I just read a bleep on “How to Survive the Next Four Years,” dealing with changing politics, the economic outlook, earning and spending. One of the concepts presented was the end of wage earning jobs due to a downturn in real wages the last ten years. It made me think of changes in hairdressing practices, also significant, that affect earnings. Changes like the proliferation of lease chair salons, product distribution, growth of online education and social media.
I think the biggest change is attitude. Salon professionals are increasingly embracing a freedom that morphs into a one-on-one business relationship with each client. The reinforcement of the classic stylist/client connection is what brings in beauty money today. If you follow the money, this relationship may well point the way to the salon environment of the future. Salons are not alone in this transformation; major industries like real estate, finance, and consulting are feeling it.
Case in point: Clients share with me that if they go to a premiere salon spa and strike out with stylist, they will not return, and if they visit a small, no-name salon and have a good experience, they return for more.
This observation will bring a chill to commission salons, and a few hate emojis my way, but the future of commission salons is bright. Here is why: Study salon professionals from their degree of involvement with the industry, (absent/no interest to highly involved) and you realize there are always those who prefer to work alone, and others in a team-based environment. We salon professionals are not a monolithic block; we come in all types, and enough to go around.
Does the degree of involvement affect personal and business strategy? Involvement affects everything from training to selling products. In general, low involvement pros need a more independence, work best one-on-one—many lease chairs, or work part-time. Higher involvement professionals like to participate, be part of a team, and attend seminars, shows and events. Key for commission salons is to keep high involvement staff actively engaged by continually providing opportunities to grow, plus emphasize and reward the one on one client/stylist relationship mentioned above. Evolution from high involvement to low is not an automatic path; look at me, after forty-four years, I am still writing you this love note. Happy Valentine’s Day.
Carlos is a beauty consultant, trainer, author and stylist for the professional beauty industry based in Tucson, AZ where he serves his salon clientele.