In a small county town it may be possible to find something similar to premises in a suburban district. If that is not procurable, then a ground-floor shop or a large private house may be rented. In looking out for a place one must be guided to a certain extent by the prospects offered by the locality. It would be an unwise proceeding to open in a working-class district, for instance, where the prospect of clients appearing would be meagre indeed. On the other hand, it does not follow that because there are no ladies' hairdressing establishments in a district that one could not succeed there. One must not lose sight of the fact that an establishment for ladies' hairdressing only, run by ladies for ladies, would be practically a new venture at present and would prove more or less of a novelty. It would appeal not only to those who have been accustomed to seek the services of the ordinary hairdresser, but would induce a number of ladies to patronise it who had not hitherto attended a saloon of any description.
Having decided upon premises, it is now a question of how much can be spent upon fitting them up preparatory to opening. It is essential to have a reception-room, as the operation of dressing a lady's hair must necessarily be of a somewhat private character.
The reception-room ought to be simply and artistically furnished. It should contain a table in the centre, a settee, a few occasional and easy chairs, carpet, rugs, and a few good pictures and engravings. One necessary item of expenditure is the provision of a plentiful supply of illustrated papers and magazines. If the convenience permitted, a supply of afternoon tea would help to make the business an institution in the neighbourhood. While the furnishings of the above room may be left to the discretion of the proprietor and the purchases may be made at any ordinary furniture shop, the fittings of the saloon should be supplied by the wholesale houses who cater specially for the trade.
The amount expended on furnishing the reception-room and the private room may be put down at about £25 or £30. The saloons, however, should have the best fittings and most up-to-date appliances. These include lavatory basins, with hot and cold water supply for shampooing, several dressing-tables, with mirrors, hair dryers, curling fixtures, and other appliances. A good display of mirrors should be provided. Round the walls a range of show-cases for
Woman's Work stock should be fitted. . These should be filled with brushes, combs, hair lotions, artificial hair combinations, perfumes, and such articles as will command a ready sale. Two or three wax figures are also necessary. The saloon fittings and stock can be put in at a cost of from £80 to £1oo.
For a ladies' hairdressing business to succeed, not only must all the ordinary means of attracting clients be employed, such as advertising, etc., but also there must be the most absolute cleanliness. To indicate the importance attached to this by the trade, we may state that a sanitation code has been adopted generally. The regulations of the Incorporated Guild and Corporation of London are very stringent, and the following extracts may well apply to a ladies' business:
2. Clean towels, etc., to be used for each customer.
4. All scissors, combs, and other tools after use to be placed in a disinfecting solution.
5. Perfectly clean hair brushes only must be used.
6. Cut hair falling on the floor to be immediately swept up and removed and floors to be cleansed daily.
7. The most scrupulous cleanliness to be observed in all that pertains to the business.
A. Regular customers should be strongly recommended to supply their own brushes, which should be exclusively reserved for the owner's use.
B. All cut hair and paper to be burned.
C. No customers apparently suffering from hair or skin affections to be attended to, save at their own houses or in a private room.
D. Charges should if necessary be remodelled to enable hairdressers to comply with the letter and the spirit of the above without loss.
Metal combs to be used. G. Machine or rotary brushes should be discarded.
The above regulations and recommendations were compiled by Dr. Collinridge, Medical Officer of Health to the City of London. The trade has not seen its way to adopt them in their entirety, but a code containing similar features has been compiled for use.
The proprietor of a ladies' hairdressing business would no doubt find it to her advantage to carry out the sanitary conditions imposed. A reputation for cleanliness is not to be despised. Personal cleanliness in the operator and the perfect observance of this spirit in everything pertaining to the establishment will ensure the continued confidence and support of its clients.
Although it is incumbent upon the ladies' hairdresser to keep in touch with the latest continental and home fashions in coiffures and to be ready to give the client the latest style, the real professor of the art of hairdressing will not slavishly follow stereotyped models or copy others. To achieve success and acquire a lasting reputation, one must have creative ability. One should study the face and the head of the client, and evolve a scheme which will bring out her best features to the greatest advantage. In short, out of a very plain face and indifferent head of hair the hairdresser should try to make her client emerge from her hands as beautiful as possible. As soon as she has acquired the secret of doing this, her future success is assured.
Shampooing, Singeing, and Face and Head Massage
A ladies' hairdresser must undertake shampooing and singeing. This department is one that will attract many clients, as, though it is the custom of many ladies to have their hair dressed for special occasions only, they may become regular weekly attendants for a shampoo and an occasional singeing.
Another very profitable section is one devoted to face and head massage. Within recent years vibratory massage has been made popular and its beneficial effects have been largely recognised. It is now acknowledged as a legitimate part of a ladies' hairdressing business and should be practised.
It will necessite special training, but the money will be well laid out.
Beginning with a proficient knowledge of the profession and with the necessary capital, together with the possession of a saloon in a good district, there are splendid opportunities for women to succeed in the business. The charges for the various operations conducted will depend upon the class of clients, the locality, and the outlay. On hairdressing, shampooing, and face massage alone there should be no difficulty in making from £150 to £250 a year profit. Side lines, such as brushes, combs, perfumes, lotions, and artificial hair aids, such as tails, switches, curls, fringes, transformations, are usually sold at about 25 per cent. profit, thus adding to the returns.
The prospects in this business of advancing to greater things are sufficiently hopeful. Cautious at the beginning, a woman will soon find room for development, and in a few years ought to be able to increase the size of her establishment and reap a rich harvest as the result of her skill and enterprise.