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Building a niche salon

The beautiful thing about being at Sola is you get to pick and choose what kind of services you want to provide. Many of our Sola professionals offer a range of services—like cut, color, and styling for men and women. And then there are, what we like to call, The Niche Network.

These are Sola professionals who provide a very specific type of service that speaks to a very precise type of client. They have singled out and zoned in on a demand and created a solution that can be monetized.

Elom Thompson, one of our 2019 Faces of Sola and owner of Elom's Hair Studio in Portland, Oregon, has created a business providing specialty services for women with textured hair. From everyday hair care to extensions and braiding, Elom noticed a lack of textured haired services in her area and saw an opportunity to develop her niche. “While I was in beauty school, I saw that there were a lot of people in my area, that could use my services and skills, and there were not a lot of people who could do that type of hair. I was always asked to do those type of clients’ hair and I did it very well.”

After she graduated beauty school Elom opened her own salon at Sola straight away, mind you, without ever working in another salon and had zero clients when she started. "I told myself that I will never work in anyone’s salon and that I have to work for myself and be my own boss!” Elom shared. “I never wanted a typical hair salon. I wanted a salon where I could take my clients to a different level. Provide something they had never seen or experienced.”

Carving out a niche brand and business requires a lot of thought, planning, and compromise. Instead of being “something for everyone” you essentially become “everything for some.” You have to be very precise on how you market your business and your services, and most importantly, you have to know your clientele better than they know themselves.

“Being a niche brand, business owner and stylist, I always have to remind myself that I have to stay on top of my game. I am always improving and always offering superior quality service. I also have to know what’s trending in that niche so that I’m not left out.”

It’s a lot of pressure, but exceptionally rewarding. By establishing a niche market you are given the opportunity to provide products and services to a group that other businesses have overlooked or have little experience or desire in servicing. “I know the area that I live and know what the people need, so I want to serve those people in need.”

If you’re thinking of developing a niche in your salon, ask yourself these three questions:

Is there a need for this type of service in your area?

Ask around, create a small focus group, and get the conversation going. Create or join online groups like local Facebook pages near and around your community.

Is your niche service already being offered?

Google it. If you want to offer eyebrow threading or hair twisting in your Sola, Google “eyebrow threading near me” and see what pops up. If the results show one or two around you, read the reviews and check out the competition and see if you could improve what’s being done.

Will you be able to market it?

You must know and be able to share why you want to specialize in this niche, who you are speaking to and why people should choose to come to you over anyone else.

Read more about attracting a diverse clientele

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