For Uniqueness, Brand Your Business
by Victoria Wurdinger on Tuesday, March 22, 2011
The Color Pimp
Okay, he didn’t exactly say he’d pimp your cut. But by adapting a “Coloring the Cut” philosophy for his Robert Jeffrey Wicker Park location in Chicago, Robert LaMorte made his training academy a test market for the idea that color always accents the cut.
“It stuck with me from decades ago that the cut should come first, but that idea is new to a whole generation,” says LaMorte, noting that most salons do the color first, because clients arrive with dry hair. “Trevor Sorbie said the worst thing we ever did was departmentalize, and for my mid-range market it’s true—women don’t have the time or money for different specialists. But also, it makes sense; if you color first, you’re working blind.”
In the salon, which has six trainees as well as regular staffers, clients are told that the cut comes first, then color is customized to work with the cut and their natural texture. The process, which involves two shampoos, doesn’t really take much longer than the reverse.
After the first shampoo, the lines are cut in to create the basic shape. (If you’re concerned shampooing will make the scalp color-sensitive, perform the cut dry.) By the time the lines are established, the hair is barely damp, which is fine for coloring; it can be speed dried further in just 5 minutes. Next, the color is customized to the cut. Once the color is rinsed, final cutting details are added, bringing the natural texture and color to the forefront.
“It’s exciting to pick up individual curls and create dimension or expansion within the curl itself, based on where it falls after a cut,” says LaMorte. “It’s also easier to do two or three shades on a single strand, layer another foil or cotton and let the variegated tones meld into one another. The final cut-in details can bring out dimension even more.”
Once clients see the “Coloring the Cut” difference, LaMorte plans to extend it to his four other Chicago locations. “You need to do things differently, separate yourself from other salons and give clients a reason to consider you before they go to Groupon,” he adds. “Make yourself stand out, and you don’t have to lose money discounting.”