Is AI The Answer To Creating A Booming Business?

How two salon owners and a self-employed hair pro have used AI to level up their work. 

The debate around AI rages on, but the technology isn’t going anywhere. So, we asked three hair pros from across the industry to share how they have onboarded AI to grow their businesses. Have they encountered some teething problems? Sure. But they’ve made the mistakes so you don’t have to…

Chris Foster Digital Agency

Chris Foster AKA the Profile Guy

How are you using AI for your business? 

“On the creative side, AI can serve as a brainstorming tool,” says Chris Foster AKA The Profile Guy, who uses AI as a freelancer. “It can aid with everything from styling ideas to building collections. I’ve used AI to generate mood boards and spark new concepts from my imagination, and it’s been incredibly helpful in expanding my creative horizons.” 

ChatGPT may be the most common platform we associate AI with when we think about automation. Sophia Hilton, owner of Not Another Salon in London, has used her social media platforms to be transparent about the business benefits that AI can provide. “We started to use ChatGPT to help one of my trainee receptionists deal with complaints,” Sophia explains. “Since then, I have continued to incorporate it into my business, gained experience using it and created a course on how business owners can write with AI to help them speed up their work.”  

Sean Butt, operations manager at Alchemy & I in Berkhamsted, is always looking for ways to unlock innovation and leverage AI to revolutionise the salon, he has used AI tools to generate his answers for this article, which have been tweaked to ensure they sound more personal. “AI isn’t just a buzzword, it’s a transformative tool enhancing every aspect of the salon business,” he says. “From personalised consultations to trend forecasting, inventory management and process alignment and creation, AI serves as a cornerstone of our commitment to excellence.” 

To help stylists offer bespoke recommendations for each client, the salon uses the AI algorithm to help stylists tailor recommendations for an enhanced experience. Trend prediction features are also used during consultations.

Sean Butt with Senior Alchemist at Alchemy & I, Amy Lutt

Sean Butt with Senior Alchemist at Alchemy & I, Amy Lutt

alchemy & I virtual tour

What element of AI would you recommend hairdressers get on board with? 

For industry professionals on a mission to enhance the salon experience or elevate their hairdressing business, AI-driven solutions are one of the most valuable recommendations from Alchemy & I. “AI-powered consultation tools and trend forecasting software can revolutionise client interactions and business operations alike. It’s a great investment,” says Sean. “It means we can offer unparalleled personalised experiences, driving customer loyalty and business growth while remaining at the forefront of industry developments, securing a competitive edge in an ever-evolving market.” 

For freelancers like Chris Foster, AI is also a great tool for enhancing productivity. “Think of it like the AR filters on social media platforms,” he explains. “AI-powered tools can streamline content creation, making it faster and easier to produce engaging content that showcases your skills and drives traffic to your salon.  

From editing videos and audio, to repurposing content into various formats, AI can be a gamechanger,” he adds. “As a creative, it can help you stay on top of trends by selecting the best music and videos for your content and speed up the editing process, ensuring a great user experience. AI has been pivotal to the success of social media.” 

Sophia Hilton agrees, having used AI to help with a multitude of jobs as a salon owner. “For self-employed hairdressers and salon owners, writing with AI can be helpful,” she comments. “It can help with anything from website copy and social media captions to using it for reading contracts that you don’t understand. When you’ve never done it, it sounds complicated, but it’s easier than googling something!”

Sophia Hilton ChatGPT Instagram<br />

Sophia Hilton

What errors have you made while figuring it out, so others don’t make the same mistakes? 

Using an AI platform can make it tempting to input the first thing you think of, but it takes work to ensure its answers sound authentic to your voice. “The number one thing I teach when using ChatGPT or other platforms like that is to make sure that you’re training the programme to sound like you and not copy and pasting some robot-like text,” says Sophia. “It will not take long for the public to see when you’ve been lazy. Taking the time to train it makes it so much more genuine.” 

“I initially underestimated the breadth of AI applications, thinking it was limited to ChatGPT,” admits Chris. “AI is so much more than that, it’s much more powerful across so many domains – creating websites, graphics, and improving productivity.” Chris has just launched a brand-new AI assistant from his AI agency specifically for salon owners and freelancers to help them run their businesses more effectively, creating maximum efficiency with very little cost.

While integrating AI into the salon has been rewarding for the team at Alchemy & I, Sean admits they encountered challenges along the way. “One notable mistake was underestimating the importance of staff training and familiarisation with AI technologies. Prioritise comprehensive training programmes and support your staff when adapting,” he adds.