Business is better than ever at this Cairns hairdressing salon, which took on Afterpay during the pandemic.
They say you should never mix business and pleasure, but for mother-daughter duo Lynn Hutchinson and Shalee Lewis, blending family and work has been a winning combination.
Although Hutchinson has been a hairstylist for 30 years, it wasn’t until 2019 that the pair decided to go into business together, and their salon Meraki Curlz was born.
“We realised that what works best for us is sticking to our own areas of expertise,” says Lewis, who manages the salon. “Mum runs the salon floor and the hairdressing side of things, while I control everything in the background: marketing, social media, accounting, team management, that sort of thing.”
Located in Mount Sheridan Plaza in Cairns, Queensland, Meraki Curlz attracts between 10 and 20 clients a day, who are taken care of by a staff of six. “Our clients are like our family,” Lewis explains. “And, as a family run business, we love to bring a welcoming, family vibe. We have many clients that we call our friends.”
But even friends had to adjust when COVID-19 emerged in 2020. While many online businesses flourished during lockdown, hairdressing was one of the industries hardest hit due to widespread salon closures.
“With COVID and increased living costs, everyone has been unsure about spending.” - Shalee Lewis, Meraki Curlz co-founder
In addition, many customers have been cutting back on discretionary spending. “Over the past two years with COVID and increased living costs, everyone has been unsure about spending,” says Lewis.
Afterpay as an alternative to discounting
As the pandemic progressed, rather than resorting to lay-offs or discounts, Meraki Curlz chose to implement Afterpay instead. “Afterpay has helped our business immensely,” Lewis says, continuing, “clients are open to spending more when they see we have Afterpay as a payment option.”
The result has been an increase not just in the sale of haircare products, such as shampoos and treatments, but styling tools as well. “I love watching clients say ‘Oh, I will take those products then if I can Afterpay it!’ It’s wonderful to see them come to the counter and find out Afterpay is an option.”
"The increased revenue we receive from Afterpay outweighs the fees!" - Shalee Lewis, Meraki Curlz co-founder
The salon has become so busy that Lewis, who used to live 40km away from work, has moved to be closer to the business.
Life is busy, and there’s been a learning curve. “The Afterpay fees took a little while to understand at first [but] the increased revenue we receive outweighs the fees! All sales on Afterpay are over $250, with our average sale around $300, and our biggest so far, an $880 sale."
It’s something both mother and daughter believe would not have happened without the implementation of Afterpay.
How Afterpay helps upsell
Another happy change is upselling. Before Afterpay, a client might limit the number of foils or highlights in their hair. But when given the option of spreading out their payments over four separate installments, many now choose to have a full head of highlights or foils – and spend almost double what they previously had.
It also means that any awkwardness — when the hairstyle or colour costs more than anticipated — is no longer a concern. Afterpay allows clients to experience a frictionless, more luxurious experience.
And the best part? Clients who leave happy after a few hours of peace at the salon... Lewis and Hutchinson understand all too well how often women — and mothers, especially — will often put themselves last when it comes to the household budget.
“Having Afterpay as a payment option absolutely eases the pressure for our clients and allows them to still take time out for self-care,” explains Lewis.
Written by Natalie Reilly - AfterPay Success Stories
Natalie Reilly is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in the Australian Financial Review, The Sydney Morning Herald and a range of other titles.