Spirit Hair Company has been part of High Wycombe’s salon scene for over 30 years. You could say this salon always been one step ahead of the curve, with its gender neutral pricing policy and eco-friendly sustainable credentials, and now they’re making a stance for skin testing. We spent some time with Administration Manager, Samantha Jordan-Clark.
ES: Your gender neutral pricing policy sounds great – can you elaborate?
SJC: We made the decision to move to a pricing structure that reflects hair length not gender. It seemed so outdated to charge someone according to their gender, when it’s irrelevant to hairdressing. We feel this is a fair policy and we price according to short, medium or long hair length. It is fairer and equal to everyone, no matter who and what you identify as.
ES: Let’s talk skin testing. When did you introduce Colourstart?
SJC: When we reopened after Covid we felt we needed to improve on our existing policy. Our only option back then was to have every client come in and have a test in the salon. We would send clients a text to invite them into the salon 48 hours before their colour, we would then apply a dab of colour in their inside elbow, they would leave it on for 45 minutes and then they would have send a photo so we could make sure there was no reaction. We would have to do that every time and it wasn’t practical.
ES: How did the transition go?
SJC: There’s no question that it was hard initially. We’d just returned after Covid and everything was a challenge. It took some time to get the system right, but once we mastered it, we’ve never looked back.
ES: Fast forward to the present day and how is your skin testing policy working?
SJC: We are really on top of it. We have always taken it seriously. Anyone who comes to the salon who hasn’t had a test we simply won’t colour.
ES: Has pricing been an issue?
SJC: Initially the £15 was a hurdle, and we do sometimes have clients that object to it now, however we are going to be charging £5 for a blob test, which they can have as an alternative each time.
ES: Why are you introducing a fee of £5 for a blob test?
SJC: We want to incentivise clients to have Colourstart. Every time someone has a blob test, it’s time out of the team’s schedule, and we have to allow a 15 minute appointment. It takes someone off the floor and that’s all time and therefore money. Alternatively, they can use Colourstart, which is a much better investment.
ES: How has the reaction been from your clients?
SJC: Everyone who has switched to Colourstart has said they wished they did it earlier. We have some clients who don’t embrace tech and struggle with it, so we call them and upload their answers for them. It’s still less time consuming than the traditional allergy alert test. We also had a client who reacted to Colourstart so now we know that she has an allergy. She was so grateful that we discovered it.