Archive for August, 2010

Designing your waiting area for comfort

The waiting/reception area of any salon is a very important space. It must look good and reflect the style and ethos of your salon, as to make a great first impression on clients, but it must also be comfortable.

So, how do you create a salon area that is both stylish and comfortable? These top salon owners offer a few tips:

Angela Tsigonoff, from Kreme de la Kreme Nail Lounge in California, decided to start the pampering experience from the moment clients walked through the door. From comfortable sofas and chairs, clients can enjoy herbal teas and coffee, fresh flowers and mini-cupcakes. It’s the little things that matter when it comes to a comfortable client experience.

Kim Digby, from InSPArations Day Spa in Tasmania, Australia, uses comfortable salon chairs, plenty of updated reading material and soft, relaxing music to make visitors feel at home in her salon’s waiting area.

Brenda Skermont, from AbFab Salon and Spa in Illinois, uses an ambient colour scheme and comfortable salon furniture to give the waiting area a ‘living room’ feel. Fresh flowers, plants and colourful, locally-produced artwork on the wall keep the place feeling relaxed and comfortable.

How to choose a beautiful and practical manicure station

Whether you run a hair salon, beauty spa or nail bar, the salon furniture you choose can have a big impact on your clients’ impression of your business. More than this, the right salon furniture can help your staff to improve the standard of the services they offer to clients.

Alongside salon chairs and styling units, manicure stations are an important piece of equipment in any salon or spa. They ideally need to be the perfect balance between style and practicality, but this combination can be difficult to find.

The following are a few tips on what you should be looking for in manicure stations:

• Storage, storage, storage! The ideal manicure station looks sleek and uncluttered from the front, but offers numerous storage options on the technician’s side. You should look for purpose-designed storage too, where everything the technician needs is catered for in a specially designed compartment.

• Portability. Whilst you want you manicure stations to look highly-professional, the ability to move them around can be a distinct advantage. Get this flexibility without compromising on style by choosing a station with small, discreet wheels.

• Arm pads and wrist rests – an essential feature of any good manicure station

• A beautiful worktop. Glass is the best option, but natural stone such as marble or granite can be an elegant but more costly alternative.

Making your salon relevant without trying too hard – can it be done?

Many salon owners don’t recognise that their salons are dated and dull, and that their clients are heading elsewhere for the latest treatments in a fresher environment.

If they do realise that their salon décor needs an update, the instant reaction is to throw all of the latest gimmicks, technology and achingly bright colour at the design. This tends to be an appeal to a younger, hipper or more high-end clientele, but it usually fails hopelessly and alienates existing clients in the process.

Clients are more perceptive than you might think, and they are starting to demand more from their salon environment as well as the treatments on offer. What you see as cool and on-trend could end up looking pretentious and showy, with no indication that your salon is a professional business offering high quality service.

So, how can you appeal to a younger market without it looking like you’ve tried too hard? The key is attention to detail, not flashy gimmicks. Things like comfortable salon chairs, professional salon chairs, a wide range of treatments and a light, attractive salon space will make more difference to your client’s experience than the latest LCD TV or a neon, light-up merchandise display.

Put a lot of thought into what you want to achieve with your salon’s décor – for example, do you want the space to feel relaxing and peaceful, cosy and homely, or simple and functional?

Salon design inspiration: Lara Johnson Lifestyle in Swansea

Wales may not be commonly known for its chic French-style boutique style, but Lara Johnson Lifestyle salon in Swansea is changing all that.

The owners of the salon, husband and wife Dom Capel and Lara Johnson, has a very clear vision for their décor and design. This, of course, is key to creating a salon that looks and feels exactly as you planned, and will hopefully be able to live up to the demands and expectations of your target clientele.

Lara Johnson Lifestyle is a mix of French boutique and luxurious gentlemen’s club, in a design that the owners say was intended to be completely different from the simplistic décor and clean lines of many contemporary salons.

In a feat of extraordinary planning, the couple managed to transform a huge three-storey building into a salon that somehow feels cosy and welcoming, as well as having just a splash of European sophistication. Johnson says:

“We wanted to create an ambience unmatched in Wales and give it the same feel as our home,”

Lara Johnson Lifestyle features soft, warm-looking wooden floors throughout, beautiful and ornate feature mirrors (which also add a splash of colour), and alternating designs of salon chairs on each floor.

How to promote your salon on a tight budget

You may have the most beautiful décor, comfortable salon chairs and most advanced salon equipment in the world; but all of this is worthless unless you have customers coming through the door.

It isn’t easy to launch a full marketing campaign, especially on a limited budget. However, there are ways to promote your salon without spending a fortune. Once you generate interest in your salon and providing you satisfy your clients’ expectations, word of mouth will do the rest of the work for you.

Try these simple, budget-friendly marketing methods:

Reconnect with ‘lost’ clients. Use your appointment database (or consider getting some salon management software if you don’t have this facility) to identify which clients haven’t visited in six months or so, and email them a personalised incentive to come back. This can be anything from a discount to a free treatment.

Flyer the locals. Distribute flyers featuring special offers to local households, especially those within walking distance of your salon.

Offer free gifts on client purchases. Rather than splashing the cash on gifts, why not use the numerous sample packs your salon is bound to receive from premium suppliers? You can bundle these together and offer them as a free gift when two or more other products are purchased in-salon.

Update your salon’s website, and take advantage of Google tools to analyse how many hits you receive each day.

How to find the right location for your salon

In order for your salon to be a success, you need all the elements of your business to work together to impress clients and keep them coming back for more. All of this revolves around targeting a specific clientele – be it young and hip students, busy professionals or the affluent leisure market – through your salon’s décor, the services you offer and the general vibe in your salon.

More important than any of these factors, however, is location. Securing the perfect location is challenging, but it can literally make or break your business. Therefore, it is essential to do a lot of research into:
• The potential clientele in the area – is it what you are looking for?

• Is there a niche market that needs filling, and will this be profitable enough to sustain your business?
• The competition in the area – will you be able to offer anything different to stand out from the rest?
• The opportunities for growth and expansion in the area

When it comes to choosing a general region or town, you must stay open-minded; as your perfect location could be in the last place you look at and may not even be on your ‘hotlist’.

Once you’ve found your dream location, you need to choose a premises according to how much space you’ll need (will there be room for expansion should your business grow?), your budget and the busyness of the area.

Quick décor fixes for every part of your salon

Every salon needs a quick ‘pick me up’ every now and again, whether it’s some new salon equipment, a different merchandise display or a fresh new colour scheme. An outdated or tired-looking salon space is off-putting to clients, who may desert the business in favour of more cutting-edge establishments unless you make some immediate changes.

Not every salon owner can afford a full refurbishment, however, nor can they afford to close the salon for the time it takes to complete it. This is where a few quick fixes come in; small changes that will freshen up your salon and make a big difference to the way it looks and feels.

The following is a quick-fix idea for each area of your salon:

Walls – You don’t have to undertake a full paint job; simply choose one wall and make a feature of it with paint and strong imagery, graphics or artwork. By lavishing all your attention on this one wall, it makes all the others look better.

Reception – Get a new striking, stylish reception desk. As the reception desk dominates the whole waiting area, this one investment will instantly refresh the whole space.

Merchandise displays – Choose a new shelving unit for your product displays, one that is bright and eye-catching.

Salon chairs – Replace old and shabby salon chairs with new ones, focusing on comfort and functionality over aesthetics.

How to give your salon a cool club vibe

Every successful salon owner knows that you must tailor the décor of your salon to your clientele, and that location plays a very important part in this.

For example, if your salon is located in a business area, the design should be sleek, minimalist and efficient to suit professional clients with high expectations and busy schedules. However, if your salon is on a fashionable street or a trendy area popular with student, your décor will need to be much more cutting edge.

This is the case for Hair by JFK, whose first salon is located in hip and happening central Edinburgh. When owners Karen and Mohammed Brown decided to open a second salon in Bruntsfield, an affluent area teaming with Napier University students, they needed to create just the right vibe with their choice of décor.

Hair by JFK is edgy, exciting and creative, the red and black colour scheme and glossy black salon furniture creating a cool club vibe. Merchandise displays look like well-stocked bars, and the 17 styling stations are fashionably lit with warm red and amber underlights.

The salon is also split into different club ‘zones’, as owner Karen Brown explains:

“We deliberately made the salon look different in separate areas. The main salon has a clubby feel, the mezzanine is calm, and the wash area is sexy.”

Décor ideas for relaxing, tranquil salons

Some salons thrive on being a hive of activity, on the buzz of the salon floor. The décor of these salon spaces is generally vibrant and cutting-edge, relying heavily on colour, technology and eye-catching graphic displays.

This makes sense, as all savvy salon owners know that to be successful, you have to know what your clientele base wants and be able to cater to this in terms of décor, service and price. In the same way that these vibrant spaces will target a young, hip clientele, there is also a growing demand for tranquil salons and spas that represent a haven of good health and well-being?

To capitalise on this burgeoning market, it is necessary to know what makes the salon experience tranquil and relaxing for clients. The first place to start is with décor.

A common mistake many salon owners make is to immediately assume that pure white is the best colour for their salon furniture and walls. Unless the décor is softened with touches of colour and warm lighting; the space can look cold, clinical and empty. Another way to humanise an all-white space is to incorporate natural materials and features like plants, wooden furniture and possibly water features.

Is Hari’s Hairdressers the hippest hair salon in London?

To celebrate the opening of a new sister salon, Hari’s King’s Road, fashion and beauty magazine Grazia recently ran a feature heralding Hari’s Hairdressers on London’s Brompton Road as the coolest salon in London. It certainly seems in the running for the coveted top spot as hippest haircuttery in the nation’s capital, mainly due to the relaxed company ethos, the impeccable standard of service and of course, the jaw-dropping interiors.

What makes Hari’s Hairdressers on Brompton Road different from other salons is that it doesn’t have to try hard to be cutting-edge; it seems to come naturally. The salon has already attracted a host of celebrity clients and glowing praise from a number of fashion and beauty glossy magazines, including Glamour and Harper’s Bazaar as well as Grazia.

Grazia’s beauty team call Hari’s a “beauty haven”, praising the fact that the salon offers a variety of specialist services under one roof. Clients can choose from the services of skilled stylists, colourists, beauty therapists and facialists, all under one roof.

Amongst the facial beauty beds and massage chairs are possibly the best feature of Hari’s, in terms of décor and design. The eclectic and outrageously designed styling stations – each mirror and salon chair set taking on a wild, individual theme – are a real standout, making the salon very memorable to clients.