisis, it can be tempting to turn to discounts to keep clients coming back. “It’s essential to offer the same service and quality at every appointment, and discounting can cast doubt over this,” says Andrew Jose, Owner of Andrew Jose and Revlon Editorial Ambassador. “We do however incentivise appointments for new stylists with an introductory price for colour when booking a full price cut or blow dry,” he counters. While this approach may appeal to some, it’s important to communicate the terms and conditions clearly, to avoid any confusion or disappointment.
Phil Underhill, Owner of Undone and ambassador for alterego, adds: “It’s more cost effective to gift rather than discount; promote shampoos and styling ranges. By doing so, you’re adding something that will give you a return to salon, not someone just on the hunt for cheap and cheerful.”
Another way to make discounts work for you, if you are keen to incorporate them, is to carefully select when they will be available. Vicky Panting, Paul Mitchell UK Technical Educator, explains: “There are transient clients who search out the deals and they can fill columns, so a flash sale on the day or week, or a last minute offer at random times is less likely to hit your profit, as you are filling dead space.”
How To Be Transparent About Prices
Meanwhile, Siobhan Haug, Schwarzkopf Professional Ambassador and Co-founder of Haug London Haus, explains one way she reinforces value to her clients: “We break down the cost of our colour services for our clients, and if there are any complimentary extras, like conditioning treatments, I would keep it on the bill with the amount taken off – so they can see the value of the service.”
A similar approach is taken at Samantha Cusick London, with Samantha explaining: “We believe wholeheartedly in price transparency. Being clear with you client about the cost of their hair appointment is a vital part in building a trusting relationship. The client can fully relax and enjoy their appointment without fearing being hit with unexpected costs at the end of their time in the salon.”
By adopting some of the above approaches, you will be well on your way to boosting colour services in your salons. However, you’ll still want to think about the different types on clients avoiding colour, and how you can target them. *Local Data Company, January 2023 Reporting