Require stylists to brush-up on their skills. Salon owners should encourage, or even make it a requirement, for stylists to learn the skills necessary to care for and maintain natural hair. Changing trends are a reality for all lines of work, and the hair care industry is no different. Updating the skills necessary to serve current and future clients is necessary to stay competitive, and salons can support the continued education of their stylists by sponsoring conventions, and holding classes and workshops.
Offer consulting services to those thinking about transitioning. Many women are interested in going natural. Some do the “big chop,” cutting all processed hair off down to their virgin hair; but many women don’t want to compromise the length of their hair while transitioning. Going from straight to natural is often a long and difficult process, and many women damage their hair trying to do it alone. There are many supportive web sites on the Internet, but regularly visiting a professional for assistance with the transition can be beneficial, too. Salons can offer this service and gain new clients for the long-term.
Offer treatments that benefit hair before, during and after transition. Black women have always been a diverse group, and there are going to be plenty of women who stick to the services they’ve always gotten. But adding new treatments that benefit and aid natural hair to the regular menu of services will help get the word out, and you will help position your salon as one that supports natural hair wearers, which will help to retain current customers and gain new ones also.
Improve scheduling. Sometimes it’s just a matter of doing one thing different, like scheduling clients further apart, to help with retention. “Stylists and owners really need to go the extra mile to manage clients’ expectations. Too many times I get clients simply because they were sick and tired of spending an entire day in the salon when the expectation was two to three hours,” says Ottley.
Offer rental space to barbers and braiders. Making room for stylists with multiple talents will bring in a new and diverse clientele. Now would be a great time to learn to braid well, or brush-up on the services that barbers usually perform.
It may be time to pick-up shop and move. Keeping your salon may have nothing at all to do with the current trends, but have everything to do with the rent. “In speaking with salon owners, the closing of shops is the result of a few factors: The economy along with expiring leases and skyrocketing rents,” says Ottley.
Use your knowledge and talents to start something new. Massive layoffs have been the out many people needed to begin something new and more rewarding. The black haircare industry as we know it may be changing, but the closing of one business can be the door opening to creating that new haircare line you’ve been wanting to start, but haven’t had the time too, or being a one man or woman show by offering services to a private clientele.For more small business tips see: