Posted on May 27, 2015
Maybe you’re already offering children’s cuts — or, maybe that’s a market you’ve been thinking about capturing. Either way, kids can be fickle customers if you don’t know how to wrangle them. Don’t worry: from two to tween, we’ve got you covered with 10 expert tips from Yolanda Gilliam, owner of Kidz Kutz in Sola Salons Mount Pleasant, SC, “Where Haircuts are Fun!” Yolanda’s tips will help keep your littlest clients smiling through each and every visit.
Make Room for Play
“If a kid gives me a funny face, I tell the parent to let their child warm up in the play area,” says Yolanda Gilliam, owner of Kidz Kutz. Planning on adding children’s services? It makes sense to invest in a few specialty items: toys, trains, trucks and dolls, for example, all positioned on a comfortable rug with, say, a chic floor pillow for ground level lounging. When it’s time to get down to business, Yolanda always lets customers bring toys and games into the chair, if they’d like. Remember, if the child’s hands are occupied, your job will be much, much easier! “I listen to the kids,” adds Yolanda. If something’s missing from her kids’ corner, she goes out and gets it. And, if a young customer refuses to get into her chair, she comes to them, gladly bending down to cut while they play. One time, Yolanda even cut a child’s hair while the child sat in her lap!
Add Kid-Friendly Finishes
Now that you’ve got a premium kids’ corner in place, it’s time to go the extra mile: If children are your target clients, customize your Sola studio with them in mind, opting for a fun and vibrant color scheme, lighthearted décor — heck, you might even grab some wall decals and throw pillows featuring popular characters, like the cast from Cars, says Yolanda. Check out the children’s bedroom section at Target for low-cost items. Once you’ve created a kid-tastic ambiance, you might snag a few more adult clients who will be thrilled to get a hassle-free cut while their kiddos play happily in your salon.
This is a trick they won’t teach you in beauty school, says Yolanda, bluntly explaining, “You have to be comfortable!” If you’re feeling nervous or agitated, your wee client will likely sense it. Even if you aren’t a naturally patient person, you can practice until you’ve nailed it.
Do Your Research
All children are unique, and some have special needs. You might take some time to buff up on child-specific concerns such as how to deal with sensory issues or approach children with disabilities or Autism Spectrum Disorder. Parents will be impressed – and more likely to return – if you ask them beforehand what you can do to specially cater to their child.
Leave Yourself Time
“I always mark out an hour, not 30 minutes, for the first cut with a new client,” Yolanda says. She wants to study the child during that initial visit, and she doesn’t want to feel rushed while she’s learning how to work with a customer.
Go Ahead and Bribe ‘Em
There’s no shame is tricking out your studio in order to ensure a drama-free visit. That’s why Yolanda keeps a TV, video games, tablets and movies on hand. And, she’ll coach parents pre-visit, asking them to remember comfort items, lovies, favorite games, et cetera. While you’re at it, stock up on healthy drinks like fresh juice and snacks, too — bonus points if you go the extra mile and cater to kids with food sensitivities by picking a few allergen-friendly items like Pirate’s Booty or Jackson’s Honest Chips.
Choose a Cheerful Chair
Kids will love hopping into the chair if yours is fun and lighthearted. Yolanda’s looks like a Power Wheels car, but, really, the sky’s the limit: airplanes, classic coupes, Winnie the Pooh, Mickey Mouse or Hello Kitty, for starters. You can find a manufacturer online; or, if you’re looking to save some cash, check out eBay. And, don’t forget to pick up a simple booster seat.
It’s important to move at a good pace — and, that pace is going to vary by child. “With some kids, if you go too fast it can scare them,” Yolanda says, adding, “But with others, you have to go fast or their patience will run out.” There are times when Yolanda can intuit a customer’s temperament by the way he walks through the door; sometimes, though, it takes a little more time to get to know the particular customer.
Here’s where you’ll be better off with simple, unfussy stuff. Kids won’t need a bunch of fancy products, and parents won’t want to shell out the money for ‘em. Instead of filling her shelves with an array of high-end lines, Yolanda keeps three essentials on hand: a tear proof shampoo, clarifying shampoo and deep conditioner. From there, she talks with the client’s parent about their budget and recommends the best store brand product for that family.
Maintain a Closed Door Policy
When Yolanda has kids in her salon, she always – always, always, always – keeps the door closed so they won’t accidentally disturb other nearby Sola guests. Thankfully, says Yolanda, Sola’s sliding doors have “a tight seal, and once they’re closed the kids aren’t getting out.” For more information about Yolanda and Kidz Kutz, please visit http://www.kidzkutzmtp.com/