The venerable small business trade of the barbershop is changing. For 30 years barbershops were in a long decline in which the numbers of barbers in the United States kept going down. However, since 2001 the industry has been making a slow resurgence.
How have they managed to turn the industry decline around? By reinventing their service offering to appeal to what customers want today.
Barbershops are going upscale, offering a “corner barbershop feel with spa amenities,” according to a recent article in BusinessWeek.
“The room where Crawford trims beards, shaves necklines and offers hair replacement has a babbling rock fountain and a view of a lush courtyard. Clients in the waiting room relax in overstuffed chairs to the tunes of Kenny G.
Upscale barbering is beginning to spread outside trendsetting areas such as New York and Los Angeles as more barbers try to win back customers lost over the last decade to the more stylish, male-friendly salons.
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Since 2001, barbers have been making a slow resurgence, and the U.S. Department of Labor expects the number of barbers to grow 6 percent by 2012. That’s lower than the average 28 percent expected for all personal care services, but it represents a turnaround in a trade that had been on a decades-long decline.”
This is an admirable story about how to reinvigorate an aging industry when consumer tastes change. I wonder how many other small business industries could benefit from such forward-looking innovation.