Pure Beauty

Single-service beauty chains are the professional industry’s biggest disruptors

By Amanda Pauley | Published: 13-Nov-2023

Salon chains that specialise in one treatment type are expanding and fast becoming beauty hotspots for consumers. This is what it means for the professional sector going forward

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Specialising in the professional beauty industry pays, and well, as salon chains that offer only one particular service instead of many start to dominate the sector. 

In the past, multi-category beauty salon chain concepts have had a notoriously tough time getting off the ground, with many launching with ambitious growth plans before quickly scaling back. 

However, all that has changed as a new wave of specialist businesses.

These models offer mastery in just one type of treatment or service – usually nail, lashes, brows or aesthetics – and in more experiential and accessible spaces than ever before. 

“Consumers now really value specialisation because it represents expertise and quality,” says Anna McCartney, CEO of laser and skin treatment chain Élan Laser Clinics.  

“Speciality signals mastery, and there is a significant market gap for hyper-personalised services.” 

These chains are where the customer is shopping rather than expecting them to come to them

Among the leading UK beauty chains is threading specialist Blink Brow Bar, which opened its fifth London-based standalone boutique in Mayfair in September.

The brow brand also has profitable spots in London department stores Selfridges, John Lewis and Liberty London, as well as Saks Fifth Avenue in New York, US.  

Its customer retention rate is 80%, and it plans to roll its model out nationally in the UK. 

Premium business Townhouse is a nail salon giant with 31 UK stores so far, split between standalone highstreet sites and luxury spaces within department store Harrods.

It opened ten new sites this year and also acquired ten-strong nail salon group London Grace to grow the business further. 

Rawr Beauty has 11 salons situated within fashion retailer Primark

Rawr Beauty has 11 salons situated within fashion retailer Primark

Two more Townhouse sites are launching in Birmingham and Manchester this month. 

Aesthetic specialist Élan Laser Clinics, meanwhile, made its UK debut in December 2022, opening its first-ever London flagship in Portman Square.

The business, which merges medical-grade aesthetic technology with a luxury spa-like experience, has opened four more UK locations since and plans to become a 40-site chain in the future.

It has 10,000 customers and delivers

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