Knowing your customer is vital for any business, but it’s particularly important when it comes to designing a salon. You don’t, afterall, want to part with large sums of cash designing an environment that really doesn’t appeal to your market.
But how go get to know you clients are, and when you do know, how do you design your salon to suit them?
“If you’re happy reacting to whatever clients happen to come your way then fine, but if you’d prefer to get a grip on your business and actively lead it to where you believe it should be. It’s important to understand your customer profile. And it’s is especially key when planning a refit,” explains Matthew.
Scouting around the area and seeing what businesses are busy and which ones have closed down will tell you instantly what kind of salon should work. “A quick look around the neighbourhood will quickly tell you who your clients is. Is a salon surrounded by boutiques and smart gastropubs, or is it all chain-stores and discounted shops?” asks Matthew.
Assess who will be spending money in your salon and really consider the type of environment they would expect. “Do you have offices or is a college right on your doorstep? Who’s got the spending power locally and who is currently taking their money? If you are the only hairdresser in town, it may well be that ‘everyone’ truly is your client. But if you are based in a bustling market town with only a distinctly average salon for competition, the door is wide open for you to welcome the wealthy, more discerning customers inside,” says Matthew.
Obviously there will always be exceptions of salons to attract the majority of their client from outside the area, but generally speaking knowing your client will make or break your business.
Having determined who your customer is, you should have a good start point for your salon design. It’s sounds obvious, but it’s so important that if you’re appealing for a young students and professionals that you opt for a design that’s fresh and funky, or if you’re in a village full of wealthy retired couples then keep it classic and stylish all the way. “In any salon refit. It’s so important to remember that you’re primarily setting out to please your clients. It’s so easy to design a salon based around what you personally like, want, and think your clients will appreciate, but is it truly what your clients want from a salon?”
Working with materials such as wood and stone will give your salon a more traditional feel, whereas glass and metal definitely have a contemporary feel. Classic browns, blacks, creams and neutral tones will appeal to a more conservative client base, whereas raw brickwork fused with loud wallpaper and brightly coloured styling stations will attract a younger more fashion-conscious crowd.
The amount of space you dedicate to each styling station will also have an effect on the overall feel to your salon, and is something Matthew says should always be considered. “Don’t instantly think that having more styling stations will increase your turnover – It’s not always the case. Sure, if you want to create a bustling, hip almost nightclub environment, then by all means needs lots of stations to get this feel, but if you’re aiming to attract the big spenders who want luxury, then give them space to relax and feel pampered,” he says.
Additional luxuries that gives you salon a point of difference are also a major factor in justifying higher prices that the compensation. “ That might mean installing a juice bar, or serving champagne. or perhaps installing free Wi-Fi if you’re appealing for younger professionals,” adds Matthew. “Equally, if it’s students you’re trying to appeal to then the latest magazines, music videos one the TV and free beer is a must to get them through your door!”
So it seems there are rights or wrongs when it comes to designing the ideal salon, because what works on one high street, won’t necessarily work on one a mile away. Know your customer, focus on their needs and then just go for it. If ever there was a time to put your personal design preference to one side and let you customer, or potential customer, dictate the style of your business, this is most definitely it.
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