Hello Me-Time seekers! Stacey here, the other founding member of the ILUK team. We haven’t met yet, but I am super excited to be this week’s blog post contributor. I thought I’d change things up a bit and talk about my own personal experiences with salons. It might surprise you all, but I rarely go to get manis, a wax, or even cut my hair. Not because I don’t need to get any treatments done (trust me- my hair and nail situation are often dire!), and not because I don’t enjoy the experience. Over the years, I’ve realized that there are several important factors holding me back from some much-needed Me-Time:
1) The Opportunity Costs of Booking an Appointment
Like many of us, I always seem to be busy, with never quite enough time to get all that I need done in a day. Between traveling a lot for work, making time for family and friends, going to the gym, taking evening classes, housework, and squeezing in that all-too-precious leisure time, booking an appointment at a salon often creates an opportunity cost that I’m not willing to incur. Would I rather spend 30 minutes researching a bunch of different salons that I don’t know, reading reviews, calling the 5 that seem decent to see if they have availability during the only 1-hour window I have on Tuesday? Do I take the metro 30 minutes each way to the 1 salon that had that timeslot available? Do I wait an additional 20 minutes past my scheduled appointment time because the stylist is running late? Or would I rather use that time to go to a yoga class, catch up on a few more work emails, or have lunch with a friend? You get the picture. For me, it’s very difficult to justify the opportunity cost researching, calling, traveling to, and booking an appointment. I’m just not willing to use my limited time to go through the seemingly long hassle of getting an appointment confirmed.
2) Trust and Quality of Service
We’ve all had that traumatic salon experience. You know the one. After 2 hours, countless snips of the scissors and hums of the blow-dryer, your hair stylist swivels your chair to reveal your new look in the mirror. Except- it’s NOTHING like you wanted. Nothing like you requested. You try to hide your devastation, pay, and leave (sometimes fighting back tears). This scenario has happened to me on several occasions and has instilled a huge lack of trust: both in my personal ability to book a salon that will give me the results that I want, as well as in the stylist providing the service. As someone that has moved around quite a bit over the last few years, I don’t have a loyal go-to hairdresser, waxing specialist or manicurist. Having to find a new person I can trust feels daunting, and I end up playing it safe (aka: not booking anything at all!). Being unsure of the quality of service a salon provides is a HUGE roadblock for me getting some Me-Time on the calendar.
3) Too much choice! A Toronto native, I am often overwhelmed by the amount of beauty salons in my city. In my neighbourhood of Leslieville, there are often 3-4 hair salons per block! How to choose? I often wished I had a pair of magic glasses that would point out which salon was the hidden gem I was looking for. Parsing down options and making a choice takes time (see Reason 1), so what ends up happening? You got it. I book nothing!
4) Getting Good Value for My Money*cue Donna Summer* She works hard for the money! So hard for it honey! She works hard for the money so you better treat her right! (Thanks for indulging me). All this to say, is that life is expensive! When I’m creating a monthly budget and need to find some more wiggle room for an unplanned or one-off expense, my Me-Time budget is the first to get slashed. Many of my favourite salons are often too pricey to become weekly or monthly rituals and are reserved only for the most special of occasions. While I am sure I could find cheaper treatments that fit my budget, I’m not willing to compromise on the quality of the salon or treatment (see Reason 2). It’s therefore no surprise that during spendier months, I tend to skip out on Me-Time altogether.
It was navigating these obstacles, that I realized just how much I needed an app like ILUK to exist. When Kiki approached me with the idea, I was SO excited by the prospect of building something that I believe the beauty industry so desperately needs. By offering a curated list of salons, reviewed and vetted by ILUK and the Me-Time community, offering last-minute appointments that fit your schedule at a convenient location and at affordable price points, we are building a new type of salon booking experience that reflects the needs of real women and men. As we gear up for ILUK’s initial launch, I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to solve these pain-points, a solution that will (hopefully) turn me into a regular Me-Time booker!