Technology has improved so much within the salon. Nearly every successful salon now features a supportive salon software system that does much more than manage appointments and transactions – it acts as the hub of the entire operation. One area of the salon has resisted this oversight, until now. The colour department was one of the final outposts of a pre-technological world. It is finally embracing modernity and a new methodology of colour has emerged. The result is better margins for the salon, a sigh of relief for hairdressers and an overall greater profitability.
Less colour – same results
What do you love most about the UK hairdressing industry?
The hairdressing industry is so inclusive – it welcomes everyone and the people within it are creative, passionate and diverse. This industry has a spirit like no other and I love it.
In salons like Karine Jackson in London, Alexander James in the Midlands, and Mayfair & Grace in Tetbury, using the Vish colour management app has meant less colour dispensed, while offering the same great results. Product waste is down, formulas are refined and recorded, and clients are paying for product used rather than leaving the salon to absorb the costs regardless of how much is needed.“One of the best business decisions I made in 2020 was to install Vish,” says Karine Jackson, who now charges for the service and colour separately. “Using Vish means we know exactly how much colour is used and how much is left over, allowing us to price for it correctly. Our finer-haired clients are paying less than those with long, thick hair, which is fair.”At Mayfair & Grace, extra colour above a basic service threshold was charged to the client, bringing in an additional £1,800 in revenue in the few brief months of activity last year between COVID-19 lockdowns. “We marked up the colour costs by 50 per cent. It was just a few pounds per client and they barely noticed it, yet it was a huge boost to the salon,” says Jess Sage, Mayfair & Grace salon manager.
Modern pricing structure
Can you tell us about Wella Professionals’ new ownership and what this means for the brand?
It’s a very exciting time for us – we’ve gone full circle as Wella Professionals was launched in 1880 as an independent company with a focus on professional hair. We’ve had a journey with different owners and in different settings, but we’re back to being a standalone organisation. We’re a world-leading company with lots of professional hair brands. We’re present in 100 countries and have 6,000 employees who have a clear focus on hair and nails. This means we are focused on the hair industry and fulfilling priorities for our customers.
With Vish it is easy to implement a modern pricing structure that fits your business. Using a Bluetooth scale, the colourist mixes what they want and reweighs the bowl after the service to account for any waste. Vish stores the exact formula for the service, rather than what was mixed initially.Every gram that was used during the service is automatically recorded and communicated to the front desk. This takes the burden off the busy colourist to let reception know about the additional product used.
A simple change
Our hairdressers will be working with the same people as before and we remain focused on our customers and strengthening the Wella family.
This approach to colour management requires minimal changes. It records precise formulas automatically and does the calculations for the colourist. If a colourist runs out of colour mid-application, they are often in a rush and err towards excess, mixing up the same quantities and writing off the waste. But Vish means this is no longer necessary.“Vish records all formulas and calculates the maths for us. We can instruct an assistant to mix up a half or quarter bowl. The formula is identical and the consistency the same, there’s just less of it. There is so much less waste,” says Alexander James Beard, owner of Alexander James. He introduced Vish in the first lockdown. “After this lockdown, it is even more important to reduce the margins on colour and push up profitability by cutting back waste,” he adds.
Extra profit post-lockdown
What can we expect to see from the Wella Company this year?
Sustainability is key for us. We have a new eco-ethical professional brand called weDo which contains natural ingredients and it’s becoming more than a brand – it’s a movement. We support initiatives like Plastic Bank, which means for every bottle we sell, eight bottles are removed from the ocean. We’re removing waste step-by-step within our existing portfolio – such as replacing plastic in outer boxes with paper fill from FSC certified sources and we’re looking at our tubes and components.
Jess at Mayfair & Grace points out the financial boost of introducing extra colour charges was a major boon to the salon. The next step is to improve margins by cutting down waste. “Vish provides powerful data that can drive changes in the way we deliver colour. Reweighing our bowls after the service showed that during the months we were able to open last year, we wasted 208 tubes worth of colour. We will use that data to educate the team so they are on board with bringing waste down. That money could go towards bonuses for everyone,” says Jess.
THE COST OF EXCESSIVE COLOUR REGROWTHThe experience of the first lockdown revealed thatunless salons approach colour differently, costs will go through the roof. Excessive regrowth clients will make profits plummet. Using Vish going forward won’t just help salons through reopening, it will alter the way we do colour forever – lowering quantities dispensed, eliminating waste and transferring colour costs fairly and transparently to clients. It could be a make or break move for some salons.
We’ve also partnered with the Green Salon Collective to help salons recycle all of the waste they produce. We’re offering this initiative at a discount to our partner salons to encourage more salons to get involved.
We’re going to strengthen our new services and product innovation with a focus on what is important for us and our partners. We have 300 scientists and engineers that have 500 patents and we are using these resources to fast track ideas, product initiatives and in-salon service initiatives for our customers.
What help and support is the Wella Company offering the hair industry?
We are offering support digitally, over the phone and face-to-face when it is possible. We’ve transitioned our education to online and a lot of it is free right now. We have both creative and business courses to inspire. We want to help you survive the difficult start to 2021, manage your team, salon and your social content. We’ve got a lot of experience from the first lockdown and we’ve learned how to support our customers. We want to make sure we act as a family and survive together.
What advice would you give to those struggling at the moment?
The situation we’re facing will end and there is light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccines. We will come out the other side and we will survive. Look ahead and look at your services and what you do well – highlight those positive aspects and work on the areas you need to improve so your offering is even stronger in 2021.
How can salon owners get the most out of their teams this year?
As a salon owner or leader you must provide clarity and direction for your team.
Everyone needs to know your strategy and priorities and you need to create the circumstances to achieve those objectives. I compare the role to being the director of an orchestra – I don’t play the instruments but there are lots of experts within your team – and you have to make sure they excel. You need to engage, inspire and motivate your team.
What are your tips for running a successful business?
1. Be passionate about what you do and believe in it to excel and enjoy your life. 2. Don’t compromise on quality or innovation – always go for the best. 3. Be 100% customer-focused – it’s not about what you like or want – it’s about what your customer wants. 4. Success is a team sport so make sure you create a good team around you!
1 Nick has three flying licenses and he wants to try out gliding too.“I love to go up in the air and focus on flying in the sky – it’s a good distraction from everyday life and I absolutely love it! In fact, during the first lockdown I did a post to say I was isolating at 3,000 feet.”2 Nick and his family have lived all over the world. “In 16 years, myself and my family have moved at least 16 times. We’ve become nomads and we’ve got used to living in different places. I’ve loved the diversity of living in a small rural village compared to the craziness of city life in London – I love the variety of it all!”3 Nick’s favourite sport is speed skating, which involves skating on a 400m circle of an ice rink.“I love watching and performing speed skating. It’s really popular in the Netherlands – when the 11-city tour for speed skating takes place (Elfstedentocht) nobody works and everyone is either watching or taking part.”