The Enterprise of Making a Cultural Alternate
Starting a business isn’t always about the endgame of selling a product. For Clinton Jones, owner of the Magnum Opus Hair Salon in DC, it’s about creating a cultural exchange.
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February 25, 2021 4 min read
The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur’s contributors are their own.
Review host Emily Washcovick and Yelp’s small business expert shares a look at this week’s podcast episode.
Starting a business isn’t always about the endgame of selling a product. For Clinton Jones, owner of the Magnum Opus Hair Salon outside of Washington DC, it’s about creating a cultural exchange. In this week’s episode, we take a look at the journey of someone who was in the pandemic for seven months without a haircut, turned to Yelp, and, on the other hand, came out with a growing discussion – in addition to a stylish cut.
Clinton is primarily a hairdresser, but equally important to his business – and what he calls the main differentiator – is his role as an artist and the cultural exchange mentioned above. In his words, “I was gifted and / or cursed with an inability to small talk about anything. I just have no idea how people talk so much about absolutely nothing. So my conversation is very substantive and part of my design, part of our style. “
Not only does he use body language and signals to determine how to style them, but he also uses them to understand his clients. In return, he allows them to get to know him as a person so that they can make a real connection. “This makes them feel more comfortable in the room and we can exchange ideas more honestly. This leads us onto a road where we actually talk about real things. And in a place like DC, where the people are well educated, the conversations are amazing. Nothing is off the table. “
So let’s get back to our Yelp reviewer, Diane M. She was looking for a new stylist and was eager to support a local hair salon. During her haircut, she was surprised by Clinton’s artwork – and one piece in particular. Not understanding the play, she decided to ask Clinton about the election and have an open conversation about what it meant: expressing and empowering women.
The Magnum Opus hair salon is a place where people can get so much more than just a haircut, and that’s up to the business owner. It’s the environment that Clinton works so hard on.
Here are a few things business owners can learn from Clinton Jones:
Your business can be more than the product. We’ve heard on so many episodes that people will remember how you made them “feel”. So think about it in your company’s vision. Think about what you want to be known for. Is it a great haircut or a great place to have an open, honest conversation? And to get a damn good haircut too.
Be respectful but not afraid. For Clinton, he likes a real cultural exchange – one that can be a little uncomfortable at times, but leads to something special. Build trust with your customers that allows you to have a deeper conversation.
Create a sense of community. Hospitality is important. When you start your business, think about how you want your customers to feel that hospitality and community spirit through your way of working. It will inevitably make people come back.
Listen to the following episode to hear directly from Clinton and Diane, and subscribe to Behind the Review for more from new business owners and reviewers every Thursday.