The Business of Men... in Beauty


My experience as a salon owner started with the naive (or crazy) decision to move to Chicago and open a salon.

The first week in business we had three clients. pretty soon the bills were piling up. The staff were in the back room conspiring against me, you could cut the tension with a knife. We needed clients and we needed them fast! My staff told me that we needed to advertise or they would have to start looking at other job opportunities. Desperate to keep the doors open I spent a small fortune on advertising and external marketing campaigns over the next few months, they delivered incredibly disappointing results. a couple that come to mind: Two full page ads in Michigan ave. magazine cost $16,000 and produced a total of only twenty seven new clients! a direct mail campaign to new home buyers in targeted zip codes. I spent $700 a month for a year and only netted fifty three clients!

One day I overheard a conversation in the chair next to me, a client was describing how awful her husbands haircut was. her stylist had a good laugh about it and then changed the subject to talk about a wedding she had just attended. I had an epiphany, what about Men? Most women already had a regular stylist but most Men didn’t, they were walk- ins. We were good at Men’s hair, we had trained everyone to be great with clippers, why were we ignoring this opportunity?

I soon learned that the beautiful thing about developing a male clientele is that it can be done through internal marketing, i.e. inside the salon, at no cost. every woman that already came to the salon had a husband or boyfriend, father, they had brothers, sons, friends. They all knew Men and Men listen to women when it comes to their looks, their hair, clothes and fragrance.

We started to tell our female clients how great we were at Men’s hair, I made mirror stickers that said “We can make any guy look good”. We created a Men’s window display and added some pictures of Men to our walls that had until then, only had pictures of women.

A client that was an advertising executive noticed the changes and told me “this is smart; did you know that every woman influences six men on the way they look”? I started doing the math, six men per woman? even if I couldn’t get every woman to send me just one man, even if I couldn’t get every other woman to send me one man, surely I could get one woman out of six to send me a man. It wasn’t that hard.

We treated every new Male client like we would a female.

In-depth consultations, an amazing shampoo massage, advise on home maintenance and of course really sharp haircuts. There was no such thing as “just a man” at our salon. We added a male specific product line, the pomade became the bestselling item in the salon.

The sad truth is that most women only come in for haircuts every eight to twelve weeks these days. Women often get balayage type coloring that only needs refreshing two or three times a year, these days women quickly tire of the products you sell and go to sephora instead. In these days, I see a lot of empty chairs in salons.

So why ignore the potential of a client that comes in every three to four weeks? a client that actually likes to prebook their next appointment when they leave, a client who repurchases the same products over and over again? In other words, why ignore the enormous potential of the Male client?

Laurence Hegarty
Reuzel Co-Founder,
SVP of Sales and Education

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