Culture Club

In my role at 3•6•5 I get the opportunity to visit salons all over the country, but sadly I come across very few that stand out from their competition. Most salons are offering the same services, in the same way as they were last year, and probably the year before. With the number of client visits per year falling and the industry suffering a general shortage of team members, this type of complacency will eventually lead to extinction.

Why should a client choose them and how are they going to attract the best stylists and team in town? I often refer to hairdressing ‘temples’. Bright shiny salons with shiny floors, sparkly mirrors, expensive chairs and equipment, but no soul. The owner has spent a fortune on the fixtures and fittings but then forgets to invest financially and emotionally on the most important asset they have: their team. Their salon has no culture. So, what exactly does that mean?

What culture means in terms of a salon is that the team works together towards common goals, embracing and valuing each other and their clients. When a team has a strong culture the way they relate to each other and to their clients is natural and consistent. This leads to a customer experience that creates a reputation and a brand identity. This is vital if a salon wants to grow and expand in the future. It is also vital if you want to set yourself apart from your competition, allowing you to raise your prices and hopefully your profits.

At 3•6•5 our members have a set of values called Guidelines to Greatness, but it is easy for any team to create their own by sitting down and discussing and listing the key points of behaviour and values they all agree with. That then becomes their own team agreement, and this forms the basis for the culture in the salon. There is, however, one key ingredient that many salon owners overlook: themselves.

Leading the way
The true culture of any salon absolutely starts with the leader. When I think of salons I have visited where the culture is apparent as soon as you walk in the door, it always comes from the top. A few examples that I can think off that I have encountered include Sophia Hilton at Not Another Salon. Her enthusiasm for embracing diversity in her team and her passion for creating something unique, has enabled her and her team to build an amazing business with a fabulous reputation.

When I visited the Michael Van Clarke salon, I was blown away by the attention to detail and quality in everything they did. From the shaven cucumber in the beautiful flask of iced water in reception, to the personal appearance of every single team member, this passion for quality comes from Michael.

Amanda Dicker’s passion for communication and the consultation has created a unique environment at The Chapel, where services are charged by time. If I was still cutting hair then these are the type of salons that I would fight to work in.

Examples like this show how, if you create a business that has a clear culture which is unique, then you create an environment where price becomes secondary to the experience. What they also provide is an opportunity for team members to grow, and evolve, and create a career that is truly aspirational. ✂