I just got to thinking about all the reviews I have read about different braiding salons and why I stayed away from professional styling (in general) for so many years. I’m not bitter (maybe a little), but I need to let this truth out so that maybe ONE stylist or owner can read it. As I mentioned in my previous post, I had good experiences with salons in the past couple years. But my positive experiences were a result of being obnoxious about dealing with salons. Each one teach one.
I love the way braids look, just like the next person. I also love supporting my black and African owned businesses, but we gotta do better, fam!! And before some of you ladies get started, I know not ALL clients are angels. I have seen it for myself. But there are far too many clients (especially new clients) being taken advantage of and that’s not right. These are the reasons why I haven’t gotten braids in six years (until recently).
1. $$$ – Listen, money is at the top of the list. Depending on the salon you go to, you may have to purchase hair in addition to paying for an already expensive service. I understand why it’s expensive too. The labor and skill needed to achieve the desired hairstyle is intense. But I swear, some of the stylists out there really be trying it with their prices. And if you’re going to charge more than market prices, your skills better be on point. You need to also save on time too with ridiculous prices. Don’t be average now!
2. TIME – Truth be told, time costs waaaaayyyy more than money. And I can’t get my time back either. But I usually don’t mind to spend a little bit more time on a beauty ritual. But honey, depending on where you go and the style of braids, it can take almost an entire work day for some braids. Don’t even THINK about scheduling something else on that day. Just don’t do it.
3. Edges – My god! When it comes to my hair, I absolutely loathe when people get “thug life” on my
darn edges. These baby hairs are the first thing people notice when looking at my hair. I’ve been fortunate enough that I haven’t suffered severe breakage on my edges. But maannnnnnnn, some stylists just DGAF (slight Big Sean ref). Proceed with Caution!
4. Language Barrier– I don’t like when someone who’s handling my hair is also speaking passionately – with some jokes to add – in a language I can’t understand. Not all hair braiders are guilty. But when I’m caught in the middle of a conversation or joke while someone is handling my hair and I’m also paying them, it makes me feel some kind of way. I kind of feel disrespected. I’m fine with the use of a different language, but constantly though? Talking about your clients, though??! This should be motivation to step up my language game, right? English speaking salons and nail salons are guilty of this too and they should really calm that down.
5. Breaks on Breaks on Breaks– Some stylists are just reckless when it comes to countless breaks. Thankfully I haven’t had personal experience with stylists that break too much, but boy have I heard stories. I do believe a person should take a break here and there but don’t waste a customer’s time to speak to your homegirls on your cell phone. Shoot, I’ve seen stylist multi-task on their cell phone chatting and braiding at the same time. Be considerate, the customer is PAYING you.
6. Dirty Combs– Listen, I’m very observant. When I find out that you dropped a comb on a floor and then proceeded to use that same comb in the customer’s hair, I’m done. I won’t be back. If I spot another stylist with unsanitary practices, I’ll avoid seeing that stylist. I have low tolerance for being careless and dirty behavior while touching MY hair. And I’m paying you too, girl?! I don’t care how good the prices are.
7. What appointments? – I love the idea of walk-ins but it kinda blows when you call ahead to schedule an appointment, only to find out later that the stylist “had” to take this customer right before you. Hey, I get it. The hustle is real. But be business smart when you have a customer arriving. You shouldn’t even promise a time if that’s the case. I actually prefer appointments, but I toss that idea out the window when it come to braids. It’s useless.
8. Russian Roulette Stylist – Since there is no appointment structure for many braiding shops, that means that you will get the first available stylist. If you already know who you want to style your hair and you have the time to wait for them, great. But if not, you will either luck out or find yourself with a less than stellar hairstyle. The amount of money you’re putting up is high which causes this issue to be very problematic and unsettling.
9. Miscommunication– I’m not sure why some salon owners believe they can grow their business with constant miscommunication. Why are we (the clients) allowing this to continue??
I understand the language barrier can pose a problem with clear communication, but when dealing with clients you have to have someone to assist you if language is a problem. Outside of language, I feel that most stylists just want to do whatever the hell they want to do. You can show the picture, speak in great detail, and somehow still end up with something totally different than what you asked for. Sometimes prices will change from the time a person arrived, to the moment it’s time to pay. I haven’t always had this problem, but browsing the net makes you think twice about the stylists doing braids.
10. Customer Service– This one is pretty much a combination of a few (if not ALL) of the previous reasons mentioned. It’s so difficult to find great braiding shops with great customer service. Not sure why either. For one style, you’re looking at at least$50. You would think with high price points, these shops would be respectful to some of their clients. Not all clients are innocent. Trust me I know. But to be knowingly deceitful to clients looking to get their hair done is just wrong!! Bashing clients when they can’t understand what you’re saying while still charging them $$$, is wrong!!
That’s it. These are the reasons why kitchen beauticians, youtube vloggers, and bloggers will always be in style and in business. All of these reasons (and much more not listed) will guarantee people trying the DIY approach. Will I continue to support braiding shops? Yes, a small select few and not often. Will I try DIY? Yep!
If you’re a stylist or salon owner, stop trying to get over on your customers. You don’t keep customers for life by cheating them or treating them like crap. These reasons can easily be applied to a lot of other hair salons and nail salons. I want to support y’all but if you keep it up, someone will fix the problem. Whether it’s technology or someone outside of the profession, the problem will get fixed by an entrepreneur. When it does, you better have a back up plan or willingness to change your business structure.
Stay tuned for solutions next week.
What do you like or dislike about going to a braiding shop? If you’re a stylist, share what you dislike about customers. Let’s start a conversation.