Ask the Experts
A former employee has opened a rival salon. How do I protect my business?
You’ll never forget that sucker-punch moment when your best therapist tells you they are leaving and, worse still, going to set up their own salon down the road.
This is the person you mentored, nurtured and helped to build up a busy column. Now, you’re scared they’re going to take their clients – the ones you helped to generate – with them. It’s enough to make even the calmest, most agreeable salon owner blow smoke out of their ears. My advice as someone who has been there? Don’t get angry, get clever.
Whatever you do, don’t retaliate. Don’t bad mouth and don’t get into a price war. I’ve been in this situation, and by being clever, I’ve not only survived but grown my business to be even bigger and better.
If your former employee has remembered everything you’ve taught them, which is highly likely, they will probably hold a salon opening party. To help protect your business, you should host a client indulgence day, reaffirming your brand and letting your existing customers feel valued.
You also need to be brave and start reconnecting with your clients on a more personal level. Target your former employee’s most loyal customers and invite them in for a free service in exchange for a customer review. When I say review, I don’t mean asking them to complete an online questionnaire, but sitting down with the client after their treatment and listening to the good and bad things they say. By offering this free service, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to introduce your competitor’s clients to one of your other therapists and hopefully you’ll win their custom back. This is exactly the type of strategy I put into place when not one but two of my top performers left me to open a rival business, and it was crucial in keeping clients who possibly would have followed the ex-employees to their new venture.
Penny Etheridge is managing director of Radiant Hair and Beauty Consultancy, which offers salon business coaching services. She has first-hand experience of owning and running salons.
What advice should I give clients before their first Brazilian or Hollywood wax?
The terms Brazilian and Hollywood are often used interchangeably by clients but there are subtle differences between the two that they need to be aware of.
A Brazilian wax leaves a small strip of hair on the front, with all hair in-between and through to the backside removed. A Hollywood wax involves complete removal of all genital hair, resulting in an entirely bald zone. For therapists, this is the easier wax to perform.
Some clients believe they need to prepare for an intimate wax by trimming the hairs, but they don’t. Giving the area a little hair cut prior to a Brazilian doesn’t minimise pain or aid you in performing the treatment.
With more hair, you can comb and detangle to ensure better grip of the wax, which aids in removing hair from the root. This keeps clients smoother for longer and reduces ingrown hairs, so make customers aware of this on point of booking.
Another common waxing misconception is that women can’t wax during their period. Menstrual cycles are a part of life and waxing services needn’t be put on hold due to a once-a-month event.
However, women generally experience more sensitivity during this time and it can be experienced all over the body. Advise clients to avoid booking treatments on the first day of their cycle, scheduling them towards the end instead.
Holly Hayes is international training coordinator for waxing brand Caronlab Australia. She teaches therapists the skills and confidence needed to perform professional waxing treatments.
Tech neck is a modernday ager. What’s the best way to treat it?
People are spending more time looking down at their smartphones and tablets than ever before, which has a significant effect on their facial contours. “Tech neck” – when someone repeatedly cranes their head down to look at a screen – is a modernday condition that causes the skin on the neck to age prematurely.
This forward-bent position restricts the tissue’s normal metabolism, causing fluid accumulation and excess fat storage in the lower part of the face, which can lead to the formation of a new wrinkle, running from under the chin along the neck.
As we age, we lose density and elasticity in our tissue. The dermoepidermal junction flattens, causing tissue to sag, and the synthesis of macromolecules such as collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid slow down.
On the face, this shows as slackening of the skin and migration of fat. Facial contours that were once V-shaped are now U-shaped, which can make us look old, tired and give the impression of weight gain.
When treating this area, use products with active ingredients to promote lipolysis and burn fat from the tissue, activating the synthesis of macromolecules to lift the face, helping to reverse the ageing process.
Minna Takalo is the UK national education manager for French skincare brand Sothys. She has more than 12 years’ experience in beauty therapy, professional skincare and education.
How can I attract clients looking for aesthetic treatments to my spa?
With people searching for aesthetic treatments such as chemical peels and microneedling more than ever before, the spas and salons who don’t offer these anti-ageing solutions could soon be in the minority.
For those new to offering aesthetic treatments, a lot can be learned from clinics that provide a prescriptive, targeted approach to tackling clients’ skin concerns. One way they achieve this personalisation is through a thorough consultation and by adapting the treatment to the client’s skin as it changes month to month. Their treatment menus are also vast, including standalone treatments for areas that tend to age quicker, like the jawline and around the eyes.
Clients who express an interest in aesthetic treatments would also be best suited to a course of machine-based treatments as a preventative measure before exploring more advanced options. These clients will always gravitate towards the most potent formulations and latest releases from skincare brands as they want the most dramatic results.
For clients with hectic lives, making time for wellbeing and achieving results are equally important. An anti-ageing facial that incorporates a peel or microdermabrasion will help them prioritise self-care without neglecting their skin.
Louisa Forrest is assistant manager of The House Beauty Spa in Liverpool, which won the North West Boutique Salon of the Year Award at the 2017 Professional Beauty Regional Awards.
What are the pros of converting to digital consultation forms?
More beauty businesses are going paperless, offering a modern service for clients that records their vital information in a seamless way. But why make the move from paper?
Digital consultation forms are a great way to streamline the consultation process; meaning no paper forms are ever misplaced. They’re also a great support to multi-site locations, giving easier access to records.
Collecting static client information such as mobile numbers and email addresses is important for marketing purposes, so you can easily reach out to clients and keep them informed of any exciting changes, helping to boost revenue streams.
Digital consultation forms tidy up your reception area and stop your receptionist from wasting time deciphering clients’ handwriting.
Capturing essential medical history and allergies is also crucial for identifying any contraindications, and having this information to hand each time the client comes in helps give peace of mind when offering different beauty and aesthetic treatments.
With GDPR arriving on May 25, it’s imperative to ensure clients’ medical information is safe. Along with customer e-signatures for legal compliance, it puts a safeguard around your business.
Amy Douglas is a salon consultant for Shortcuts Software, working with beauty businesses across the Midlands and the South.
I want to grow my male client base. What’s the best way to market my tanning services?
To grow your client base, you need to review the way you’re marketing your services because the messages and images used to appeal to a female audience might not be as appealing to men.
Think about the wording and call to action; for example, a pamper package wouldn’t have the same appeal as it would to a female client. Creating a men’s treatment section on your menu will also allow potential clients to easily find what they’re after and you can even stock a bespoke male tanning solution, making it easier to promote your services.
When developing your marketing strategy, research new places that might have a higher male footfall, such as barber shops, tailors or local gyms, and advertise your services there. Social media is also a great way to target guys, allowing you to create bespoke messaging specifically to that audience.
Don’t forget the power of word-of-mouth recommendations though. Although male grooming treatments are on the increase, there’s still a proportion of men who don’t openly admit they would like to go for a one-off treatment, let alone regular ones.
However, we know that a lot of men tend to borrow their other half’s beauty products or go to the same salon or therapist if a friend recommends it to them. Therefore, a refer-a-friend scheme could be worthwhile.
Laura Jones is senior product manager for Sienna X, overseeing the brand’s tanning ranges and working closely with professional accounts to understand their business needs and offer support.
What should I consider when waxing transgender clients?
Intimate waxing can be daunting at the best of times, and when it comes to transgender clients, comfort is key. They should know you are there to provide them with expert advice and a professional service; with the added benefit of making them feel great.
Every client is different, so during consultation ask if they have any special requirements or questions and keep the dialogue open. For example, they may want a certain therapist to perform the treatment.
This is key as the client is paying for a service and needs to feel confident that they are in the best hands. Every person, no matter their shape, size or gender, should feel totally at ease and comfortable discussing their requirements when it comes to hair removal.
Regarding the wax itself, you should aim to calm the skin because it could be sensitive due to hormone medication, and help them slow down and reduce hair regrowth with suitable aftercare products.
You should also explain that there may be some variations between using strip wax and peelable hot wax and that you are deciding which wax to use at the time depending on the client’s individual needs. It’s about building trust between you and the client
Frankie Farnesi is founder of specialist waxing salon Naked Hare in Brixton, London. Farnesi is planning to expand the business across the UK and Ireland with a franchise model.