Inclusivity - Good for the Soul. Good for Business.

Inclusivity - Good for the Soul. Good for Business.

Posted by sustainbeauty on

One of the many reasons our industry is one of the most loving, accepting, and spiritually beautiful places to work is the general acceptance of people from all cultures, backgrounds, and beliefs. We naturally gravitate towards celebrating ones unique beauty and our chair is a place of non-judgment. That said, we are also growing as a community in addressing gaps in all areas to ensure all people feel safe and valued in our business. This month, we are honoring the LGBTQ+ community and one of the ways we can create positive change is to address small things that may have been built based on norms of the time that no longer apply in modern society. For example, salon pricing.

What is Gender-Neutral Pricing?

Put simply, it's removing gender from your service menu. No more 'mens cut' or 'womens cut.' This was probably a conversation in previous generations considering short hair for men and long hair for women hasn't always been the norm - hello flappers? When removing the gender from your service naming convention it can be as simple as relabeling it to 'short' and 'long' and ensuring that your team is prepared and educated to offer services to all genders.

Many businesses have taken it a step further and restructured their pricing to reflect the complexity of the service, rather than the length or type of cut. Using the time based pricing model, each stylist is given an hourly rate that reflects their level of skill and experience, and they charge a flat rate for their time. That can include the product used, or that can be charged separately using systems like Salon Scale or Vish Color Management.

Why Make Inclusivity Part of Your Strategy

Just because you believe in equality doesn't mean your business is inclusive. Inclusivity means equal access to all services and systems, which isn't the same as acceptance. These can often be subtle things, like pricing, but there are many reasons to incorporate inclusivity into your brand messaging.

  • Positive impact on reputation: Salons that prioritize inclusivity and adopt inclusive policies often experience positive impacts on their reputation. Clients today prefer to support businesses that demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equality, and social responsibility and studies prove this will continue to increase as younger generations grab hold of the spending power.

  • Competitive advantage: By implementing inclusive policies, you'll gain a competitive as clients become more socially aware with their purchasing decisions. Embracing diversity and catering to a wide range of customers can help attract a broader customer base and improve customer loyalty.

  • Employee satisfaction and retention: Inclusive policies also contribute to a positive salon vibe, increasing your team's happiness, engagement and overall trust in their leader. Businesses that prioritize inclusivity are more likely to attract and retain a diverse and talented workforce.

  • Varied perspectives: Embracing inclusivity can lead to diverse perspectives and ideas, which can drive innovation and problem-solving. Different backgrounds and experiences bring fresh insights to the table, enhancing creativity and decision-making processes.

Shifting your policy from accepting of all people to creating an environment of inclusivity means ensuring your salon and services are accessible in the same way to all people. Many salons are starting with their service menu, as mentioned, but service pricing is both an art and science. When considering how you approach your own service review, consider the following as it impacts you:

  • How complicated are your services? If a large percentage of your services require a consultation before even booking and providing an estimate to the client, consider the process of how you would communicate with your guests. One drawback of the hourly model is how ambiguous that can be to a client used to a list of services. Systems like Snap Snip can help provide virtual consultations that help them prepare as much as the client.

  • How will you explain this to your customers? Any time you change your prices, there is a transition period that can feel long and repetitive! Think through how you will need to prepare your team, update your guests before their appointment, display explanations on your website, in your salon, during the appointment and perhaps also on your website. Ensuring clarity on the update and also the 'why' to your decision is essential to a smooth transition.

  • Could you create value-added services instead? While the best practice is usually to simplify your menu, sometimes it makes more sense to add something that you notice is excluding someone from accessing a style. In that case, it could be better to simply add a value-added services or bundle of services that cater to a variety of preferences and needs. This allows clients to choose services based on their individual requirements without being limited by gender-specific options.

  • How will this impact all groups of clients? It's important to note that pricing decisions should be made while keeping in mind the goal of inclusivity and fairness. By offering gender-neutral pricing, you demonstrate your commitment to creating an inclusive environment that values all individuals equally, regardless of their gender identity. Some clients may fear this changes it for their service and could push back. Ensure you demonstrate that fairness for all doesn't mean less fair for them. A 'man's cut' will cost the same as it did before, it just looks different because short hair looks great on all genders!

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