Salon execs remain proactive during lockdown



Style Studio’s Inge Ramos, a finalist in the Manager of the Year category of the Salon International Sponsored by Schwarzkopf Professional Hair Awards, is using the lockdown period to research personalised menu options.


“Although my time is limited as I’m at home with my two young daughters, I have been doing a lot of research with regards to personalised menu options, as we all know that these days everything is about personalisation. So it is definitely something the salon will look into.”


Ramos is also using the time to work on her social media plan and content. “We are creating content to educate our clients – daily hair tips and hopefully some videos soon. Regarding my other duties, such as stock-takes and staff evaluations, well, this is all done on a regular basis so I’m on top of it all. I know our best-selling retail products on any given week, as retail is the heartbeat of our business and the only way to cover mall rent. As a hairstylist, admin is my least favourite duty, so I always do it on a daily basis to ensure it doesn’t pile up. Admin and lockdown sounds like a very depressing combination!”


She notes that Style Studio is using this time to conduct remote staff training. “Our suppliers have been awesome, offering daily online training sessions. I’m so grateful for this and I feel people in the industry are really pulling together. The training really helps to keep the staff motivated, as well as a couple of good memes. However, this situation is new to us all so we try to give staff as much information and clarity as possible, when it comes to the claims process.”


Ramos says Style Studio is prepared for the worst case scenario as the salon is based in a mall. “I think people will be avoiding malls for a while after this. Some of our stylists still depend on walk-in clients, so we are working on creative ways to get bums onto our chairs. We will need to up our social media presence.”


Streamlining operations


Marlon Naidoo, founder and owner of Medellin – The Barber Cartel Gentlemen Groomers, a finalist in the Salon Design of the Year category of the Salon International Sponsored by Schwarzkopf Professional Hair Awards, is spending lockdown by getting to all the things he couldn’t do while the business was running.


He continues: “Whilst in business, we rushed to get things done, so we will use this time to decide what we want to rush back to. This means streamlining our operation and strategising how to better the Medellin experience for clients and to scale our model to become an industry powerhouse.


“We are using this time to reflect on what our customers actually want and enjoy. As our customers evolve, so should our offering. We are using social media tools to drive this intelligence behind our amendments.”


Naidoo is currently evaluating which product houses offer the best support to help him grow this business. “We will be cutting off suppliers that want to work on a conventional model, where they just supply and invoice. I’m looking for suppliers that want to engage on a higher level and take a vested interested in the growth of my business, as once partnerships are forged in this way, they will stand the test of time.


“I am also using this time to mash-up technology and our KPIs to form a better mode of evaluating staff performance. Just imagine, your barbers and stylists complete their online portfolio of evidence week on week, so when the time comes for increases or bonuses or the random chat about a pay hike, you will have a scientific approach to that discussion. This will strip away all the emotions that normally drive these types of discussions. We are also reviewing our admin process to unbundle free time so that managers can actively engage more on the floor.”


Naidoo is at pains to reassure his staff that once the dust settles, they will still have a job. “We’re not pushing training on them, rather encouraging them to read e-books and strengthen their characters,” he concludes.