How Instagram is helping city's barbers, nail bars and salons
PUBLISHED: 06:30 26 September 2018 | UPDATED: 08:16 26 September 2018
ARCHANT EASTERN DAILY PRESS (01603) 772434
Despite tough times for many on the high street, for Norfolk's beauty sector, business is looking good - thanks to the rise of Instagram and a growing appetite for everyday luxury.
Since 2010, the number of hairdressers, barbers and nail bars in the city has increased by 45% from 80 to 115, figures from the Office for National Statistics show.
And business owners who are catering to the demand say pamper sessions previously seen as treats are now seen as “necessities”.
Charlotte Sims, who owns Charisma on Farmers Avenue in Norwich, said: “In the past year we have seen a massive increase in demand. We’ve had to take on three new members of staff so as not to turn business away.”
Turnover at the business has doubled in the past four years, and is up 14% year-on-year.
Ms Sims has recently invested £3,000 in training her staff to meet demand, with 312 new clients on the books in the past six months, compared to 235 for the whole of 2017.
She added: “Our business has been driven in two ways, firstly by an increase in clients, and secondly by our existing clients spending more. People come in for what they see as a necessity, like getting their nails done, and want to get a pedicure too.”
She said she had also added new relaxation treatments in response to demand, adding: “People are taking a lot more time out for themselves.”
The figures back up the high street trend towards consumer experiences rather than simply shopping, with 2018 having already seen the failure of many big-name retailers such as House of Fraser.
Industry experts say the rise of barbers has come on the back of the growing male grooming industry, fuelled by social media.
Stewart Martin, owner of unisex business Esteem Hair on Timberhill, said: “Men are getting more image-conscious thanks to the likes of Instagram. Where we used to struggle to get them to pay £10 on a cut, now they book to ensure they’re getting the time spent on them. They will spend £20, and then as much again on product.
“Barbers are investing in training young men who like the atmosphere and the trend, then after training leave, set up their own place to try to compete.”
He added: “I’m booked further in advance than ever, but I won’t take on staff that are just barbers, because in my experience they leave.”