February 2013

Clive Lamb

Food for Thought | by Clive Lamb


No Cut is Complete Without Color

What Makes a Color Department Exceptional?

You can walk into almost any salon and get a color service. And most salon owners know that having a good color department can help them grow their business. What very few salon owners realize is that having an exceptional color department will help them grow their brand.

So, what makes a color department exceptional?

First, you should have a unique philosophy or approach to the way you do color. Call it your "belief system." It's what sets you apart from others, defines you as a brand and creates your niche in the market.

At Clive and Co., our approach to color is unique and this has helped us successfully build our color business. Our philosophy is that no haircut is complete without color.

Color is used with our haircuts the same way makeup artists use color on a face. We use it to accentuate the shape of the face and to compliment skin tone and eye color. We use bleach sparingly, as in my opinion, bleach is not a color; it is a color stripper.

Bleach has its place but is used far too often when there are better alternatives. We firmly believe in maintaining the natural integrity and health of the hair.

Second, your color department should have a team mentality. Your colorists must subscribe to your philosophy and training. They must have the right attitude and be completely dedicated to your brand. This is imperative for consistency within the department. It also keeps your standards high and will help to build a very loyal following.

And third, provide your team the opportunity to learn and grow with ongoing education and training. This is important for many reasons. First and foremost, it provides your clients the very best, up-to-date techniques and results. Second, it keeps your color team inspired. It allows them to grow by raising their skill levels and it also gives them the confidence to teach those skills to others.

Ongoing education also teaches your team discipline and encourages communication and a collaborative work environment. It creates a sense of unlimited career opportunity that will help to retain team members as well as recruit highly talented candidates.

My salon's color department is one of the strongest areas in our company. I attribute this directly to the dedication and attitudes of the team itself. The best way I know to describe what makes our color department exceptional is to ask the team who makes it that way every day. Here are a few words from two of my colorists, Susan and Abby.

"I've been in the industry for five years and worked at two well-known salons, witnessing many methods of doing hair and a wide array of business practices," said Susan. "After experiencing the Clive and Co. philosophy, I decided to start fresh and commit to their challenging training program. My mindset was to absorb all the new knowledge and apply it to my clients. After a few months, I completed the training program.

"Newly-armed with the most advanced color techniques, I started again on my clients with a new confidence I never had before. My confidence was not only from within, but was installed in me by my co-workers, who have all helped educate me during my training process. It has been extremely helpful that our color department has an open communication and collaborative environment. Discussions can involve formulas, patterns or hair types and it helps instill confidence in our 'plan of action.' All of this has definitely helped to raise my level of customer service."

"Since joining the Clive and Co. team, the sky has been my limit, and it continues to be," exclaimed Abby. "During the last six years I've completed the rigorous training program, built my clientele and am now the head of color education. I continue to grow every day with a great team around me and a boss that drives us every day to become better colorists- and more successful in business. Going through the training program perfected my skills and helped drive discipline in me.

"I now have the pleasure of driving others through teaching. This is where my passion lies and where I see my career going - without a doubt. Being able to watch other colorists grow from what you teach is very satisfying. Growing our brand is our ultimate goal as a company and with our consistent training, we are on our way to creating a lifelong brand that is my future."

I couldn't have said it any better. This is how we've created an exceptional color department at my salon. It's not about marketing gimmicks or advertising. It's about consistency, excellence, teamwork and dedication to your brand. That is how to build your color business.

Clive Lamb owns and operates Clive and Co., a modern, thriving salon based in Dallas, Texas. In addition, Clive was appointed Chairman of the Texas Cosmetology Advisory Board in 2006, a position he held for five years. Clive has over 30 years of international exposure to the vast and constantly evolving hairdressing industry. Connect with Clive at Facebook.com/CliveandCo.