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Innovate or Detonate

Stacey Soble | April 11, 2016 | 8:03 AM
Shannon King, co-owner of Hair & Co. BKLYN and the newly appointed ambassador of Exthand Shears, offers some helpful tips in driving innovation in the salon.

The best and most successful salons are those that constantly innovate, says Shannon King, the co-owner of Hair & Co BKLYN and the newly appointed ambassador to Exthand Shears. In this blog, King offers some powerful advice on how to drive innovation in the salon:

The ultimate goal of innovation is positive change: to make someone or something better. It’s not change for change’s sake. Real innovation makes salon life better for you, your customers, your team and your bottom line.

Think of brands like Apple, BMW, Facebook or Instagram – they are never comfortable with their current products – their success lies in innovation, in constantly moving forward. But what about you? When was the last time you looked at your business and made a positive change, something that made a real difference?

It is difficult leaping out of the groove, especially if it’s the way we’ve always done it. But creativity is the lifeblood of this industry, and the best, most successful salons are those that continually look for ways to diversify and innovate. We always try to think out of the box so we are always one step ahead. For instance, when we saw the radically different Exthand Shears, we didn’t ignore them because they didn’t look like traditional scissors; we questioned why they didn’t look like traditional scissors.

Yet for so many salons, the effort is too much; as soon as they’ve achieved an element of success, they sit on their laurels. That’s a big mistake, because while you are sitting still, you can bet your competitor a few doors away won’t be. Complacency sucks the energy from any business, leaving it dull and stagnant, with a demotivated team and dwindling clientele. So make sure it’s your salon that is first with the ideas and constantly forward-looking.

•    First off – always keep your mind open to innovations and change. Just because what you do is working, doesn’t mean you should stick with it forever. Embracing a new process or product, like Exthand Shears, will make salon life easier, clients and stylists happier, and your team and profits healthier.

•    Visit the big hair exhibitions to see what’s new and spend some time on any stand that looks interesting. It’s these shows where manufacturers launch their latest products.

•    Don’t just check out the fashion pages in your favorite magazine or website, read the rest carefully. Inspiration lurks in every line.

•    Encourage innovation and excitement in your team so they bring new ideas to the table. Have regular brainstorming sessions at your team meetings, but make sure everyone feels comfortable coming up with ideas, no matter how apparently bizarre.

•    Consider entering awards that involve a written submission; they will make you look hard and long at what you do, and highlight where you could do better. It’s like an internal audit. And who knows? You may win.

•    Use your social networks to encourage clients and your team to come up with ideas. Sounds cheesy, but it’s like an ideas box online. It also shows your clients how innovative you are.

•    Follow similar businesses to yours on Facebook, Instagram and other networks to give you inspiration. Read business blogs regularly, and not just those about hairdressing.

•    Organize in-salon events and team-building initiatives to help your team bond and remind them why being a hairdresser is such an exciting and rewarding job.

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