The top 5 things to look for in a hair salon

If you want to find one of the most competitive places for hair salons, go to Pasadena, California. There, in a 1.5 square mile location, according to Yelp you will find 97 different hair salons and stylists. This area is actually made up of three shopping areas – Old Town Pasadena on the West, the Pasadena Playhouse District in the middle, and South Lake Shopping District in the East. In this 1.5 mile area, you will find a great many salons - from great to mediocre.

Due to my work, I have studied many of the hair salons in this city, and in doing so have come up with the top five things that one can use to rate a hair salon. I call it the SWEEP criteria.

SWEEP stanrds for Style, Wait, Experience, Energy, and Price.

I am going to use one of the best hair salons in Pasadena, Upstairs Salon, as an example to discuss the various criteria. There are a lot of great other salons in Pasadena that I could have used, but since I know this salon pretty well, I wanted to reference it.

STYLE - Does the hair salon get the hair cut right? This is one of the most important criteria because if you don’t like the cut, the other things don’t really matter. Obviously, some stylists are good at long hair; some are good at short hair. Few stylists are good at everything. Upstairs Salon specializes in precision cuts – basically hair cuts that look good without the need of using hair product in your hair.

WAIT TIME – Do you have to wait a long time before seeing a stylist? Sometimes, the experience can be ruined because you go to the hair salon for a 1:30 appointment and they can’t get you in until 2:30. Some salons – like Upstairs Salon – have a no wait policy. They don’t take walk-ins just so that they can concentrate on their regulars.

EXPERIENCE - This is the most subjective of the criteria. What type of experience are you looking for while cutting your hair? Do you like loud music? Do you want wine and cheese while getting your hair cut? Do you want a stylist that will talk to you while getting your hair cut? Do you like someone to listen? Upstairs salon is very low key - no loud music - salon where the stylists like to listen.

ENERGY - Do you feel energized by the experience? After getting your hair cut, do you feel better about yourself? Marina Bluvband - the salon owner - has been cutting hair for many years and her customers get the benefit of that experience. They leave feeling very satisfied and happy.

PRICE - Was the haircut worth it? Did you pay too much? Did you have to use a coupon? Were you forced to buy ancillary products? Upstairs Salon charges a low price for a women’s haircut - $50. (Most Pasadena hair salons charge from $60 to $80). Upstairs Salon does not use coupons because they feel that the customer doesn’t want to be tricked into paying a lower price in the beginning and then have to pay a higher price later. Upstairs Salon also doesn’t sell products because they want the experience to be about the hair cut.

If you are a salon owner, please use the SWEEP criteria to rate how well you are doing satifsfying your current customers. If you are a hair salon client, please use the criteria the next time you are in your salon to rate your stylist and salon.

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Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

Looks like you know what you are talking about here! 5 good points work for me. I enjoyed this very much. You have this laid out beautifully and it is easy to understand. Keep up the great HUBS. I must give this an “Up ONE and Useful.” I'm now your fan! RJ

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