Beauty has always been proudly inclusive, focused on creating safe havens where clients feel respected and valued.
So, it’s no surprise that in recent years there’s been a large shift towards gender-neutral pricing, especially when curious owners discover it is so easy to swap out women and men’s pricing for service-based charging that can be so much more profitable. As we celebrate Pride this month, here’s how you escape the binary bottleneck and move to greater financial sustainability long term.
Cast off the Handcuffs
It might once have been the norm to segregate by gender, but charging this way doesn’t reflect the time taken or products used — both of which are costs to the business. Much better, and fairer, is to introduce a more versatile approach of charging per service, focusing on ‘what’ is being done in the chair rather than traditional expectations based on ‘who’ it is being done to. This does not have to be the all-in hourly pricing model or parts and labor pricing, but it can be as simple as converting ‘mens cut’ to ‘short cut.' Many salons realize this is liberating not only for the client, but the stylist as well.
Being Inclusive Will Grow Clientele
Sustainability isn’t just about the planet, but also about the longevity of your business. The key to that is continuously growing your clientele. By shifting away from a service menu that includes gender, it sends a clear message to potential new clients – and talented service providers – that yours is an inclusive business that values diversity and offers a safe haven to all. It brings down barriers to first-time clients navigating your service list when they have specific visions that don’t conform to traditional models.
Take the Team with You
It may seem like an obvious step, but including the team in the discussion is an important part of the process and likely one that will inspire you. They may have concerns about adjustment, particularly when converting to a new method like parts and labor, so be prepared with strategies like implementing Vish or SalonScale color management technology, which make it easy to separate product costs and finalize the service bill. All change will be stormy at first, but starting with the ‘why’ will help them navigate the bumpy waters of those first few conversations. This is also the ideal time to discuss ingrained bias and language, as well as inclusivity and diversity, so every visitor to your business feels welcome.
Clear the Way for Transparency
Introducing a system where additional costs are added to the final ticket – such as time-based or parts and labor – is a step towards greater fairness, transparency and profitability in the salon. But, balancing client expectations and service estimates without set service prices can make clients (and stylists) nervous. The answer is consultation, with many salons looking to technology to enhance and improve. One such innovation is Snap Snip that allows for a consultation before the appointment, helping both stylist and client understand the service expectation prior to the visit. Gender-neutral is all about helping guests achieve their beauty goals without boundaries, so whatever strategies help adapt and improve service are worth considering to ensure a smooth transition and long-term success.
Announce Your Move
The final step is to make sure your clients are aware of and understand the innovations you are introducing. The team is the front line and will lead on the explanation. But you can also flag it up on social media and in your marketing communications to get ahead of service appointments. To support salons and stylists making the move towards beauty without boundaries, Sustain Beauty Co has developed a series of marketing templates available free in Canva to any salon keen to adopt gender-neutral pricing. There has never been a better time to show you run an inclusive, welcoming salon.
About the Author:
Valorie Tate is the founder of Sustain Beauty Co, supplier of environmentally beneficial tools for the industry to help salons move towards a more sustainable future.