Last year, Mark Welch did an unusual thing for a straight guy. He looked around a room full of beautiful women and wished there were more men.
Welch, who owns SoZo HAIR by Bajón Salon and Spa in West Chester with his wife Karen, knew the lack of men in their salon meant untapped business potential. They decided it was time to make a change to attract more men to SoZo HAIR. “After all,” he explains, “a salon is more relaxing than a barber shop and we have a bunch of highly skilled, beautiful women to wait on them hand and foot. Literally.”
Welch has been running the salon for more than a decade, so he knows all about infusing fresh, new ideas into a growing business. He conducted a client survey asking why more men don’t come to a salon for their haircuts. “It’s very interesting what we found out,” Welch says. “The number one reason guys don’t go to a salon is because they think it’s going to take a huge chunk of time out of their day.”
Welch says this is a misunderstanding rooted in how much time women spend at the salon. Another reason, according to Welch, is cost. “Most guys pay somewhere between $12 and $25 for a basic, no frills haircut at their barber or one of those franchise places that hires girls right out of school,” says Welch. “Most upscale salons start men’s haircut prices at around $25 and can go up to $50 to $60 depending on the experience and skill of their stylist.”
The third reason was habit. Turns out, most men have a relationship with a barber or stylist, and will stick with them until they retire. “He’s just not looking around,” shrugs Welch. “Not a whole lot we can do with these guys except outlive the barber.”
Welch took the survey results back to SoZo HAIR and decided to offer a new, no frills Men’s Barber Cut for $17. “Since guys just want to ‘get in, get out and get on with their lives,’ we skip all the pampering stuff like shampoo, scalp massage, blow dry and style, and give them a haircut they’re guaranteed to like, all in about 15 minutes,” says Welch.
All the stylists at SoZo HAIR have been trained to do a Men’s Clipper Cut, and they just added a “Flashback Color for Men” service. “This is great service that can make a man look 10 years younger and it meets the time and cost requirements,” Welch says. “In about 20 minutes and for $40, we’re able to ‘blend’ gray hair and take a man’s hair back to the way it looked right before it started to go gray.”
According to Welch, “The results have really been good.” In fact, he’s seen a 15% uptick in male clients since offering these new services.