With consumers increasingly expecting more from their salon visits, how are some of our most successful salons meeting the needs of today’s clients and delivering a more personalised experience?Belinda Robb – Biba Salon, Auckland
Focusing on a holistic, nurturing experience for clients has ensured success for Belinda Robb’s Biba salon. She tells us how she tries to inspire her clients with a journey of wellbeing.
We strive to create memorable moments every step of the client journey at Biba. Crafting beautiful and believable hair, more undone than it is over-worked, at the same time optimising every opportunity to inject some soulful nurturing and wellbeing during the client visit.
Delivering a holistic service at Biba, I believe our work goes much deeper than the surface. Our clients emerge from the salon not only with beautiful hair, but also feeling restored, nurtured and nourished. A salon visit is twice as memorable when you truly impact the way a client looks and feels from within.
When designing our new salon, I wanted to create a multi-functional space that could seamlessly transform from a salon into a studio for wellbeing activities and events, giving clients more reason to return to us regularly. In addition to traditional salon offerings, we have a weekly timetable called ‘ Pure Happenings @ Biba’ which consist of yoga, qi gong and silent, guided bush walks in the mornings, and evening classes that include relaxation and meditation. Other “happenings” include regular gatherings centred on wellbeing topics such as nutrition, sleep and mindfulness.
For Biba it has been a gradual shift, an evolution towards a more holistic experience for clients. It’s important to inspire clients instead of manipulating them. What I see every day is salons manipulating clients through discounts, deals and freebies. This devalues the service, its clients and brand. I’ve realised it’s essential to inspire your clients through a memorable experience which creates the desire for them to return.
I would say my holistic approach has been a gradual shift in a new direction. If I had to pinpoint a moment, it was around four years ago when L’Oréal Professionnel launched INOA; permanent colour with no ammonia. An early adopter of the new technology, I was quick to recognise this was not just another new range of hair colour, it was a revolution. I jumped on the band-wagon and propelled my salon into the future, discarding all traditional permanent colour technology overnight. This bold decision was the catalyst for even more conscious purchasing of products without harmful ingredients. Today, we partner with and prescribe Pureology care for our clients, enabling them to continue the journey at home.
When you look at other industries – hospitality, hotels, etc – they are upgrading all the time, and there are constantly fresh, vibrant new places to go. In this respect, our industry has slipped behind the eight ball. I am a big believer in creating an inspirational salon environment that draws people in. These days it is easy to be resourceful and re-image a space without spending a fortune. Look at the different zones within your salon and breathe some fresh life into them, one at a time.
At Biba we use our salon as a canvas to communicate and propose seasonal change to our clients. Fresh, new visuals are installed in our salon windows and soft furnishings are changed out every six months. The music, flowers, refreshment menu, our Pinterest mood boards, even the garden beds are all changed up. I believe salons should look to re-image every five years minimum to ensure they remain a desirable location for their clients.
Being present during your consultation service builds trust and encourages clients to talk freely about their world. This enables you to create hair that fits into their lives, that they can easily recreate. Consultation is an art form that needs to be practiced and perfected. Mindfulness training is also helpful in developing a superior consultation service.
Robert Rogers – Haight Ashbury, Wellington
Owner and director of Haight Ashbury salon, Robert Rogers, discusses the importance of constantly evolving to meet client needs and keeping abreast of international trends.
I’m not sure whether clients are moving away from traditional services, as these are definitely on the increase in our business. I just think they are looking for more from their appointment and salon. Our colour specialists and stylists work closely together to tailor a personalised service, achieving the best result possible for each client. Our new L’Oréal Colour Bar allows us to offer consultations with the latest iPad technology and is an exciting hive of science and creativity.
For the first time, we’ve started to showcase our new trainees – the ‘HA Graduates’. These are our up-and-coming stylists who have completed their training and are ready to demonstrate their considerable talents. The HA Graduates offer prices more favourable for students or clients who are looking for more cost-effective price. We’re also seeing an increase in clients working in computer and technology-based occupations, coming to us to us for a bit of human contact and pampering. Haight Ashbury has an atmosphere which is entertaining, vibrant and alive – we create a buzz, something a lot of the current working environments just don’t have.
Haight Ashbury is constantly evolving; we’re always looking for ways to improve our services and space. Through social media we can see what is trending or considered important or interesting by clients and potential clients. This allows us to keep abreast of what international salons are doing and what additional services or techniques are being offered.
Our clients’ experience must be as enjoyable as possible – we have a relaxing lounge area and free Wi-Fi for clients to enjoy while their colour processes. We have a professional coffee machine and trained baristas, while current magazines and salon iPads provide the opportunity to catch up on work, emails or check up on celebrity gossip and fashion trends. We’re about to start an extensive salon renovation and have listened carefully to our clients feedback regarding what is important to them – we’re extremely excited about the upgrade.
Haight Ashbury is a successful brand we worked hard to build and we are immensely proud of.
Our clients are our lifeblood and we respect them and look after them. Our staff are trained with an emphasis on responsibility, personal service, professional knowledge and the importance of retaining clients. We also actively employ and take advice from various different external consultants and specialists in order to see our business “from another perspective” and ensure ongoing improvement. To stay visible to our clients between visits, we also hold in-house fashion shows, promote guest artists and actively stay involved with fashion events and on social media.
Article supplied by Headway Magazine as part of their Summer 2014 edition. Check out Headway on Facebook. Look out for part 3 next week where Headway Magazine talk to Michael Beel from Buoy Hairdressing and Mana Dave from Blaze about what they’re doing to make their clients experience more memorable.