From grey coverage to a full head of bleach, requests for colour services at barbers are on the rise. For shop owners that are looking to expand their services or find out to reach colour clients we caught up with colour experts to discuss their journey with colour, and why they think barbers should add colour services to their repertoire.
If you’re thinking of offering hair colour services in your barbershop, it doesn’t matter what stage of your career you are at, but a strong education is key to successfully providing hair colour services in your barbershop says Bobby Gordon, Co-Founder of Fella Gentlemen’s Hairdressing. Bobby has over 30 year’s experience in hairdressing so was already familiar with colour when he switched his focus to men’s hair. However, he tells us he has kept his knowledge up to date by attending training with Fella’s product company of choice, Revlon Professional, and adds: “I plan to send some team members on a training course too.”
Ian Harrold, American Crew All Star Educator and Creative Director of Attitude Men’s Hair, had a similar experience to Bobby, explaining: “I initially studied hairdressing, so colour was part of my qualification.” However, Ian tells us that beginning your career in hairdressing is not the only way to perfect your colour service skills and, just like Bobby, he has continued to take classes with manufacturers to improve and update his colour knowledge.
Billy O Connor, barber and L’Oréal Colour Trophy Finalist, decided to enhance his colour skills and joined a refresher course after the pandemic to give him a boost of confidence, he explains: “I took a refresher colour course with Niamh Kiely, a Colour Technician at Marbles Hairdressing Salon in Limerick City, and it gave me a new way of looking a colour. The course then prompted me to put myself out there and enter L’Oréal Colour Trophy. While I didn’t win, it was such an amazing experience and I met so many people, while also learning new techniques. What I will say about colour is that there is not a day that goes by that you’re not learning.”
Make Some Noise
Once you’ve mastered the art of colour, advertising and marketing your new services will expand your clientele. Ian tells us that shop owners will find that there is some overlap with their existing marketing activities but your clients can be your best asset. “The boys that are loud and proud (that’s what we call our bold colour services) do the talking for us. Social media is probably the best way to cast your net and build your tribe – but good old word of mouth works for us, too,” he advises.
Bobby and Billy also value the power of social media, Billy shares: “Most of my business for colour services comes from my social media accounts. People coming in for colour will always show me pictures of my own work, or their friends that have had a colour service done by me.” You can even take your photography one step further, with Bobby noting that Fella did a shoot recently showcasing a model with coloured hair.
What Are You Waiting For?
So should barbershops start embracing colour services? “Yes, 100%. I think more barbers should put themselves out there and educate themselves more when it comes to colour,” says Billy. “It brings a new meaning to your job and a new way of enjoying what you do,” he adds, telling us that it allows barbers to add some creativity to their craft: “I love being a barber but by upskilling and learning something new, it has made my job more fun and elevated my work to another new level.”
Meanwhile, Ian offers some words of advice for those looking to implement colour services in a barbershop: “A limited service menu in many barbershops can restrict growth, so colour can be a good way to improve your customer service and your price point. The beauty of men’s hair is that with short hair you can achieve great results with faster processing time. If you are prepared to invest in your team and yourself, there is no reason not to consider adding colour services to your service menu, even if you are looking to establish a grey coverage clientele.”
Ian’s key advice beyond training is to ensure your insurance policy covers colour services: “As standard barbershop insurance doesn’t necessarily include this.” Whilst Bobby adds: “Obviously there is an element of risk when using chemicals, so unless you know what you are doing it shouldn’t be attempted until you are fully trained. Don’t let this scare you – you can really tap into a market if you start considering this now.”
Image credit: Billy O Connor