What Price is Your Legacy? How one man’s dream drove a suburb to increase its value

“There are many reasons – some understood others not – why we pay the price we do for … well, anything. Generally speaking, though, tangibles (things) command a higher perceived value and price, than intangibles (services) – which is one reason why the hairdressing industry is plagued by discounting and price comparison. Neil Osborne tells the story of how one man’s dream to provide more – an experience – turned savage price cutting on its head.

Years ago I was a young Wella sales rep, in the Western Suburbs of Sydney. Tasked with looking after the big buying accounts, brand new salons were of particular interest to me and one day I called at a prestigious one called Models, in St Marys.

I’ll never forget turning off the Great Western Highway onto Queen Street – a very long, straight shopping strip – and counting 27 hairdressers on the street. For a suburb the size of St Marys that was a formidable number of salons and its business impact wasn’t lost on me.

In hindsight, I shouldn’t have worried. Any concerns I’d had disappeared when I met the owner, Tony. He had a magnificent vision – both wide and deep – for the salon and a genuine desire (dare I say ‘a dream’) to offer every single client, a quality experience…”

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