Established: 2009

Location: Wellington

Contact Name: Alexandra Bouron

Website: www.snipsalons.co.nz

Business mission and vision:
Our aim is to offer to people of any age and any gender – a high quality but affordable haircut; a personalised style that suits them and their lifestyle; and a friendly, professional, convenient and efficient service. We strive to maintain a workplace that supports and develops our staff, ensuring we work with pride, contentment and assurance.
Vote

“We do walk in haircuts for men and women.”

We are trained to cut and style hair for both men and women, so we are not a barber shop; and we only do cutting and styling, so we are also not a conventional salon where chemical services are offered. We only accept walk in customers, so we truly run with no appointments, unlike competitors who do a bit of both. We also offer our services in a more customisable format, where customers are able to choose what they want, for example: just a haircut, or a cut and a wash, or a cut and a wash and a style, therefore they are just paying for what they actually want to have.

 

We also provide a fairly no frills service, with no TV, coffee, alcohol, not even a receptionist, or a phone, so while our service is pared down, we can maintain our costs as low as possible, and just focus on our customer and their haircut. We give a really honest service, where we aren’t pushing retail product on customers, where we help people to work our what is best for them. We strive to be environmentally considerate by using almost entirely organic products throughout the salon, by minimizing our water use, by reducing our waste. We have a strong focus on the education and encouragement of our staff and invest significant time and money offering training in the salon, in New Zealand, and at international academies.

We were young and lighthearted, free of responsibility, looking for something new to discover, and keen for a challenge. The parents of my original business partner wanted to experiment with investing some money in property, and we decided to run a business instead of buying in the residential market. They purchased the retail unit on The Terrace that we still operate from, and they are still our landlords. We thought that running a business would be simple and easy, basically a carefree cash cow. We thought that it would be fun and gives us lots of money without us doing anything.
We had no idea what we were doing. We had no intention of working within the business and neither of us were hairdressers. We were all dreams and no grasp of reality. We had very limited capital. We could barely find decent staff, and of the first two we hired, one didn’t even make it to his first day, so the first 4 months we ran with only one hairdresser. We didn’t know what advertising was effective, so we wasted a lot of money on unsuccessful marketing. We made some very bad hiring decisions. We thought Grabone was a good idea, which is definitely wasn’t. We thought well trained, professional, nice, sensible hairdressers would rain from the sky, which they didn’t. We thought well trained, professional, nice, sensible customers would rain from the sky, which they also didn’t.
We (original directors myself and Victor) ended our romantic relationship, that had been successful for years before Snip, after the business was open for 4 months, but stayed in business together for 4 more years. Victor then decided to leave the company, and I decided (only barely) to stay with it. I also decided to take on a two year barbering apprenticeship, so that I could work within the business and also to gain a deeper understanding and commitment to hairdressing. Victor married someone else, and I met someone else and had a baby. This relationship also failed for me and I’ve had brief periods of homelessness and severe depression. I have been in and out of depression throughout the ten years in business and struggled with support, treatment and medication. This is still an ongoing (and completely private) issue for me that has always been kept apart from the business and my staff.

 

Another difficult situation was at the start of 2017, when my now husband suffered a severe stroke. The consequences of this were far reaching, but particularly for the business, we decided it was necessary to close on Saturdays, as we didn’t have the staff to run them as I was unable to come to work. This reduction in revenue, annoyance for customers, absence of myself as a stylist, manager and director, was a big set back for the company that we are still recovering from. The emotional and financial stress has been extremely complicated and limiting.

 

We ran out of money at various times, and after using any savings I had, I took on other random jobs after hours, to use my wages to pay my staff.

 

We are also now looking ahead to another challenge in February 2020, when Susi, my current co director, and our original employee and long time manager and creative and technical mentor, will leave the business. I will continue as sole director, but this again will come with a raft of new challenges for us.

Every step in the last ten years has been loaded with pressure, fear, anxiety, and risk, and we simply would not be here without perseverance, without overcoming the odds and pushing ahead. There have been endless adverse situations that we have gone through, yet despite these we remain resilient, driven and passionate.
Survival. Everything. Every day in business is a success. Every staff member who we pay, teach, learn from, share with, is part of our success. Every happy customer, every good haircut, is a measure of our success. Every mistake of conflict that we get through and learn from, is a success.
I’m proud that we offer a good place to work. I’m proud that we do good work. I’m proud that despite everything, we are still operating after 10 years. I’m proud that I still look to the future and feel passionate to continue the business.
Six, including both current directors.
Most of our work is reliant on the technical skill of our staff, and we don’t have a lot of stock or outside input. We source products from Ecostore, from Ceres Enterprises and we utilise software from Vend, Findmyshift, and iPayroll.
We have supported, funded and qualified seven staff through the NZ barbering curriculum (National Certificate of Barbering). We have extensively participated in reviews and training with HITO, who manage training in our industry. However, are only able to officially qualify barbers, not hairdressers, as our business doesn’t do colour or chemical services, which is required training to be classed as a hairdresser in NZ. We have lobbied HITO to review this and look forward to engaging in the hairdressing qualification review in 2020, with a view to creating an official NZ qualification that recognises and celebrates the skill and dedication that our staff have for cutting hair. This is especially important because in NZ, hairdressing is an entirely unregulated industry, so any level of training that is done, is entirely voluntary.

 

Therefore to also further the careers and education of our staff and ensure the quality and resilience of our service, we have sent them to cutting specific courses internationally, with two staff attending the Vidal Sassoon Academy in Santa Monica, USA, one to Vidal Sassoon San Francisco, USA, two to Toni and Guy Academy in Singapore, two to Toni and Guy Malaysia. We’ve also had staff attending expos in NZ and Australia.

 

Beyond this, we’ve also developed an extensive in house training program which all our staff work through; we have monthly team meetings; we bring trainers in to work with our staff; we arrange frequent models and demonstrations; and we purchase training books and DVDs for staff to use.

We are really proud of our Google reviews as this is such a dominant platform for people to gauge the quality of a business. We aim to respond to every review, regardless of the rating.

 

Ultimately though, we believe that our overall business success is due to the word of mouth of our customers, as we do not focus on advertising, but on ensuring every customer receives our best service. Therefore that we are still here ten years on, we feel is an overall reflection of our good reviews.

 

Some of our recent reviews:

 

“Had my very first haircut today at this salon & was very happy with it. Leena did a great job giving me a low-maintenance bob suitable for a busy mum like me. Thank you!”

 

“I’ve been to Snips on the Terrace a few times and I’ve yet to be disappointed. It’s perfect to pop in and go. The wait is never too long and it’s great for those of us who work shifts.”

 

“I had a cut at the new featherston st salon today. Great service and quality in the cut. The lads had good chat too. Happy customer.”

 

“Awesome value, great personable experience.”

Flexibility with time. Control over the direction and content of our workplace. Contentment from being able to provide a good workplace and to see staff learning and growing, both professionally and personally.
We send our staff to business’ and schools to do shaves for charity. We help people to complete hair donations. We offer apprenticeships in our trade. We engage with technical development with HITO in order to enhance and direct the trade training that effects anybody interested in hairdressing.
We offer a service that is accessible to the breadth of society, not just those with piles of money, and we make an environment that is neutral and welcoming to everybody.
Probably a million things I’ve forgotten, but questions are always welcome.
Thanks for your vote.