1. Formal training
? A salon is a sensitive venture. Lucy Wanjiku, a hairstylist and the proprietor of Super Style Salon in Nairobi’s Kahawa West, says anybody who wishes to invest in a salon must seek some formal training first. This is because you will be dealing with products made from chemicals whose reactions you need to understand.
? For a basic salon, Sh150,000 can be enough to purchase basic equipment, such as a blowdryer, curling iron, dryer and combs, as well as styling products and cover a month’s rent for a small outlet.
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3. Operating licences
? You need business permits as well as fire safety certificates from your county, which can set you back around Sh9,400. Given the heat treatments a salon offers, you must have equipment to deal with any fire mishaps that could destroy your establishment.
4. Good location
? Fredrick Ombachi, a director at Steal That Look salon, says you need an outlet in a place that is safe and convenient for the calibre of clients you are targeting with the pricing and business model you put in place. For instance, if they are likely to drive, find a place with adequate parking.
5. Good customer relations
? The salon business requires close interactions with varying personalities. Know how to navigate dealing with them, as their loyalty and referrals will keep you in business.
What you don’t need
1. Lots of equipment
? For a start-up salon, you don’t necessarily have to buy a lot of equipment and products. Purchase the most basic equipment and products, but maintain quality, salonist and proprietor of Sisters & Sisters Salon and Spa, Asunta Mukhasia, says. Also, invest in services that are not equipment-intensive, like plaiting.
2. Many employees
? As long as you have the required skills, starting a salon as a sole proprietorship is easy as you are all you require. However, as the business picks up, prioritise the skills you need when hiring to avoid having idle staff. Also consider forming partnerships with businesses that offer what you don’t, such as nail bars, spas and make-up outlets.
3. Huge space
? Start with an outlet that can hold at least three customers and encourage clients to book appointments so that you don’t disappoint them.