Hair Salon by Expats in Wuhan: What Dreams Are Made Of?

A closer look at Salon Royale

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Photo by Ken

A hairdresser is a person whose occupation is to cut or style hair in order to change or maintain a person’s image. I think that’s just phenomenal. It is inevitable to visit a salon and watch your transformation and be marveled! That is the kind of magic that comes with hairdressers. Like most of my fellow sisters, coming to Wuhan would mean you need to find that person who is going to put that Brazilian Hair on you and leave you confident. There’s probably many salons in Wuhan, but one in particular caught my attention; Salon Royale.

SALON ROYALE INTERNATIONAL

I had the opportunity to meet with one of the partners at Salon Royale, who prefers to go by the name M-Jay. To start things off I asked him to me a little bit about himself. He is a young man from Botswana, Africa, aged 21. From what I gathered he is humble, hungry for success and always thriving to be the hardest worker in the room. He has been in China for 3 years studying Mining Engineering at Wuhan University of Technology (理工). To my question he answered, “What you see is what you get.”

Wuhan Social Writer Delight taking interview from M-Jay

One of his greatest strengths is discipline. “Without discipline you can’t achieve anything”, remarked the young man. He is hard working, dedicated to what he does and he is highly motivated. He also mentioned one of his strengths is that he is a Christian. His weakness however, is sleeping. As a matter of fact, if you are a student and you live in Wuhan, you ought to be familiar with this particular weakness.

In most parts of the world, (cough Africa cough), most young men aged 21 would rather be doing something unproductive with their time. So how did M-Jay get a hold on things? “My mother had a salon when I was growing up. From the age of ten, I guess it just kind of stuck.” I would say she is honored to have such a self-driven young man for a son. With what he has managed to achieve so far he is already being an inspiration to other young men and women that anything is possible.

I asked him what kind of services they provide at Salon Royale. He said, “We have very experienced and talented hairdressers. We do braids, weaves, haircuts, hair designs, lace wigs, relaxing, treatment and nails.” He mentioned that the nails business is a sub-business called Lash Life, initiated by one of his very experienced co-workers, Tabitha. At Salon Royale they have affordable prices. On a typical day he said they roughly see around 13 to 15 clients. Business has been quite slow during the winter vacation due to the absence of most people as they had gone back to their home countries. I was curious how M-Jay connects with clients. If business is booming, people must love the services you are providing. “I am a talker, whatever I say I can persuade anyone to do anything. I am a charmer. I just try to create a persona relationship, you know, get to know the customer.” He added that he does follow ups on his clients and often gives them free styles.

Typically in a salon there is always that drama that comes with it. Some customers are generally irate. On dealing with irate customers M-Jay mentioned that only 1 in 200 will be difficult. So the first thing is to talk them down, try to reason with them and come up with a solution. He said the key is to not argue or engage in a heated argument with a client. As many are already wondering, what is the biggest challenge in having a salon in Wuhan, China? M-jay said personally for him it has been to balance school and the salon. Especially when the school timetable keeps changing, it leads to other workers not being able to attend work.

Hairdressers need creative flair and adaptability to follow trends in styling and apply them to different heads. You would want to know how Salon Royale keeps up on trends. Well, once again Instagram has not let people down. M-Jay said they mostly follow posts on Instagram and sometimes they just create their own styles. Impressive!

Time management doesn’t often come naturally to most people. So when M-Jay faced the question on how he manages multi-tasking, he definitely said it is all about time management and discipline. He said he is as strict as possible with his schedule. You can’t argue that this guy has it figured out! I managed to ask M-Jay if he works better as a team or solo. I must say he grabbed the phrase one hand cannot clap by the horns. “I am a fair boss. I prefer working as a team. Two heads are better than one. The way we are structured here is a team and we call ourselves Royale Family.. We like to think of ourselves as a family. I also believe in team building.”

Recently M-Jay was presented with an opportunity to be featured on Sohu News and hosted on TV. Sohu is a Chinese Internet Company offering advertising, a search engine et cetera. When he was talking about what this experience has meant for him he said, “Jack organized the interview with Sohu News, about dreadlocks. You would be surprised how many Chinese people are interested in dreadlocks. They wanted to ask where I learned the skill. I even ended up doing dreadlocks on a Chinese girl. It feels like a dream.” M-Jay started off by doing one or two people in his room. He acknowledged his best friend Tshepo, who is also from Botswana, saying he was doing Tshepo’s hair and now it has led him here. He then started working with Jack, his brother and business partner.

Chinese man with dreadlocks

On good customer service, M-Jay believes one has to do their best to satisfy customer needs. To always get the customer’s approval and keeping a smile on your face while doing so. To describe his personal style he said, “I am casual, easy-going, I don’t do anything too fancy. I don’t want to be too out there, but I want to be seen.” Then lastly I had a chance to meet with co-workers and ask them what they think about their boss. Collins mentioned M-Jay to be fair enough. Tabitha, the orchestrator of Lash Life, commented that M-Jay is firm, wiggle and very friendly. Siziwe also added that M-Jay is determined and focused.

I asked M-Jay to give advice to other students who probably want to start a business in Wuhan.”I strongly encourage other foreigners to start their own businesses as we are in a land of opportunities. But in doing so, there must be an element of creativity. It sickens me when someone tries to copy or rather steal another’s idea as they see it working. Find something you are good at, put in the work and success is inevitable!”

You are looking for experienced hairdressers, with affordable prices to offer and above satisfactory customer service? Visit Salon Royale and have your wishes come true!

SALON ROLAYE INTERNATIONAL

Address: Future City Building E, Room 202 (next door WHO’S Bar)

Contact: +8613247165572

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Delight Chin'anga
Passionate about writing. Zimbabwean. Studying Management in Business Administration at Wuhan University of Technology. #Motto# Take the good as it comes!