October 2012

Charlene Abretske

Beyond Your Chair| Jayne Morehouse


Bringing the Beauty Bar Concept into Your Salon

Some of the biggest news in the salon business over the past few years has been the bar concept: blow-dry bars, brow bars, braid bars, quick-manicure salons and more.

What each has in common is they offer consumers a quick, results-oriented experience that accomplishes a specific goal — no more/no less — in a short amount of time at their convenience and is performed by someone who is perceived to be an expert.

The good news is you don't have to open your own bar to benefit. You can incorporate little touches of the concept into your salon — or even into your chair if you're an indie — to give your clients a service they'll love from their favorite beauty pro — you!

Select just one or two from our list and you'll add a new level of excitement to your salon that's sure to get people talking.

Blow-Dry Bars — Smart marketers have taken one of the most basic services consumers love but don't necessarily have the skills to do at home and turned it into a huge trend. Because that's what they do, they're perceived as the blow-dry experts. This has quickly yielded the development of specific products for faster/better blow-dries in the salon and at home.

Make it work: Market your blow-dry services as if they're the center of your world. Make your blow-out the star, not just the afterthought to a cut or color service. Create a mini blow-dry service menu and recommend your clients stop in to try them between their regular appointments. Add blow-dry specific products to your offerings and don't just put them on your shelves … get your stylists and consumers excited you're in the blow-dry business.

Curl Bars — Following the blow-dry bar phenomenon, curl bars are springing to life. They're specialists in both coaxing coarse, kinky curls into a smooth-as-silk finish and in cutting and styling them into curly 'dos that are perfect au naturale.

Make it work: Curly clients know if they don't get TLC, they'll be facing curls gone wild, so your first mission is to learn to cut and style curly hair. Then merchandise your salon or station with curl-specific products, blow-dryers, curling irons and curling gloves — all of the tools a specialist needs to offer optimum curl care — and your curly clients need to take home.

Braid Bars — The popularity of braids has led to the opening of braid bars, which offer styles ranging from classic plaited updos to beachy sideswept fishtails. One of NYC's classic old-money salons, John Barrett, opened a braid bar in Bergdorf Goodman earlier this year. More BoHo brands are offered in Seattle, with red-carpet ready looks created in Santa Monica, Calif.

Make it work: It's as simple as marketing braiding as a finishing service or adding it on to your blow-out menu. Create a signature braid, photograph your best work and let your clients know via in-salon and social media marketing. If you'd like to attract younger clients, offer free services to your high school cheer squad in exchange for them giving out your cards.

Quick Haircolor Only Salons — Put in a highlighting bar or quick gray coverage/retouch center where clients can walk in and get their regrowth done with no waiting.

Make it work: Of course, they'll want to try your quick blow-out at the same time. Make it complimentary on the second visit or between touch-ups and get them hooked.

Quick Manicure Bar — The gel-manicure service has done more for the nail business than anything since the marketing of modern salon nail lacquer began. The media are talking about nail fashion more than ever — even as a feature during the Olympics coverage. Women of all ages from pre-teens and up are expressing themselves through colorful polish designs, nail art, stickers and special effects.

Make it work: Make nails fun, fearless and fashionable. Have everyone in your salon wear a personal design. Create a nail art bar where your clients can mix and match colors, patterns, shapes and textures into a customize finish that only you can provide.

Brow Bars — Almost every woman wears makeup. Almost no salon markets it in a way that's meaningful to consumers. Enter the brow bar.

Make it work: As soon as you change a client's haircolor, suggest a complementary brow color. New cut? New brow shape! Just make sure you have perfected your shaping skills first.

Every month, a new type of beauty bar is springing to life. Tell me what you think the next big thing we'll be, and I'll share your ideas in a future column.

Jayne Morehouse is a columnist for Stylist Newspapers and the president of Jayne & company, a full-service brand communications agency for beauty companies and salons. Follow her on Twitter @JaynePR and @BeautyIQ and connect with her on facebook.com/jayneandco.