With tongue in cheek, Mark Twain once remarked that, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” Well, with more and more people, wearing less and less these days, that’s probably debatable. However, what’s okay in Hollywood, will absolutely, positively, not work on Main Street USA. And it sure won’t work in your salon or spa.
Salons can be funky or staid depending on the clientele, but one thing is for certain: the clothes your employees wear have to look 100% professional at all times. Now, does that mean that your male employees have to dress up in Brooks Brothers, pin striped suits, with a silk tie and French cuffs? Nah! Or does it mean that your female employees have to wear linen dresses, with piping, probably medium heels, and a strand of pearls? Nah, again!
But it does mean your employees better look sharp and professional at all times. That’s assuming you want to stay in business, of course. But, how do you go about making sure your employees wear the right clothes, and exactly what does the term, “right clothes” mean? Let’s toss this around for a bit.
Salon/spa paid attire
There are any number of professional uniform companies that will supply you with professional outfits, for both your male and female employees. Many larger salons, including those which are franchise based, use this type of service. The apparel can be bought, or rented. It’s convenient, readily available, and takes the hassle out of outfitting your employees. To get a uniformed look, this is probably the easiest way to go. If rented, the uniforms are used for a certain amount of time, then returned to the supplier for fresh uniforms. You could, of course, go on eBay and buy some uniforms there, but who knows if the style the supplier is selling, will be available next month. It’s probably better to go straight to the source. And there are any number of sites on the internet that sell salon/spa wear.
What’s your salon/spa’s style?
If you’re market is 20 and 30 somethings, you might want go a little funky. You can get the same style attire, but in different colors. It’s professional because everyone is wearing the same uniform, but one stylist may have blue pants and a red shirt, and another stylist may have just the opposite. That’s funky, but it’s professional and fun. With older clients you may want more sedate uniforms. These would usually be black and white – classic, soothing colors. The point? Just as the décor of your shop is geared to please your target customers, so should your employees’ attire. Again, just common sense.
What about jewelry?
That’s fine, but you can’t allow your staff to go overboard. Appropriate jewelry such as rings, pendants, and necklaces are great. But outsized jewelry and long, hanging necklaces are not the way to go. For one thing, they pose a potential danger to the client, and more than one stylist has had to untangle her jewelry from a client’s hair or clothing. That isn’t professional, and it shouldn’t be allowed. Always remember, your employees are representing you! Make sure they’re dressed to impress your clients, not to show off their bangles.
What about dress/code infractions?
It’s human nature to, on some occasions, bend the rules a little bit. And those people who work in the salon/spa industry, are generally creative sorts. “Conforming,” is not a word in their vocabulary. As free spirits they may, on occasion, tweak the rules a bit – maybe wear a necklace longer than it should be. Perhaps showing up with a small tear in their clothing that they haven’t had time to patch. Or, horror of horrors, cracking a mouthful of gum while they’re working on a client. Once the opportunity presents itself you should take the employee quietly aside and have a discussion about the infractions. This will usually take care of future problems, but if it doesn’t you may to take another course of action. In any case, be sure to make a note of it in the employee’s personnel folder. Better safe than sorry!
Is cleanliness really next to godliness?
If you’re in a touchy-feely business like operating a salon/spa, you better believe it! Attire is one thing, body cleanliness is another. The two go together. Employees who have an odor problem are employees who should not be at work. If you encounter such a situation, ask the employee to leave and come back when the problem is solved. Do this as quietly as possible, so as not to embarrass the employee, but do it you must. You cannot afford to have odoriferous employees come in contact with your salon/spa clients.
Always be alert
You don’t want to run your salon/spa like a Marine boot camp, but rules (your rules) have to be followed. If things get out of control (and even the smallest of problems can mushroom into major headaches), it’s going to take a lot of time and effort to get back to normal. So, keep aware and keep on top of things. That’s the way to run a great business!