In-demand hairdresser Tyson Mendes, owner of Melbourne’s successful Pearl Blonde salon, spoke earlier this year about why Timely is his undisputed business software of choice.  Here, Tyson talks about client retention during COVID-19, and why both online and offline presence are equally essential to salon success.

Tyson Mendes on why online & offline presence are both crucial

How are you coping with your salon being closed at the moment, due to Melbourne’s current lockdown restrictions?

It’s obviously far from ideal, but I’m using the time productively; making sure that my clients don’t feel neglected and that my business stays very visible. 

How do you maintain, and manage, customer relationships during lockdown salon closure?

Obviously, a lot of clients have regular appointments booked, and hair can have a big impact on identity and self-confidence, so it’s not uncommon for people to feel pretty low about salon closures.  I use Timely to keep track not just of scheduled appointments, but also client contact and communications.  When someone has an appointment coming up, but we’re in lockdown, I still touch base with them.  I personally pick up the phone and ask them how they are.  I’m a huge advocate for automatisation and social media, but it’s important not to forget that, especially at times like this, the personal touch goes a long way.  

How important is social media to your business?

It’s extremely important.  Both during lockdown and, more generally, to business growth and success.  When Covid-restrictions mean that that the salon is closed, a strong presence on social media means that it stays visible and that clients still feel part of the Pearl Blonde ‘community’.  

Instagram has played a huge role in growing my business, starting right back when I was an employed stylist, through to when I began renting a chair, then when I launched my own salon, and now that I’m navigating lockdown. It helped me to gain exposure, which led to an increase in clients, and gave me more confidence. 

When my social media following began to grow, I began to reach out to big hair companies and influencers on Instagram. They started reposting my work; which led to a further increase in client requests, and gave me even more of a confidence boost.  

What tips do you have for using social media to grow your hair or beauty brand and business?

Done correctly, social media is such an amazing powerful tool.  Posting regularly means that people remember who you are, but you do need to get the balance right and not post so much that people start to get irritated by constantly seeing you on their feed.

Show your work and show what you do best.  For example, I’m known for doing blondes really well.  Showing what you’re great at means that you’ll attract the right type of people, the clients that you want.  Instagram is essentially a portfolio of your work that everyone can see. 

You have access to a photo shoot with every single customer.  Not all of them will want their photograph to be used on social media, but most are actually fine with it.  That’s multiple photoshoots a day, so make the most of them!  I allocate 10 minutes at the end of every appointment so that I can take that pictures. You have to allocate the time for social media.  For taking photos, for posting, for engaging.   

If your social media is great, does your physical location still matter?

Absolutely. When I first rented a chair, I made the mistake of doing so in a small salon that was located on a quiet street with no footfall.  I fell flat on my face and ended up going back to work for someone else.   

When I opened my own salon, I picked a premium location in one of Melbourne’s prestigious shopping villages, over a kilometre away from the next nearest hairdressers. There’s fantastic football and I’m also right out front of a bus stop, a tram stop and a set of lights. And the salon is designed and set up so that it’s a little bit of a fishbowl; so that everyone can see in and see what’s happening. That definitely creates interest and more demand. It’s hugely important not to under-estimate the importance of location for attracting new clients. 

What else is important for attracting new clients?

A good consultation and honesty.  Clients will respect you if you don’t just tell them what they want to hear.  My priority is always to give people the best service and the best hair experience that they can have.