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Man Up: Grow and Maintain Your Men's Business in Unisex Salons

Alison Alhamed | June 22, 2017 | 12:11 PM
Vaughn Acord, founder of V76 by Vaughn

When salon owner and celebrity stylist Vaughn Acord launched his men’s grooming line V76 by Vaughn, he wanted to bridge the gap between barbershops and salons.

“Barbershops have never been celebrated in the way that they are now,” he says. “It excites me that this craft has resurfaced in such a big way.”

But the opportunity isn’t just for barbershops, Acord says. Unisex salons have a huge opportunity in growing their business by marketing to men.

In his multi-decade career, Acord says he’s learned the number-one way to maintain and grow your men’s business is to make your male client feel comfortable.

“You have to master how to touch another human being, how to speak to him, how to help him reinvent,” Acord says. “When a client comes in for a hair cut, maybe his mother has just died or he has broken up with someone, or is he so excited that he just met someone and can’t wait to go visit him or her. That muscle has to be opened to see immediately who just came in, what’s their story and how can I make them comfortable.”

The Consultation

“Amazon is taking over retail, Ralph Lauren just closed on Fifth Avenue, and who would have thought that, five years ago, an app would come along and completely rearrange the taxi industry?” Acord says. “It hurts, but it’s happening. What’s not going away is a person touching a human being and giving advice and direction.”

During conversations with male clients, it’s important to have a point of view.

“Beyond being talented, stylists have to know how to get their point across—and guys are looking for that,” he says. “Be con dent enough to help your clients look their best.”

The Vocabulary

Acord says when you pick the right vo- cabulary for men, they start to trust you.

Use statements like, “this will strengthen your jaw line,” “this will wake you up,” “let’s tighten this up,” and “I want this to have purpose.” Avoid statements like, “I’m just going to thin this out,” “why don’t we shape this into a bob” and “I want to cut a bang on you.”

The Environment

“If you have men popping in at a lunch break, think about how to convert your station into being more male-friendly,” Acord says. Think about the magazines in the reception area—do they speak to your male clientele?

“Have reading material that isn’t all fashion, and give him what he needs to stay connected during the work day— chargers, Wi-Fi access, even a tablet.”

The Pricing

“We as a group need to start to understand that what we do everyday is irreplaceable—yet we dumb-down our prices,” Acord says. “Take the time to really think about how much you’re cramming in every day and why you’re cramming.”

Guys might love the length and style of their hair cut after week four, but the nape and around the ears might need to be cleaned up.

“I don’t charge them to stop in for a quick touch up to buy them another couple of weeks,” Acord says. “I like to think there’s an experience men have with me that is worth raising my prices. If you make the time and charge for it, you won’t have to cram just to make your numbers. I also touch base regularly by calling clients to lock down that appointment he didn’t make last time. You aren’t going to want to do that if you’re charging $15 per hair cut.”

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