How You Can Get More Clients as a Hair Stylist or Braider

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As someone with a 14-year career in marketing, I know and have seen how easy it is to get caught up in the tactics of promoting a product or service–from buying ads to pitching press. Getting the word out about your business or anything you’re selling is critical, but what’s more critical and a strong indicator of your success is the quality of the product or service itself. All businesses start and end with a good product or service. Marketing can only do so much if you’re not selling something people actually want to buy and buy again. A good product sells itself and only uses marketing to amplify what’s great about it. This is especially the case for styling hair. Here’s the mindset you need and the steps you can take to get clients as a hairstylist or braider.

A good product sells itself and only uses marketing to amplify what's great about it. Click To Tweet

Your Work is Your Ad

When my sister and I launched Yeluchi by Un-ruly, our mobile hairstyling service, we learned very quickly that the quality of our service made more of an impact on our business in getting new clients than any other marketing tactic we were using. Full transparency: after the first couple months of our launch we had an uncomfortable amount of clients that weren’t happy with their hairstyle (it wasn’t a huge amount, but an amount we weren’t happy with). That prompted us to really tune into what clients want and revamp our vetting process for new stylists. Within a few months of implementing our new processes we saw our first spike in bookings. Positive word-of-mouth kicked in. Happy clients were telling their friends about our service. Happy clients were also getting stopped in the street and being asked who did their hair.

Hairstyling is a type of business in which the client wears the product–in this case a hairstyle–and for many weeks at a time. Think about how many people you pass by or see (not during a pandemic) on a typical day, going to work, running errands. That’s how many people your client might be exposing your work to every day that she’s rocking that hairstyle. It might not be as much exposure as a massive advertising campaign, but it does more to close a sale than an ad can because people can see IRL the end result of your work; they see concrete proof of a happy customer and can potentially ask the client questions about her experience. But the same goes for bad work. If you let your client out of your chair with a bad head of hair, it can do a lot to hurt your business.

So the best thing you can do as a hairstylist to get more clients is to PERFECT YOUR CRAFT and care about the quality of service you’re giving to every single customer.

For hairstyling in particular, this has a double benefit: it not only allows you to attract new customers, it helps you keep new customers. Over 70% of our bookings each month come from repeat customers. Clients don’t want to look for a new stylist. Hairstylists are like doctors and dentists, once you find a good one you stick with her. So as a stylist, it’s important to not only think of the initial sale, you also have to think of the lifetime value of a customer (LTV). If you do a good job with a client, it’s not just $100 you’re earning today, it’s potentially $100 each month for as long as that client lives in your city.

The best thing you can do as a hairstylist to get more clients is to PERFECT YOUR CRAFT and care about the quality of service you're giving to every single customer. Click To Tweet

Five Steps Hair Stylists Can Take to Get More Clients

Okay, so what does all that really mean in practice? Well, it means…

1. Practice, practice, practice. One of the most in-demand stylists on our platform didn’t start offering knotless box braids until she had practiced the technique for months and felt 100% confident in her ability to do them flawlessly. Take braiding workshops or follow tutorial videos on YouTube. Once you get the technique down, practicing regularly gets it into your muscle memory. The more you do it the better (and faster) you’ll get.

2. Invest in a base clientele. The next step is to get your word-of-mouth machine going. If you’re starting completely from scratch, you might do this by doing your friends and family’s hair for free and having them spread the word about you. You may also offer a substantial discount to your first batch of new customers. Heads up, it can take a while for word-of-mouth to kick in, but as a general reference, we started seeing results within 2 – 3 months. Depending on where you’re based and how many people you’re willing to style for free or at a discount, it may take longer. So patience is another important factor in all this. You’ll likely need to supplement your income for a while before you go full time.

3. Amplify. As mentioned, marketing helps amplify good work. People need to know you exist. This is where social media and other forms of marketing can help. As you’re building your initial base, supplement the word-of-mouth you’re generating by tooting your own horn on platforms that can potentially get your work shared, like Instagram and Pinterest or whatever social media platform is trending.

4. Be findable. Make it easy for people to find you by having a presence on marketplaces like Yelp! and StyleSeat. These platforms, like social media, can also help you amplify your work.

5. Let someone else get you clients. Finally, apply to join closed marketplaces like our platform and let us do the work of bringing clients to you. We created Yeluchi because of my own personal need for a stylist that could come to my home and do my hair. But we also learned very quickly that finding clients was an aspect of hairstyling that a lot of stylists struggle with. Sure, platforms like Yelp! help to expose stylists to new customers but you still have to do a bit of work to stand out. Whereas our platform focuses on connecting clients to stylists that are perfect for them, and vice versa. So, all you have to do is focus on your craft while we do the marketing.

So to sum things up: Perfect your craft. Build a base. Amplify your work and if you need help, apply to work on the Yeluchi platform 😉. Afterall, hairstylists are a special kind of business woman. You have to be both an artist and entrepreneur, and sometimes it’s best to get a little help with the entrepreneurial side of things.

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An entrepreneur at heart, I founded Unruly in 2013 after spending six great years in advertising. I’m über lazy when it comes to doing my hair so I’m always looking for easy and quick ways to care and style my hair.

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