On a recent Dragon’s Den episode, two entrepreneurs asked the Dragons to invest in their online hairdresser-search business. One of the stumbling blocks to them getting investment was the question of hairdresser loyalty. The Dragon with the least amount of hair reckoned that once people found a hairdresser they liked, they’d stick with them, rather than take a punt on somebody new, and the two entrepreneurs couldn’t produce any data to dispute that fact. It’s rare that Touker Sulyman and I see eye to eye, but this was one such occasion.
When I find a hairdresser I like, I stick to them like a limpet. When I moved to London in the late ’90s I came back to Edinburgh to have my hair cut for over a year. And I’ve tracked my current hairdresser through two salon moves. He accepts now that he’s stuck with me.
But I know that there are people who are more fickle when it comes to who cuts their hair. In London I had one such friend, who persuaded me to come with her to a new salon that had special opening offers. Disaster! I have another friend who likes a particular salon, but doesn’t mind which hairdresser cuts her hair! Well I’ve learned that just because one hairdresser is good, it doesn’t mean everyone else in that salon is too. When the hairdresser I loved moved home to Sweden, the chap who I entrusted with my hair twice (what was I thinking?!) had no idea what to do with it!
Of course, being loyal to your hairdresser doesn’t always mean they’ll repay that loyalty with a tremendous haircut. The first hairdresser I had in London was at Vidal Sassoon in Knightsbridge. I met him at a hair and beauty exhibition, and he was extremely charming. The first few times I saw him I had a great time and came out with a fabulous haircut. Then, calamity. It was a Saturday morning and his chat was all about the party he’d been to the night before. After I left the salon, with perhaps the worst haircut of my life, I reflected that he probably hadn’t been to bed, and whatever he’d consumed at the party maybe hadn’t had time to work its way out of his system. I returned to my flat in tears, wondering how on earth I was ever going to be able to leave it again. Eventually my flatmate persuaded her hairdresser to take pity on me, and he agreed to see me at the end of the day. My short bob was so uneven that he had to shave the back in order to even it all up! Everyone in the salon came to look at me and hear the story of how I’d paid a fortune for this monstrosity of a haircut. I was so grateful that he became my regular hairdresser.
Another time, back in Edinburgh, with my previous hairdresser nowhere to be found, I tried a different salon. (NB hairdressing salons: refusing to tell me where my hairdresser of ten years has gone does not mean I’ll continue to use your salon. Quite the opposite!) I was recommended a particular chap, and all was well for the first few months. Until his wife left him and took their daughter with her. I can only assume that I wasn’t the only one of his female clients to suffer, and yet again I was on the hunt for someone new to take care of my locks.
I phoned several salons trying to track down my previous hairdresser but to no avail. Eventually I spoke to a lovely girl at one salon who suggested I come in and see one of their stylists. She told me that this stylist was very talented and lovely and if I didn’t like her I could just leave, no worries. When I got to the salon I was so well taken care of that I stayed, and Lee became my hairdresser. She was fab and I loved going to the salon. After a couple of years she went travelling, and when the girl who replaced her as my hairdresser left, I got Robbie. Who’s been my hairdresser ever since. He’s moved salons twice and I’ve tracked him down each time. He now works in a salon with Lee, and it’s the most fun you can have at the hairdressers. They even welcome Kimber!
I wish those two entrepreneurs well, but I’m not in their target market. I’ve got the best hairdresser, in the best salon in Edinburgh, and I’m not risking my precious locks with anyone else. Unless both Robbie and Lee do a moonlit flit that is….
Robbie and Lee can be found at Arthaus Hair. They’re joined by Clair, who’s just as talented.