Lincoln Salons say business is good

May 4, 2009 at 6:18 pm (Uncategorized)

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The economic outlook might be grim, but Lincoln residents are looking good.

“Even if I lose money, I’ll find enough to make sure I don’t look like crap,” said Britney Batt, a senior, pre-med and Spanish major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The recession might be creeping in on Nebraskans, but Lincoln salons are thriving. In a time when jobs and income are being cut, people still get their hair cut.

“We’re growing at an even more rapid pace than we were last year,” said Jason McLaughlin, the owner of I?S Studio Salon, a high-end salon in Lincoln.

He said they are fortunate to have clients willing to consistently pay more than $100 for a haircut and color. “We’re very blessed to be in Lincoln right now,” said McLaughlin. “We might be less affected than other places.”

McLaughlin said that in economic hardship, going to a salon might be a way to lift gloomy spirits. “Having their hair done is an enjoyment to them, so (clients) are willing to make some sacrifices for beauty,” he said.

Sherry Rybij, co-owner of Utopia Salon and Day Spa in Lincoln, said after comparing figures, her salon is also doing better than previous years. Rybij said Utopia is a middle of the range salon when it comes to prices. Clients pay about $70 for a haircut, color and style.

Lower-end salons are doing well too. Rich Barnes, director of salon services and marketing at Cost Cutters in Lincoln, said, “We’ve seen an increase in value-minded customers lately.”

Barnes said the increased business is because of a growing cliental. “I think high-end salons have definitely taken a hit.” He said Cost Cutters has “caught” the people coming from high-end salons.

Rybij disagrees. She said, “I think we are in a different league; we don’t really have to compete with them.”

Out of the area salons interviewed, none have adjusted prices, and only Cost Cutters said they increased marketing strategies.

Barnes said Cost Cutters increased the number of TV and radio ads. They have also incorporated direct mail into their marketing strategy. He said, “We try to get it out there that we offer services at good prices.”

At Cost Cutters, customers pay about $50 for a haircut and hair color.

Barnes said the increase in business at Cost Cutters could be because of a shift in image. He said some people think, “Well, they’re cheap so I’m going to get a cheap haircut. And that’s definitely not what happens.”

“Right now we’re really customer service oriented. We’ve made it a point to try and keep the customers coming from high-end salons,” said Barnes. “Quite frankly, they receive the same haircut at our salons.”

Rybij said she is optimistic and doesn’t think her salon will be affected by competition or the recession.

Batt regularly goes to a high-end salon in Omaha, but she said, “I’ll probably always go to the same place to get my hair done. I’m picky and know they do a good job.”

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