20th April 2022
Is the hairdressing industry in crisis? I’m sorry to say it, but the answer is yes! The only saving grace is, so is every other business, (small comfort that brings).
It’s not all doom and gloom though, we are a resilient bunch and we can make some changes to how we operate that can help us succeed in these challenging times.
The downturn in people wanting to enter the world of hairdressing and barbering has been happening slowly but surely over the last decade. The lack of enthusiasm from a significant number of school leavers for any kind of job, let alone a hairdressing / barbering apprenticeship is having an impact, lots of school leavers want to be on BGT or some other wannabe tv show and become famous overnight instead of having a career, and if that does;t happen, they will be an influencer on social media (yep, it’s absolutely true).
The shift in work / life balance and the increase in people wanting to work part time is also a factor.
The rise in home hairdressing (lots of it from unqualified people) continues to grow, as does the experimenting from once loyal salon clients, thanks to the awful rise in awful YouTube tutorials which makes people think they can create their own styles at home. That’s not to say they can’t by the way, but there’s an awful lot of bad hair floating around these days.
And still, even in 2022 there are people who think hairdressing as a career isn’t that good a decision; how little these people know.
What are we to do then?
Let’s face the facts, there are fewer people looking for real work, especially a career that takes commitment, plus there are literally thousands of businesses looking for staff, and there is an apathy toward work with some people, full stop!
AND YET, here we are , working in one of the most vibrant, energising, inspiring, creative, fulfilling careers, full stop!
Let’s accept that the changes are here and we have to deal with them in the best way we can. Encourage your younger team members to share their love for what they do on their personal social pages, get them involved in bringing in potential new apprentices to your business. Creating adverts to share on your own social networks is an natural thing to do, but think outside of the box and let the millennials help you, their understanding of how social platforms function, and their usage of reels and stories can spread your recruitment message further and to a younger audience.
But that in itself is not enough, the daily working life has to be looked at and restructured to suit this burning desire for a work / life balance that satisfies your business, your current team and the individuals you are looking to bring on board.
And then you have to take into consideration the team you have, possibly reduced for a number of reasons, from a change in personal life to a general lack of oomph generated by, and still lingering because of, the pandemic. A reduced team is not good for the business, so look at what you can do to ensure you continue generating sustainable levels of revenue.
Use your salon tier structure to implement a better, more realistic pricing for different levels of experience. Think about increasing the time frame you currently operate to. Adding extra time and charging for it gives your stylist team more quality time to spend with each client, giving them opportunities for upselling services and increasing retail sales, whilst charging more for the visit. I know this works by the way, I was just recently speaking to a hairdresser who has implemented this successfully!!
Showcase your creativity and your USP’s… the things that make your business what it is, but don’t just showcase the backs of people heads, be more creative, use your social world, including your blog to shout out about why you are the right salon to visit as a client, and the right salon for hairdressers and barbers to work in. I’m not advocating poaching staff by the way, remember your fellow salons are all in the same position as you.
There isn’t an easy answer to how we get out of the crisis that is engulfing working life; this general state of malaise about work is here for good, gone are the good old days when a job advert was placed and hundreds of applicants turned up.
So, face the facts, you might well have to think about working with far fewer apprentices that you were once used to having, and don’t forget that impacts on your future stylists as well. Build a team that are all experts in their chosen fields, and start to charge accordingly.
It’s time to start shouting out about how your business is the place for people to work in, talk it up to everyone, let your clients know you are recruiting and ask them to share the message.
Think about the business model you have and try to find ways to make it fit todays circumstances, whatever that might be for your salon, only you can deal with it, but if you don’t do anything, then the crisis will only get worse.
As already stated, it’s not all doom and gloom, but sometimes you just have to think outside of the box and move your business forward in ways that fit the time.
If you want to talk about your specific issues, I’m happy to chat, simply drop me a DM on social and let’s arrange something.