From stylists to therapists, owners to clients, people have strong feelings about allowing children in salons and spas. Many blog posts have been written about this topic on baby, women and industry websites… and the comments reflect the culture war. Whatever your stance, you need to adopt a clear policy to avoid any confusion (and stress!) for your employees and customers.
“No Children Allowed”
Children pose unique challenges in salon and spa environments. Spas usually focus on tranquility and calm, something children rarely possess. Salons are filled with potentially dangerous items such as scissors, chemicals, hot irons, etc. In addition to these challenges, most salons and spas are an oasis for people to recharge and spend some “me time.” Thus, customer’s and employees alike can be fiercely opposed to children because they detract from the experience and can also be a serious liability to small business owners.
If you decide that a no children policy is right for you, you need to make sure that your policy is readily apparent to your customers. Make sure you state this policy on your website, paper menus, and around your shop. Also, try using a consistent reason for your policy such as “Due to safety considerations and limited space, children are not permitted in the salon.” Or, depending on your clientele, you can try a more cheeky approach like “Sorry, no children allowed (our stylists are allergic).”
If you’d like to be more accommodating to mothers, you can try a policy that allows supervised children. For example, “Children must be attended by another adult (who is not receiving services) at all times” or, for a lighter approach, try “Unattended children will be given espresso and a free kitten.” This way, you can address the needs of mothers in your area by offering a solution or simply nudging them to leave the kiddos at home.
On the other hand, children friendly policies could provide an opportunity to appeal to the families in your neighborhood. If this policy is more to your liking, you must create child friendly areas to mitigate their wildness. For example, child appropriate furniture in your waiting area, entertainment (i.e. coloring books, wifi connected tablets, etc.), lollipops, and other items that can placate a child that’s having a bad day and detracting from your environment.
If you do welcome children, consider also taking advantage of the growth opportunity they represent! According to Inc., children salon and spa services is an estimated $5 billion a year industry. Almost 9% of the entire salon and spa market! Attracting this niche market doesn’t necessarily mean you have to compromise your brand. While small children may require a special chair or a unique skill set, older children (6-12) simply require small changes to your current services. Thus, adding some child services may be an easy way to generate revenue.
For example, a service named “The Princess” may include glitter lotion and lip gloss with a basic cleansing facial for young girls. A “Superhero” service may include a muscle relaxing herbal spray to a basic chair massage for young boys. Whatever you want to add, just make sure to add the whimsy a child would expect.
No matter which is right for your salon or spa, and your brand, making a policy regarding children is important. Without a policy, unsuspecting mothers are subject to dirty looks and childless clients are annoyed. This confusion inevitably leads to negative reviews from both. Make sure you have a policy in place that is easily apparent to avoid any confusion, frustration and negative reviews!
VP of Sales at ProSolutions Software
With over 20 years experience in the beauty industry, Matt teaches classes to salon and spa owners on business topics including branding, management, marketing and advertising.