Inside Secrets - Male Grooming Pioneer Jason Shankey

Like all true success stories though Jason persevered and can now add a franchise network, property portfolio and an award winning internet company to his name.

Hair and Beauty Jobs talks to Jason Shankey to uncover his inside secrets!

Q. What inspired you to open the 1st UK male grooming salon?

My wife bought me a gift voucher for a facial. Not knowing what a facial was, I cautiously tried it out and realised that it wasn't a service which was being widely offered to men.

Q. What were the early days like?

It was fairly disastrous. At the beginning we would go for three or four days with no clients coming in. This was quite stressful because we still had to pay the rent, rates and all the other costs associated with running a business. Thankfully, things gradually picked up until the present day when we're mostly fully booked.

Q. In general how has the concept been received?

The concept has been received really well. In my native Ireland, it was initially something people had a good niggle at but now, as in most parts of the UK, it's seen as a necessary service to men who want to look and feel good.

Q. What is the ethos behind the Jason Shankey brand?

The ethos is simple. We want our clients to look and feel good whilst offering good value for money.

Q. How do you manage to promote treatments like a manicure to a man?

The Grooming part of our business pretty much promotes itself. We give all our clients price lists which explain (in laymans terms) what all of the treatments do and they simply book in for whichever treatment they need or want.

Q. Have you noticed a change in men's attitude to grooming?

Atttudes have definately changed. In the beginning, business was quiet and there wasn't much awareness about Male Grooming in the press or media. Then came along David Beckham and it all changed. It's amazing how much power one celebrity has over British male culture.

Q. You were nominated for Business Director of the Year at the UK Hairdressing Awards. How did this make you feel?

I was absolutely thrilled and delighted. I remembered only ten years before being called a 'loser' because I was spending time designing my business (other people thought this was boring and nerdy) and a few of my friends felt too embarassed to turn up to the opening night because, and I quote "Shankey has lost the plot. This will never work". Being nominated was therefore a big thing for me and I've proudly kept my finalist certificate in full view for my clients. It means a lot.

Q. With everything you're involved in have you managed to achieve good work/life balance?

I've got two young kids, a male Grooming Salon, a Franchise network, a property portfolio and an award winning internet company. This may seem like a lot to handle, but I've become an expert at delegating and contracting the time consuming things out to other experts. I drop my kids to the school every day and pick them up at 4PM, spending the rest of the day with them and my business is continually growing. So I think I've got a surprisingly good work/life balance.

What advice would you give for anyone wanting to start their own business?

Go for it! You're a long time dead!

What are your hopes for the future?

I hope to be able to maintain the momentum I've built up with my team, growing the business and reaching out to more areas with our service. The option of an early retiremeng would be nice but I'm having too much fun at the moment to even consider it!

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