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Town Talk: ‘Hair’ to Stay

Lara C. Andreykovich LCA11@pitt.edu

Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking to Ms. Jamie Claypoole, owner of Custom Cut & Style, located at 1769 Main St. Ext. in Butler, PA. She informed me of the salon’s recent award titled Salon Today Top 200 Salons in North America. Ponder the extraordinariness of receiving such an award. I actually thought about my drive through the North Hills, where I effortlessly counted between 25 to 50 salon storefronts. Next, think about how that estimated figure would multiply in Pennsylvania, let alone in the United States and Canada. Quite an accomplishment. I was further impressed, however, when I learned that Custom Cut & Style had received the award three other times, in 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2024.

I questioned Jamie further regarding details the contest. Additionally, I inquired about the salon, focusing on the salon’s best practices, special services, and as community service efforts. Here is what I discovered:

The date Custom Cut & Style entered the competition was November 15, 2023, and on February 28th, 2024, they were granted the award. With regard to the contest’s details, the Salon Today Top 200 is awarded by Salon Today, an industry magazine, and it is the leading competition that has recognized salon business excellence for the past 26 years. Salon Today measures business benchmarks, recognizes salon owners and team members for business acumen, and creates a forum for sharing proven business strategies.

Salon sales growth and best practices are evaluated based on a two part, 1000 word each, essay submission. The first prompt requires the salon to select a growth category regarding efforts and successes in development, as well as impending challenges. The prompts included naming three things which have motivated growth and success in your salon, clarifying how the three things contributed to the bottom line, including the documented presentation of all metrics.

Part two of the essay submission is a best practices essay that focuses on one out of ten best practices. The categories are: client retention and referral programs, customer service, philanthropy, employee education, environmental stability, salon culture, salon leadership, technology, retail and merchandising, and compensation and benefits. Thousands of salons across the US and Canada enter, so winning has been an awesome feat. The salon won in the growth category (first essay response) in 2021 and 2022. From the second essay response, they were awarded for technology in 2020, marketing in 2020, and the retention and referral category in 2020 and 2024.

When questioned about what she feels is the most satisfying about the process, Jamie replied, “I enjoy writing the essays and gathering all the information because none of it is fluff. Everything is numbers based and has to be proven” via submitted documentation.

Then, I asked some questions regarding what makes Custom Cut & Style so unique. Information including history, concept, community service, salon team, and unique services provided was gathered and condensed. First of all, the salon is an Aveda concept salon that centers on clientele and environmental stability. The artistic team consisting of five stylists and an assistant has worked with the American Cancer Society and the Relay for Life in the development of a hair loss clinic. Two of the stylists have received accreditation from the Compliance Team to bill insurance and become certified as hair loss practitioners. Jamie emphasized, “Helping people is our passion”. In addition, the salon is currently developing a “Look Good, Feel Great” program in support of local cancer patients to help comfort them while addressing additional fears about their hair and providing tips.

When asked what a customer should expect from the moment they walk through the salon door at Custom Cut & Style, Jamie said, “a free consultation (including price estimate), your beverage of choice (including Aveda comfort tea, coffee, or a spirit), two complimentary shampoos, a head and hand massage, and a hot towel treatment”.

All in all, the holistic experience the salon provides assures that you are literally in great hands.

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