Business

Creating a Luxury Experience in the Salon

by sophieh / last updated July 21, 2008

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In the current economic climate, with interest rates soaring and the housing market in a slump, it’s more important than ever that your salon stands out from the crowd if you’re to win a cut of your clients’ income.

Far from slashing their prices and trimming their overheads, an exclusive and successful set of salon owners are specialising in offering their clients unbridled opulence and the opportunity of unrivalled pampering. And their investment in indulgence is paying off.

The ‘Lipstick Factor’

Set in London’s impeccably upper-class Sloane Square, Richard Ward Hair & Metrospa boasts a wealth of A-list clients and is famed for its devotion to decadence.

“We’re all aware of the ‘lipstick factor’ in the economy – how cosmetic sales boom when recession hits, with the explanation that when women can’t afford a new dress, they’ll treat themselves to a new lipstick instead,” explains salon owner Richard.

And he believes it’s a similar story when it comes to clients’ hair. “When the economic climate is tough, people are more inclined to treat themselves to things they consider to be really important, like truly excellent hairdressing or beauty therapy. It means that we have to up our game even more.”

Add a Personal Touch

As the credit crunch continues to bite, Mette Haxthausen, lifestyle salon manger at the Aveda Institute in London, agrees that offering a uniquely special service is key to keeping clients.

“We believe it’s vital to offer a bespoke service, both in terms of technical advice and the communication between guests and staff,” she says.

“The personal relationship a client has with their stylist, colourist or spa therapist is part of what keeps guests coming back.”

Build A Luxury Environment

While your budget might not stretch to the fixtures and fittings installed in some of the UK’s most awe-inspiring interiors, it’s certainly worth adding some elements of extravagance.

Gary Hooker and Michael Young had bespoke furniture built to suit the sumptuous surroundings of their Serenity Spa salon at the plush Seaham Hall hotel, County Durham.

“The venue is so unique that we wanted to create the perfect interior that would complement the salon as a whole,” they explain.

That commitment to quality extends from the most comfortable handmade furnishings to the less-expensive fabulous features, such as ultra-soft towels and a constant supply of fresh flowers on display throughout the salon.

Provide Show-Stopping Service

And while Daniel Galvin’s central London super-salon boasts some show-stopping design elements, such as its 40ft water feature and a glass staircase, operations director Stephen Nurse says it takes more than stunning statement pieces to create the real wow-factor.

“Service is imperative to the delivery of luxury – we make every client feel they’re genuinely valued,” he sums up.

“It’s essential to create a standard of service that clients greatly look forward to – and that’s particularly important during an economic downturn when a visit to the hairdressers may be competing with a meal out, a new outfit, or another indulgence.”

Must-haves for Luxury on a shoestring

  • Fresh flowers: a vase of blooms creates an indulgent ambience
  • Good manners: make your clients feel important and looked-after
  • Space: turn an unused area into a chill-out zone or private room
  • Cleanliness: keep the salon clutter-free and clean
  • Aroma: scented candles or oils can help a space feel special
  • Education: understand the benefits of premium products and explain them to clients to secure sales

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