Small business focus: inside a hair salon’s lighting retrofit

by FM Media
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Anyone who manages a retail business knows there’s no end to the challenge of managing costs. Retailers who provide personal services such as beauty therapy or hairdressing are prime examples, calmly attending to clients in opulent surrounds while constantly being on the lookout for ways to reduce overheads.

Lattouf International Hair Salons operates eight stores throughout Melbourne. In an effort to increase profits, managing director Shady Dargham embarked on a strategy to improve efficiencies across the group.

“I began by considering all the non-core activities involved in running a salon,” Dargham explains. “I noticed all the little things that take up time, and I learned that small maintenance issues can affect a business in more ways than most managers realise. In our case, it was light bulbs. No matter which salon I visited, there always seemed to be at least one globe not working.”

Dargham realised that, apart from having a negative impact on salon ambience, the need to constantly replace light bulbs was taking attention away from clients, as well as the added safety risk every time a staff member climbed a ladder to change a light bulb.

“When I analysed our expenses more closely, I noticed electricity represented quite a high proportion of our overall costs, so I began to investigate new lighting options,” he explains. He turned to cherryLED, which installed more than 20 LED downlights to deliver an even, inviting glow throughout one salon in Malvern’s Tooronga Village Shopping Centre.

Running at a fraction of the cost of traditional lights, LEDs can reduce lighting bills by up to 80 per cent. Plus, with a lifespan of 13 years or more (compared with just 3,000 hours for standard lighting), it will now be years before the salon will need to change a globe.

“Based on the success of this pilot project, we are planning an LED lighting upgrade for all of our eight salons to take full advantage of the energy cost savings,” Dargham says.

However, it’s not just about the bottom line. Any good retail strategy aims to maximise repeat business and to achieve that, customer satisfaction is critical. Even small changes in lighting can make a world of difference to the customer’s experience in-store.

“There are big challenges in lighting a salon,” Dargham says. “The lighting inside must match the outside environment if colours are to be accurate. cherryLED offers an LED light that mimics daylight, so retail spaces can be lit to match. As a hairdresser, I feel confident knowing that when I’m colouring a client’s hair, the result is going to be spot-on. When our customers step outside, they’re always happy. And a happy customer is a repeat customer.”

Cool to the touch, LEDs can also provide intimate and directional lighting for display cabinets and shelves, without any potential fire hazard or risk of damaging stock.

“Because they’re inexpensive to run and operate at a low temperature, we can even leave a few lights on overnight, attracting more eyes to our retail window while enhancing security,” Dargham says.

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