The demand for men’s hair and grooming services continues to grow. So much so that it can be difficult for many men’s stylists and barbers to stand out from the crowd. We spoke with two of Canada’s leading men’s hair experts about how they have grown their business and clientele.
1. Get Creative
Don’t think you can be creative with men’s hair services? Think again! The Hangover Treatment at the OGX (The Original Grooming Experts) in Toronto is a playfully named service that’s most requested by clients on Saturdays and Sundays (not too shocking!) and includes a wash, hot towel treatment, lineup and style.
“The name speaks for itself. Guys come in looking hungover or tired, so we’ll bring them back to life with a shampoo and hot towel. It’s like a men’s take on a facial,” says salon owner Jason Culala, adding that it’s helpful to think of fresh ideas in order to stand out from the sea of barbershops and salons.
2. Focus on Quality (not Quantity)
You may want to try new trends and services to get more male clients into your doors. However that’s not always the best route, says Pete Goupil, a barber at Salon Espace C in Montreal. He says offering quality services has a bigger impact on your clients rather than trying to shake things up with experimentation.
“I’m not about all those face masks or new trends. Guys are simple creatures and I’m pretty traditional in only offering haircuts and taking care of beards. We used to offer traditional shaves, but we stopped doing them last year because we weren’t doing very many,” he says. “We decided to keep it simple; my clientele seems to be really happy and keep coming back regularly.”
3. Power of Positivity
Whether in a salon or barbershop, it’s important to have a positive and welcoming environment for your clients. This level of comfort paired with quality services is what will make clients want to spread the word about your business to their friends and family.
“Everybody’s personality attracts a certain clientele. I have quiet barbers, I have loud barbers, I even have a barber who’s really into fitness and she’s brought in a fitness clientele; it’s all over the map,” says Culala. “Having these different styles of barbers who attract different types of clients is a form of entrepreneurial advertising for us.”
4. Stay Social
If you’re not already taking advantage of social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook as free marketing tools, get on it! It’s as easy as snapping and sharing a few photos a day. Having an established online presence and public portfolio will legitimize your business and help bring in and retain clients. Case in point: Goupil set a professional goal for himself this year to focus more on education, which includes virtual teaching (in the form of video tutorials) as a means to maximize his salon’s social media presence.
“I feel like virtual education is the key to the future,” he says.
5. Build a Strong Team
It would be impossible to run a successful salon without a skilled and loyal team in your corner. That being said, both Culala and Goupil stress the importance of making sure your team is trustworthy and accountable in order to work towards long-term growth. Goupil also recommends hiring barbers with hairstyling backgrounds as having more extensive cutting and styling training translates well in barbering. Plus, it never hurts to have some extra skill and creativity on your team! “That’s the best of both worlds,” he says. “Being able to use the structure of barbering, but the finesse of hairstyling, is what I would call, ‘Modern Barbering.’”
6. Stay inspired
At the end of the day, passion and hard work override everything. Culala emphasizes how effective it can be to simply be present and put in the work and hours needed in order to make it thrive. It’s important to remind yourself why you love what you do, and to dig yourself out of any ruts you encounter along your career path. Clients pick up on your passion and energy, and it can be enough for them to want to come back.