Profiles

9 Ways You Might Be a Hipster Salon

Google defines hipster as, “a ­person who follows the latest trends and fashions, ­especially those regarded as being outside the cultural mainstream.”

In an effort to make experiences unique, salons are offering more and more boutique services. That kind of individualism could be considered hipster. We consider it a good way to up the customer experience and stand out as a salon.   

If any of these nine things apply to your ­salon, then you might just fall into the category of hipster salon. 

1. Your retail section is "while supplies last."

When you’re doing inventory of your retail section, do you plan to sell the same items over and over again? Or do you change it up every time you run out of something? Curating products for a short while can certainly up the exclusivity game and make customers feel as if they may miss it if they don’t buy now.
Côte in Brentwood, Calif., never replaces retail items when they sell out. Instead, the owners take the opportunity to find new products to stock, which makes the items they do sell look like hot ticket items. Plus, it is a good chance to highlight local artists who may not otherwise get the exposure.

2. You are a mobile salon. 

Not having a physical address for your ­salon definitely makes you a hipster. Being able to travel around from client to client with your converted Airstream trailer makes you a part of the newest trend in the nail world, and helps you retain an air of ­exclusivity. Plus, it’s certainly easy on ­customers who are just too busy (and important) to worry about getting to the salon.
La Lacquerie, serving the San Francisco and San Jose areas, is a full-service mani and pedi experience that will come to client offices or homes rather than the other way around. In an effort to work around the traditional salon routine, this mobile salon uses waterless ­services to provide a quick, hygienic, and unique menu for busy clients.

3. You are a vegan nail tech.

Veganism is definitely here to stay, and the phenomenon has seeped into nail care. Those who are interested in more than just pretty nails are focusing on wellness. Vegan nail techs offer a service that doesn’t include animal products.
Debbie Leavitt of Sheswai Beauty and creator of Sheswai Lacquer, a five-free vegan nail polish is a freelance, vegan, natural nail stylist. She says she chose to only offer ­natural nails because she wanted to focus on wellness. “In addition to how we eat and how we live, hands and feet are a part of that holistic wellness.” The lifestyle choice is simple for Leavitt because the ingredients in nail care are really pared down. “I don’t believe you need a lot of products to get ­
the most for the nails. This way of life is ­complementary to my ethos.”

4. You have an inventive use of technology.

Beyond iPads at every station or television playing cult-classic movies, hipster salons are incorporating technology in a fun and inventive way. Whether you play only bluegrass ­music over your wireless speaker system or your reception area is entirely digital, any way to bring in a higher level of technology to your salon is a success both in business and in the eyes of your customers.
House of Polish in Beverly Hills has two different types of photobooths: a litebox for finished manicures (think “mani-cam”) complete with prop jewelry to enhance your look, and an iPad set up for clients to take silly and cute pictures while they wait for their services. These can be emailed to the client for social media posting. It’s a fun way for clients to enjoy themselves at the salon — everyone loves a selfie (and a nail selfie)!

5. Your decor is on point. 

If you have recycled barrels, minimalism, and obscure references in your salon, you probably fall into our hipster category. Going ­beyond photos of nails on your walls is a good way to breathe life into your space and mark yourself as individual in your customers’ eyes. Local artists are always looking to partner with unique ­businesses to display — and sell — their art.
Hey Nice Nails in Long Beach, Calif., has a bicycle hung on the ceiling. Choosing items that stand out and make a statement is a surefire way to get potential clients to remember that salon.

6. You offer artisanal services. 

Do you offer individualized products, seasonal collections and artisanal signature services? Certain salons are creating personalized product boxes with a set of implements and favorite polishes that are only for that client’s use. Others are creating custom signature services that are trendy, smell great, and are all-natural. The ­artisanal trend goes far beyond food and drinks! You can also offer services with unique ingredients that separate you from the rest.
Paintbox in New York City offers only nail art from its current spring/summer collection of 21 designs inspired by runway looks and seasonal trends. Once the season is over, clients are no longer able to request those designs and instead can select from the next season’s look. Limiting customer choices adds emphasis on the uniqueness of the salon.

7. Your salon serves a niche market.

Catering to just one type of clientele can be a tricky business model to pull off. But it could be a good opportunity to focus on an underserved ­demographic. Finding out what kind of market is lacking in the nail care world might just be the way for your salon to be an instant success.
Hammer & Nails in Los Angeles is a nail salon designed for men. As a male-centric salon, Hammer & Nails boasts a menu that is considered “man cave nirvana.” The decor is dark, overtly masculine, the epitome of comfort and luxury. It has leather chairs and widescreen televisions, serves scotch, and is the perfect place for a man to feel comfortable about receiving a nail service.

8. You have a resident anything. 

A resident astrologer, a henna tattoo artist, a mixologist. Having a specialist in residence can create a customer experience that is refreshing, lively, and something ­clients will continue to talk about well after they leave.
Colorstrology is a unique service that mixes ­astrology and nail art. It’s a personalized astrological profile in color that is incorporated into what goes on the customer’s nails. Enamel ­Diction in Los Angeles, has an in-house ­astrologer, Rose Theodora, who provides three different services: a basic 15-minute color analysis reading to ­identify go-to hues and color recommendations and a horoscope nail design; a 30-minute color analysis ­specific to aesthetic expression including fashion and home decor and personalized nail art; and a 60-minute in-depth ­custom color astrology-based natal chart to bring desired results and ­personalized nail art.

9. You host non-traditional parties. 

Rather than having the typical “Martinis and Manis” parties for a girl’s night out, you can attract clients with other kinds of events. Maybe your salon has a monthly karaoke night, or maybe you have tarot card readings. Maybe you even bring in a DJ to spin music as you ­transition from day to night. Anything you can do to draw in new clients who might not otherwise know your salon is beneficial to your business.
Two Brown Eyed Girls in Los Angeles hosts a monthly movie night in the salon. The movie selection responsibility is passed from stylist to stylist and must be a woman-­centric film. The salon puts the title out on social media and invites customers to schedule their services at that time. The movie is shown on a Thursday night and cocktails are served to clients. “The salon was designed to encourage ­camaraderie, and this is just another way to do so,” owner Victoria Pavia says.

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