How to Help Your Stylists Find Their Niche
It’s no secret that stylists have a flare for the creative, but any hairstylist will tell you that finding their niche was no small task.
As a salon owner or manager, we want to help all of our stylists be as successful as they can be in their careers. We push them to advance their education and climb the ladders in cutting and coloring, but perhaps the best thing we can do for our stylists is to help them figure out their very own niche in the marketplace.
It’s better to be great at one thing than it is to be average at all of the things. Every stylist is going to have his or her own strengths and weaknesses, and nestled somewhere deep within all of those trials and tribulations they will find their niche, or their specialty. Salon owner and industry expert Kati Whitledge shares her best advice for salon owners who want to help their stylists figure out their domain and drop the FOMO, or fear of missing out, for good.
In addition to hosting the beloved Beyond The Technique podcast, Kati is the owner of the award-winning Be Inspired Salon located in Madison, Wisconsin, and the creative brain behind Meet Your Stylist, an innovative salon software system that matches potential clients with salon professionals based on services, lifestyle preferences, and personality. Kati is passionate about helping her stylists find their stride, and wants to teach other salon owners how to do the same. Kati offers her tips and tricks for helping your stylists choose their specialty.
What Sets Your Stylists Apart?
Kati believes that, as an owner, the first step in finding the perfect niche for your stylists is figuring out what sets them apart from the competition.
Think about it this way—if you’re looking to make dinner reservations on a Friday night, are you going to choose the average restaurant that offers a little bit of literally everything, from pancakes to potato bakes, or are you going to pick the place that does that one thing really well? You’re probably going to go for the ladder, because those are the places with rave reviews and lines out the door—the same goes for salon services.
Of course, in this industry, everyone wants to do it all, but if we’re looking at the behavior of our buyers, we know that quality trumps quantity, and people want to know that they’re going to the best of the best for the services they’re looking to have done. Most of your new hires won’t feel like they know what sets them apart if you ask them fresh out of beauty school. Giving your stylists time to embrace all of the things your salon offers is one of the easiest ways to find out what they’re actually good at.
Kati encourages salon owners to work with their stylists during their first few years, and to really push them through technical challenges, because you never know, those skills might become one of their biggest strengths.
Imagine Your Stylist in Their Ideal Work Environment
As salon owners, we’re aware of the importance of developing relationships with our clients, but we have to remember to put that same energy into getting to know our stylists.
Instead of focusing on the services your stylists perform, it can be helpful to think about which kinds of clients your stylists enjoy working with the most. Each stylist has his or her own personality, skillset, and ideal work environment, all of which contribute to finding their niche within your salon. Once you form a solid foundational relationship with your stylists, you’ll start to pick up on which clients fit their personality and aesthetic the most.
In order to help your stylists find their specialty, Kati recommends that you think about which kinds of clients energize and excite them, which services tend to drain them, and to really think through the situations that prompt other team members to turn to them for advice. These questions will help you, as a salon owner, find what works best for your stylists over time.
Finding Their Niche Creates a Law of Attraction
Once your stylist finds their niche, they’ll really hit their stride. This doesn’t mean that they’ll lose touch with the other skills and services they’re required to perform, but they’ll begin to really build on the skills and services that excite them the most.
Of course, nature always plays its course, and as your stylists start to hone in on the specific skill sets that set them apart, they’ll begin to attract clientele seeking those very services. This is what Kati refers to as the law of attraction.
Once your stylist gets in their groove, everything falls right into place—but finding that niche involves much more than just thinking about which services each stylist performs the best. While technique and skill set play a significant part, emotional intelligence is perhaps the number one contributing factor in determining each stylists’ niche. Kati is very familiar with the power of emotional intelligence and the laws of attraction, which is why she built Meet Your Stylist.
Meet Your Stylist is a salon software that operates as matchmaking service for clients and stylists. Meet Your Stylist goes above and beyond matching clients with salon professionals on the basis services, it thinks about personality type, availability, and of course, required skills, in order to determine which stylists would be the right fit for each individual client.
Specializing in specific services is a win-win for everyone. Your stylists can continue to build on the skills they’re most passionate about learning, allowing them to truly feel fulfilled in the workplace, and your clients will feel that much more confident in the services they’re receiving.
To listen to the podcast that inspired this blog, check out episode 153. Don’t forget to check out the Meet Your Stylist website in order to learn more about just how this tool can benefit your salon, build your clientele, and transform your tribe for the better.