Three salon & spa business trends that are becoming the new normal

Following beauty trends can be like watching fireworks: you see a big, bright flash-bang followed by a fizzle. But some trends endure and become standard practice or common service offerings at salons and day spas.

This year, we have noticed that a few trendy practices are increasing in popularity rather than fading away, as so many trends tend to do. Here’s what we’re seeing:

Blowout bars and express services are a booming business

Traditional salons and services grew slowly in 2017, but blow dry bars’ grew by 25 percent in terms of revenue and location. Take Drybar as an example. In 2015, The New York Times reported the industry trendsetter was about to open its 40th location; today, the company has around 90 salons in the U.S. and a line of haircare products.

But the express service space is more than blowouts, encompassing economical, 30-minute facials and mobile manicure services. You can even get walk-in hair extensions. Perhaps nothing indicates the durability of this trend more than the interest of beauty industry stalwarts. In 2017, MAC and Bumble & bumble opened express service salons focused on blowouts and makeup applications.

Social media is part of the experience

With selfie stations and social media contests, salon and spa pros have proven to be some of the savviest social media marketers around. Modern customers like to feel connected to the businesses they patronize. When they share their new cuts and manicures on Instagram, it’s a boon to the salon or spa as well. This trend is particularly powerful for small businesses like local salons, who can develop a marketing and advertising strategy around social on a small budget.

Just watch out for the pitfalls of social media marketing. Online reviews can set the tone for a salon or spa’s broader reputation. If a customer believes she was harmed by a service, she can find an instant forum and audience on Yelp. Be sure to check out our last blog post, too, which discussed how online messaging can become problematic.

Kids deserve the spa treatment, too

Thanks to winter formals and prom, older teens have long patronized salons. Alongside the explosion of teen beauty and wellness influencers on social media, tweens and younger kids have started getting in on the fun, too. In fact, according to some research, 80 percent of kids 9-11 have some kind of beauty product regimen.

This seems to be translating to more salon and spa services targeted at younger kids. Here in Long Island, we have seen spas for kids springing up. Kids’ party-spa retailer Sweet & Sassy has about 17 locations in the U.S., and a Florida girls’ spa franchise opened its fourth location late last year.

Traditional, adult-centered salons and spas are also tailoring some services to a (much) younger market. But when changing or adding services, it is always a good idea for business owners to check in with their insurance agent—your liability may change as you diversify.

These are just a few changes in salon and spa business that struck us as interesting. What are you seeing? What salon and spa trends do you think have the potential to turn into enduring services or features? Tell us on Twitter @SASSI_Brownyard.

Kathy Lopez, Account Manager for SASSI, the Salon and Spa Specialty Insurance program at Brownyard Group. She can be reached at klopez@brownyard.com.