How to Define and Build Your Dream Clientele

Whether you're new on the floor or you’ve been in the game for 10 years, establishing a clientele is a necessity if you want to be successful. But, what should that clientele look like? You hear it said a lot: hairstylists make money with a color brush. While I agree that color is usually a higher price ticket, don’t base your desired clientele just off of the money you make.

Finding Your Niche

First, I want to speak to the stylists who are new on the floor. What are you good at? Better yet, what are you the best at? That’s the type of clientele you want to look for. That’s who you want to promote to, too. If you feel like you're at the same level on everything, but really love balayage, work on perfecting that balayage. Since you like it so much, it will be more enjoyable to practice it. But, can you build a clientele just off balayage? We'll answer that in a bit. If you’ve been behind the chair for five-plus years, hopefully you've established some type of a clientele. What’s it look like? Better yet, do you enjoy your time behind the chair? Of course you love your clients, but do you love the type of hair you’re doing? I find a lot of stylists build a book of clients and they enjoy most of them, but they don’t enjoy the hair they do. They don’t feel inspired or creative simply because they've built the wrong type of clientele.

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So what kind of clientele should you aim to build? The answer is more simple than you think: You want to build one that's the perfect one for you. In my opinion you need two types of clients:

1. The High maintenance, or should I say well-maintained, client. This is the client that has gray hair. They aren’t in an age bracket and their hair’s not cut a certain length. They just have to cover that gray. Another well-maintained client would be a high-lift blond. They need multi-services, they buy product, they take care of their hair and they pre-book. Short hair clients fall into his category too,

2. The second type of client is the "flavor client." It’s the hair that that inspires me and that I know I’m good at. It’s the type of client that respects my craft. It could be a transformation, extension application or a trending haircut. Don’t be afraid to seek these types of clients out. Set up a referral program with them. If they send you four clients with hair like theirs, then you’ll service them for free or give them a discount. Let your art be a walking billboard. 

A few closing notes...

If you’re just starting out, building or re-building, seek out those well-maintained clients. They will help you build a sustainable business. Have great communication with them and alway be looking for ways to improve your work and their experience.

Maximize your time. Keep notes of not only the color formula and hair cut breakdowns, but on your timing. Either your time runs you OR you run your time. Know how long it takes to apply their color. As you improve on your timing, and most importantly the skill set, it will make more time for your flavor clients. Most gray coverage has to sit 30 minutes or more. What do you do in those 30 minutes? You fill it with your flavor or with another well-maintained client, You never know, those two types of clients could become one client. As your skillset grows, and your flavor changes, you can rest assured that you've built a business that has longevity and makes room for inspiration through creativity. Flavor can only be good if the foundation is fresh.

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