Celeste Trapp founded Hair M in October 2003 after working for over 10 years in marketing. Celeste has remained actively involved in the business, although behind the scenes and not shining shoes and pouring beer like the early days! With any business, there is an evolution that needs to happen to stay competitive, relevant and sustainable. We have been blessed with many loyal clients who have witnessed the changes to our business and we realize that sometimes the answers to WHY the changes are not always known. We have never for one day in 19 years valued our clients or our teams more than we do today. We will continue evolving, improving and listening.
LISTEN to Celeste's interview on a recent podcast WHOLE BEAUTY.
Why is it so hard to get an appointment?
Believe me, I feel your pain! The pandemic and low unemployment has been difficult for most industries. The beauty industry had many, many service providers leave the industry as well as two years of nearly any new talent entering the industry. We have been extremely short-staffed which I realize does not allow us to offer the level of service that we strive to provide. We are diligently working towards pre-pandemic staffing levels and encourage you to send any high-level service provider our way to join our family!
What spa services are currently available?
Our full-service menu was definitely one of our differentiators in the market when we opened in 2003. Part of the inspiration to open Hair M was to offer men a place designed for them to not only get their hair services but also spa services. When we opened we offered manicures, pedicures, facials, massage and waxing services. After seven years we found that men were not signing up for the nail services without a gift card so we no longer offer those services, but we do still offer facials and waxing services at the Downtown and Beaverton locations. During the pandemic, we found it difficult to staff and fill massage therapists and estheticians so we took a break with those services, but we are thrilled to have them back on our menu, and with staff that our clients agree are some of the top-notch talent in the city!
Why did you add Medspa services?
Our mission has always been to provide men a space to have services that make them feel good about themselves in a comfortable environment. Most guys aren't too keen on walking into a typical medspa business, yet the services medspas provide we believe are beneficial to our clients. In 2020 we began offering laser hair removal (nearly painless with our device btw), Cryoskin body sculpting and anti-aging treatments that will leave you looking refreshed and NOT like you had any work done such as RF Microneedling. Medspa services are currently offered at our Beaverton location only.
What's the difference between Hair M and Chrome?
I opened Chrome (originally Y-Chrome) in 2009 to offer clients a straightforward, no-frills barbering option between their Hair M experiences. I recognized that not all of our clients had the time or money for consistent visits to Hair M and by opening Chrome we were able to offer an option and still keep them in the family. Over the past 13 years we Chrome has evolved into an inclusive barber salon offering shaves, barbering cuts, as well as long cuts, and color services at a mid-level price point. The vibe is edgier and attractive to a diverse clientele. Since we share one POS you can easily go between any of our locations and the stylist can read notes of your previous visits. You can also use loyalty points and gift cards at any location! Find out more at chromepdx.com.
Why do you have tiered pricing?
One of our primary objectives is to provide a rewarding career path for our team members. This helps us to not only attract great talent, but more importantly for your sake and ours, to retain them. This means providing an opportunity to improve their skills through advanced education and coaching and the opportunity to increase their income. We could just increase our prices for everyone in order to provide that career path, but that isn't fair to our clients who are happy to see a lower-tenured stylist at a lesser price. It also allows us to hire a broader skill level. Believe me, it's hard to find stylists who are skilled in men's hair at the level our clients expect. We have many stylists who have been with us over 10 years with full books of loyal clients. When they move up levels (and pricing) they may lose a few clients who choose to drop down to a lower lever stylist, but this proves to be not only an advantage to the stylist who now gets a well-deserved raise, but also to their loyal clients who can potentially get on their books without waitlisting or scheduling months out, and yes this does happen with many of our stylists.
No more TVs?
As we opened new locations we had to decide if having TVs at each station was valued enough by our clients to warrant the expense. After speaking with many stylists and clients we determined that TVs were not necessary. We realized that there were some clients who would miss them and we apologize for the disappointment, but hope you have long forgotten them by now!
What do you do to keep your staff happy?
Many of you know that I did not come from the hair industry when I opened Hair M. My background was marketing and business and when I did my research I was dismayed at the instability in this industry. It was common practice for stylists to be bouncing around between salons, benefits were rarely offered and salons that were able to keep their doors open couldn't afford to market so many stylists had a hard time making ends meet which therefore continued the cycle of trying to find greener pastures. Just about every stylist I interviewed wanted to work for themselves one day (most salons in the area are booth rental) and they had the false perception sold to them from beauty school that they would be making six figures in no time. Sadly many of these issues are still part of this industry today. I knew quickly I wasn't going to run a business like the rest. We have offered our staff benefits, bonuses, coaching, education and a family environment from the very beginning. We also provided another important thing, a great clientele. As with other parts of our business, we have also evolved with our compensation packages, but I can still say we provide a great career opportunity to our team that I am proud of.
To keep our staff happy we offer competitive compensation and benefits, plus we invest in them with marketing and education. We offer them support and coaching to help them when and how they need it. We throw some great parties every year and treat them to free services for their anniversaries. They enjoy large discounts on products and services, and even for friends and family.
A few years ago I started something completely new that I have never heard of any salon offering. I am teaching a Salon Ownership Class to about ten employees who are interested in one day owning a salon. We meet quarterly and focus on one segment starting or running a salon. It's my way to give back to some of our long-tenured staff. If they have the itch to own their own salon I would want them to have the knowledge to do it well and make sure they know what they need to know. It's been a big eye-opener to most of them and even if they decide that owning a salon isn't for them, they now have a better understanding of all the nuances of running a business. Seeing our team grow and thrive is one of the biggest rewards of running this business. I really consider our team to be our number one customer, because if they aren't happy I know you won't be either!
This industry attracts creative people who have a desire to be independent. This is not always an easy mix for a structured business that has clients with high expectations and an owner who has even higher expectations! So over the years, it has been sad to see that we were not a good fit for some of our team members and vice-versa. We realize it is hard for our clients to see people go and it is not something we take lightly. What has been hard for me is knowing that stylists who may be disgruntled have our client's ear, and they don't know our side of the issue and so unfair judgments can easily be made about how we run the business. This is hard. I strongly encourage you to reach out directly to me if you ever have a concern about how we treat our team or run our shops. It may give me the opportunity for me to shed some light on the entire picture and will help make sure communication is open between our team and management.
Please reach out with any feedback, good, bad or ugly! If there are products or services you wish we would carry please let me know. If we ever drop the ball or fail to give you the Hair M experience you have come to expect, please let me know. We will continue to work hard to deliver a consistently double wow experience our wonderful clients.
With gratitude, Celeste
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org