How your Business could Benefit from Freelance Stylists
Chop Chop London is a salon brand that is built to cater for the 21st century consumer who is time poor and always on the move. The brand, which recently opened a new permanent base in the regenerated Wembley Park has gone from strength to strength in the time since opening it’s doors in Old Street back in 2018.
Kaye Sotomi, co-founder and director made the decision to cater to the freelance community, which is fast becoming the majority. But, he believes freelance stylists often struggle to find the flexibility they require under the existing status quo, which is where salons like his can help.
In this exclusive interview with Kaye Sotomi, HJ discovers how offering stylists a fully flexible freelance contract and publishing the hours available weekly to suit their lifestyles, could benefit you and your salon business…
Why did you decide to employ your staff on a freelance basis?
We decided to go with freelance stylists for three core reasons:
- Our service model imitates the session styling model as we’re offering clients quick and fashionable hairstyles on dry hair. This means we need stylists who can work in a fast-paced and high-pressure environment. The majority of the stylists who have this type of experience are freelancers, so we feel Chop Chop is able to bring session styling into a salon environment.
- Through some of the qualitative research we carried out with stylists and barbers during the development stage, we realised the majority of people we spoke with wanted the flexibility to diversify their skills and improve their earning potential. Also, we noticed a trend across the job market, where employees wish to spend less time travelling and more time with loved ones, which is difficult for someone who has a full-time contact.
- As a self-funded business enterprise, we needed to keep costs down where we could and this approach helps us to do that. Plus, while catering to the need for flexible working required by our stylists.
What are the benefits to your business?
We believe there are lots of benefits to having a freelance team, along with the business model we have adopted.
Our clients benefit from a salon business that understands they are time poor and want an efficient and convenient service. With our booking app infrastructure, walk in availability and our 20-minute per service approach, our customers really get convenience.
As consumers, we all want quality but at a reasonable price, so we offer experienced stylists and barbers who will deliver a quality cut and/or styling for £20.
We are all more conscious about social and environmental issues, and as a business we have a social justice message at our core. We are proud to cater to all hair types and offer a gender-neutral price point. The demand for freelancers to work with different types of hair has grown exponentially, and this is definitely a benefit to our business as we can tap into that skill set. Plus, if they don’t already have it, they can learn it through our training. As a brand we celebrate diversity and gender equality every day.
Finally, customer appreciation cannot be ignored, therefore all of our customers get loyalty points when they visit us, with the opportunity to get discounted and/or free services over a period of time. This keeps driving business back to our freelance team.
How do your staff benefit from being on a freelance contract?
Our stylists get to be part of a business that truly values their contributions and gives them the flexibility they need. We encourage all of our stylists to have their own professional social media page and to promote themselves using the content we create together. We give all of our freelance stylists between two to four days of training at no upfront cost to them.
We encourage all of our stylists to have their own professional social media page and to promote themselves using the content we create together.
We encourage clients to leave the stylist, as well as the brand, reviews on our app or Google, which helps them to get feedback and in turn means clients will request them specifically next time. We guarantee a minimum per hour wage and a percentage commission on every client. A Chop Chop freelance stylist’s earning potential is up to £20 per hour. We believe our stylists are the artist, the customer is their canvas and Chop Chop is their tool.
How do you maintain staff retention and brand loyalty?
We try to be fair and accommodating to everyone’s personal circumstances, while also reminding them that our business is their business. We are a young company with really big plans and our team know they can be part of that future if they play their cards right. We have a fun, relaxed but professional environment, which our staff and clients enjoy. We have such a diverse mix of stylists, they also benefit from learning new skills from one another. Our message of being inclusive also applies to our stylists and they welcome our ethos and practices.
What are your recommendations to other salon owners?
Clients want to feel included, valued and they want more flexible services. They also want transparency and price points to reflect this change. Your staff are your most valued assets – embrace the change in working demands and seek to collaborate with them.
This article is a part of HJ’s Freelance Week in association with Wella Professionals