Beauty Salons

April 4, 2012: Hair-Raising Success

I, like many women of a certain age, tend to obsess over the state of my hair. Not the style so much, but the annoying appearance of those tell-tale gray (probably white in my case) roots. This fixation is what fuels business at many hair salons across the country.

During the Great Recession, visits to beauty salons slowed down, but as The Los Angeles Times reports, “The state of American hair could signal how well the economic recovery is progressing.” And according to the latest statistics, the economic recovery could be well underway.

Sageworks, a financial information company, reports revenues at beauty salons grew almost 5.4 percent in 2010 and 2011, after slow sales in 2008 and 2009. And more important, profits for the past two years were up nearly 8 percent.

Obviously this is good news for salon owners. Sageworks¬†financial analyst Greg Mulholland told USA Today salons are now “making more sales and keeping more money from each sale.”

Adding to the good news, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics¬†projects employment growth will hit about 16 percent for hairdressers by 2020. That’s more than 98,000 stylist jobs that will need filling.

The Times says the Professional Beauty Association index, which tracks the state of the industry, set record highs in 2011, as 57 percent of salon entrepreneurs reporting same-store sales increased between the first quarters of 2010 and 2011. And over one-third hired employees during the same time period, setting another record.

When you couple this good news with the trends I reported last year on the growth of barbers and blow-drying services, it seems this industry offers some hair-raising opportunities for small business owners.