The Future of Hairdressing – What Will the Industry Look Like in 2048?
As Michael Van Clarke celebrates his salon’s 30th anniversary, he shares his thoughts on what the hair industry could look like in 30 years’ time and how to prepare for the future of hairdressing, now.
Natural beauty and wellness will have a strong connection with consumers today and in the near future. Looking at the next 30 years I believe we will see some key societal shifts.
1. Clients will have more money and less quiet time
I believe market demand will continue to polarise into two groups – speed and entertainment. A good example of speed would be going to a Starbucks for a coffee. Clients who want speed in the salon will be results-driven and will be looking for clinically efficient offerings.
A good example for entertainment would London’s Soho House – it’s a glamorous, social and inspiring space that offers care, relaxation and nourishment for the soul. Your salon could look at all of the services offered in a space like Soho House and consider how you could offer an express version that is consistently good and consistently quick to tap into both types of market demand. For example, this could be applied to blow-dries, colour, facials, manicures and massages.
2. The holistic health movement
Hairdressers acquire a deep level of trust and influence over a client’s hair health. The number of UK salons solely offering hair services is shrinking, while the number of salons offering both hair and beauty are growing.
The key to the survival of the NHS is educating people on disease prevention rather than cure. In fact, some high-level think tanks have suggested it could be cheaper for the NH
S to fund hair care and facials in salons to improve self-esteem and boost personal care. Beauty salon services and services focused on wellbeing are moving closer together as beauty is seen more clearly as an expression of health rather than a cosmetic veneer.
I believe salons will be used to bring practitioners together and will offer alternative services for their clients. Psychology, nutrition, fitness and strength is a focus for the Michael Van Clarke salon in 2019.
We are extending our offering to include more holistic wellness. We’re opening a medical gym next to our existing salon. This will be a personal training facility with nutritionists and medical staff on hand to advise on key health issues and practices for a longer, stronger and healthier life. We will partner with some of the world’s finest health retreats to give an exclusive programme of lifelong wellness for our clients. This will complement our natural approach to hair and beauty.
As part of the plan we will offer more services in home visits, create quieter club-like spaces for clients to relax and spend time, offer express treatments that give tangible results in shorter time frames and develop more effective training methods for our team and the industry.
3. The value of me-time
Today and in the future, you will find clients will pay handsomely to have some ‘me time’ in a peaceful and tranquil environment.
Retail stores have adapted to the power of online by using their bricks and mortar to give customers an experience ranging from cafes and restaurants to spaces for them to relax. Similarly, salons will need more square footage in future to give clients time and space to relax and to be inspired by something new and interesting.
Food and beverage areas, extended beauty and spa areas and extra spaces for quiet working are just some of the reasons why members choose to join membership clubs. There are lots of opportunities to keep clients in your salon for longer and wanting to come back regularly and if you make it entertaining, relaxing and rewarding for them.
Beyond that, I’ve learned not to be overly specific too far ahead. If we climb the hill in front of us a new mountain range often comes into view.
30 Years of Michael Van Clarke – What Michael says…
“I can look back on a privileged career of many successes and even more failures. For example, opening my business five days before Christmas in 1988 may not have been the greatest timing, but I knew that if we didn’t open as soon as the refit was complete, I would’ve run out of cash and not opened at all.
Similarly, I quickly learned that I hadn’t planned or prepared for running a new business sufficiently and it was unfortunate that I opened ahead of the late 80s recession, so the property was worth half what we’d paid for it for the next 11 years and interest rates on the mortgage went up to 18.5% at the peak. Luckily, we survived, and my very small close-knit team and a surplus of wonderful loyal clients meant we could deal with the challenges that hit us and take a small step upwards at a time.
It’s been exciting and enlightening to enter the lifestyles of high-profile people that feature in the media. The grand houses and palaces, private planes, yachts and helicopters. It’s been an incredible privilege to look after and be amongst some of the world’s most interesting and diverse clients. Over the years I’ve simultaneously felt drawn to teach young stylists and apprentices, and that has been the most rewarding aspect of my career. Many have gone on to have their own salons and stay in touch as part of our alumni community.”