Whether or not you identify as an active part of the LGBTQ community or consider yourself an ally, one thing is for sure—inclusivity is a crucial part of ensuring every single one of your customers (LGBTQ or not) knows they’re welcome, cared for, and equal in the eyes of your business.
If you, as a human, recognize how vital it is to ensure every member of your community feels safe and equal within the walls of your salon, then you’ve come to the right place.
Our modern-day world is difficult to navigate. With ignorance, hate, and intolerance often leading the charge, it’s up to all of us—salon owners, stylists, artists, and more—to ensure we’re doing everything we can to create safe, inclusive spaces that welcome everyone.
That’s why we’ve put together this inclusivity guide to help forge a path toward equality. And hear us out, we know this guide isn’t the end all be all. There are always more ways to ensure you’re doing your best to create a safe-space salon.
These recommendations? Well, they’re just the start.
If you’re ready to start the path toward ensuring your salon is a safe space for inclusivity, get to reading!
Ensure Equality is at the Forefront of Every Practice
Before we give you any steps, to-dos, or guidelines, we want to start off with a simple statement.
No matter what you do in your salon, it all comes back to one question—is this equal and fair for every single person who walks through this door?
If equality and inclusivity aren’t at the forefront of every single function of your salon, then there’s room for you to do better. And you know what? We can all do better (in every way) to ensure this idea is at the forefront of how we run our businesses.
Be Upfront About Being a Safe Space
Be loud and proud about being a safe, tolerant, inclusive place that puts an enormous emphasis on serving people equally. Add on the safe space stickers so everyone knows they’re always welcome, no matter what.
Make a point to include this on your website, social media platforms, and more. Ensure that no matter how someone inquires about your company, there’s information readily available that lets everyone know that anyone is welcome in your space—and everyone is safe there, too.
Have a Zero Tolerance Policy for Hate
Listen, as much as we wish the world was all sunshine and rainbows, sometimes, there are people out there who just won’t get on board with inclusivity and equality. While there should always be an attempt to create a dialogue to help educate and inform, oftentimes, you’ve got to go more of a tough guy route, and oftentimes that means strictly adhering to a zero-tolerance policy for hate.
Ensure that everyone who walks through your salon doors knows that you do not allow hate speech, anti-exclusivity, or any behavior that makes someone feel like they’re not welcome or safe. Develop that policy, post that policy, ensure it’s clear from the moment someone walks into your salon, and then stick to it. If you want to ensure your salon is a safe space, you have to do your part to be the gatekeeper—don’t let intolerance rule the roost.
Do your part to stop it.
Be Pronoun Aware
It’s vital to always do your best to recognize and acknowledge a person’s pronouns.
If you’re unsure, then ask—don’t just assume. A person with specific pronouns will likely be more than happy to share them with you, and so long as you’re doing everything in your power to abide by those, you shouldn’t create any issues.
Be Open With Your Clients
This one is actually very easy, but it’s something people often forget—just be open.
Create a safe space for dialogue and discussion. Talk directly with your clients—in person, via email, on your social media, etc.—and ask how you can do better, what you can adjust, and how you can tweak your salon to be a safer space.
Re-Evaluate Gender Based Pricing
And more than that, take a good, hard look at your entire structure and ask is this inclusive?
Do you think that basing pricing off of gender makes the most sense, or does it make more sense to scale your prices based on the work?
Do you think there are aspects of your salon that could do with a little inclusivity brush up?
Do them! Just like pricing, there are several outdated and antiquated practices that aren’t ensuring equality. Take inventory of how you do things and why you do them—we bet you can absolutely adjust a lot of your practices to get better inclusivity.
If you want to consistently ensure you’re a safe space, you need to do the work—that means knowing the issues, understanding experiences, and doing your best to educate everyone who steps through your doors (clients, employees, managers, etc.). Become more than just a person who respects everyone—become an advocate, an ally, an educator. Do all that you can to be a source of knowledge and insight for people (customers and beyond) who want to learn more about doing more to create an equal and inclusive world.
All of these tips are intended to help you create a safe, inclusive space for everyone who walks through your doors. The reality? Even if you follow these tips to the letter, you still might deal with narrow-minded customers.
The best way to handle this situation will vary. The best advice we can give is to do your best to be an advocate, inform, and educate. Try to create a dialogue to help heal and solve issues. But also, demand respect for what you and your salon stand for—equality.
If you’re unable to discuss openly and safely with a narrow-minded customer—and having them as a customer doesn’t flow with your take on equality and inclusivity, we suggest writing up and adhering to a zero-tolerance policy for hate, inequality, and anti-inclusivity.