Amazon Salon: What Salon Owners & Hairdressers Think
ICYMI: Amazon (yes, that’s right) is opening a two-floor, 1,500 square foot salon in London that features new technology like virtual haircolors, point-and-learn technology and QR codes to scan and shop. To read more about the salon, click here.
When the hairdressing community heard the news, there were A LOT of different responses—from salon owners concerned about competing with the e-commerce giant, to others focusing on how this will push salon pros to be more innovative than ever before.
We reached out to UK salon owners who will be down the street from the new salon, along with the BTC community to find out what hairdressers are really thinking on the topic.
Disclaimer: These are not BTC’s opinions, we are simply sharing how the salon pro community is responding to show every side.
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Here’s What Top UK Salon Owners Are Saying
“My brand, and brands like mine, I’m going out of my way to make sure we’re premium. I’m going to want that first class experience every single time,” says Errol Douglas MBE, Owner of Errol Douglas London. “I think this is massive and will change and shift the industry, because we have to protect it. Retail is a huge income for us and if people feel they can go elsewhere to shop, we’ve lost them.”
Errol’s Advice for Salon Owners:
“As a business, I think people should go through their menus [and whole salon experience], and make their menus so unique, so nobody can emulate it. We have to get into proper rituals, so people will want to stay and make human contact,” says Errol.
“We have to sell color, and sell color hard. That’s why there are so many different names for color—balayage, smudging—just so somebody can come in and ask for it, and know what it is,” Errol adds. “There’s no such thing as a regular highlight or tint. We have to make sure the services that we give are unique to that salon. People have to look at the diversity of what they have.”
“I think that It is immensely disappointing,” says Adam Reed, Owner of Adam Reed London. “The new salon is within 100 yards of Adam Reed London. I’m not concerned about the competition, my concern is that this is another nail in the coffin of high street. [After] the last 14 months, it would be nice to see some solidarity. Instead, this is a hugely unwanted kick that could not come at a worst possible time.”
Sophia Hilton, Owner of Not Another Salon, also posted about the new salon—check it out below. “The development of technology is an inevitable part of our industry and in many ways you could argue it is useless to fight it and better to work with it,” says Sophia. “However, the creation of the Amazon hair salon, which is just up the street from me, acts as a terrifying visual representation of [the] last portion of the retail industry that will be taken from us. The timing is really tragic and insensitive, as 15% of [our] industry has collapsed and estimated another 15% will go by Christmas. The last thing hairdressers needed was another indication that more of their profits will be pulled away from them.”
“As we all know, it is our industry standard for a salon to sell 10% of retail,” adds Sophia. “It really isn’t a huge amount of money, but in the tragic situation we are in right now, it means everything. It literally means the difference in the survival of a company or not.”
“My only hope is that if Amazon wants a slice of our pie, that they have the technological abilities to make this pie larger. If they can grow the market considerably, then perhaps them having a share would be insignificant or even profitable for us. Time will tell,” Sophia told BTC.
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Here’s What The BTC Community Is Saying
You Must Focus On What YOU Can Offer To Clients
“Remember that we all offer our own type of services. There are plenty of people/clients in this world, and we should focus on this as being a supply to some of those people’s demands. Keep doing what you’re doing. Your people will find YOU.” – @voidofhair
“My take on stuff like this is there is a certain type of client that would go to this salon. They aren’t the clients sitting in your chair. There is an entire population of people driving the continuous level up of CHEAPER, FASTER, all at the expense of quality and small businesses. We have no way to stop that machine, but what we can do is connect with those in front of us and our own communities.” – @holistic_hair_mama
“Stylists shouldn’t be concerned. Clients love the personal attention, and connection with their stylist. Keep going above and beyond with your services. Expanding your knowledge, and education and you should never fear!” – @charlestoncolorist
“Never be intimidated by anyone! Be confident in yourself and your work. Keep treating your clients the way they should be treated and you’ll never have to worry about anyone! No matter how big they are.” – @thomasmorgan_3
“It’s going to be a chain salon like any other chain salon. People will get jobs (hopefully secure ones!) and if clients chose to go there, cool. We just need to make sure our clients are in love with what we do instead.” – Siobhan Brennan
“I think at the end of the day our clients choose to see us for our experience, and we’ll just keep giving them that.” – @human_fur
“They can’t recreate our creative genius though. You can’t make art and craftsmanship on a conveyor belt. Madison Reed exists but we’re still out here on our A games. It’s not competition, it’s a bigger reason why clients will want our expertise. Our genius can’t be recreated by business models like this!” – @melissaannjaramillo
A Few Clients Weighed In, Too…
“Umm… no, not for me. I like the personal service of my hairdresser. I like going into her small boutique, talking, working on my hair goals together, etc. This—whatever this is—is not for me.” – Marta Baez Petrocelli
“I will still pay the price to see my stylist who knows what she’s doing and makes me feel more confident. I have learned the hard way, you get what you pay for.” – Misty Louann
Advanced Tech Will Push Stylists To Be More Innovative
“Innovate, everyone, how can you use new tech to your advantage? Efficiency is the future… how will you become most efficient in your business? Every second counts.” – @ericdanielgarza
“The only thing I see here is a need for us to do better in whatever it is we are doing. They may be able to sell products but they don’t have the same knowledge that we all have and work hard to know and understand. I wish I didn’t see so many negative responses and more encouraging and motivation, we can compete with any big brand because our guests come to us because they trust and value us and if yours don’t, then start looking in the mirror before we start blaming anyone for anything that we can actually help!” – @z.cantonwine_stylez
“This is awesome, it’s a salon in London. They are going to implement really cool tech to help provide better service. I love that this will push the rest of the industry to innovate.” – @jordancolby89
“As usual I’m going to keep improving my skills and services, being professional, staying focused on my clients and adapting to change. I’ve seen too many people cling to the past and get left behind. I don’t like this at all but def keeping my eye on it. I also NEVER shop on Amazon and don’t understand how people can complain about a company they directly give thousands to every year. I don’t think ‘convenience’ is worth it.” – @hairfriend
Some Stylists Are Worried About Unrealistic Expectations
“‘Virtual haircolors, with clients using augmented reality technology to try on new looks.’ This right here is setting up clients for unrealistic expectations.” – Gillian Froelich
“My biggest issue is the virtual promise of how your hair will turn out. Different hormones released from the head can affect lift so you can’t be guaranteed the ideal look people are going to see.” – @kellie_rudd_
Salon Owners Are Concerned About The Impact On Small Businesses
“I bet we’d be considered essential if we worked there. When are people going to realize having a company this big is actually bad? Yes, it’s convenient, I get it. But if all the small businesses shut down, they get to decide what you buy because they’re the only company left.” – @camouflageandbalayage
“And this is exactly what we’ve been warned about for the last year. Bye bye small independent businesses. THIS is what we will see more of. That way our industry can be more ’controlled’ by the government. Less independent contractors, less cash that they can’t touch.” – @krista_johnson331
“My biggest problem with this is, we go to work every day behind the chair, and educate our clients on products. Then, the companies we support turn around and sell us out on platforms like Amazon, Target, Meijer, etc. and not any cheaper. Very frustrating! It’s time to support hairdressers for hairdressers.” – @hair_by_sharon
There Were Also A Few Funnies…
“Great. Now people are going to expect ‘prime’ hair. ‘I want to go from box black to platinum in two hours please.’” – Ashley Million-Grizzle
“Well I hope they don’t cut your hair as fast as they promise quick shipping!” – Patsy Brown
“Do you get prime on going platinum?” – @teresasbeautifulhair
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