What does SS18 and AW18 stand for?

Session Hairstylist: Ian (me). Photographer: Chris Roberts. Hard at work light-testing 01:10:1981.
Me taken by photographer Chris Roberts. Light-testing 01:10:1981 – SS82 season!

What does the SS and AW in SS18 and AW18 stand for within the world of fashion?

Answer: SS18 stands for the Spring Summer fashion season in the year 2018. The AW18 stands for the Autumn Winter season in 2018! The SS18 shows are held in the Autumn of 2017, and the AW18 shows are in the Feb/March of 2018

There are also two popular hashtags to be found on Twitter (and other social networks): #ss18 and #aw18 – they will be busy at the time of the shows, UK busy time is London Fashion Week (AW17) – Thursday 16th – Tuesday 21st February 2017. London Fashion Week (SS18) 15th – 19th September 2017.

And of course you can follow #ss18 on Instagram and Facebook!

The British Fashion Council and the London Fashion Week Site are always a good places to keep up with events and for the links to the latest and live London Fashion Week news – Also see/follow: #LFW.

My fashion and hairstyle predictions are more general and not really seasonal! See my SS18 and AW18 fashion predictions: Fashion Trends & Hair Styles – Predictions – New and Old and my most recent at time of writing. I usually post my latest trends and fashion predictions in December, however, yeah, I’m usually late!

So, there you are SS18 and AW18 equals the fashion seasons: Spring Summer 2018, and Autumn Winter 2018!

HABB – The Hair and Beauty Benevolent

HABB – The Hair and Beauty Benevolent is the official charity for the hairdressing industry that helps hairdressers in need.

Since it launched in 1853, HABB has always been there for hairdressers, many of whom had nowhere else to turn. It still sees more than 200 applications each year – including students.

Please Support and Follow HABB on:

JustGiving
Facebook
Twitter

1970s Shampoo Nightmares

Model: Anik, Photographer: Chris Roberts 1981, Hair: Ian Robson. London - Willie Christie's Studio

Model: Anik, Photographer: Chris Roberts 1981, Hair: Ian Robson. London – Willie Christie’s Studio

This blog post, 1970s Shampoo Nightmares, has been requested by my friends on #HairHour – 10 Feb 2016. They thought it “would make a very interesting read!” I’m not too sure about that, you’d better judge for yourself!

Without meaning this to be a biography of my early years as a hairdresser, or a fucking history lesson: I’ve got to say this starts in the period between 1970 and 1980, maybe it was when Jimi Hendrix died in September 1970, or when Andre Mizelas (of Andre Bernard) got shot in November 1970, or maybe when Vidal Sassoon created his line of hair-care products in the early 1970s? The thing is, there was an imperceptible wind of change gently blowing – just like there is today, and it’s difficult for me to put a date to it, let’s say the early 1970s.

It was a time when most, if not all, London salons had their own line of self branded hair-care products for sale – I’m talking mainly shampoos and conditioners. They were formulated by so called, cosmetic chemists in small laboratories come kitchen sink factories. The name David Gold rings a bell, I don’t know why – the smell of coconut comes to mind when I think of the name! Salons bought their shampoos and conditioners by the gallon (4.5 litres) from the labs who personalised it (branded it) with ridiculous flavours and the salon’s name. These shampoos and conditioners were absolute crap – or were they? If you washed somewhere between fifteen and fifty heads of hair a day, six days a week, for three months solid, believe me, it really was absolute crap!

I say ridiculous flavours: lemon for greasy hair was typical and obvious, pineapple and orange were slightly less obvious and sickly. pine for normal hair, didn’t smell toilety, but of the woods. almond and coconut for dry and damaged hair. And the colours of course were pretty vivid: yellow, orange, green, pink and spunk white! As a creative junior I liked to mix them and create ‘cocktails’ – my favourite being a pina colada: 3 measures of pineapple, a dash of pine and lemon, 1 measure of coconut – the end result being clean hair, a happy mixologist and an oblivious client!

A junior’s morning job would be to: decant the shampoos and conditioners into the various ‘clean’ 2 litre glass carafes with cork stoppers, that sat behind the backwash like grand apothecary jars.

After a flutter with Lamaur (my favourite: apple pectin shampoo) and Wella, Ricci Burns (where I worked) ditched the laboratory and went down the innovative product road and embraced Redken products (first UK salon to do so); on the other hand, Vidal Sassoon was heavily into self branded products and I think they were the first to go into major production (with Helen of Troy Corporation), selling in the USA and Europe in 1980. This was the beginning of celebrity hairdresser branded hair-care and beauty products.

Today there are a plethora manufactured by ‘global’ beauty companies like: Procter & Gamble (Vidal Sassoon), L’Oréal (Jean-Louis David), Estée Lauder (Bobbi Brown – Makeup Artist) and Unilever (Tigi for hair salons, Toni & Guy)…

And you may ask: are salon (professional) products better than High Street (retail) products? Sadly, No, they’re not better! But I know it’s what hairdressers, salons, have always wanted. Unfortunately, expensive, celebrity/professional shampoos aren’t better – £3.99 or £39.99 there’s not a lot of difference; you don’t get what you pay for!

The trouble is, there’s such a lot of bollocks talked about hairdressing products; in the end it’s all about money, the bottom line, sales, turnover… I remember all the fuss caused by Wella in the mid-late 1970s, when they removed Lifetex conditioner from their professional range and allowed Boots to sell it at half the fucking price that a salon could buy it for in the first place (supermarket purchasing power)! (Get your arse down to the supermarket, but talk with your stylist first!)

There have always been well-known ‘celebrity’ hairdressers: Marcel Grateau (Marcel wave), Antoine (original short bob cut), Raymond Bessone (Mr. Teasy-Weasy), Andre Bernard (royal hairdresser)… Vidal Sassoon… However, it is today’s branded High Street beauty products, celebrity culture and consumerism that have changed the hairdressing and fashion scene for the worst – maybe those carafes of shampoo weren’t so bad after all?

Does A Hair Salon Need A Website?

Does a hair salon need a Website? In short, Yes. Stop reading!

In 1975, Ricci Burns’ hair salon was fully booked; not a Website on the planet! Has ‘it’ changed so much in forty-one years? Well, I think perceptions of how we do things have changed.

I’ve been working on website promotion techniques since 1994; in August 2004 I founded UnsignedBandPromotion, focusing on website promotion for independent bands…

It’s my strong opinion that if an individual musician or band wants to ‘make it’ on the music scene and make a living from their music, the most important area to get right is their musicianship and stage act (Music and Performance). Fundamentally, how good at ‘doing it’ are they? This is their Core Essential, and the best indicator of whether they are going to make it or not. Nine times out of ten, if they are having trouble getting noticed and making money out of their music, then they probably can’t ‘do it’.

I believe the same is true for hairdressers, if you can’t do it then you’ve got problems (a salon is only as good as its worst hairdresser). A website isn’t going to save you. That’s the power of the grapevine.

On the other hand, if you Can Do It, the word will spread like wildfire and you still won’t need a website! That too is the power of the grapevine.

However, on the High Street, like in the pubs, clubs and venues, there’s plenty of competition and that’s why hairdressing salons need a Website! Every little advantage helps. It’s also what your clients expect, they don’t want to phone up, or call in for holiday opening times etc.

Additionally, without a website, your salon will still be listed on any number of shitty directory sites, making you look like douchebags to potential clients – If you haven’t got a website, search Google for your salon’s name, and see all those dumb-ass listings!

Get More Website Visitors

One of the common UBP questions I get asked is, “How do we get more visitors to our website?” Obviously it’s one of the biggies, as soon as you get a website you want to attract visitors; here are some ideas:

  • First, you must understand the people who you want to visit your website. Create a Target Client Profile – without one you are totally screwed. Think about your clients’: geographical location, age, gender, occupation, attitude, general personality, life-style choices, habits, loyalties, needs, knowledge of your salon, and the sources of where they may get information about you and your salon from. Also think about the different networking platforms.
  • Create a basic promotional plan. Simply ask yourself: Who is my target audience/client? Who can help me spread the word? Where is the best place to go (e.g. social media) to connect with my target audience/client?
  • About 70%-ish of your Web traffic will come from Google – a lot of the traffic, unfortunately, could be Web crawlers and fucking Spambots and mean nothing! To help cut the crawlers and increase the client requests (or hits), you need words. Search engines use TEXT to find you. Find the top 12 keywords / key-phrases that best describe your Salon – e.g: Business Type (hair, hairdressing, beauty salon…), Location (Chelsea, London, Postcode), Fashion and Lifestyle Choices i.e. reflecting the demographic factors (habits, attitudes, tastes…) that define your target client. Include the keywords and key-phrases throughout your website. When I say website, also think blog posts and product pages.
  • Everyone in the website promotion business talks about Website Content – I won’t labour the point. However, a blog is the easiest way to create new and entertaining content that will attract visitors. Write 300-500 word articles (include images, especially of YOUR hairstyles), talk about your fashion/style philosophy…
  • One cracking image of a client could easily attract twenty extra visitors from that client’s social media circle; include photographs of clients, but for god’s sake don’t pressurise them. I LOVE the idea of a client selfie wall, then all the promo comes from the client – URL wallpaper anybody!
  • Put your salon on the map! Geographical Location and Geo-Targeting is a fairly big subject and a full blog post in itself! However, see: Google My Business Help Center – it’ll help you to target local traffic – sign-up and your salon will be included on the search results map!
  • I don’t want to go all search engine optimizationy on you, but choosing the right set of keywords for your salon’s website is vital to achieving your objective. If I was looking for a new hair stylist, I would go Google and search for: Hairdressers Windsor Berkshire or Hair Salons Chelsea London – What would you search for?
    Include your full postal address within your website’s footer, and generally, promote your location from your website – encourage the long tail to wag. Anticipate and second-guess what your website’s visitor will be searching for.
  • On Twitter, follow other local hairdressers followers. But, only follow them if: They have a full and expressive profile, for instance: no lazy egg-head twitter avatars – a real avatar is a must. A Username that’s identifiable. They ‘should’ (it’s not essential) be within your catchment area. Have a Bio (and recent tweeting record) that gives an indication that they’re a real person. It’d be brilliant if they have a link to a blog.
  • Okay it’s time for an idea. You need a Hook. Make an instructional video, for example, how to do a simple three pin chignon. That’s called a hook, a reason to visit your website; it could be a voucher for a free fringe trim or treatment. Tell everyone on social media, clients etc., about your hook and ask them to share – BINGO! More visitors to your website! And the pay-off? Try to think beyond your emailing list if you can!

A Few Webmaster Resources

  1. ColorHexa color encyclopedia – information and conversion [*handy]
  2. creativecommons make a copyright license
  3. dmoz Open Directory Project
  4. css validation [w3]
  5. Fagan Finder URLinfo [*handy]
  6. Google Adsense
  7. Google Analytics
  8. Google Webmasters
  9. Google Blogsearch Ping
  10. HTML 4.0 Reference
  11. Open Source Web Design
  12. page rank [pagerank] [*nice/ handy]
  13. PageRank Tool Page Rank Checker is a free tool
  14. phpbb PHPBB open source bulletin board package [a bit techie]
  15. TAW [disability access] [*notable]
  16. Varian Dreamview
  17. W3C HTML Validation [*notable]
  18. Web Reference
  19. Web Standards
  20. WordPress.com get a free blog with amazing features.
  21. WordPress.org download to host it yourself.

Does A Hair Salon Need A Website?

Yeah, I think so.