So you want to start a salon?
What you’ll need
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Your Social strategy
Maximise you social interactions with your clients, by making sure that you do justice to every other client referred to you by an existing one. Build on that customer relationship and leverage on its benefits.
With the advancement of technology, social media has broadened the way people interact and do business. Social platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, WhatsApp and Facebook have revolutionalised these aspects.
On platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, post live and recorded videos for your existing and potential clients. Show new hair styles or any other interesting service offered at your premises.
Pitch your unique services on WhatsApp status page showcasing what you offer at your salon.
Post snap photos on your Snapchat account and make sure your ardent customers are among your followers.
"Know your clients. It's not everybody who frequents your salon is after some rumour-mongering. Maintain professionalism between you and your clients and they will always treat you with dignity. Relate with them well but mark out the boundaries. Identify every single of their individual preferences and maintain consistency."
A basic salon can earn upto Sh240,000 per year.