Easy Does It
Hair has been long for a long time, to the distress of great hair cutters everywhere. Six- and eight-week clients stretch their appointments to three months, so they can “grow it in.” Women who would benefit from a groomed look go bedhead. Because it’s sexy? Because it’s fun?
Maybe it’s because clients are lazy. After all, how much skill does it take to pull long hair back in a ponytail?
Learn and earn from clients’ reluctance to fuss with their hair, say successful salon owners. Time-crunched clients need easy-care styles; “ease” is the actual trend, notes Mark Garrison, owner of Mark Garrison Salon in New York City. In other words, embrace long.
“Europe and the U.S. collectively ‘get it’ now; there are no actual trends but movements within lifestyles,” says Tony Anders, artistic director for Kenneth’s Hair Salons and Day Spas in Cincinnati, Ohio.
“Companies are hiring market researchers to analyze how people live and they’re adapting trends to suit. For a simple lifestyle, classic looks with simple silhouettes are right; for opulent ‘look at me’ lifestyles, like Paris Hilton’s, there’s a whole different look being shown.”
Anders says that what really makes hair work for a lifestyle is the skill to change it, which is why layers are popular and why salons are seeing the rise of the textured bob. These variations on long open the door to retail products, which allow convertibility even in the clumsiest hands.
Taking the Long View
Fighting long may be a losing battle. But there are ways to turn length into profit.
Hair extensions are particularly hot for the younger set. “It’s not unusual for us to see our clients’ daughters by the time they are 13 or 14,” says Rachel K, co-owner of Rachel K Salon in Chicago.
“Mothers will pay for their daughter’s hair extensions and more, because they know teens will experiment at home, and they’ll end up bringing them to a salon to fix what they’ve done.”
Anders offers re-usable hair extensions, which bring in $1,600 on the first visit. In future appointments, the extensions are trimmed, re-bonded and re-attached for about $800. The time lag between appointments is balanced by the popularity of extensions, he reports. They’re causing the biggest business surge he’s ever seen because they appeal to the immediate gratification mindset of Americans, who love that they can get celebrity or runway styles in two hours.
Such miracle results satisfy clients deeply. According to George Caroll, owner of George Caroll Studio in North Hollywood, California, “Long hair is still preferred by 70 percent of women in the world; women see it as more feminine.”