We recently stopped by Studio 31 in Palmerston North to see Manager Kaaren Whale and her team. We spoke about what has made the salon so successful and unique, what’s helping them to deliver an exceptional client experience, and their tips for other business owners.
Watch Studio 31’s story in this short video, and read the full interview below.
Tell us about Studio 31
Studio 31 has been around for a long time; this is our 40th year in business. We have salons in Palmerston North and Whanganui, as well as a mobile service that travels all around the country offering all types of beauty treatments. I’ve been here for five years, and I originally started here as an apprentice.
The owner, Wendy, started out as a nail technician and grew from nails into waxing and was the first person in New Zealand to do Brazilian waxes. We offer so many different types of services, from waxing, to tinting, to nails, but we also have floatation tanks – the only floatation tanks in the Manawatu. Lash extensions, cosmetic tattooing, spa, massage, you name it really, we’re a one stop shop.
What makes Studio 31 unique?
What makes us unique is our innovative marketing. We’re a bit ‘risque’ with our marketing and we don’t mind putting ourselves out there and being a little bit different. Probably the best example of this is our radio advertising, we’ve got some really interesting ads that pop up time-to-time, quite often talking about people’s hairy bits, or their upper lips, or anything that’s a little bit risky to advertise about.
Something else that sets us apart is our client experience. We make sure that we’re delivering the best client experience by welcoming every single person no matter who they are of where they come from, and we genuinely care about every single one of our clients.
What does business success look like for Studio 31?
We define success by repeat clientele, so having that regular clientele coming back to you, and also word of mouth. I think we’re a successful business because we have longevity, a good reputation, and we provide a really high standard of service.
Our business focus at the moment is celebrating success. We’re celebrating 40 years of being in business and patting ourselves on the back for such an achievement.
What’s your favourite Kitomba feature?
My favourite Kitomba feature is the campaign marketing. It’s only something I’ve learnt how to do recently, but now that I’ve got the hang of it I find it really easy. We use it all the time to directly market to our existing database and it’s really good value.
The Kmail feature in campaign marketing is great because you can set up the templates and get everything ready in Kitomba so the messages just fire off automatically. We have a main template that we use and then we just pop in whatever content we want to talk about that week or that month.
We use Kitomba to create lists to target certain groups of people, for example we created a list to send an email to people that hadn’t visited us after the lockdown, to entice them to visit us. We’ve learned that we have much more success when we actually target the lists and know who we’re sending it to.
We also have marketing set up to automatically send emails out after a client’s first visit and for happy birthday messages.
Learn more about automated marketing: The 10 best client messages you can automate.
How does Kitomba help you to provide a better client experience?
The feature that helps us provide the best customer experience is Kitomba Forms, because it helps us to get all the information that we need from a particular client and then we can make sure that we can service them for everything that they need.
It’s really great for getting information that clients aren’t openly able to talk to you about. Particularly if they’re having that conversation with you in the waiting room, they might be worried about who might be listening, so it gives them a little bit more privacy. And most clients find it’s really easy to use and fill out the details that we require from them on our tablets.
Kitomba Forms is extremely useful to our staff because it cuts down your time that we spend on filing and note writing, and everything is stored in the same place, so it’s easy to find.
We found it really easy to get started with Forms because most of our forms were already on documents and spreadsheets ready to go, so it was a matter of copying and pasting them into the Kitomba form builder. The advantage is that we can update and edit them at any time, we can make notes, and the forms are stored to a particular client’s client card.
We’ve got three tablets that we use so that we can have multiple people using them at the same time. They’re absolutely worth the investment because they’re so simple to use and we also take before and after photos with them.
Kitomba Forms can now be sent to clients in advance by text or email. Find out more.
Our clients also really love Online Booking. It seems to be extremely popular for people who don’t know their schedules – they can look online and see what suits them.
Our staff find Online Booking really easy to use, too. It’s great that they can approve every booking before it comes through, and they find that their clients know exactly what they’re booking for.
All our staff have access to Kitomba 1 at home, so they can check their appointments, client history, client notes, and get set up for the day so it runs smoothly.
What’s your top tip for salon owners and managers?
My top tip for other business owners would be to never doubt yourself, put yourself out there and take a risk.
Want to find out if Kitomba can help your business thrive like it has for Studio 31? Get in touch with us to book your free demo!