SportClips: A salon for men

view of the salon
Image Credit: SportClips

Prior to stepping into the SportClips in Northboro, MA, I had driven by one of their salons on Rt. 9 in Framingham.  The way it was once described to me was “guys getting a haircut from a hot stylist.”

After living in the Midwest for almost two years and embracing the idea of getting a haircut in a retail setting, it grew on me.  If you’ve seen any pictures of me, you’ll know that I keep my hair short and I don’t do anything fancy to it.  While in Wisconsin, I started going to Cost Cutters‘ locations in Milwaukee, Sheboygan, and Manitowoc.

I was coming out of work one morning and needed a haircut, and had no desire to run to an ATM for cash.  I stepped into a SportClips and was greeted by a gregarious, young, and dare I say, attractive stylist.  The establishment’s target demographic is men who are into sports or anything athletic – a predominate trait in alpha men.  As I sat down and gave her the rundown of my haircut, she turned me toward a small flat-panel TV that was playing ESPN.

As the stylist conversed with me, her parlance was geared toward mainstream alpha men, but that’s the intended customer base; I’m the anomaly to walk through the door.  To fill in the void, I asked her to tell me more about SportClips.  She wasn’t all that knowledgeable, but I suspect most of her customers aren’t interested.  I’m not a huge fan of small talk, but I try to carry on a conversation when I can.  It’s hard to go wrong in a salon or barber shop asking about the plans for the rest of the day (and weekend if it’s the tail end of the week), and while my life isn’t the most exciting, I usually turn the conversation on them to let them.

Since this was my first time going to a SportClips, the stylist offered me their MVP treatment free and I accepted.  She took me into a back room full of chairs you’d see in your average salon and had me get comfortable.  Since I’d never had the treatment before, I asked her what it was all about.  What it amounted to was her washing my hair, putting a hot towel around it, and applying some kind of lotion to my goatee.  The lotion was all natural and absorbed into the skin.  When asked, she said that the MVP treatment is popular among men of all types.  After washing my hair and applying some kind of conditioner, she offered some kind of gel that would keep my hair healthy.  Considering I don’t use any product in my hair and it grows like a weed, I declined.

After the treatment wrapped up, I can’t say I felt refreshed, but I can attest that a hot towel around the face does feel good.  (FYI:  My reaction to it isn’t due to it being badly delivered, but due to my difficulty in relaxing my body)

The experience concluded with the stylist giving me a home run card, which functions as a rewards system for subsequent visits.

I was chagrined that they don’t accept Apple/Samsung/AndroidPay, though their point of sale terminals did accept my EMV chip.

While the traditional salon is meant to go beyond haircuts and into perms, colors, extensive styling, and waxing, SportClips takes the styling and coloring (some guys are into dying their hair different colors) and adds a manly atmosphere of TVs and sports chat.  To my opening point, if you Google the company and you look at some of the photography from inside their salons, and some of the pictures that customers have taken with stylists, their stylists fit the mainstream definition of attractive.

Overall, I liked the experience, but short of the hot towel treatment and the sports environment, it’s not much different than going to a SuperCuts or Cost Cutters.

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