For Clinton Jones, owner of Magnum Opus Hair Salon, running a business is more than just selling a product—it’s about creating a cultural exchange. In this week’s episode, we hear how a simple haircut turned into an opportunity for discussion and perspective.
Clinton is first and foremost a hairdresser, but what makes his craft and business stand out is his role as an artist and what he describes as cultural exchange. “I have been gifted and/or cursed with the inability to make smalltalk about nothing,” he said. “I just have no idea how people have so much conversation about absolutely nothing. So my conversation is very substantive, and it’s part of the way I design, part of what we style.”
He’s also always observing his customers—taking in contextual details like body language or whether they’re wearing lipstick or lip gloss. This not only helps him determine how to style them, but it also gives him more opportunity to understand and connect with them. In return, they can get to know him as a person, so they can create a real connection. “It makes them more comfortable in the space, and we can have a more honest exchange. That leads us down a road of actually talking about real things. And in a place like D.C., where people are highly educated, the conversations are incredible. Nothing’s off the table.”
As for our Yelp reviewer, Diane M., she hadn’t had her hair cut in seven months because of the pandemic, and she was looking for a new stylist and really wanted to support a local hair salon. During her haircut, she was taken aback by Clinton’s artwork on the walls of the salon—one piece in particular. Not understanding what it meant (or even its worth), she asked Clinton about it, and they had an open conversation about its meaning: expression and empowerment of women.
Magnum Opus is a place where people can go for much more than a haircut, and it’s because of the business owner. It’s the environment Clinton works so hard to offer.
Here are a few things business owners can learn from Clinton:
- Your business can be more than the product. We’ve heard in so many episodes that people remember how you “made them feel,” so think about that in the vision of your business. Think about what you want to be known for. Is it great haircuts? Or is it a great place to have an open, honest conversation and to get a damn good haircut as well.
- Be respectful but unafraid. Clinton likes to have raw and real conversations—ones that can be a bit uncomfortable at times but that result in something special. Create a trust with your customers that allows you to have a deeper exchange.
- Use reviews to construct the customer experience. Clinton loves reviews because he’s able to see himself through the lens of others. They help him determine how he can change the customer experience to satisfy future patrons. If someone complains about pricing, it may not necessarily be that it’s too expensive, but rather they’re looking for more value. What can you add to your business to show the worth of your product and its price?
Interviews by Emily Washcovick
These lessons come from an episode of Behind the Review, Yelp & Entrepreneur Media’s weekly podcast. Listen below to hear from Clinton and Diane, or visit the episode page to read more, subscribe to the show, and explore other episodes.
We're sorry you didn't find this post valuable.
How could we improve it?
The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.