During the 2017 HAIR+ Summit (Sept. 24-26 in Atlanta), a panel discussion, moderated by MODERN SALON Senior Editor Lauren Quick, addressed some practical aspects of building a business around hair loss. Experts shared their answers to questions Quick and the audience posed about how stylists and salon owners can leverage hair-loss expertise, extensions and trichology to help their clients and grow their career. The experts included:
Q: How can already busy hairdressers find the time to provide hair loss services as they work at becoming an expert at hair loss?
Hardgrave: Raise your prices. If you want to create some room in your schedule, just raise your prices on cutting.
Paul: Take half a day and dedicate that half a day strictly to hair loss and hair replacement clients. If you don’t have clients, still keep that time set-aside for study or other related business. Once you fill that, set aside another half day (and make one a morning half-day, the other, an afternoon), then you can start building that business and you get to decide how you want to proceed. If you’re going for it, go for it, but break it into pieces.
Wilson: You do have to have an assistant. You need to have the ability to take time to talk, to be calm and quiet. In salons, we’re always rushing around and it’s inevitable that just when you are your busiest, someone wants to talk to you about hair loss so you need that other, designated person if you’re too busy, who can stop and talk to the hair loss clients.
Gordon: Do your consultations at the end of the day. You can’t have colors processing when you have someone baring their soul in another room. I do my hair loss consultations at the end of my day because I can’t leave someone in a consultation to go check a color.
Q: What are some suggestions for marketing your hair loss services?
Paul: Tell your story and your great successes with video blogs or vlogs. Tell the stories of the clients you serve and make your sharing consistent. Do it on a regular basis.
Johnson: I always talk about this in the consultation because I want to be able to use before and after photos along with your client’s testimonials. I never market hair loss, really, because my clients market me. There is so much word-of-mouth.
Q: Have there been any challenges that you’ve had to find creative ways to overcome?
Rizzieri: Coming from the salon part of the business, I found that moving into hair loss, I wasn’t worried about attracting clients, I just wanted to make sure we could deliver. Also, I had to find the right people in the salon who can lead this process. It has to be a team member who has both compassion but can also teach the technical side of things.
Gordon: One of my coworkers joined me because she has a passion about her work, she’s compassionate with people, and she is a good student. This is about science, more than art.
Hardgrave: I invented a hairbrush. I needed one that worked for me.
Question from audience: I’ve been a hairdresser for 23 years and I have no shortage of hair restoration clients or people I see who need my help. My problem is finding people who are willing to pay for the services, because they can be more expensive.
Paul: The hardest things is client compliance but remember, you are the expert, you are the gatekeeper—you select the clients. Wouldn’t you like to have half the amount of clients but have some great success stories to share? Be more selective.
Hardgrave: And remember that you’re not on clearance.
Question from audience: You have a guy who has an overnight transformation, how do people deal with it? They leave the office on Friday, and they come on Monday, with hair, how do you advise them to talk about it?
Paul: I have shaved my beard and no one has noticed. I’ve grown a beard and no one has said a word. We think everyone is looking at the top of our head because we’re so aware of it.
You may want to do the transition in stages. Start from the back, give a little hair, in a three months, do the same thing. In nine months, you have accomplished the look.
Johnson: I tell people, if they can, to go on a vacation. And just before they leave, to wear something on their head—a scarf, a hat. You’re going to come back from vacation looking good, anyway, and when you come back with hair, it’s processed as part of that vacation glow. Position it in your mind that not everyone is looking at you. Embrace it, process it, and keep it moving.