Boutique salons are all the rage these days, especially as space is more at a premium than ever. In these small, cosy salons, clients can benefit from personal VIP treatment and intimate, fashionable surroundings designed with care.
However, these kinds of salons are only successful if a lot of thought is put into the design, layout and furnishing of the salon. If you simply haven’t redecorated your salon for years, don’t assume that it automatically becomes a shabby chic boutique paradise. Instead, it will be seen as unloved, outdated and hopelessly passé. Clients cannot hope to get a fresh new look on their visit if the salon is twenty years out of date.
The boutique salons with the longest waiting lists are those whose owners take the time to pick out the perfect salon furniture, track down the latest pieces of art and fashion and really stamp their own ideas and personality on the place.
These salon owners create completely unique spaces and design schemes that are a million miles away from the identi-kit décor of the chain salons generally found on the high street and in shopping centres.
The well-established Shimmers Hair Salon in the Merseyside town of St Helens is an inspiring example of how the perfect colour palette can be used to create an uplifting, fresh vibe within a salon space.
Shimmers is vibrant, striking and youthful. The fresh, clean white walls of the space are given a little zing thanks to lime green salon chairs and colourful merchandise displays. The layout and overall ethos is simple and effortless yet chic and fun – it’s a space you want to spend some time in.
The salon has been in existence for more than 25 years, and managed by owner Lynne Webster for 14 of these years. Lynne, who coordinates every detail in her business from the arrangement of salon furniture to the flowers in reception, explained the thinking behind Shimmer’s unique and memorable design to HJi Hairdressers’ Journal. She said:
“My aim was to create a salon that was totally different to any other in the area – quirky, colourful and with a unique design.”
Lynne also talked about the salon’s unique backwash area, which she has called Backwash Heaven and which took around two months to fully design. She said:
“Clients can discuss their product recommendations based on their consultation, and we talk about retail products while they are having their hair washed,”
A messy, untidy salon is a disorganised one, in which no one can ever find what they need and things go missing all the time. This has a very negative impact on both the client’s first impression of the salon and how efficiently the salon runs on a day-to-day basis. Quite simply, a little mess and untidiness could driving your customers away.
So, what is the solution? You can’t pack everything away in cupboards or the back room, as a lot of things (i.e. hairbrushes, hairdryers, products, towels etc) are used every day. The answer is intelligent storage, making use of specially designed pieces of salon furniture to help you manage all the odds and ends in your salon.
Options you could consider include:
• Trolleys. No salon owner can afford to be without these portable wonders with their trays, shelves and designated places for everything. You can move them between styling stations or push them out of the way when you want to tidy up.
• Cupboards. The best kinds of cupboards to use in your salon are floor-to-ceiling ones which have sliding doors and maybe a mirrored surface so they look like part of the salon’s décor. They should be easily accessible and kept neat, tidy and organised.
• Staff room. To stop your staff cluttering up the salon with their personal belongings, you should consider fitting a staff room or even just a cupboard or locker so they can store their stuff neatly.
Clients come to your hair salon or beauty spa to relax and be pampered, and your aim as a salon owner is to ensure that guests leave both looking and feeling good. In order to achieve this, you need to think about the levels of privacy you provide to your guests.
Every client needs a little of their own space where they can truly unwind. No one likes to feel stared at in the middle of a haircut, pedicure or a facial, and especially not during a massage. This is why you need to come up with ways to create private areas in your salon and give your guests their own space.
Here are some ideas:
• Treatment rooms. Having at least one treatment room is essential if your salon offers beauty services, but you must make sure that each space is set up correctly with the right salon equipment and with the client’s comfort in mind.
• Partition walls. These are the next best thing to actual walls, and they can help you to create ‘zones’ within the salon.
• Curtains, drapes and mirrors. These can be used decoratively to separate off areas and give clients their own space. They are the cheapest and most attractive solution.
No hair salon or beauty spa would be able to function properly were it not for a few staple pieces of salon equipment and furniture. You can add as many decorative features and high-tech gadgets as you like, but your salon won’t run smoothly unless you get the basics right first.
Salon chairs are arguably the most important pieces of furniture in your salon. Clients use them for their consultation then head off to the backwash area, returning to their chairs ready for their cut, colour or style treatment to begin.
As clients spend a lot of time in salon chairs, they need to be comfortable and ergonomically designed. Another great feature to look for is adjustable arm and foot rests, so as to accommodate clients of all shapes and sizes. A client wriggling and squirming because they are uncomfortable in their chair is not only a bad experience for the client; it also makes the stylist’s job more difficult.
Your salon chairs must be easy and quick to clean, so you can keep hygiene standards high and keep business moving at a good pace. Most salons choose leather salon chairs for this reason.
These are just two of the most important features your salon chairs should possess, but you also mustn’t forget about things like style, price and portability.
The Wild Life Hair salon in Sydney, Australia has one hugely exciting feature that few salons can replicate, no matter how elaborate their design scheme may be. The selling point of Wild Life is a breath-taking view of the awe-inspiring Sydney Harbour, which guests can drink in and savour through salon-length panoramic views.
The salon is owned by Phil Cordony, Gary Latham and Jayne Wild, who spent seventeen years in their previous premises before deciding to upgrade to the extraordinary and perfectly placed Point building, which overlooks Bradfield Park and the world-famous Harbour Bridge.
As for the design of the salon, Jayne explains that they wanted to enhance the sense of light and space, whilst also using the style of upmarket Sydney restaurants for inspiration. She explains:
“The theme of our salon is an extension of the surroundings,”
“It’s very light, clean and bright with white or mirrored walls, green accents and timber flooring.”
The salon also uses the plentiful space available in a very innovative way. As well as sharing space with beauty salon Essential Therapy, the salon features roll-away salon furniture and sliding mirrors. This means that the space can be transformed at the drop of a hat and can also be used for presentations, functions, open days and launches.
The seasoned owners of the salon franchise Hooker and Young are celebrating opening a brand new branch in Darlington.
Michael Young and Gary Hooker, who between them have a host of successful salon businesses under their belts, decided on Darlington because of its close proximity to their existing Newcastle business.
The new salon is located in a prestigious area, on a street often described as the “Rodeo Drive of Darlington”. The salon’s stylish and luxurious interiors are contained within a boutique townhouse with enough space for both a retail area on the ground floor and the ultimate salon space upstairs.
The design of the salon was masterminded by Hooker and Young in conjunction with franchisee Lesley Charles, who will run the Darlington salon. Subsequently, the salon’s décor has the Hooker and Young Corporate feel combined with a stamp of individuality from Lesley. Speaking to HJi Hairdressers Journal, Lesley said:
“The premises were already a hairdressing salon but to get the look we wanted we completely gutted the building and started again,”
“Providing a luxurious ambience for clients was really important but so was creating an environment the team would be proud to come to every day.”
A salon that is constantly updated and revamped will always be more interesting and enjoyable to visit than one that is resolutely stuck in a rut. Freshening up your salon needn’t be expensive, however; all it takes is a little inspiration and ingenuity.
Take a look outside, as the weather this month has been beautiful. We are now in a new season, with hopefully more good weather on the way. You should be aware that warm, sunny weather has a positive effect on your client’s mood, and your salon should reflect that.
Try these cheap, cheerful tips to get your salon ready for the spring/summer season:
• Clean the windows and let the sunlight in. In fact, clean everything! Make your salon sparkle, as there will be nowhere for dirt and dust to hide once the sunshine comes pouring in.
• Ventilate your salon, even if it’s just opening the window to let some fresh air in
• Offer refreshments to suit the season, such as cool fruity drinks or an exotic summer tea collection
• Add a touch of nature, whether it’s just a vase of fresh flowers on reception or a brand new pot plant in every treatment room
If your hair and beauty business plans to offer beauty treatments, you need to ensure that you have a few things in place at your salon or spa. These include:
• Trained, qualified, experienced and skilled beauty therapists
• High-quality, functional salon equipment in great working order
• Enough space in the salon to give beauty clients a private, relaxing experience
• A competitively priced treatment menu
Even if all of these things are in place, however, there may be one thing still standing in the way of visitors raving about the quality your salon’s beauty services to all of their friends. This crucial factor is comfort, and it applies to everything from the temperature and ambience of the room to the attitude of the therapist and the ergonomic design of the salon chairs.
Comfort needs to be a top priority in every piece of salon furniture you buy, including facial beauty beds, massage chairs and even barber chairs. The client needs to feel physically comfortable, as well as psychologically, or the treatment may end up being a failure regardless of the skill of the therapist or the number of scented candles in the room.
The growing demand for Garra Rufa fish pedicures has prompted one salon owner in Clevedon, North Somerset, to open a dedicated treatment room for it.
The Beauty Spot, located on Alexandra Road in Clevedon, has opened The Reef Room for visitors wanting the dead or dry skin on their feet nibbled away by garra rufa ‘doctor’ fish.
The new treatment room contains a tank filled with the garra rufa fish, which begin removing dead skin cells and exfoliating the skin as soon as the client’s feet are placed in the water. As well as making feet smoother and softer, the treatment is also believed to be good for the treatment of psoriasis, eczema and poor circulation.
One of the owners of The Beauty Spot, Gill Perry, said of the new room and treatment:
“This treatment has been used in the Middle East for hundreds of years but was only introduced in Britain last year.
“The response from clients so far has been very good.”
The rest of salon boasts stylish décor and salon furniture, and experienced, friendly staff who use only the very best salon equipment to offer a range of beauty services.