Home' INSTYLE Magazine : INSTYLE JAN-FEB 2017 Contents is just there – who moves around, greets clients and makes sure
everything is working and first and foremost that the clients are
happy,” Gavin said.
Moving throughout the spectacularly sunny multi-level space,
Gavin is likened to a maitre’d at a hip establishment like The Ivy.
Read between the lines and its easy to see that nobody has really
mastered the super salon concept like Richard Ward. It, for the
most part, falls beneath significant consu mer awareness coupled
with his skills through the trade – and then there’s the celebrity
clientele and the famous Chelsea Blow Dry – a statement his salon
is widely recognize for. In a nutshell it’s a signature blow dry that
makes women look their best.
The salon which also incorporates a metro spa is broken up into a
series of zones; such as the retail zone, the relax zone, the colour zone
and even the cleanse zone and the hair zone – the client journey is one
of unparalleled significance through every aspect of the salon journey.
There is also an unquestionable level of support from L’Oréal
Professionnel and their latest innovations – a partnership that has
navigated the Richard Ward salon through numerous prestigious
awa rds. With such a massive space it’s hard to believe formal staff
meetings only take place every 8 weeks, Gavin puts it down to the
salon’s seamless zones that ensure communication is as polished as
possible – there’s fewer crossover, disputes or issues when everyone
masters their own space, (or so we’re told).
So it was after sitting down one on one with Gavin that we
discovered a talented hairdresser – but one that left the industry at
26 to go back to university and study sociology. It wasn’t long before
Gavin missed the unforgettable hairdressing industry flair and made
his way back to the salon.
“At the time I came back and needed a job there were no chairs free
so we decided I would spend time with clients, stylists, colourists and
receptionists and make it all come together.” Gavin said.
Clients can make future bookings from the chair, payments at
the chair – it’s all quick moving – it’s almost as if you’re not even
up from your chair at the restaurant and your car keys and coat are
standing there waiting.
“Every week the figures go up in the staff room – it’s never about
selling, it’s about my team offering consistent on point advice, if you
give all of this, retail sales will follow,” he said.
It’s true for even this slick establishment that clients do get advice
and can always go elsewhere and get it cheaper, for the Richard
Ward team it’s about trust by constantly re-assessing even the retail
suggestions and creating an element of exclusivity.
“All we can do is offer this expert advice every time. There’s
nothing else we can do,” Gavin said.
What’s the point in having such a large salon if you can’t offer
the ultimate experience? “Gone are the days when clients come
to the salon just because their mothers and grandmother went
there. Now, more than ever the individual client experience is
paramount – every client wants to be guided through the salon
journey and treated like a prince or princess.”
Speaking of princesses, the salon really took off after the Royal
Wedding – doing both Kate and William’s hair for the big day
in 2011 not only grew the business, but also gave their clients a
much higher expectation. According to Gavin they’ve even had
clients say. ‘I bet you wouldn’t treat Kate Middleton like that’.
One particular client that currently visits the salon spends 13,000
pounds a year just on herself which includes a bevy of products
across a number of different ranges. “You’ve got to know every
segment of your clientele and target accordingly,” Gavin said. So
it’s no wonder there are multiple brands in the salon across L’Oréal
Professionnel, Shu Uemura, Kerastasé and more. They also sell
more than 3,500 pounds a month in Carita skincare – a growing
figure since working with the brand 5 years ago. Gavin says 30-33
per cent of the salon is colour business - men account for 10-15 per
cent and the remainder is services and retail and like many salons,
“Men’s is a big growth area for us,” Gavin said.
The crowd within the chair is also totally diverse. Every religion
from Portuguese, Spanish, British and generally a very European mix
is reflected by the dynamism of Chelsea.
Regular clients are rewarded with rewards points – it used to be
redeemable for both products and services but now it’s for products
only, just another way to try and embed the salon brand’s reputation
for the best take home retail incentives too.
“We are never searching for new business – we nurture the
business that’s already in the chair and by forming strong strategic
alliances. We offer really loyal clients some lunch for two or some
prosecco – we don’t necessarily want more from them – we just want
to make them feel appreciated for still coming to us.”
While stylists and colourists don’t complete any money
transactions themselves, Gavin says it’s important for them to
keep aware of what clients are spending – this way they can
ensu re they are giving the necessary credit to a loyal client that’s
investing in their hair.
The best advice? Stay relevant and constantly update your
procedures is Gavin’s most effective advice. “The power of touch is
elusive – everyone wants something different and you have to be
adaptable in business.” Coming from a salon that just won 2016 Most
Outstanding Salon of the Year in the London Hair and Beauty Awards
this is testament to a model that wasn’t just once glorious, but one
that retains growth.
So be sure to keep your eyes and ears on every aspect of your salon
business if you want it to reach it’s full potential. Gavin is so sure of
his investment in salon clients that he doesn’t understand why even
smaller salons don’t employ a similar strategy.
“Every salon needs a front of house and that’s me – someone needs
to be the eyes and the ears of the salon.” Gavin said.
“This is what people pay for
our skills are expected, the
extras are everything,”
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