CREATING AN AWARD-WINNING LOCAL SALON WITH PERSONALISED SERVICES AT HEART
We speak to Scottish salon, F&M Hairdressing, on their secrets to winning Best Local Salon.
This year’s awards sadly had to take place virtually for the first time in its history, hosting all finalists and attendees via their own awards’ online portal. Each finalist received an exclusive award-hamper consisting of champagne, cocktail making kits, decorations and exclusive goodies. As the evening got underway, all attendees were invited onto the awards portal, which allowed them to network with their fellow finalists and industry peers and attend the mixologist session for their cocktails to get them into the party spirit, with live music from a saxophonist.
Winning the ‘Best Local Salon’ award after recent lockdown events was no mean feat as F&M were up against some of the UK’s most well-known salons. As the six finalists were announced, salon owner and director, Brian MacMillan commented: “I am delighted that we won this award, it really is a huge honour having finalised alongside five incredible salons, all of which are located across the UK. To be recognised for our hard work, passion and community spirit means the world to us. This is the best news we’ve had in 2020.”
This week we were lucky enough to chat with Brian and Kevin to find out what makes them so successful.
FUSE: In a nutshell, what do you put down to your success?
F&M: “From our clients’ perspective, we look after the individual needs of our clients and treat everyone as unique and individual. We love what we do, and our clients love watching what we do. We are approachable and friendly, we make it every visit fun for our clients, and we like to think we have a different approach to retailing and hairdressing. If you ask what makes us unique, I (Brian) lead retail and Kevin leads hair. Together, we deliver a consistent message and assist all of our clients’ needs.”
FUSE: Can you pin-point three things that have led to your salon being a winner?
F&M: “WINE! Just joking! Truthfully, training is the core of our philosophy; we need to always be up to date and on-trend to offer our clients the maximum experience. We have trained our staff from day one. Next, teamwork is crucial. We work better together as a community and have total transparency with your team and our customers. Thirdly, we continually work with our local community to help and support each other.”
FUSE: What do you and your team do to make the experience in your salon special and different?
F&M: “By making every client feel individual and welcome, our client retention is really good. Through COVID, we gained lots of new clients. We get a lot of comments on how welcome and friendly the salon is. We decided we would get our salon COVID-safe very early on and we promoted this heavily by looking into what was happening in the EU. Keeping our clients and our staff safe is paramount. We believe in making everyone feel welcomed and being friendly comes hand in hand with a personal touch. We have taken lots of care and provisions on how to keep our staff and customers safe.”
FUSE: What aspects can you share that are vital to you in terms of the running of your business?
F&M: “A strong team is a close team. We are very fortunate to have a long-standing team. Some staff members have been with us for 20 years. We have always been fortunate enough to have a team that steps up when needed and get on with what needs to be done. It’s a team effort and team results. We also know investing in the right products and training is vital to our business. You have to believe in what you use. The change to TIGI Copyright Care was a great retail choice for us. Also being able to offer something for every type of client we have who walks through our door.”
Education is the core of what we do. It’s key for keeping our staff up to date with trends.Brian MacMillan
FUSE: What is your philosophy? Have you changed this over the years?
F&M: “We still have the same philosophy we had on day one: every client who visits us has a service that’s individualised for them. It’s no ‘one size fits all’; we have always offered bespoke services.”
FUSE: How do you continually progress how you run your business?
F&M: “To be honest, from a hairdressing point of view, as they say: ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’. Clients return for a reason: they enjoy the time they are spending, and they enjoy being in the salon. This goes back to treating them as individuals, and we have a great team that does that. They step up to the mark. It’s great to see the clients after a few hours in the salon having a good time, they have spent some cash, and they return!
Although we unfortunately can’t use it at the moment, we have a wine bar and it’s a big hit! And we also have the BEST COFFEE and home baking! We get great feedback.
Our retail business continues to progress by keeping up to date on what’s on-trend and what excites the client. TIGI Copyright has been quite a strong success. We moved on from other product lines but price points are important, and keeping an eye on people’s incomes in our area. Adding retail to our services though is important to our success.”
FUSE: What makes you a winner in the eyes of your clients?
F&M: “Reviews always refer to our excellent service. Our staff listen to their clients to always understand what they are looking for and what can be achieved. This makes the client feel safe.”
FUSE: There are a lot of salons in the UK; what do you think makes you ‘the best local salon’?
F&M: “Being consistent, personalising services. Working with our community and doing things special Halloween events with the kids, supporting the local kiddies football teams. We sponsor local sports with prizes. Being a big part of the community is crucial.”
FUSE: How important is education to F&M?
F&M: “It’s the core of what we do. It’s key for keeping our staff up to date with trends, looks etc. We would fall behind and lose our customer base if we didn’t continually focus on education.”
FUSE: And how important is your team to your success?
F&M: “100%. Success only happens with your team around you. You are only as strong as the team you build. We are also still recruiting, which is really positive. It’s not Kevin and me that have won the award, it’s our team.”
FUSE: What advice would you give to a hairdresser about to open their first salon?
F&M: “Ooooooohhhhh! Take your time and do your research. Look around you to see what everyone else is doing and go in a completely different direction. Believe in yourself. Work out your profit margins first, then see where your prices sit.”
FUSE: This year has been very difficult for us all. What changes have you put in place to ensure the ongoing success of F&M? And reflecting on these changes, is there anything you should have done differently?
F&M: “We put in place what our European partners were doing before Scotland (and England) had gone into Lockdown 1. We set out our plan for health and safety and installed all the measures we needed to keep our clients and staff safe. We changed and adapted everything to meet the COVID restrictions, so we were up and running from day one. We utilised our space upstairs to allow us to keep every position. We are very fortunate to have that space. We tried to think of everyone and everything. Screens and PPE were in place to set the bar and standards we wanted to adhere to. We advertised this very early on so all our customers and staff could trust we had taken this seriously.”