Ask the EXPERTS |
Professional Beauty
Professional Beauty



I’m ready to expand but have little recruitment experience. How can I find the perfect therapist?

Let’s start at the beginning, with the job advert. Increasingly, employers are using social media to post vacancies. Posting organically on your salon’s own Instagram page is a great way to advertise because the people who see it are those with a genuine interest, as they are following the account already.

Instagram is also a great way to ensure you’re attracting the right employees by checking out applicants’ profiles. By doing this, you can see examples of their work abilities and style, as well as their personality, to see if they fit the salon’s culture. On to the interview, you should be looking for which industry qualifications and association memberships applicants have. Ask about their continuing professional development (CPD). From my experience, if the candidate is truly interested in the industry, they will have made the effort to invest time in this.

Of course, in addition to qualifications, it’s important to establish what industry experience candidates possess, as well as what transferrable skills they may have from previous roles. In the interview, I ask competency-based questions, getting candidates to give examples of specific situations and to reflect on these, detailing what they’ve learned from experience. Then I ask general questions about the candidate’s personality and, wherever possible, I get them to do a trade test.

Remember, your goal is to find the ideal employee. Personally, I’m looking for three things in the perfect candidate – personality, passion and skills. Personality is important to ensure they’ll fit within your established team, passion is something you can’t teach or train, so this needs to shine through naturally, and skills are essential for the salon’s success so these are imperative. On top of this, if you get a good gut feeling, that’s always a positive sign.

Rebecca Cathcart, UK HD Brows training manager, has extensive industry experience both in the UK and the Middle East.

What treatments can I offer to help my older clients ease arthritis and rheumatism?

Arthritis is a common condition that causes stiffness, swelling and pain in one or more joints, which can sometimes lead to low mood and depression, particularly in elderly clients. If you’re suitably qualified, aromatherapy massage is one therapy that can be beneficial.

Possible carrier oils include sweet almond, calendula, grapeseed, jojoba or olive oil and there is a wide selection of anti-inflammatory and painrelieving essential oils to choose from such as rosemary, black pepper, ginger, plai, peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender, Roman chamomile, vetivert, clary sage, cajeput, sweet marjoram and lemon. Light massage of the affected area or joint, followed by some gentle exercises or movements, can be particularly beneficial.

When working with elderly clients, bear in mind that there may be a higher incidence of other conditions affecting their health, which in turn may require medication. It’s therefore important to check that any essential oils you choose will not interfere with their medication or aggravate other health problems. Also, select oils that will not irritate more mature skin (which may be thinner and drier) and ensure that your essential oils are diluted to 1-2%.

You may have to adapt your massage and essential oil selection according to how the client feels on the day and avoid massage over any joint that is actively inflamed. To err on the side of caution, make the initial treatment quite short, so you can gauge their response at the next appointment, and then gradually increase the length over time.

Ultimately, the use of essential oils and massage can provide great relief to painful joints, helping to reduce pain and improve the quality and outlook on life in elderly clients.

Kate Mulliss has worked as a complementary therapy lecturer and assessor for more than 10 years and now teaches reflexology and aromatherapy courses in London and at Teach Therapy in Wales.

What exactly is a “brand identity” and how can I develop one for my salon?

Your brand identity is the essence of what makes your salon unique. It’s about knowing who you are as a brand and curating a distinct image of your salon that you present to both employees and customers.

Brand identity is shaped through all communications, from your marketing copy, social media presence and staff interaction with customers, through to your salon’s interior. Your brand should be evident in all aspects of your business and if you want your salon to stand out from the competition and encourage customer loyalty, it’s incredibly important to get your identity right.

Take the time to research and formulate your identity, setting down ideas and guidelines to ensure you’re going in the right direction. What kind of personality does your salon have? Is it retro, punky, personal or luxury? Who is your ideal customer and what are their interests and aspirations? Look at what your competitors are doing – is there a customer base they are ignoring that you could pick up?

Across your salon interior and exterior, marketing materials and your online presence, avoid using too many different fonts or designs which might dilute brand impact. Stick to your signature style to build trust with clients and create a recognisable brand.

Jo Martin is marketing director at salon supply wholesaler Sally Europe, where she runs all customer and marketing activities for the store and web-based businesses.

How should I advise clients to best maintain their skin between facials?

Firstly, you must remind them that it’s important to invest in their skin every single day. Clients should cleanse once in the morning and always double cleanse in the evening. The first cleanse simply removes the remnants of the day, such as make-up, dust, pollution and any SPF lotions or creams applied earlier. The second goes much deeper and gets to work on removing any excess dirt, sweat, sebum or other nasties trapped in pores.

For clients suffering from the dreaded adult acne, a good cleansing plan should become a daily ritual but they should ensure that the cleanser is pH balanced and non-drying – I always recommend balms or oils.

It’s also super important to advise exfoliating at least once a week to help to keep pores from becoming clogged. This will also reveal smoother and more radiant, glowing skin. Masks with AHAs are a good way to keep skin looking glossy and fresh.

Another powerful step in any skincare routine is the addition of a serum. It can help address a wide range of skincare concerns including dehydration, pigmentation and radiance, and is well worth the investment to keep the skin in equilibrium.

Finally, teach clients how to smooth fine lines by performing facial massage at home. My favourite is a technique called tapotement because it instantly lifts and rejuvenates the skin and leaves a tingly sensation. Clients should simply tap gently on the skin when applying serum or oil, focusing on areas that show signs of premature ageing, such as the forehead, for 30 to 60 seconds. This stimulates the blood circulation to the skin, leaving it firmer and plumper.

Antonia Burrell is a celebrity facialist, aesthetician, lecturer and founder of the eponymous skincare line. She is also a member of Babtac and the Society of Cosmetic Scientists.

I’m thinking of franchising my business, what do I need to consider?

You need to make sure your current model can be repeated entirely. Franchising is a blueprint of a current existing successful business in which the business model is repeated in different locations.

Make sure your business is branded correctly as franchisees will be buying into the brand and the customer will need to trust the company as recognisable and reputable.

Franchising is not something that you can just jump into, you need to have franchise agreements and operation manuals, which are lengthy documents that must be looked over by a specialist franchise solicitor. You need to know these documents inside out as they are legally binding and will tie both parties into the agreement.

I decided to franchise my business, KG Salon, years ago but the model only launched last year due to all of the background work needed. The reason I wanted to franchise my salon was to help people who dreamed of owning their own business but wanted the backing of a successful brand.

Franchising gives people a head start in business with support, ongoing help. When I opened my salon it was a very lonely place and I craved that support and someone to talk to.

Katie Godfrey is owner of the KG Salons, which has company-owned salons in Bedfordshire and Luton, as well as two franchises in Wokingham and Essex.


This article appears in the April 2019 Issue of Professional Beauty

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This article appears in the April 2019 Issue of Professional Beauty