Here are two things you may or may not know about me:
- I am a huge believer in niche marketing
- I inherited my dad’s eyebrows (bad) and his dimples (good)
What do these things have in common? Vancouver is currently experiencing a micro-nicheing revolution, specifically in the beauty industry. It all started in 2007 when Judy and Devon Brooks, a mother-and-daughter team, opened up the Blo Blow Dry Bar in trendy Yaletown. They don’t cut hair. All they do is wash, blow dry and style. The idea has caught on: there are now 17 franchises in North America.
Other examples of local businesses that are offering single esthetics services include Noir Lash Lounge (eyelash extensions), Stripped Wax Bar (you do that math) and Bombay Brow Bar (eyebrow shaping).
It all starts to come together….
Yes, from my father, I inherited his brown eyes (all my other siblings have my mother’s blue eyes), and thick, heavy, dark eyebrows. I had them tamed into submission by waxing for years, but a few years ago, my sister-in-law, Simi, introduced me to the fine art of threading. Emerging from Persian or Indian culture, the threader manipulates a cotton thread to pluck out the hairs. It allows for great precision, and is gentler on the skin, although it’s not necessarily less painful than waxing.
Threading is widely available throughout the city in many salons. It usually costs between $6-$12. Bombay Brow Bar, where they do nothing but eyebrows, charges $23. This week, as my birthday is coming up, I treated myself to a “brow rocking” session at Bombay.
Why does micro-nicheing work?
- As consumers, we are usually skeptical of businesses that promise to “do it all.” It stands to reason that, if a business offers just one service, that it should be excellent at that service. Yes, you may pay more, but you are paying for expertise.
- In challenging financial times, when many consumers are guarded with their spending, individual services like these fit well with the Lipstick Theory, which basically states that we want to “treat” or “pamper” ourselves, but we’ll do it by spending on one small item rather than the full-meal deal.
On the other hand…
- When you start to niche down, you have to be very careful that your niche is big enough to support you.
- Cost: if you are running a business where you are doing just one thing, you can’t diversify, and your prices need to be higher.
- There will always be some folks that still want “the full meal deal,” meaning they will be very time-pressed, and want to get a haircut, manicure, and pedicure all at once.
Could micro-nicheing work for your business?
And, in case you’re wondering, my eyebrows have never looked better.