It’s often said the relationship between a client and their hairdresser is one of the most important in their lives, often lasting longer than marriages and love affairs. A good hairdresser often becomes a trusted advisor, not only when it comes to their client’s hair and style, but life-changing decisions too, not to mention the holder of deep secrets! Part psychologist, part ‘bestie’, clients will follow their hairdresser to different towns and even different countries.
TIGI Collective Member, Alex Harris-Gibbs, co-owner of Harris-Gibbs Hair Shop in Birmingham, UK, started his long-term client relationship with one special client almost 17 years ago. He shares his client-hairdresser story.
“When Vicky first became my client, I was an 18-year-old hairdresser, newly qualified and trying to build my clientele, and Vicky was just 11 years old! The first time she came into the salon, her mum brought her for her first ‘proper’ haircut the week before she started high school. She was so shy and nervous; I listened to what she wanted, as well as being aware of what her mum was thinking, and then advised her how she could have her hair cut and styled to make her both love her hair and fill her with confidence when she started at her new school. She loved it! And that was it! The beginning of our long relationship.
From that day on, Vicky came to see me for her hair appointment every 6-8 weeks and gradually, as she got older, we began trying new services: different cuts, adventurous colours, hair treatments and evolving products, all based on her trust and confidence in the relationship we had built.
Fast forward 17 Years, Vicky is now 28 and I am 34! And, I still see Vicky every 6-8 weeks. I have done her hair through her university years, her early career years, and most significantly on her wedding day. She stayed a loyal client to me when I was working at a salon local to her, then followed me when I opened my salon further away. She has now moved further away too, but still travels to see me every 6-8 weeks.
Our relationship has developed far beyond just being her hairdresser. Now we plan her appointment at the end of my working day, and then go for some food together, and I have got to know her family too who have all become clients of mine over the years.
I’ve asked Vicky why she thinks we have such a great relationship, firstly as a hairdresser and client and now as friends, and her answer was simply this: “It’s about genuine honesty, support and trust and most importantly I always look forward to visiting the salon as much as anything else in my diary!”
Vicky explains: “It’s always special going to see Alex and Chris for my hair appointments. I’ve never failed to leave the salon feeling on top of the world. Everyone in the team is so warm and welcoming. I always feel Alex listens to me and that makes me feel amazing about my hair. Not only this, I have always been able to talk openly to Alex about everything going on in my life and he’s been constantly a supportive ear, giving me great advice. Every time I go to the salon, I really look forward to seeing Alex and Chris. In fact, it’s become an essential in my life, not a luxury!”
“There are so many reasons I love the hairdressing industry” Alex says, “but the ‘long-term relationships’ we can make with clients (and colleagues) are so special and, I am sure, quite unique to our industry.”