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Salons encouraged by uptick in business

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Following a rough two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, South African beauty salons are finally experiencing a marked improvement in business.

Pieter Olivier of The Beauty Clinic East London reports that the last two weeks in September saw an uptrend in demand for treatments. He says: “This is because our therapists have been adhering to the well-known premise in business, which holds that 80% of new business comes from 60% of existing clients. They really do look after our clients and are successful in upselling treatments to them, most notably masks where the clients can see immediate results. In addition, our staff have gone out of their way to offer their clients discounts, or a free treatment if they buy products.”

The Beauty Clinic East London

Olivier notes that The Beauty Clinic has always stocked a vast number of different skincare brands – 9 in all – and that at this stage, retail turnover is higher than services have ever been, at 70% of total turnover. “We’ve found that clients who don’t come for treatments come into the salon just to buy products. Therapists have been really been pushing the high end ranges. I am very optimistic about the holiday season.”

Following lockdown, Olivier and The Beauty Clinic co-owner and founder, Gwen Pietersma, opened a gift shop adjacent to the salon. “This has proved so successful that we are in the process of significantly increasing the amount of stock and brands we offer in the shop,” states Olivier.

Cherene Ross, owner of The Beauty Box in Claremont, Cape Town, also experienced a ‘blossoming’ of business in September, to the extent that she is hiring an extra therapist to meet demand.

“We were fully booked this past week, with our therapists working flat out from 9 to 5, but they’ve welcomed it as being busy is infinitely preferable to sitting around wishing for clients. So, at the rate that things are going now, we are really looking forward to the holiday season and I foresee getting back to our pre-Coved figures. What has helped is that I run five monthly specials with reduced prices – this draws people in and then they are so happy with the service that they come back for more.”

Retail is, however, another story. Ross has dropped right back on retail sales due to the high cost of purchasing product. She’s found that clients would rather spend on treatments than on products.

Monique Scheepers of Eloah in Centurion reports that ‘business has been looking good the past few weeks’. She continues: “This is especially true during the school holidays with lots of moms coming in for treatments. So, I am looking forward to the summer months. Retail has picked up recently, not very much, but a little bit.”

Gina Gall

Gina Gall of the multiple award-winning Professional Skin Care Lab in Johannesburg reports that the number of treatments that she personally performed were higher in August than in July and then slightly more in September.

Says Gall: “Despite the fluctuations between the various months, we’ve noticed that as it got warmer, more clients started wanting to come into the salon for treatments. These clients also bought products. What is further indicative of things improving is that the number of clients who rebooked treatments has gone up. A lot of my clients book a year in advance and they have treatments monthly, but those who fall off the wagon generally make a reappearance in October and will then do two or three treatments before they go away in December. Retail has also improved from July.”

Gall makes the point that late last year a fair amount of her clients ‘semigrated’ to Cape Town, while others emigrated to the UK, Israel, New Zealand and Australia. “However, this has allowed me to see new clients as usually my diary is quite tight. The majority of these new clients googled us or were word of mouth referrals from existing clients.”

Helene Bramwell of the Mask Skin & Body Clinic in Johannesburg has found business up and down. “But my staff and I are happy that we all still have jobs. The incessant load-shedding has been an issue – we do have an inverter but sometimes there is not enough time in between load-shedding sessions to fully re-charge it, so that negatively impacts on business.” (Report by Joanna Sterkowicz)

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