“When we took that first class, we had no idea the impact it would have on our business,” McConnell says. “We weren’t trying to start a revolution. But within about a year we realized the effect we were having, so we sought out more education.” To promote their new expertise, the salon’s website is CallingAllCurls.com.
The Money Follows
Naming your salon or website something specific to curly hair is one way to market your expertise, confirms Michelle Breyer, president of Texture Media Inc. and co-founder of consumer web site NaturallyCurly.com. If you prefer not to make that much of a commitment, you can still develop natural texture business by presenting all the alternatives to every curly client.
“Blowing out the client’s curls has become a revenue source that stylists and salons are used to,” Breyer says. “But a growing number of women want to know all their options with curly hair. By providing them with options, you will expand your market, not shrink it.”
Curtis’ experience bears this out. “Now I have a wait list, which I never had,” she says.
McConnell adds, “We think of ourselves as a family salon, so we do have straight-haired clients, but today about 70 percent are curly. It’s a niche market; if you spend the time to learn about curly hair, it will help your business. It’s kept us busy at a time when other salons weren’t.”
Abdallah made the switch to primarily natural looks at what might have seemed the worst possible time—in 2008, just as the economy was sinking— and yet her salon thrived. “That first year the salon grew 20 percent,” she reports. “We’ve grown every year since, and we don’t advertise at all.”
As Abdallah discovered, word-ofmouth tends to drive the natural texture business. At her salon with only five stylists, Abdallah counts 50 to 70 new referrals a month, increasing in summertime to 100 or even more. Every six to eight months, she’s had to add another stylist.
Professionally crafted braids and twists are client magnets. “People with those looks attract attention,” says Kelly. “Women are always asking my clients for the name of the stylist who did their hair. I also get a lot of clients through YouTube; I demonstrate braiding on videos, and I have a lot of subscribers.”
Agrees Breyer, “People walk up to curlies on the street if they like their look. Curly clients also are very loyal and will travel hours for the right stylist.”