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PERTH SALON OWNER SAYS INNOVATION HAS BEEN THE KEY TO 25 YEARS OF SUCCESS

 

Sharlene Lee says staying ahead of the latest trends has kept her business in the black during Covid-19


 
Since opening the doors of her first Circles of Subiaco salon in Perth in 1995, Sharlene Lee has seen many hair trends come and go. From humble beginnings, Sharlene expanded her business adding a second location, Circles in Fitzgerald, and today employs 35 staff across both premises. 
 
Her success, according to the passionate salon owner, comes down to putting in the hours on the floor and good business planning. But in a year with unprecedented challenges, keeping her finger on the pulse of customer trends has given her business the edge to succeed. 
 
Many of Sharlene’s clientele fall between the ages of 18 and 34, with most driven into the salon thanks to its cult following on social media.
 
To nurture this following, Sharlene typically posts on social channels daily to share what her salon staff get up to, trend-setting hairstyles, as well as some of her clients’ favourite looks. 
 
“When people were heading out less, during the height of the pandemic, staying connected with our customers via social media was critical and allowed us to stay in touch,” Sharlene said. 
 
Sharlene is pleased to report that business is now booming, however there have been some lasting impacts of the Covid crisis, including more of her customers turning away from cash and instead using card payments, which Sharlene sees as a positive change. 
 
“We saw that during the height of the pandemic people were less inclined to want to handle bills and preferred the option of contactless payments, such as tapping their mobile wallet on their phones.”  
 
“It’s so important to move with the times and allow customers to pay how they want,” says Sharlene. “I accept all forms of payment in my salons – with no surcharge. Why would we say no to a client who wants to pay or penalise them for using their card of choice? It’s our job as a business to offer the full range of options to them.” 

 

 

Prior to Covid-19, Sharlene was often travelling overseas or interstate as a L'Oréal partner. By putting all of her business expenses through her American Express® Platinum Business Card, Sharlene collected enough points to redeem First Class flights. 
 
Additionally, as an American Express Card Member, Sharlene has used her Membership Rewards points to fund staff incentives, such as Business Class flights to the annual Sydney Hair Expo when it was last held.  
 
“The benefits absolutely outweigh the annual fee. I’m always telling my other friends who own businesses that this card is a must!”
 
Looking to the horizon
 
While Covid-19 has definitely proven challenging for the industry, Sharlene says that by consciously thinking about what’s next in trends and customer expectations, her business has been in a better position to survive, and even thrive, through the pandemic. 
 
“It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in business, no one can teach you how to handle something like a pandemic,” says Sharlene. 
 
“Being a leader means making your staff feel safe and secure. When this all started, I sat down with my team and knew I had to be honest with them like never before. We all took a vote on whether we’d stay open or close our doors and everyone voted to remain open. In supporting all of my staff they, in turn, supported me. It brought us closer together.
 
“Today, we’ve experienced traditional Christmas trading levels for over 17 weeks. Despite the pandemic, Western Australia is absolutely booming and we’re confident we have a really bright future ahead of us.” 
 
To learn more about the benefits of accepting American Express visit THIS LINK

 
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