What Ever Happened to the “Beauty Parlor?”

beauty shop

10 Mar What Ever Happened to the “Beauty Parlor?”

At the risk of being perceived as a stereotypical “codger” who laments the loss of the “good ‘ole days,” lately I can’t help but wonder: “What ever happened to the Beauty Parlor?”  It has disappeared!  It vanished along with drive-in theaters and those special umbrella pick tropical drinks on airplane rides to the Bahamas (except maybe in first class) and free on-board luggage.

Over the years, it looks like the Beauty Parlor has morphed into the “Hair Salon,” or worse, “The Spa.” And to get a manicure or pedicure, you now have to make a separate appointment, oftentimes somewhere else. If I gave the count of how many “Hot Nails,” “Sparkle Nails,” and “Just Nails” places that have sprouted around my neighborhood, you would wonder if fashion nails have become a new national mandate!

What exactly does the name change signify anyway?  What do the business names that incorporate the words “Hair Companies,” “Hair Salons,” and “Studios,” communicate to the consumer?  It’s obvious to me, but maybe not to you.  These businesses are now putting the emphasis on “how lucky we are to be there,” rather than focusing on serving our needs. It’s unabashed snob appeal and the casualty is the good haircut and our fantasy of achieving some level of “beauty” after patronizing one of these businesses.

It was kind of nice when you could get your nails done while your perm was setting, and some “Spas” still offer multiple services, but first we have to wade through the menu of transcendental experiences to find it  — let’s slide past the organic enzyme peels, microdermabrasion, waxing, organic facials and pre-natal massages, please. And of course they don’t let you leave without hearing a sales pitch on “organic hair, skin and body” products, which pumps your bill up way over your budget.

Besides, if I wanted to have “abrasions” of any kind, or a massage, I’d go to a SPA! God forbid. So I won’t go to a hair salon that is also a SPA!  That narrows the list, doesn’t it?

So, why is it such a big deal?  For me, it’s because I can’t seem to get a good haircut and style anymore. When I try a new place, my intentions are always positive.  I hope I’ll find a stylist who will want to get to know me and my hair. I expect the stylist to remember my preferences and will also apply what he or she learned about the best updated style for my face, so I don’t look my age, and so that I can feel “beautiful” when they are finished with me.  Hence my nostalgia for the phrase “Beauty Parlor.”

As a marketer, I know how much data we can collect on our customers now.  Through email marketing campaigns and just plain ‘ole keeping track of customer preferences in our databases, we can laser-target our markets so that we offer just the right suite of services and products to the right people.  So why can’t I find a stylist who can remember that I hate “bangs,” and that I part my hair on the right, –that’s my right? And when I look in the mirror as I drive away from my “beauty” appointment, why do I always look like I walked out of the 1950’s or escaped from a “Back to the Future” movie set?

And hey!  When did GUYS start coming to my beauty parlor?  It used to be a great time with the gals, where you can freely gossip about the guys and all sorts of things.  But no, now the guys are here too! Ugh, cramp my style.

So I don’t know who did the market survey with the result that “Beauty Parlors” are no longer desired, or are just too “old fashioned,” but as for me, if I find I can get the same boring cut and style at a local unisex Barber Shop as I can at these fancy dancy expensive hair salons and spas, and at one quarter of the price, and if I’m going to get a forgettable look either way, I’d rather pay less for it!

If anyone knows of an old fashion “Beauty Parlor,” let me know.  We can all use a little beauty in our lives, don’t ‘cha think?

Master the Technology, Conquer your Market.

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