Testimony: Nathalie from the barbershop Rapid'Hom

Discover Nathalie, manager of the barber shop Rapid'Hom

Hello Nathalie, can you introduce us to your BarberShop and explain your background?  

Hello! I'm the manager of the barber shop Rapid'Hom, which is in Belley in the Ain. I created my barber shop 27 years ago. As far as my background is concerned, I passed my CAP Mixed Hairdressing in 1985 and my BP Barber three years later. Then, I was employed until 1991 before setting up my own salon. Today we are 3 employees: an employee, who has been here for 20 years, an apprentice and myself.  

Why did you choose to specialize in men's hairdressing?

I've always wanted to do men's hair. What I like is the contact with men, I have more boyfriends than girlfriends! I find it's easier with men, it's also more direct and it suits me better. I also like the cut, it's more technical and you can't camouflage imperfections with a blow dry!  

27 years ago, it was innovative to open a barber shop?

When I opened my barber shop, most men were on their own to trim their beards. There weren't many bearded customers. However, there were customers who wanted to be shaved the old-fashioned way.

When I started in the 90s, that was the time when there was a lot of talk about AIDS. So there was a mistrust of the razor... It wasn't part of the mentality to go to the hairdresser to get a shave. When I was an apprentice, my boss told me that he worked a lot on beards and shaving. That got lost in the late 80s with the appearance of razors in supermarkets and the advertising promoting them.  

I have noticed that for the last 5 years, the beard trend has been back in vogue. Today, men say they go "to the barber". We've managed to get a new clientele with this "beard" trend and with our very vintage universe.  

You're talking about a "beard" trend that's coming back. Do new series like Peaky Blinders with a 20's universe inspire your customers?

Yes, that's right! It is the Californian hairdresser Julius César who created the cut of the actors of the English series Peaky Blinders. Julius Caesar was inspired by the cut of the Peaky Blinders by bringing it up to date. He created the horn cup, but young people ask for the Caesar cup.

We have a lot of young people coming to the show to get the "Horn" cup! When we have enthusiasts who come to the show, it's a pleasure!

What is the world you want to convey to your customers through your salon?

The masculine universe: an old-fashioned barber shop atmosphere with old barber chairs from the 50's, a masculine decoration, wood materials, mole grey, leather, wood, a coffee machine... I'm careful to have a very masculine universe.  

Paroles de Coiffeurs - Rapid

What is the most difficult thing about being a manager?

For me, the most difficult thing as a manager is personnel management and recruitment. Once the probationary period is over, it becomes complicated if the person recruited is not suitable. I don't have a lot of staff, but when I have to replace someone, it's often difficult.  

When recruiting your apprentices or employees, do you ever call their former bosses?

No, I don't think about doing it because I have a lot of work and I'm often in a hurry to find someone. I'm in a small town and men's hairdressing doesn't attract many apprentices so as soon as I find someone, I don't take the time to look at their references in detail.

I'm often in a hurry. But I think it's a good thing to avoid making mistakes in recruitment.

What advice would you give to barber shop managers when recruiting new employees?

I think we should call former employers and ask for letters of recommendation from candidates. The concern is that as a hairdresser, we are not trained in recruitment. We're a hairdresser first, not a recruiter.

I think you should take training, or else rely on your feeling. Above all, I would advise not to be in a hurry to recruit someone at all costs.

In your opinion, what are the most complex tasks in the management of a hair salon?

For me, the most complex assignment is accounting. For all hairdressers who want to open their own salon, I advise you to get a good accountant. He should advise you in particular on the fact that you need to plan a cash flow when you start up.  

The burdens are lightened in the first year, but great care must be taken. I was fortunate that my accountant warned me to be careful with his cash flow in the first year of operation. We're hairdressers, not accountants...

We don't necessarily know about this. So it's important to be well surrounded and to have a good accountant because the first three years are often difficult.

What advice would you give to new managers to avoid pitfalls when launching their salon?

Mon conseil premier serait de ne pas croire, que lorsque l’on encaisse, on va dégager des bénéfices dès la première année. Il ne faut pas oublier qu’il y a un décalage d’un an, et beaucoup de dépenses la première année d'activité. Il faut être très prudent et faire attention à ne pas dépenser plus que ce que l’on gagne.  En période de crise, il faut faire attention aux charges et être un bon gestionnaire. J’utilise le logiciel de caisse Wavy pour toute la gestion de mon salon. Je gagne du temps et ça va beaucoup plus vite que de tout faire à la main. Je ne passe plus mes week-end à faire la caisse.

Avant d’utiliser le logiciel de caisse Wavy, je ne me rendais pas compte des chiffres et du nombre de prestations que je faisais. Aujourd’hui, grâce à Wavy, tout est détaillé et je peux compter le nombre de coupes et de produits que nous vendons.

I am more aware of my business with financial reports that are easy to analyze. In fact, my accountant told me it's a great software!

Are you present at the digital level?

I'm very familiar with Facebook and I spend a lot of time on it. We have a Facebook page where I regularly post news about our show or new products. Taking care of Facebook takes a lot of time.

Social networking brings a lot of people back to the living room. I work a lot on communication at our show. In fact, we make two presentation videos every year in which we showcase our world. Here is the last one:

How do you imagine the hair salon of the future?

I see the salon of the future as an atypical place. I think people will want to be styled in atypical places and have fun experiences more than just visiting a salon. For example, hair salons in apartments where clients feel at home are really something to be exploited. You should also think about reselling the salon with a nice place that can easily be resold afterwards.

Written by
Aurélie Pauker
Always attracted by the world of hairdressing and beauty, today I answer the problems you may have.

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