Colour-only hair salon Skyler London in Wandsworth Town, is revolutionising the world of hairdressing. It boasts impressive colour stations, a mixology room, 360-degree view room, backwash area, blast zone and self-dry zone. Skyler used the BRIX modular display system to improve their retail offering, using it to merchandise their vast array of hair care products. We went to visit them to ask what makes Skyler and BRIX, the perfect partnership.
“We don’t call it customer service, we actually call it customer hospitality here. Because service is what you do, but hospitality is how you many people feel. For us it’s more about how we make people feel.”
How is Skyler London connected to Sean Hanna hair salons?
We opened officially on the 2nd September 2017, and are essentially a colour only hair salon. Although we’re part-owned by Sean, we’re different from Sean Hanna salons because we only offer colouring; no cutting or trimming. (Sean is however still a partner in Skyler London alongside myself (Lloyd), Skyler and Lynne).
The salon experience is also slightly different, as every colourist here has been trained to do the exact same thing, the same way. So if one of us was half way through a colour, and another person had to step in, it would be seamless. It’s a lot more automated here and is pushed forward with technology. As far as we know the first of its kind in the UK.
Tell us about the concept behind Skyler London
When we did our market research, there was a huge gap for people who wanted to just colour their hair, but there was nothing there that focussed solely on it. It’s quite a niche market.
Between Sean Hanna hair salons and Skyler, we cover both sides of the market. The expertise of cutting, cut & colour services where you always go to the same stylist who knows you and Skyler London which covers the colour market, with experts.
I read a great example the other day of someone who covered both sides of the market. Elvis Presley’s management sold merchandise that said ‘I love Elvis’ as well as merchandise that said ‘I hate Elvis’. He made money from both sides of the market, its really intelligent.
How does the salon’s look & feel represent the brand?
It’s been in the making a long long time. We wanted to design the salon to reflect the journey customers go on. Travelling through different zones, as well as reflecting our love of colour with colourful wall features, books, products, display etc.
I suppose, the most important thing for us was the actual retail space customers come into. As it’s such a large space at the front, we wanted it to be inclusive, like a shopping experience rather than a salon experience. So when they come in the door, the idea is that you feel a little more comfortable in the environment.
The entire journey itself has been built with the customer in mind. Upon entry, they get placed in one of the chairs, however they have the freedom to walk around, sit in the relaxation area etc. You don’t get stuck in a chair for the whole duration which happens in quite a few salons.
And the Relax area?
The ‘relax area’ was something we created for when the colour has been applied, and it also opens the rest of the space up for everyone. So you come in here and relax. It’s a self-service area where you can get your own drinks, read magazines / books, do your emails if you’re here during work hours, etc.
From the relax area, you go through to our basin area, which is a really important part of the journey. A lot of women actually feel like that’s the most important part of getting their hair done. Since the new age of colouring has come in, with bonding agents, like Smart Bond and Olaplex, people are now spending a lot more time in the basin area than previously. So we wanted to create a space that was really relaxing and a place where they would enjoy spending time in. That’s why the basins are flat beds, it creates a much more comfortable experience.
Once you’re finished in there, you go up the stairs to our blow dry area where you can choose from 3 blowdrys. It’s also nice, as it keeps the downstairs nice and quiet.
What has the take up been since opening? And what are your busiest times of the week?
Surprisingly enough, Wandsworth Town as an area is quite up and coming. We’ve had quite a lot of people travel here from all across London and further out, probably due to the vast online marketing we’ve done.
The footfall is also really great around here, and the shopping centre helps get the numbers. They’re actually going to be redesigning it and making it one-way street with pedestrianised areas which will help.
People can also see inside the salon through the massive open windows and get an idea as to what we offer from the outdoor advertising. Because you cannot see directly into the salon area, we’ve made sure the imagery and outdoor advertising makes it really clear what we offer.
For us however, the most powerful marketing tool is word of mouth. So as a brand, we’re really strong on giving the customer a memorable experience, and making sure everyone leaves happy. For me it’s all about the little things; was the tea right, the chairs comfortable, table clean? Its how we look to retain those clients that visit us.
Do you ever use the slide in the salon?
Yes, we definitely encourage customers to give it a go. It’s a bit of a novelty and a good talking point, who else has a slide in their hair salon?! You’ve got to have fun with it, which is why we also have so much colour here in the salon, it lifts the mood.
What is your busiest time of year business wise? Do you have a specific target audience?
Weekends and evenings are definitely the busiest but we do also get few people dropping in during the day. Age groups vary quite a lot as well, as I think it’s important to offer services to all age groups. People choose from everything from crazy pink & blue hair to soft blondes and chocolate brown. So it really offers something for everyone.
Christmas tends to be the busiest time in salons, as is Valentine’s Day. It sort of goes in 5 week waves, but I suppose we’ll have a better idea how it varies specifically for colour after we’ve been here a bit longer.
How do you feel the retail units help sell your products?
The most imperative way to suggest retail products are to put them in front of them during their visit. That’s why it’s in such a large area as customers walk through there multiple times during their journey. Especially as we talk to clients about how to maintain their colour all the way through, it helps plant the seed.
Display is really important for us. Upstairs in the dry area, we have a display table featuring recommended products. We find that displaying products in a way that’s really interesting helps promote them.
Our retail percentage here at the salon is also quite large compared to usual cut & colour salons. Probably because colourists are generally better at product recommendations because they’re actual experts, but also because they care so much about how the hair progresses, maintains the colour, etc.
Why did you choose the BRIX modular display system?
Skyler: Mostly because of the modularity of the product. We did actually talk about the white option that’s also available, but as it didn’t have as many options, we opted for the natural version. We’re still moving it around, testing it to see what works for us the most, it’s got so much potential.
Lloyd: It’s also quite interesting to have different levels in display, and thanks to the variety of BRIX it helps mix up the display.
Skyler: It’s definitely different. We’re also running lights through it to make the products pop. it goes with the salon. A lot of people put retail in as an afterthought, with a small shelf somewhere inside. Whereas for us it’s an important part, it was definitely a part of the journey.
And products don’t sell themselves, so you’ve got to display them so they look more attractive. People have actually commented on them, saying how it looks different from other salons.
It’s always a progression, getting feedback and then adapting the layout for our customers. Plus BRIX is like big blocks of Lego. It’s cool.
Company: Skyler London
Phone: 020 3474 5555