Page 1



Membership drive to give NHF strength

in numbers Debate due

SalonFocus wins

‘Publication of the Year’

on mandatory registration

Your high-street

makeover for

Mary Portas


LET BECOMING ‘PUBLICATION OF THE YEAR’ BE JUST THE START colleagues to join which, if you overlook what “half” a The fact you are reading this probably means you member might look like, suddenly seems much more doalready appreciate the benefits National Hairdressers’ able, even for the busiest salon owner. Moreover, as Alan Federation membership can bring. Members get a lot has argued, such a critical mass would inevitably give the for their subs – the Legal Lifeline, events, competitions Federation greater strength in numbers. and regional networks, support and advice on a myriad There are other areas, too, in which the authority of issues, an energetic head office, offers and discounts of the Federation is carrying ever-increasing weight. and – now – in SalonFocus access to an The Federation’s submission to the review of the high award-winning campaigning magazine, of street by Mary Portas has, as I never doubted it would which more in a moment. The Federation, be with such a creative membership to call on, come too, is now of course the biggest single up with a range of innovative, exciting and above all salon trade association and, with members constructive reforms and recommendations that I very such as Regis in its ranks at one end of the much hope Mary will embrace wholeheartedly. An spectrum and a multitude of small, vibrant, abridged version has been reproduced on pages 28 and family-run salons at the other, can speak for 29. As members have made clear, there the industry like no other. are important debates to be had about But join some of “This win serves to how and in what form high streets will the threads of activity how and where we want to currently spinning away reinforce the growing survive, shop in an internet age and how those within the NHF and it is retailers, such as salons, that have no possible to get a sense importance of option but to have a physical presence of just how much more on a high street can avoid being of an influential body hairdressing – with disproportionately penalised by the drift the Federation could be, how much the Federation as its away to e-commerce. more potential it has to shape the Finally, through SalonFocus the voice future landscape of hairdressing. There primary voice – as of the Federation is now resonating ever is the survey of members carried out more loudly. You may recall in the last over the summer into the future of a force for change edition it was announced we had been hairdressing qualifications (SalonFocus, and for good on the shortlisted for the prestigious Trade May/June, 2011), something that in Association Forum’s “Best Practice time could give the Federation a much high street and in the Awards” as Publication of the Year. Well, more influential voice in the training as we also report on page five, we won of generations of up-and-coming corridors of power.” it! I said last time winning would be a hairdressers. There is the NEC’s push to win for hairdressing and the Federation re-energise grassroots activity, which as a whole as much as a gong for this we reported on back in March, that magazine. For me that still very much holds. Yes, I am has the potential to enhance the Federation’s profile at a immensely proud of my team and pleased for the local and regional, as well as national, level. Federation. But, more importantly, this win serves to A third strand, as we highlight on page five, is the reinforce the growing importance of hairdressing – with NEC’s ambition to increase membership by a fifth every the Federation as its primary voice – as a force for change year. This may sound a tall order, especially when you and for good on the high street and in the corridors consider numbers have been relatively static for some of power. time and, in a tough economic climate, signing up to trade bodies can become for some people a “nice to have” rather than a “must have”. Yet think about it. Membership committee chairman Alan Rapkin has said his aspiration is to reach 15,000 members. With current membership around 6,000, that’s the equivalent of every member encouraging one-and-a-half friends or



Richard John has been owner of the Richard John salon and academy in Worthing, Sussex, since 1974 and won the British Hairdressing Business Awards in 2005 and 2006.

05 06 08 09 10 11 12 13 14

24 26 28-29 30

Membership drive for ‘strength in numbers’ NHF to debate calls for mandatory registration Members give Mary Portas their views Long hours and red tape take toll on salons Call for extensions to be banned Councils step up pressure on hair straighteners Service to help manage ‘online attacks’ Salons warned of autumn VAT crackdown Disciplinary matters – when things go wrong


Make a (client’s) name for yourself – Regis’ new customer feedback system Get straight about Afro hair – trends, aftercare and retail in Afro hair The NHF’s high-street makeover – your suggestions for Mary Portas Disposable can be green – switching to disposable towels




13 32 03 08 11 16 22-23 33 34

Gillian Dowling works for Croner as employment technical consultant.

Cathie Gilhooly is manager of the NHF’s Legal Lifeline



Kim Johnson (right) is manager of Hype Coiffure in Battersea, south London. With colleague Michelle Sultan she won Afro Hairdresser of the Year in the 2010 British Hairdressers of the Year Awards.

Jackie Lang has been managing director of Regis UK since 2008. She is responsible for 450 salons that include Regis’s UK branches and Sassoon salons in the UK, Germany and USA

Hellen Ward is managing director of Richard Ward Hair & Metrospa in London

EDITOR Nic Paton e: EDITORIAL CONSULTANT Andrew Don e: EVENTS Tina Beaumont t: 0845 345 6500 e: AD SALES Mainline Media Ltd The Barn, Oakley Hay Lodge Business Park, Great Oakley, Northants NN18 9AS

Advertising Sales Manager Tricia McDougall e: tricia.mcdougall@mainlinemedia. Advertising Production Manager Craig Barber e: DESIGN & PRODUCTION Matrix Print Consultants Ltd t: 01536 527297 e: While every care is taken in compiling this issue of SalonFocus including manuscripts and photographs submitted, we accept no responsibility for any losses or damage, whatever the cause. All information and prices contained in advertisements are accepted by the publishers in good faith as being correct at the time of going to press. Neither the advertisers nor the publishers accept any responsibility for any variations affecting price variations or availability after the publication has gone to press. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the permission of the publisher, to whom application must first be made. The views expressed by contributors to SalonFocus are not necessarily those of the NHF, the publisher or its editor. © 2011 The National Hairdressers’ Federation. Material for consideration in this section of the magazine should be submitted on CDROM as high resolution jpeg or tiff files to The Editor, SalonFocus. Submissions should be made on the understanding that the National Hairdressers’ Federation has the right to use the material in any part of the magazine and any of its other publications, promotions or website, free from any copyright restrictions, or appearance fees other than the issue of artistic and photographic credits where applicable. Please include salon name, photographer & stylist.

Beauty Spots – growth in procedures Top tips – how to integrate nail services



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Snap happy – images from the NHF Photographic Stylist of the Year competition

Wavelength – Let becoming ‘Publication of the Year’ be just the start HairClips – ‘Cheque book’ offer for members Movers and Groovers – Sassoon honour Cutting Brief – your legal problems solved Federation Focus – Cardiff champions rise to the challenge Events – key dates for your diary Backwash – is your’s a convertible?

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Front Cover Hair: Donna Mitchell at Bonce Salons Photography: Barry Jeffery Clothes Styling: Bernard Connelly Make-up: Janine Bird




NHF ‘STRENGTH IN NUMBERS’ The NHF is working on an ambitious blueprint to increase membership levels by 20 per cent a year from next year in an effort to give the Federation an even more influential voice within the industry and externally. The Federation is already the biggest salon trade association in the industry with around 6,000 members, but the NEC has challenged the membership committee to look at ways significantly to increase membership levels. “It will be a pretty hard task but we on the membership committee believe it is feasible to do,” committee chair Alan Rapkin told SalonFocus. A strategy document is currently being developed, which will be debated at conference in October, with the aim being to launch a membership drive from January next year. A business development specialist, Donald Northwood, has been hired to look at ways to increase membership, better promote and market the Federation and, simply, to get a better picture of the existing membership make-up. “We want individual members who already see the benefit in being a member to persuade colleagues and friends to come in,” said Alan. “The Federation is becoming an increasingly influential voice, both within the industry, in Parliament and through its various lobbying activities. Having more members will, inevitably, mean we have more impact ALAN RAPKIN: INCREASING and even more INFLUENCE influence.

“If we could get to, say, 15,000 members then that would really mean people had to sit up and take notice of what we said. There is always strength in numbers,” he added. A survey has been sent out to members to gauge opinion on how the Federation can raise its public profile, what member benefits are most valuable and what sorts of promotional activity might work most effectively. The move is closely linked to other profile-raising activity already underway by the Federation, including a survey of members about the future of training and qualifications (SalonFocus, May/ June 2011), an initiative to encourage more grassroots activity (SalonFocus, March/April 2011) and ongoing publicity generated by SalonFocus. On top of this the Federation has been working with Habia, the standardssetting body for the hair, beauty, nails and spa sector, on a major skills survey it has been carrying out over the summer. This, Habia’s most detailed look at skills gaps and training needs for five years, was launched in June and is designed to feed into the organisation’s future planning for the next five years. Federation education committee chairman John Armstrong said it complemented the NHF’s own aspirations around developing a more relevant training landscape for the industry. “For Habia it is one of its key intelligence gathering exercises. What the NHF has said is that it endorses this process and that it has encouraged members to get involved and give their views. It also dovetails nicely with our own survey around qualifications,” he told SalonFocus. The returns from the NHF survey were going to be collated and analysed during August and presented to conference in October, he added.


SalonFocus has won a prestigious national award, being voted “Publication of the Year” in this year’s Trade Association Forum (TAF) Best Practice Awards. The awards are designed to celebrate the work of trade associations around the UK and SalonFocus beat off stiff competition from organisations such as the British Beer & Pub Association and the Recruitment & Employment Confederation to win in its category. The judging panel described SalonFocus as being “truly representative of the industry and clearly compiled with great awareness of the readers”. In addition, the TAF said, “the judges felt that SalonFocus is a thoroughly good read with excellent informative, and occasionally amusing, content”. The plaudit was not only a significant achievement for the SalonFocus editorial and advertising team but, more widely, highlighted the growing importance of hairdressing, and the Federation, as a “voice” of the high street, said NHF secretary-general Eileen Lawson. “NHF members have long valued SalonFocus for its authoritative, informative style and this award is a vindication of the NHF’s commitment to quality journalism,” she added. The awards were held in July at London’s Plaisterers’ Hall and presented by rugby star Martin Bayfield.





1964. Applicants are required The NHF is to debate at to show evidence of their conference this October qualifications and the length moves by the Hairdressing of time they have been a Council to establish a hairdresser. Fees as they mandatory register for stand are £39, with graduate hairdressers, a proposal that hairdressers being charged is expected to be voted on by £32. Parliament later this year and, Moving to mandatory if passed, could create a range registration is not in itself of challenges for salons. a new idea, having been The council is preparing debated a number of times the ground for a Ten Minute since 1964. The most recent Rule Bill, in which politicians was in 1997 when Labour will be able to vote on MP Austin Mitchell tried whether a mandatory register to amend the Act to make for hairdressing should be registration mandatory, only to established for the first time. PARLIAMENT: SET TO VOTE ON REGISTRATION run out of Parliamentary time. The move is being led David Morris told by Conservative MP David SalonFocus that, under his bill, Morris, who was a hairdresser the Hairdressing Council would be given new powers “to strike for 26 years before being elected at the 2010 General Election. off hairdressers”. The vote is currently understood to be pencilled in to take He added: “This change in the law will put hairdressers on place on November 29, Parliamentary time permitting, with a level field with other skilled professionals and is designed to the bill provisionally entitled The Hairdressers (Compulsory remove those who are not fit to practise.” Registration) Bill. An Early Day Motion (see panel), which is simply used by politicians to highlight an issue, was put forward in Parliament in June. Making registration mandatory could have significant ramifications for salons, with the NEC discussing the issue in August as well as putting it to conference in October. Any move to mandatory registration would bring the UK into line with most salons within the European Union, and key David Morris MP tabled the following Early questions for members include whether it would be viable in Day Motion on June 21: terms of the structure of the UK industry, how or whether it “That this House notes that 245,000 people work in the would add value, how it would be policed and managed and hairdressing industry representing one per cent of the what it would cost salons. working population; further notes that the National Mandatory registration could nevertheless have the Hairdressing Council was established by the Hairdressers advantage of putting the industry on a more even footing in (Registration) Act 1964 and that all major hairdressing trade terms of high-street competition, quality and training. bodies are now campaigning for the compulsory registration It could also mean salons at a stroke being able to present a of all hairdressers with the full support of industry leaders more reputable image to the public. Andrew Barton, Trevor Sorbie and George Hammer; “If this goes through there is a lot of detail that will need believes that with compulsory registration standards to be thrashed out, such as will it be individual hairdressers of professionalism within the hairdressing industry will or employers who pay, how will registration be linked to be raised; further believes that it is dangerous to allow qualification or competence, how will it improve standards unqualified individuals to apply hazardous chemicals and who will police and inspect the registration process,” said to customers’ hair without proper training and, whilst Federation secretary-general Eileen Lawson. customers can seek recourse through the civil courts for any “If it raises standards and quality, registration has the mistakes, this does not prevent those responsible continuing potential to be extremely positive. The challenge is to have a to practise; and urges the Government to amend the system of registration that is meaningful and affordable to the Hairdressers (Registration) Act 1964 to include compulsory profession and public alike and does not just become another registration of all hairdressers and the ability of the national cost,” she added. Hairdressing Council to strike off those who do not practise in At the moment registration with the Hairdressing Council a professional manner.” is voluntary, through the Hairdressers (Registration) Act






THEIR VIEWS NHF members have been true to the entrepreneurial spirit of hairdressing by coming up with innovative proposals for retail expert Mary Portas’ review of the high street. Mary, star of retail makeover TV programme Mary Queen of Shops, was asked by the government in May to carry out a review of the high street, and is due to report back to ministers this autumn (SalonFocus, July/August, 2011). The NHF has now made a formal submission to her review, an abridged version of which is reproduced in this edition. Proposals include reforms around excessive high-street rents, recommendations on how to make business rates more small businessfriendly and advice on how to encourage shoppers away from out-of-town shopping centres. Members have made suggestions on how to improve the “furniture” of the high street and to make shopping areas more vibrant and colourful. Mary’s review is needed to stem the decline of traditional high streets and stop shopping centres being dominated by the same few names, members have also emphasised. “Some larger companies do swamp the high street. We need, I feel, more of a Continental approach, perhaps gathering some lessons from what they do in other parts of Europe,” agreed Stephen Scholte, who runs Cutting Remarks salon in Beckenham, Kent. “In France, Italy and Germany, for example, local chambers of commerce do a lot to encourage small bakeries and patisseries. We need more oldfashioned greengrocers, haberdasheries or more artisan-style outlets,” he added. “I think what might help is allowing more flexibility about advertising your wares outside your shop, using A-boards and things like that. A lot of councils no longer allow this but, I feel, it would help to show shoppers the sort of variety that is available,” recommended Barry DiBiase, who run Di-Biase in New Malden, Surrey. “One of the big issues, I think, is rent levels. They have gone so high in some places. Those, often big, companies who can afford to own their own properties outright are in a much more positive position relative to those who have to lease,” MARY PORTAS: NHF said Roy Sparkes, who SUBMISSION



The NHF is giving members a special “cheque book” of vouchers to spend at the Salon International show being held at the ExCel exhibition centre in London on October 15-17. The books, which are being inserted into this edition of SalonFocus, contain 10 vouchers offering discounts on various products or services available at the show. HIGH STREET: REVIEW DUE IN AUTUMN

runs MasterClass in Market Harborough and Wellingborough. “The only thing that will put the bustle back into small high streets is a variety of shops that give prompt service, good prices, good value and a feel-good factor when people are shopping, with lots of old-fashioned shopkeeper personalities around,” agreed Martin Zullo, who runs Charlie’s Barber Shop in Bristol. “Every town is the same now. In Hamilton it’s very much a case of out-of-town shopping centres killing the high street. And of the shops that are surviving there is too little variety,” said Hamish Wilson, of Hamish Hairdressers in Hamilton. Despite the wider gloom on the high street, with big-name retailers such as Focus DIY, Jane Norman and Habitat running into financial difficulties, more evidence has emerged of just how important hairdressers are becoming to the survival of our high streets. Research by insurance company Simply Business in June suggested hairdressers and beauty salons were one of the ongoing success stories of the high street, along with restaurants and coffee shops. The proportion of hairdressers had increased from four to five per cent since 2008 and the proportion of beauty salons from two to three per cent, it calculated. Scotland, it argued, was the place to go for a haircut, as seven per cent of all outlets were hairdressers. It followed research by L’Oreal in May suggesting that hairdressers were continuing to perform robustly, despite the tough economic climate, (SalonFocus, July/August, 2011). •

The NHF’s high-street makeover, pages 28-29


The year’s British Hairdresser of the Year nominees have been announced. They are Andrew Barton, Errol Douglas, Tim Hartley, Mark Hayes (international creative director of Sassoon), Gary Hooker and Michael Young, Akin Konizi (artistic director of HOB) and current holder of the title Angelo Seminara. The awards will be held at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel on November 28.

NMW EXPOSURE A Welsh Assembly politician has accused more than 1,000 Welsh employers of breaching the national minimum wage (NMW) since 2002, and argued none have been prosecuted. Plaid Cymru AM Leanne Wood unearthed the figures in a Freedom of Information request to HMRC. It is not known from which sectors the employers came.


A new social media site has been launched for hairdressers, models, stylists and make-up artists. has been created by M&M Hair Academy’s Mo Nabbach and focuses on encouraging people to exhibit work as well as collaborate and work with others.



The poll found The headlines may be 54 per cent of salons all about the difficult questioned feared for economic climate their survival if costs on the high street continued to rise, but a combination while more than a of rising costs and fifth – 23 per cent – had administrative issues seen their business such as staffing, red overheads rise since tape and long hours are 2005. just as much pressing Rising prices were down on salon owners also preventing or and, in some cases, limiting nearly three forcing them to throw quarters of salons from in the towel. growing, it added. Mark Ridout, Seven out of ten had director of RA seen their profit margins Valuation Services, hit by increasing costs which has a “Salon MARK RIDOUT: OVERLOAD over the past three Market Appraisal” years, on average by 22 service that assesses per cent, while almost a salon’s market value half had been forced to increase prices as part of working out a possible exit and nearly a quarter to cut staff. strategy, has argued that, increasingly, The research painted a grim picture it is issues beyond economic ones that for many salons on the high street but are proving to be the final straw for also showed why it was increasingly salon owners. valuable to be part of an organisation While there were now more such as the NHF, said president Mark “distressed” sales than two years ago Coray. because of the economic climate, more “With costs rising left, right and sales proportionately were also arising centre, the level of support and because of administrative hassles. access to membership-based deals an “What they want to achieve is to organisation such as the NHF can offer escape from work overload and get – not to mention just having access to their lives back, rather than necessarily networks of other members who can selling because the business is losing offer money-saving tips and advice – money,” he told SalonFocus. can be invaluable,” he said. Research published in July has Data collated from calls to the NHF’s echoed this view, suggesting it is rising Legal Lifeline would appear to back costs as much as reduced spending the view that it is not just the economic by consumers that is pushing many climate causing a headache, with salons to the brink, especially small and regulatory and administrative issues independent salons that may have less coming through as a massive thorn in financial leeway when bills go up. owners’ side (SalonFocus, May/June, A survey by comparison website Make It Cheaper and the think-tank The 2011). RA’s Mark Ridout added the feedCentre for Economics and Business back he was getting was that owners of Research has argued that rising smaller salons were finding they were insurance premiums, energy and fuel working eight hours or more a day as bills are squeezing margins, choking stylists and then working late into the growth and, in some cases, threatening night to keep up with administration. the survival of many small salons.



Cheques no longer face being scrapped as a method of payment within eight years, in a U-turn strongly supported by the National Hairdressers’ Federation. The payments services’ watchdog The RICHARD NORTH: PLEDGE Payments Council said in July it was withdrawing its plan to abolish cheques by 2018 following criticism from MPs and opposition from the public, with chairman Richard North stressing cheques would now continue “for as long as customers need them”. The council came under fire from MPs on the House of Commons Treasury Committee in June when it reopened an inquiry into the switchover, which could have seen the conventional cheque clearing system disappearing as soon as 2016 and cheques being phased out two years later. The UK’s Cheque Guarantee Card Scheme ended at the end of June as the number of cheques being written has steadily declined. The NHF had expressed concern the council had failed to outline clearly what the alternatives to cheques would be. The move to scrap the deadline and therefore remove uncertainty over the transition was welcome for salon owners, said president Mark Coray. “This is the right decision by the Payments Council and means alternative methods of payment and new technologies can be examined properly without a clock ticking away in the CHEQUES: WILL STAY background,” he added. BEYOND 2018




TO BE BANNED by Andrew Don

Reputable salons are being left to pick up the pieces from a dramatic increase in scalp damage and traction alopecia caused by poorly applied and poor quality hair extensions, leading some EXTENSIONS: GOOD ONES WILL LOOK NATURAL industry observers to call for a crackdown on the market or even an outright ban on hair extensions. the chemicals to take effect to break the bonds, An investigation by SalonFocus has therefore requiring forceful pulling to remove the suggested problems appear to be occurring extensions. because of cheap hair flooding the market and “The real debate should not be whether glued shoddy application. extensions should be banned but whether this But Barry Stevens, secretary of The industry needs to be regulated,” she explained. Trichological Society, has argued it is often Fenleny Georghiou, creative director at TATIANA KARELINA: SHOULD the extensions themselves that are to blame, Connect Hair Systems, which has called for the INDUSTRY BE REGULATED? with the glue and rings to bond them being creation of a governing body for extensions, said: aggravating factors. “Clients should beware of the cheap hair that is He told SalonFocus he wanted to see extensions now flooding the market... sometimes these cheap banned “because they cause so much hardship”. companies are using hair mixed with animal hairs “We see increasing numbers of people which will cause tangling which, in turn, when coming to us with sad tales of hair loss... Overall, brushed will cause tensions at the roots.” the process is not very satisfactory. There won’t Mike Burns, owner of Great4Hair, a hair be an official ban but we think there ought to be,” extensions supplier that has just launched “a he added. transformation connection system” which, he says, Hair transplant surgeon Dr Bessam Farjo uses “no heat, no glue and no harsh chemicals to said a growing proportion of his patients were remove”, said most salons had no basic training and young women looking to reverse the damage jumped on the bandwagon to disastrous effect. extensions had caused, with the glue attached to “They just see hair extensions as a way of the natural hair sometimes being able to “burn making money... they need to invest in having and split” the ends. the correct education and correct advice on what JOHN ARMSTRONG: NEED Jonathan Long, founder of, Lockonego, system to offer,” he added. FOR TRAINING a salon in Chelsea, south-west London, said Proper training and regulation was the key whether clips, glue bonds or keratin bonds were to ensuring the public retained confidence in used depended on what was appropriate for individual hair hairdressers, agreed John Armstrong, chairman of the NHF’s types and the extensions used. training and education working party. It was also important for technicians to explain aftercare to He added that mandatory registration of hairdressing clients. “There are strict industry standards out there outlining might be one answer to ensure “these kinds of problems would how close extensions should be applied to the root of natural diminish dramatically”. hair so as to minimise potential damage,” he emphasised. But Alan Goldsbro, chief executive of Habia, the governmentAnna Moxom, a hair extensions specialist at the salon, appointed standards setting body for hair, beauty, nails and spa, added: “Damage from hair extensions is most commonly caused stressed most hairdressers already got proper training. by applying too many wefts of hair extensions at once, causing “We cannot foresee a situation whereby the government them to weigh your natural hair down and pull at the roots.” is going to introduce legislation in the area of hair extensions Tatiana Karelina, owner of Tatiana Hair Extensions, said in particular and a ban on bonding glue would have a traction alopecia was most often caused by a combination disproportionate effect on the vast majority of professionals in of inexperienced technicians not allowing enough time for our sector who do have the correct training,” he warned.





A London council has started contacting salons to find out what chemical hair-straightening products they are using, as part of the first stage of an investigation that could lead to the eventual prosecution of salons using products containing illegal levels of formaldehyde. Hammersmith & Fulham council confirmed to SalonFocus that it had contacted all 90 salons in its borough as part of what it termed “phase one” of an investigation into illegal chemical hair straighteners. Phase two will be to chase up any of those who have failed to respond, with phase three being enforcement and – potentially – prosecution. However, the council has stressed this eventuality, even if it were to happen, would be an option of last resort. A council spokeswoman emphasised “a lot” of salons had responded well before the mid-June deadline it had originally set. “Between trading standards and environmental health we are looking through the responses and we will go from there and visit particular salons as and when we might need to,” she said. “We don’t want to prosecute in the first instance – we want to work with hairdressers and find out what’s going on. “We are not out to get people. It is just making sure people are safe but where enforcement is needed we would prosecute,” she added. The council is a member of the North West London Safety Group, which earlier this year said it would be mounting an investigation from April into salons that used products that contained or released more than 0.2 per cent formaldehyde, the legal European limit (SalonFocus, March/ April 2011). It is not the only council beginning to ratchet up the pressure on salons over this issue. Haringey Council, another member group, said it had begun writing to salons and shops it believed might be selling and using chemical hair straighteners to make them aware of the risks to health some products can cause. The council’s trading standards and environmental health teams are worried some Brazilian hair-straightening products being used and sold in local hair salons and shops may contain illegally high levels of formaldehyde. “We’re also asking salons and shops to tell us via prepaid questionnaire which Brazilian straightening products they’re actually using or selling so that we have proper information about what brands are on sale in the borough and where the suppliers are,” said a spokesman. The council would not shy away from considering “more formal” enforcement action, he added.

Hairdressing icon Vidal Sassoon has been made a Patron of Honour by the Hairdressing Council. Vidal, who visited London in May to promote his film Vidal Sassoon – the movie, received the award from Hairdressing Council ambassador Andrew Barton and registrar Sally Styles.



Rainbow Room International were the official hairstylists at the T in the Park festival in Edinburgh in July, opening a “pop-up” hair salon in the artists’ Green Room, where they styled the hair of artists including The Saturdays, Bruno Mars, N Dubz, Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Ocean Colour Scene and Imelda May. Every act was also asked to sign posters which will be auctioned to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust.


The Stuart Holmes Hair & Beauty Spa has been named as one of the top 100 employers in the UK for employing apprentices. The Cheltenham-based salon was in July awarded a place by City & Guilds on its 2011 “Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers List” at the organisation’s National Apprenticeship Awards.


Oxford-based salon chain and NHF member Popham Hairdressing Salons has become what is believed to be the county’s first Investors in People “champion”. The award means the chain, which already has the highest “gold” standard, will act as an ambassador for Investors in People, which aims to recognise well-run businesses.

Congratulations to Simon Shaw who over the summer raised more than £50,000 for Cancer Research UK and Juvenile Diabetes Research through a charity bike ride from John O’Groats to Lands End, completing the journey in just 10 days. Simon was part of a team of eight, who named themselves MAMIL (Middle Aged Men in Lycra).


Stylists from Clipso Watford raised more than £2,000 in June by taking part in a 13-mile “Starlight Walk” to raise money for The Peace Hospice in Hertfordshire. Before setting off they toasted the memory of Clipso founder Terry Calvert who passed away at the hospice earlier this year.


Changes salon in Olney, Milton Keynes raised £190 in July for its local Willen Hospice through an open evening to new and existing clients where a range of services and products were showcased with money also raised by a raffle.


Putting aside tips for a month helped raise £350 for a local primary school by Bonce salons in July. The money will go to the Old Park Primary School in Wednesbury, West Midlands, to create a “Junior Jungle” miniature play area, with the cheque being presented by creative director Donna Mitchell.




MANAGE ONLINE ‘ATTACKS’ Salon owners who feel their business or reputation is being damaged by negative comments or attacks through social media websites are being offered the chance to sign up to an online “reputation management” service. Guildford-based legal firm Wright & Wright Solicitors, which has more than 15 years expertise in acting for the hairdressing sector, has launched the service after witnessing “a dramatic rise” in the number of attacks on brands and reputation through the use of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and internet forums. The firm has joined forces with digital agency Space01 and will offer to monitor and manage clients’ online presence, and can be contacted at JSampson@ Julian Sampson, Wright & Wright partner, said top industry names such as Errol Douglas, Jamie Stevens and Leo Bancroft all used Twitter to great effect but were also proactive in controlling their postings. The challenge with any social media or social networking presence is that you have little or no personal control over what others post on the site. “Once posted it can’t be erased and with the development of more and more sophisticated search tools and algorithms, it is becoming more and more difficult to hide sensitive information, or rather comments you wished you had never made,” he warned. Julian said reputations often took years to build up but the “viral” attributes of social media could be “incredibly dangerous” and destroy reputations overnight with little control over whether a posting reached one person or thousands. The greatest dangers to salons were disgruntled consumer firing from the hip (often unfairly) and existing or past employees, all of whom could quickly sabotage an online presence. JULIAN SAMPSON: “In my recent REPUTATION SUPPORT


experience I have had to prevent Facebook comments against three separate salons by an ex-employee, a current employee and a former customer. I have also had to help a large product supplier manage the comments posted on forums by customers who weren’t as impressed by the product launch as had been hoped to the point the brand itself was becoming damaged,” Julian pointed out. These comments ranged from being

factually accurate but derogatory to blatantly spiteful. Offending material posted online should always be reported to the administrator of the site, for which details should normally be available on the site itself. “Social media is a fantastic tool but used in anger or emotionally it can lead to unforeseen and permanent outcomes,” Julian warned.



The NHF is launching a new bookkeeping and accounting package specifically for members. The web-based >Onlinebooks package from accountants Kingston Smith LLP is designed to help members keep on top of their books anytime or anywhere and ensure they fully meet their HMRC obligations. It is being launched formally from October 1 at a 35 per cent discount on its normal price to members, with prices starting from just £26 a month. The system is currently being piloted by members, said NHF management accountant Simon Thomson. “It is potentially a huge benefit and

will, I think, be especially valuable to new members who are just starting out in business. “It is the comfort factor of not having to go out and find an accountant who understands hairdressing but also knowing you are using a system that is specifically tailored to the needs of the sector,” he added. The package includes online book-keeping, year-end accounts and other tax tools, and uses a range of pre-configured templates designed to make it as relevant as possible to salon owners. Full details are available on the NHF’s website,





The number of cosmetic surgery procedures carried out in the UK is rising, with non-surgical procedures now dominating the market. A report by market intelligence provider Key Note has calculated the number of procedures more than doubled between 2006 and 2010.



“Rightly or wrongly, there is Salons trading with a a common perception among turnover of more than many small business owners £73,000 and failing to register that HMRC sees them as an easy for VAT could find themselves target, certainly a much easier on the receiving end of a target than big corporations crackdown by the taxman which evade paying their dues, from this autumn. and these sorts of initiatives HMRC in July launched an simply reinforce that view,” he initiative whereby it offered said. small businesses a threeAlternatives such as the month amnesty until the end NHF’s Cut & Dried? VAT campaign of September voluntarily to MARK CORAY: launched in January, which is come forward and register for DISAPPOINTMENT calling for the introduction of VAT should they already have a variable VAT rate for labourbreached the registration intensive small businesses and threshold. a review of the VAT registration Those doing so would be threshold to encourage charged a reduced penalty greater flexibility and take-up, of up to 10 per cent on any could well be more effective VAT paid late, with those than simply punishing small identified after the date likely entrepreneurs, he suggested. to be dealt with more harshly, In two separate it warned. developments, the business Firms that want to get organisation the Federation in touch can call the HMRC of Small Businesses in July helpline on 0845 600 5217 or urged the government to register online at ED BALLS: VAT CALL consider switching to a system of variable discounted VAT rates HMRC said it would also for different sectors, in its case be using “web robot” software tourism and construction, in a move that has to search the internet and find information strongly echoed the NHF’s own Cut & Dried? about people and companies. campaign. The move is part of a wider crackdown on The NHF in June also gave its backing to tax avoidance as the Revenue looks to plug a a call by shadow chancellor Ed Balls for an £42bn “tax gap”. emergency temporary cut in VAT to bring it As well as focusing on VAT, it is creating back down to 17.5 per cent from its current 20 nine industry-specific task forces this year, per cent to kick-start the UK economy. with the first targeting the restaurant trade Mark Coray said: “Salons did not want announced in May, and toughening up its VAT to rise in January and it has hurt so, yes, inspection regime over record keeping, with bringing it back down to 17.5 per cent would small businesses again in the firing line. definitely be good for the high street in our NHF president Mark Coray stressed all view.” businesses of course needed to pay taxes It has written to Ed Balls urging him to they owed but expressed disappointment at support its Cut & Dried? campaign. HMRC’s approach.

After almost a decade of declining sales, colour lipsticks are starting to show signs of growth, according to researcher NPD. The US survey argued that lip colour has experienced 15 months of steady growth since February 2010, with seven months of double-digit increases. The UK make-up market experienced six per cent growth in the year to March 2011, it added.


Women are expected to lose more than £10m worth of liquid beauty products this summer through failing to meet airport security regulations. Holidaymakers still unaware of what is allowed through security controls lose more than 3.8 million items every year, with perfumes, sun creams and deodorants the most common items to go, according to shopping channel QVC.


Habia, the standards-setting body for the hair, beauty, nails and spa sector is running a series of “big conversation” workshops across Britain during the autumn to discuss issues affecting learners and training and development in the sector. The workshops begin in Doncaster on September 26 and finish in Peterborough in February. Full details can be found at www.

FACEBOOK BOOKINGS Software company GramercyOne has launched an application to allow spas and salons to take client bookings through Facebook. The application, through its SpaBooker and SalonBooker cloud-based software, allows customers to make bookings without having to leave a spa’s Facebook page.




When things go wrong you need to be very careful you have followed the correct procedures and taken time to get all the facts, warns Cathie Gilhooly. Most of the time a salon should be a fun, creative, hard-working environment. But when things do go wrong, whether it is a performance issue or something more serious such as fiddling expenses or stealing, you need to know what steps to take. Before you do anything, pause. Don’t rush in, but investigate. You need to find out whether there really has been an incident or if there is a situation that might require disciplinary proceedings to be taken against somebody. Criticisms are often made of people in the heat of the moment, whereas a little reflection or investigation can show clearly a person has done nothing wrong.


If you feel it prudent remove employees from any problem area. This might involve separating warring employees by putting them on different duties or suspending one or more people. If you do suspend employees you must keep the period short, continue to pay them and emphasise suspension does not imply guilt. Next, decide who is the best person to carry out the investigation. Large corporations commonly arrange for one person to carry out the investigation, another person such as the HR manager to decide whether disciplinary action should be taken, and a third person to chair the disciplinary interview. However, this is often not practicable in smaller organisations. Anyone called to provide evidence should be interviewed in private. Questions should not be loaded, nor should they ask for opinion. Your aim as investigator is to establish facts. Judgment should be delayed until you have collected and heard all the evidence.


Do not rush the interview. Ask a question and continue to probe until you feel you


MATTERS Cathie Gilhooly is manager of the NHF’s Legal Lifeline

have the best answer the person can give, then write down both the question and the response. Do not be afraid to go back to earlier questions if a subsequent answer suggests it is necessary, but be calm and polite and do not browbeat the interviewee. When you have finished, read back your notes to the witness to be sure that he or she agrees that they are a true account. Ideally have the witness sign the statement, but this may be a step too threatening, therefore sign and date it yourself under the final entry: “This statement was given by and read back to Mary Smith who agrees that it is an accurate account of what she saw.” If you yourself are witness to an incident that could lead to disciplinary proceedings, make a note of all that you saw and heard at the time, sign and date your report and keep it in a safe place for use by an investigator, anyone conducting a disciplinary hearing, or by the employment tribunal. Sometimes you may find that a witness is reluctant to give evidence, perhaps because he or she is frightened that an accused employee may look to take revenge. In this case take the evidence in the way described above, but remove or blank out anything in the written statement that could identify the witness. At the end of the statement sign under the sentence: “This statement was given by and read back to the person whose name is lodged with the HR manager/in the Company Secretary’s safe, and who agrees that it is an accurate summary of the evidence given.” In the disciplinary interview read

out the statement and, if the accused employee wishes to challenge or question it, make a note of the questions and adjourn the meeting. Discreetly put the questions to the anonymous witness, note the responses, reconvene the disciplinary interview and deliver the responses to the accused employee. In your summing up of the evidence, however, consider why the witness wished to remain anonymous and weight the value of his or her evidence accordingly. When all the evidence has been collected it should be summarised in a report. Whoever receives the report has to determine the next step. Perhaps there is no case to answer, in which case anyone who might feel they are under suspicion should be notified accordingly.


Be aware, though, even if someone has been found to be at fault, he or she may have acted in good faith but clearly needs an element of training. If an employee is at fault, but the matter is not as serious as at first believed, then a chat may be sufficient to ensure that the incident does not recur. But if the investigation points to an employee having been seriously at fault, then a disciplinary interview should be arranged at which all the evidence is presented and the employee given the opportunity to respond. Employers have had large sums of compensation awarded against them in the employment tribunal because they have failed to investigate fully before disciplining an employee. Make sure that you are not one of them.

If you read nothing else, read this…. • • • •

Don’t rush, investigate carefully and calmly Carry out any interviews in private and don’t hurry them Create a report that could be later used in any tribunal Recognise that even serious mistakes can be made in good faith



SOLVED Gillian Dowling from Croner, operator of the NHF’s Legal Lifeline, answers your questions Our existing salon sick pay scheme allows for six months full pay and six months half pay in any continuing period of absence. Where medical advice indicates an employee will not be fit to resume work even with reasonable adjustments or consideration of alternative positions and (following a fair process) we would be looking to dismiss, must we allow the employee to exhaust their full sick pay entitlement before terminating their employment? Should a salon employee be dismissed based on medical grounds before the occupational sick pay has expired, the employer is at risk of a wrongful dismissal claim/ breach of contract claim. Such sick pay schemes are likely to be considered a contractual benefit that indicates the employee’s absence will be supported for the period of time that the benefit runs for. However, any dismissal would be safer if the sick pay scheme expressly caters for dismissal based on grounds of medical incapability before the benefit is exhausted. I have recently taken on a new stylist. They are requesting to see a copy of their reference supplied by their previous employer. Am I obliged to provide it? All workers have the right to view their personnel file. In order for an employee to access this information, they must make a “subject access request”. As an employer you are required to respond to the request within 40 days. However, if the reference reveals the identity of the referee it may be appropriate to provide an edited version. Before revealing a reference that is marked “private and confidential”, you should always seek the referee’s consent. If the referee is not willing to provide consent, the information should only be provided where it is likely to have a significant adverse impact on the worker. If an employee is entitled to 5.6 weeks holiday per holiday year but refuses to take it all, is an employer in contravention of the Working Time Regulations, and if so what should they do? Under the Working Time Regulations, an employee is only “entitled” to take 5.6 weeks annual leave each year. If they therefore choose not to take their full entitlement to annual leave the employer is unlikely to be in contravention of the Working Time Regulations. However, the employer would be expected to encourage the employee to take their full entitlement to annual leave and in doing so, should keep documentation


to show that they have attempted to ensure that their employee takes their full entitlement. If you wished to be more forceful in ensuring the employee has their 5.6 weeks off then you could look to impose holiday on the employee. To do this you would need to give them at least double the notice of the time that you wished them to take. For example if you wanted them to take a week you would be required to give them two weeks notice. If your contract requires for additional notice to be given to enforce holidays, you will need to issue the notice required under the contract. I have tried to change my energy supplier, but have been told that I am tied into a three-year contract and can’t get out of it. Is this contract legal? Contracts between an energy supplier and a private consumer are quite strictly regulated because the law recognises that the average consumer will probably not read or understand all of the terms. However, when you are entering into contracts as a business the law is considerably less strictly regulated and you as a business will not be protected. The reason for this is that, as a business person, you are expected to be fully aware of all the business decisions that you make and read all of the terms of the contract – an idea generally called “freedom to contract”. This means that you as a business have as much right to negotiate, change or reject the terms before you enter into the contract as the supplier; but that having entered into the contract the supplier is entitled to rely on the benefit of the contract: the payment terms and the length of the contract. As such you need to be very careful what contracts or orders you sign (or agree to over the telephone or internet); and you should certainly not sign up for a contract on the basis of what you have been told – almost always the paper contract will have a clause which specifically excludes any “representations” made by the agent or seller. Those clauses are perfectly legal and mean that anything the agent has told you is totally irrelevant. Where you are getting a preferential rate for being locked into a three-year contract, check the termination clause very carefully to see how you have to give notice. Quite frequently you will have to give a minimum of three months’ notice, otherwise you will get tied into another year at a much higher rate; and the notice will be required in writing. You will need to ensure you comply accurately with the specific clause in the contract.


Snap Happy Images from the winners and the finalists of the NHF Photographic Stylist of the Year competition

Overall winner: Benjamin Madle, Headhunters Woking


Ladies: Ozzie Rizzo, Ozzie Rizzo, London

Men’s: Kelly Lowery, Savannah Salon Spa, Newcastle upon Tyne


Leigh Winsor, Bowlers Hair & Beauty

Kathy Bloomfield Axis Studio


Victoria Ghali, Gloss

Victoria Ghali, Gloss



By Stephanie Munno


CARDIFF CHAMPIONS RISE TO THE CHALLENGE The rain may have been coming down in torrents, but that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm or commitment of competitors at this year’s British Open Championships in Cardiff. The event, one of the most important in the hairdressing calendar, took place at Cardiff City Stadium in June. Categories included juniors (under 25s), trainees and newcomers as well as the seasoned professional, meaning there was something for everyone. There were 125 entries covering the 22 competitions making the judging extremely challenging for NHF national president Mark Coray along with Stephen Coles and Karen Kaya for the ladies categories plus Lloyd Griffiths, Ian Foreman and Graham Smith for the gents. The NHF British Fashion Hairdresser of the Year 2011 was Caroline Gerrard of Gerrards Professional Hair & Style, while Leanne Willis, of The Venue, won the Ladies British National Champion award. The winner of the NHF Men’s Fashion Award was Victoria Ghali of Gloss and winner of the NHF Ladies Fashion Award was Ben Price of Robert Johns. This year’s NHF Bridal Champion was Nathan Pithers of Brothers Constantinou. Other winners included William Davis of Franco International, who won the Rae Stuart Youth Awards Men’s Champion, while Ben Price won the equivalent Ladies Champion award. NHF Inspire team manager Rebecca Dickenson, along with team members Serafina Woodward and Holly Lewis, demonstrated their skills and talents and shared their experiences as members of the team with the audience. A full list of the winners in all the categories has been published on the NHF website,



LAST CALL FOR CONFERENCE Don’t forget, next month will see the NHF’s Annual Conference being held at the Newcastle Marriott Hotel Metrocentre in Gateshead. The conference will take place on Sunday October 2 and Monday October 3, with the members’ day on the Sunday featuring a presentation by Julie Eldrett and artistic demonstrations from NHF Inspire, Team GB and celebrity hairdresser Lee Stafford. Entry is by ticket only, with members receiving one free ticket per salon and additional tickets priced at £20. The President’s Banquet and Ball will take place on Sunday evening, with tickets priced at £45 each. On the Monday there will be the Annual General Meeting in the morning followed by the formal conference and closing with the open forum. Any member wishing to attend the members’ day can obtain a registration form from: National Hairdressers Federation, One Abbey Court, Fraser Road, Priory Business Park, Bedford MK44 3Wh. Tel: 0845 345 6500 or 01234 831965. Alternatively, a registration form can be downloaded from

REGIONAL ROUND-UP Central England Region staged its first Hairdressing Academy Awards evening at the Holiday Inn in Coventry in May. The evening was to promote the new Central England Academy, which will help educate and guide hairdressers young and old in new directions. Colleges, salons and individuals could be nominated for an award, with more than 1,500 votes from the public and hairdressers alike being taken. A shortlist was then drawn up, with entrants asked to submit a photograph of their work, which was judged by Lee Stafford MONSTRATION K CAMERON: DE IC TR PA and Patrick Cameron, who also demonstrated his work. Joanne Robins of Marchella international in Birmingham was voted Hairdresser of the Year while, from the same salon, Lucy Holmes was Junior of the Year and Kim Elwell, from Escape Cannock, was Colourist of the Year. Other winners included Rehanna Younis from Lisa Shepherd in Birmingham, who was named Student of the Year, and Noriko Nagase, from University College, Birmingham, who won in the Most Promising Student category. The Salon of the Year was Elizabeth & Giovanni’s in Kidderminster. A successful photoshoot workshop was held by South West Area in Taunton during May. The event was run by Frank and Liz Shipton and was designed to show how to organise and participate in a photoshoot. Liz created eight different looks for the day on one model, which Frank then photographed. Attendees were encouraged to bring their own model SOUTH WES T PHOTOSHO along to be photographed and to feel that they were part of O T: DIFFERENT LO OKS the overall shoot.

BOOST YOUR BUSINESS KNOW-HOW London Region is counting down to its major one-day business event later this month, for which salon owners and managers are being encouraged to attend. The event on September 19 at the De Vere Hotel, Canary Wharf, will cover a range of key areas of salon management, including health and safety, front-of-house innovation, maximising your retail potential, planning your exit strategy, the pros and cons of chair renting and how best to manage talent and enthuse and motivate your team. Tickets are priced at £50 for members and £100 for non-members. For further details please contact Alan Rapkin on 01268 755296 or email

INSPIRED BY ARTISTIC DAY The NHF Inspire team held an “artistic colour day” in June with award-winning RUSH international colour director Chris Williams, as part of the RUSH Art Team mentoring year. The day began with Chris and RUSH international artistic director Andy Heasman talking the team through the history of the RUSH brand, followed by Chris and Leanne Storer, of the RUSH colour workshop team, demonstrating two stunning colour looks. The focus was on a play on pigment and tones that worked beautifully with the haircuts. Chris’s colour model used rich golds fused with copper reds and an auburn ash brown, while Leanne’s was a beautifully executed platinum blonde-toned colour with a silver ash and slices of steel within the front section. This was followed by an afternoon session where the team themselves coloured and styled live models taking into account the morning’s demonstration. Chris said: “The NHF team have a nice chilled vibe which makes them fun to work with. They take direction well and are good to be with. I saw some great finished looks which were wearable and bright.” The team will next attend a cutting course with Andy. Team member Katy Grimshaw, of Medusa Hairdressing in Edinburgh, added: “The highlight was thinking about colour placements to finish the look and using different colours than I would normally.”





A new customer feedback system is helping Regis identify clients prepared to sing their praises, as well as those who left the salon unhappy, says Jackie Lang. As we emerge from a difficult economic climate we are finding clients are becoming more service savvy and value led. Clients still, of course, want an appealing environment, a great product and experience and a level of service that makes them feel appreciated. But, as a business, we are finding the focus needs to be about forging long-term relationships with clients rather than simply increasing unique salon visits.


A loyal client will not only pay higher dividends over the “lifetime” of their engagement with your salon but, if your service levels and quality exceed expectations, they can become a positive vocal advocate for your business. It’s to achieve this virtuous circle that Regis has developed a new customer service scoring system called the Net Promoter Score (NPS). NPS is based on a methodology formulated by US business loyalty expert Fred Reichheld in his book The Ultimate Question ( For him, the “ultimate question” is: “how likely is it that you would recommend this business to a friend or colleague?” This is, of course, potentially a huge question for a client, for a decision to endorse a salon and recommend it to friends means they then share a sense of responsibility for that person’s choices and the outcome of their visit.

The promoter, on the other hand, is someone who has loved their experience and has the potential to be a loyal enthusiast for the salon; someone who may be willing to speak openly and positively about your business. We also look to maximise clients who fall into this classification, so capturing their comments and using them in social media marketing initiatives. Ideally, in our view, to be experiencing positive growth three quarters of your clients should be in this “promoter” classification.

then contact the client to identify what went wrong and work with the salon to address it. In a company the size of Regis we have made our questionnaires automated and, as soon as a client is entered into the database, they become part of our Jackie Lang has been NPS. managing director of But the principle of Regis UK since 2008. identifying clients who She is responsible for might be able to become 450 salons, including positive advocates, Regis’s UK branches and and encouraging such Sassoon salons in the behaviours is, we believe, UK, Germany and USA something that could apply to even the smallest of salons. Customer service research can always be a powerful tool, however a salon chooses to gather data. The British are uniquely poor at giving IDENTIFY PROBLEMS feedback. We have found NPS to be a While, obviously, we’d love all our clients key tool to encourage them to express to be promoters, being able to identify their thoughts, good or bad. As long clients who have gone away less happy as you then use and act upon this vital is also valuable. When a “detractor” is information, it can serve to bring real flagged by the system a notification is benefits to your business. sent to the regional manager who can



How it works is after their visit the client receives an email questionnaire that takes only three to five minutes to complete. This allows them to give feedback on areas such as the consultation, the backwash and the homecare advice. From this a score is calculated and the client is classified internally into one of three categories: “detractor”, “passive” or “promoter”. The detractor client is one who has gone home dissatisfied. A passive client, conversely, is ambivalent and almost certainly transient: loyal to deals not salons.


• •

• • •

Train for it. Creating and maintaining a framework of customer care standards is essential for quality and consistency throughout the salon service. Open a dialogue. In-salon questionnaires, online questionnaires, email feedback forms…whichever vehicle you choose make sure you are giving clients a quick, easy and comfortable way to assess and comment on their experience. Benchmark and monitor. Benchmarking gives you a starting point and helps you establish goals for improvement. It also helps you isolate potential problems fast. Apply standards and values. Numerical values make things simple. For example you might ask a client to rate their satisfaction on the consultation process from one to five. You can then decide anything less than a four, say, is unacceptable and triggers actions. Interrogate results. Once you have gathered any data, make sure you read it and build a broad picture of your client base. Take action. Call the client, talk to the stylist, investigate any problem. If a client is dissatisfied and takes the trouble to let you know but doesn’t see any action as a result, the problem will be compounded. Reward success. Make service standards part of your rewards and recognition system. It will focus the energy of your team.



With an increased focus on colouring and natural products Afro hair offers loads of potential for aftercare and retail. The key to success is excellent service and comprehensive training, advises Kim Johnson. Afro hair can be quite challenging to get right, and some salon owners can be a bit scared of it, but it is also an exciting, constantly changing and vastly creative area in which to work. As with any other type of hair, you need to be thinking about new products, styles or colours all the time. You do sometimes see situations where a salon establishes itself and gets comfortable with what it is doing and just sticks with that, but that can be a big mistake. One of the biggest trends we are seeing is people moving away from relaxers and instead looking to create more natural looks and textures and cutting quite low. They’ll be visiting the salon more for a wash, cut and perhaps twist into plaits; it’s become a lifestyle thing too over the past couple of years. People have so much going on they want to take one more hassle out of their lives.


With chemical straighteners, especially with some of the publicity they’ve had, there is more of an emphasis on people now looking at alternatives. It can be quite hard to maintain your hair if you use chemical straighteners a lot, it can break and go brittle, so people want to work with more natural alternatives. The range of Kim Johnson (right) products has got is manager of Hype much better over the Coiffure in Battersea, years. There are now south London. With many more relaxers, colleague Michelle neutralisers, preSultan she won Afro treatments and so on. Hairdresser of the Personally I like Mizani Year in the 2010 British Hairdresser of from L’Oreal because it is a big range and the Year Awards.


it has a good array of treatments and moisturisers. I also like KeraCare, which again is a big and flexible range. It is very important to get the consultation right and customise the care you are offering. So you need to communicate clearly, offer great service and be able to educate the client on what is feasible. Training, inevitably, is very important, both for stylists and trainees.


When you train to be a hairdresser often you’ll be mostly only given European hair to work on, with Afro hair as just as option, so it is important to get that extra training and product knowledge. Often you’ll find the manufacturers can offer quite good in-house training. People know our salon for cuts and colours as well as relaxing hair, so you have to be able to do it all. They know us, too, from the shoots and shows that we do. But you do have to keep on updating your knowledge all the time. There is a lot more colouring than there used to be. We went through a phase of offering a lot of red, because of the influence of Rihanna, which can still be popular among younger clients. But we are also seeing a lot of burnt orange and, especially with older clients, more browns and honey blondes. Aftercare and retail has big potential with Afro hair. Clients have to have a lot of moisturiser on their hair, they may have had it relaxed, there may have been chemicals applied. So they come in, have the treatments and then we make sure go home with treatments. We have a retail station, near the reception.


The key, I find, is that the clients know and trust us; they know we know what we are doing and are professional. They know that they will come away with a good service and if we are recommending they buy


Hair: Kim Johnson and Michelle Sultan, Hype Coiffure, Battersea for Goldwell Make-up: Kim Menzies Styling: Miss Molly Photographer: Andres Reynaga product it is because their hair needs it. If you offer a good service, the client will buy the product, simple as that. When you are doing a consultation it is quite easy, too, to bring down a product off the shelf. We have also just started to offer online retailing, which we reckon could be a growth area in the future. Overall, the key to positioning and marketing yourself when it comes to Afro hair is simply a combination of offering good products, being trained in all the right aspects and having excellent service. Do not assume, too, that just because they have Afro hair that you have to use an Afro product. We use a lot of generic products that also work extremely well.

If you read nothing else, read this…. • Afro hair can be hard to get right and good training is needed • People are looking for more natural alternatives to relaxers and chemical straighteners • There is a lot of potential for retail and aftercare • Don’t assume you always have to stick with Afro products



HIGH-STREET Retail expert Mary Portas has been asked by the government to come up ideas to re-energise and reinvigorate the high street. Here is an abridged version of what the NHF has suggested she should recommend when she reports back in the autumn. If there were easy answers to revitalising Britain’s high streets they would probably have been done years ago. But the NHF has strongly welcomed the government’s decision in May to ask retail expert Mary Portas, best-known for her TV series Mary Queen of Shops, to carry out a review into how to “bring the bustle” back to our high streets and create a more sustainable climate for small, independent retailers. The NHF in its submission to her review has argued the best way to revitalise the high street is by encouraging and supporting independent and family-run businesses to “anchor” our high streets. This needs to be done through a combination of reforms and incentives around finance, planning, transport and rents, as well as changing attitudes and behaviours around how consumers use our high streets and looking at ways to improve high-street “furniture”.

1. Tackle punitive rental rates

One of the most common complaints from small, leasehold retailers is the apparent carte blanche landlords have to increase rents, often at short notice and without any prior negotiation. Members have been reporting that increases of 40 per cent or more have not been uncommon since 2008. The effect, inevitably, is independent shops are forced to shut down or move to cheaper premises off the high street, leaving the bigger chains with deeper pockets to dominate. The NHF would like to see: • A ban on “upward-only” rent reviews to ensure a more equitable relationship between landlord and leasee. Landlords being made to justify better why a rental rate is rising and there should be a more transparent and robust appeals and negotiation system in place. • The government investigating ways to regulate or cap commercial rent increases, perhaps learning lessons from the US where rent control laws are relatively commonplace. • More access to affordable legal and agent support for small shopkeepers, perhaps through the creation of a “high-street rental legal aid” agency.

2. Reform business rates

The NHF has long argued that business rate relief as it stands does not do enough to encourage and incentivise small businesses. Government proposals to allow local authorities more freedom in how they set rates, and therefore encourage enterprise, could potentially be positive. Beyond this, the NHF would like to see: • The introduction of an automatic 50 per cent reduction in business rates for any retailer, salon or high-street premises


with a rateable value of less than £18,000. At the moment, eligible salons must proactively apply for this rate relief. If it cannot be made automatic, then a simplification of the system for applying for rate relief is required to encourage greater take-up. A consultation on introducing a system of capital gains and corporation tax relief for small businesses. This could be based on business turnover or even proximity to the high street to encourage more small businesses to migrate to town centres.

3. Make VAT more flexible and high street-friendly

In January the NHF launched a campaign, Cut & Dried? The Case for a VAT Revolution for Hairdressing (, calling for the introduction of a more flexible VAT infrastructure that better responded to the needs of small businesses. The NHF would like to see: • The government accepting and implementing the recommendations of this report. • An independent analysis of how the rise in VAT to 20 per cent this year is affecting the high street and consumer spending.

4. Reform planning and transport controls to encourage more pedestrian footfall and more independent shops.

Another common complaint is high streets being left high and dry by poorly planned ring-roads and out-of-town shopping centres or, conversely, becoming so clogged with traffic that shoppers end up going out of town. The NHF would like to see more work being done by town, council, government planners and environmental agencies to examine better ways to direct and manage footfall to high streets, including: • Greater pedestrianisation of shopping areas to increase footfall and passing trade. • Research into how towns and cities can make better, and more effective, use of “park-and-ride” and congestion charge schemes so as to make such alternatives as convenient for shoppers as using their cars. • Greater consideration when making planning decisions of the effect of ring-roads on retail trade. • More flexibility around changing business usage so that unoccupied shops can become office or work spaces. This would have the effect of bringing more workers into town centres, so creating more “bustle” around lunchtimes and evenings. • Research being carried out to identify the most common retail “anchors” that tend to bring people on to high streets


and, if they then close, the effect this has. In many, especially small, high streets the closure of such an anchor can act as a catalyst to an ongoing, and sometimes terminal, decline. More understanding of the sorts of triggers that can set this decline in motion is essential. Where retail spaces have been left empty, greater encouragement of their temporary use by artistic, creative and community groups so as to create colour and vibrancy rather than simply having long lines of boarded-up fascias. Greater use and promotion of Business Investment Districts to encourage local businesses and communities to take more “ownership” of the look, ambience and feel of their high streets.

5. Encouraging more artisan and specialist outlets, creating more “street furniture” and looking at creative ways to brighten up and invigorate empty retail space.

Along with financial and tax incentives, councils could be more proactive and imaginative in offering encouragement and incentives to small, artisan businesses that can bring colour and individuality to a high street. The NHF would like to see: • The encouragement of more events and activities on high streets, such as art trails, children’s activities, street cafes and “colour” to create a more “Continental” feel. • More encouragement of communities and business organisations to run education and awareness-raising seminars and events for people considering opening a retail business for the first time. • Better co-ordination between councils, business organisations, police and social agencies to find solutions to local regeneration issues, particularly around issues such as litter, poor quality properties or homeless people on high streets. • The establishment of a cross-government agency, essentially a “BusinessLink” for high streets, specifically to work on regeneration/improvement projects, provide information and encourage more collaborative working. • The establishment of a National Lottery “high street good causes” fund, much like its existing good causes fund, but specifically to fund “street furniture” and regeneration and improve the look and feel of our high streets. Salons can still send their thoughts and contributions direct to Mary at: The full text of the NHF’s submission can be found online at




CAN BE GREEN It may appear counter-intuitive but, when it comes to salon towels, switching to disposables can be more eco-friendly than constant laundering, suggests Richard John. For us, the decision to switch to disposable towels was not taken lightly. Our primary motive to convert was environmental. We wanted to take a lead in acting in an environmentally responsible way and respond to the growing awareness of green issues among clients. It simply presented a great opportunity for us to do our bit to help the planet. There was quite a lot of research required beforehand, as we knew making the switch could not be made at any price. Through 365 we experimented with a number of disposable brands, with initially disappointing results. Even with environmental motives to the fore, it was imperative to protect the quality of our services and enhance the client experience, not compromise it.


Eventually we decided to go for the scrummi brand. The towels are thick, absorbent and work on long and short hair. They are also 100 per cent recyclable and biodegradable.

On top of this, because they are much lighter than cotton, especially when wet, the client does not have a heavy sopping towel on their head and shoulders and so the salon team found them easy to work with. As clients were getting their own towel, it was more hygienic. Just as importantly in the salon environment, they look nice. Another benefit we found was the space-saving element. Conventional towels inevitably take up a lot of space and need looking after. Disposable towels are much less bulky. We also don’t have to spend time washing, drying or maintaining them.

When we combined the convenience, reduction in energy, water and detergent consumption, the less need for buying or maintaining washing machines and dryers, the elimination of staff hours dedicated to looking after towels and the cost of replacing cotton towels, all this added up to huge economic benefits. Change is sometimes difficult when people get used to certain things. Cotton towels are a tradition and disposable towels do deliver a different experience for the client. But any concerns I might have had have been firmly allayed. We even sometimes get clients asking to buy the towels to use at home!


Finally, the move to disposables yielded one of the most significant and, for us, unanticipated benefits of all: cost savings. Our initial motivation had been concern for the environment. Of course we had looked at the cost of disposables compared with cotton but we hadn’t appreciated just how much cheaper converting to disposable would be. Richard John has been owner of the Richard John salon and academy in Worthing, Sussex, since 1974 and won the British Hairdressing Business Awards in 2005 and 2006. Since 1984 the salon has part of 365 Group.





Busy clients are increasingly looking for nail treatments to be an integral, and integrated, part of a hair salon’s offer, says Hellen Ward.

At Richard Ward we have always been a hair and beauty focused salon. We invested in a dedicated nail area when we relocated to the Metrospa back in 2005 and now have our own “nail zone” separate to the hair zones, which includes a luxury pedicure whirlpool plus two nail stations. From this we offer 18 different types of nail treatments, everything from hands and feet manicures to more luxury-based manicure and pedicure treatments.

have any technical services. The nail treatments are also cross-linked with our Metrospa multi-tasking treatments and package day treats. On top of this, while clients will of course see the nail colours in the Metrospa, the full range is on display for sale in our retail zone downstairs in reception. We find that, on average, around 30-40 per cent of either nail or non-nail clients will go on to buy a nailcare product.



Nail treatments, especially hands, are an all-year-round offer these days but we do find that during the summer months and into the autumn, especially when the sun is out, there does tend to be an increase in pedicures. Customer demand has steadily increased as more women have become influenced to adopt an American-style grooming regime. It varies of course but we find the average spend on a treatment is around £45, with a typical regular client asking for a manicure every one to two weeks and a pedicure every three to four weeks. Key brands we use include OPI, which has a wide range and specialises only in nails, and Carita, which we find is good for selected manicure and pedicure services. Having access to a full-on beauty service enables customers just to book into one place for all their needs, so it makes sense to offer a comprehensive service. Also, some technical hair services can take a couple of hours, so it’s an opportunity to multi-task your beauty Hellen Ward is regime and request a managing director nail service at the same of Richard Ward time. Hair & Metrospa in We make a point London. The salon of asking our hair provides nail services customers if they as both standalone would like a nail treatments and addtreatment while they on services


Given the growth in demand and popularity of nail treatments, a priority for salons has to be to distinguish themselves from high-street nail bars. The key here, I feel, is not to “play” at it; really to make it an integral (and integrated) part of your brand and offer. One lonely manicure station with grotty polishes is never going to attract business. But offering high-end services means you can’t cut corners and must have great product, the correct equipment, proper sterilisation procedures and fully-trained staff. Especially nowadays, people are more conscious of their spending, yet we find clients don’t mind spending if they know they are getting long-lasting treatments with top products and excellent service. What you want to be capitalising on is a client’s desire to double-up their appointments. So they want to be able to have their nails done while their colour is processing and so on. A good idea in this context is to be ensuring you can perform these mobile services around the salon. Don’t forget, too, you will need to have a Special Treatment Licence, as it is illegal to offer manicures and pedicures without one. They usually run for a year and those carrying out the treatments will receive special identity cards. The licences will normally be issued by your local council. To conclude, I’d recommend five key “learning points” for anyone serious about boosting their business through nail treatments. First, you need to focus on marketing


the service to existing clients, as they, after all, are your core business. Second, look at your price points. It may make sense to mystery shop to see what services and treatments are available in your local area before deciding on your pricing. Third, bite the bullet and invest in a designated space for treatments, but also consider how you will operate (and cross-promote) mobile treatments around the salon. Fourth, get in the right equipment. It is important here not to do it halfheartedly, even though it will inevitably be more expensive. Your nail treatment offer will only look good if conducted professionally. Fifth, do some research and get the right brand. It makes sense to try and choose something your competitors aren’t offering.

If you read nothing else, read this…. • Nail treatments are a fastgrowing market • Clients are increasingly looking to “multi-task” hair, nail and beauty treatments in one visit • Invest in a dedicated space as well as mobile services • Focus on differentiating yourself from high-street nail bars • Ensure you have the right equipment, trained staff and licences




OTHERS Please send your events to the NHF at enquiries@nhf. info by September 9 for November/December and November 11 for January/ February 2012 and January 13 for March/April 2012. Updated events listed on


OCT Annual General Meeting and Conference Marriott Hotel, Metro Centre, Gateshead Newcastle Contact NHF head office on 01234 831965 or 0845 345 6500


OCT Avlon Europe Education Day featuring Kim Johnson Aston & Fincher, Birmingham Contact Avlon Europe on 0121 5222124


OCT NHF Inspire showcase their Rush Collection Festival Hall, Kirkby-in-Ashfield Nottinghamshire Contact Ivan Blount on 01773 745580


OCT Somerset Branch Competition Holiday Inn, Jnc 25 of M5 Contact Pat Cording on 01386561704


NOV Cheshire Championships Romiley Forum Theatre, Stockport Contact Avril Walker on 01642 591466


NOV South of England Championships Novotel, Southampton Contact John Light on 01794 521849


NOV Yorkshire Championships Chicago’s Night Club Halifax Contact Phil Cooling on 07816 306305


DEC Clothes Show Live, Chicago’s Night Club Birmingham NEC Contact www.clothesshowlive. com


DEC North West Region Christmas Lunch Ribchester Arms, Preston Contact Ken or June on 01253 895711 or

2012 21

JAN White Rose Dinner York Race Course Contact Glen Jackson on 01904 635877


FEB Red Rose Championships Swallow Hotel, Samlesbury, Preston Contact Ken or June on 01253 895711 or


MAR Blackpool International Hairdressing Championships Wintergardens, Blackpool Contact Cheryl Swarbrick on 01253 343723 or (evening) Eileen Clough on 01253 406834


APR Bournemouth & Reading Competitions Carrington House Hotel Bournemouth Contact Lee Elliot on 02380 227578




At the risk of revealing himself to be somewhat well-preserved, Backwash recalls one memorable afternoon back in the 1980s when, as a cub reporter, he was whisked off the news desk to accompany his boss while he took his shiny new white convertible out for a spin. OK, it was a VW Golf and around the streets of Basingstoke but, still, with the wind rippling through (even then thinning) hair and the glass-fronted office blocks glinting in the, er, overcast gloom it was possible to grasp the sense of freedom and exhilaration you get from hitting the road in an open-top. Just about. Evidently, hairdressers feel much the same way because, irrespective of the havoc it can cause to a perfect coiffure, a survey by insurer Diamond has revealed hairdressers are 33 per cent more likely than the rest of the population to own a convertible And their favourite car? Well, it’s the distinctly “Groovy Baby” Mini One, the survey of 18,000 stylists concluded, followed by the Vauxhall Tigra, Volkswagen Beetle, Ford Ka and the “you were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off” Mini Cooper. Petrol-heads may like to use the disparaging phrase “hairdresser’s car” to describe anything with four wheels that, in their view, doesn’t have enough oomph behind it but, when it comes to style, you can’t argue with choices like those!


PLASTIC FANTASTIC It seems such an age since the Royal Wedding and we were all treated to the Duchess of Cambridge’s outstanding hairdo from Richard Ward. But it would be remiss of Backwash not to comment on the £6.50 plastic tiara used to shape the hair into the demi-chignon style, as was revealed by Richard in a recent interview. Backwash is, of course, disappointed to discover all that glittered was not gold or, to be precise, diamond, even though the revelation very much fits with the more modest, down-to-earth reputation of the new royal couple. And, as the late, much loved Joshua Galvin might have said: “What chutzpah!”

BIN SHAVING There was undoubtedly huge relief in the household of American teacher Gary Weddle when Osama bin Laden was finally tracked down and killed by US special forces in June. After the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, Gary, 59, from Washington State patriotically (and perhaps over-confidently) vowed he would never shave again until the terrorist mastermind was either caught or killed. All very well, of course, except that as the days ticked by – 3,454 of them to be precise – Gary’s hirsute pledge made him begin to bear more than a passing resemblance to, well, none other than bin Laden himself. He told newspapers he spent the first five minutes crying after hearing the news, and then he could not get his facial hair off fast enough, with friends and neighbours rushing around to witness the event. Unsurprisingly, Gary’s wife Donita was reportedly also mightily relieved finally to be able to see something of her husband’s face again. “He looks 10 years younger,” she told reporters, adding: “It’s a very happy moment for us. It’s a very happy moment for the whole nation.” Quite.

NORWEGIAN MOUSSE Sticking with beards, Backwash sends a warm “glückwunsch” (that’s “congratulations” in German for those who don’t know) to German hairdresser Elmar Weisser who in May beat 160 challengers to win the title of “World’s Best Beard”. Elmar, 47, used the fact the competition was taking place in the Norwegian city of Trondheim as inspiration, beating off his rivals in a tense final with a design incorporating a woven moose and Norwegian flag, and admitting he had to get up at the crack of dawn to get it just so. It is not the first time Elmar has won either, incorporating the Brandenburg Gate into his facial hair in 2005 and Tower Bridge in 2007 because, as you’ve probably guessed, the final in that year was held in Britain. Personally Backwash is gunning for the next final to be held in Sydney, Australia, home of course to the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, which we reckon should be suitably challenging even for someone of Elmar’s obvious talents.

If you have stories for Backwash, send them to the editor at head office or e-mail to putting Editor Backwash in the subject line.

SalonFocus Sept-Oct 2011  

SalonFocus is the NHF’s award winning cutting-edge magazine keeping members abreast of employment law and other legislation, health and saf...

SalonFocus Sept-Oct 2011  

SalonFocus is the NHF’s award winning cutting-edge magazine keeping members abreast of employment law and other legislation, health and saf...