Growing up with a family of hairdressers, Vincent noticed one thing: almost every hairdresser aspired to be their own boss one day.
But being a good beautician and a good entrepreneur are two completely different things.
While stylists can thrive in their craft, the temporal and often insane work with the business side of things can be time consuming and often insane.
"In my 18 years in this industry, there have been a lot of seasoned stylists who have tried to venture into their own startup salon," he shared. "Some made it and many failed."
For those who choose to take the freelance route, many struggle to create a stable stream of income.
A co-sharing salon for total flexibility
So Vincent created HIPSALONS to solve exactly this problem.
The HIP in HIPSALONS, which stands for Happy Independent People, is an all-suite co-sharing salon for beauty professionals interested in starting their own entrepreneurial journey with little capital.
The salon offers a range of services to assist the stylists in their work, including reception, housekeeping, styling equipment, and custom suites, making social distancing an integrated function.
- Each stylist gets their own space to work on clients / Image Credit: HIPSALONS
- Social distancing already established / Image Credit: HIPSALONS
Stylists pay a fee for equipment that is used on a rental basis. For example, if they have rented a perm machine for 12 months, it will be theirs at the end of their tenure.
The team also developed their own comprehensive management system that makes it easy for stylists to manage bookings, prices and orders from customers that can be accessed on a phone or tablet.
Customers also benefit from the seamless booking and payment processes of this system.
"We offer a variety of other services so that beauty professionals can focus on what they do best – their craft," said Vincent.
- Reception area in the salon / Photo credit: HIPSALONS
- A cozy waiting area for customers // Photo credit: HIPSALONS
Although HIPSALONS has set its own operating hours, the stylists can choose flexibly when they want to work.
The building that the salon is located in is even geared towards stylists looking to work ghost shifts.
“Menara KEN TTDI is uniquely able to work around the clock. For this purpose, the security, parking and individually operated air conditioning systems are activated, ”said Vincent.
Backed by 30 years of experience in the industry
The salon's 20 private suites opened on July 15th shortly after the MCO and are now 70% full.
With salon space limited, they need to make sure that their residents actually make money and thrive.
(Left to right) Vincent Ho, Founder and CEO, Andrew Lai, Business Development Director, and Mirel Lai, Operations Director / Image Credit: HIPSALONS
All 12 beauty professionals, currently made up of hairdressers, scalp therapists and a nail technician, had to prove during their interview that they already had a customer base.
"If you aren't convinced you have it, neither are we," commented Vincent.
However, the co-sharing salon also offers assistance in building the skills of their stylists.
Backed by the Kimarie Group, which Vincent also owns, they have hair salons and academies to support the members of HIPSALONS.
"We are a multi-award winning group that has been in business for over 30 years and has produced many successful and renowned hairdressers, including Mei Poh Loh who later became director of Vidal Sassoon Shanghai," said Vincent.
Because of this, he believes HIPSALONS has the right support for aspiring beauty professionals who venture into entrepreneurship, as they have access to Kimary's administration, design and marketing teams.
Stylists keep what they do
According to Vincent, a hairdresser who is employed in a salon only makes 30% to 40% of their sales while the salon keeps 60% to 70%.
With its members already having an existing clientele and access to all the facilities and support of the salon, Vincent expects the estheticians to earn up to 70% and more of the revenue generated by sharing the space.
"This formula is reversed at HIPSALONS", he summarized.
This is the greatest benefit that the co-sharing salon tries to offer its members.
“Running your own salon assumes 100% of the risk. The HIPSALONS model minimizes your risk because you don't have to risk losing all of your capital, ”he explained.
"Your only risk is a small deposit and your time."
A stylist who takes care of his customers in the co-sharing area / Image Credit: HIPSALONS
There is no doubt that HIPSALONS wants its members to thrive and succeed, and success in the co-sharing space is measured in two ways: empirical and emotional.
"If attending HIPSALONS increases your sales or makes you happier by improving the quality of your work life, we define it as a success," explained Vincent. "We want to help our members achieve both."
In the long term, they plan to expand their business model to other parts of the city.
The truth is, I think people are progressive and strive to grow and get better. Of course, this could mean different things to different people; Some prefer more flexibility in working hours, others potentially aim for higher incomes, others may want independence. But ultimately, they want to be in control of what they do and how they do it.
Vincent Ho, founder of HIPSALONS
- You can find out more about HIPSALONS here.
- You can find more information on other Malaysian startups here.
Selected image source: HIPSALONS