How to survive the recession: advice from hairdressers
According to reports, we’re officially in a recession, and while that means client’s may be tightening their purse strings, it’s also an opportunity to start afresh, reinvent yourself and your business and look to the future. We spoke to several stylists who have experienced past recessions about what you can do to ride out and survive the recession.
Jamie Brooks, Brooks & Brooks
“When people talk about a recession, it’s easy to panic and think of the worst that can happen. But don’t; stop and take a long-term view, not just of the days and months ahead. We’re told to live for a moment, but you have to start planning for the other side. Flexibility is key during a recession, so be prepared to change your plans and be open to movement. Some of the best ideas come during a recession as you think outside the box and do things in a different way. So, make the most of your opportunities, shift your focus, and keep everything positive.”
Robert Kirby, Robert Kirby London
“Don’t believe everything you read. The newspapers and the news programmes are full of doom and gloom but concentrate on what you have and what you have to offer. No one knows your clients better than you do, so put together service menus that suit your business and your team. Have a look at everything you offer and how you can make it better, more streamlined, more profitable.”
Terry Longden, Matrix Artist Ambassador
“Having worked as a junior during the 80s recession and experiencing recessions that followed, including opening salons, I have come to the conclusion that economic recessions come in cycles and are a natural evolution of the working world. So, my advice would be to anyone worrying about the future is to ‘keep calm and carry on’ and just make sure you are able to move with the economic times, keep to your budget and don’t compromise your quality of service. In quiet periods, up your skills and try not to get sucked into thinking you need to over discount to keep clients. What I’ve discovered through experience is that clients also worried at these times will just stretch out time between appointments but will still rather come to a salon they trust and are recommended to. When your salon attracts clients because of continued discounts, once the recession starts to ease it will be more difficult to move away from.”
Simon Townley, Matrix Artist Ambassador
“During the last recession I was three months into my first salon with my business partner. My advice going into this recession is don’t always look at how you can bring in more money but look at ways you can save yours and ultimately your clients money. Look at any bills, rents and utilities you can save money on – can you sub-let an empty space to a beauty therapist (subject to your contract). Look at your service menu and how you are charging – do you want to be doing kids hair that can take just as long as adults but charge 25-50% the normal amount? Charging by time can make a big different to your profit line. Clients want the best hair that’s why they come to you, so they just need educating on products. If they are having a £100 balayage service or vivid colour but buying £5 shampoo, then it’s up to us to educate on the benefits of longevity. Healthier hair equals better results.”
Martin Crean, MODE Hair
“Never give up. It doesn’t matter how bad it’s getting, always try to look at the positives and don’t get bogged down by the voice on your shoulder or on the news on the TV. Concentrate on yourself, your business and your clients. Recession is a scary word but it’s also the time when businesses can flourish and reinvent themselves. Some of the best ideas happen during challenging times, so keep a positive mindset. Clients will continue to spend money if they have a relationship built on trust, receiving high customer service and value for money.”Read next: How to avoid burnout at Christmas.