Pop up braid bars are sweeping the city

July 22, 2015
3 min read

Beauty Spot is a regular feature on The Mintel Blog, giving readers a virtual tour of the hottest beauty retail concepts in trend-setting cities around the globe…

Ever since the recent revival of style and beauty trends, from 70’s boho to 90’s retro styles, braids have become an increasingly popular look amongst fashion-focused young women. In 2015, London has seen an influx of pop-up braid bars expanding on the now established trend of blow-dry bars. These braid bars offer a wide variety of braid designs and have become the newest pit-stop for hair styling. From the French plait, to the Dutch braid and fishtail, the design names vary from getting a ‘Claudia’ to a ‘Kate’, named after the supermodels themselves. Celebrities have also caught onto this trend with the likes of Kim Kardashian, Miley Cyrus and Cara Delevigne posting pictures of their recent braids on the social media site Instagram.

Hair today, style tomorrow

Enticing consumers back from online shopping to the in store service and experience is essential to boost sales in the bricks-and-mortar retail sector, as explored in Mintel’s Experience is All trend. Stores such as Topshop, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols are welcoming braid bars onto their shop floors, collaborating with braid experts such as ‘The Braid Bar’ run by Sarah Hiscox and Willa Burton, ‘Keash Braids’ and hairdressers ‘Hershesons’. Topshop’s flagship store in Oxford Circus saw its first braid bar, run by Hershesons open in April and a further 10 pop up bars will be rolled out nationwide. The Braid Bar is currently occupying Selfridges until the end of summer.

Unique service with a personal touch

Along with a wide variety of creative braiding patterns, clients get the choice of colour chalking their hair, adding clips, rings and pompoms to their hairstyle. The walk-in, appointment free service which normally lasts around 15 minutes means this service is flexible, accessible and affordable. Mintel’s Women’s Haircare UK 2015 report found that 40% of women felt that certain hairstyles are too complicated to replicate at home. This gives way to a degree of willingness to pay for this personal hairstyling service with prices starting at £15. By offering braiding options blow-dry bars and hairdressing salons are also not missing out on these clients.

Festival chic

With summer being the ideal season and time for festivals, it is also a catwalk for the newest style movements. Fashion and beauty make a bold statement at festivals, with the bright and creative designs, patterns and make-up. Hairstyling has not been neglected either, the braiding experience has extended out from the shop floor and onto festivals sites. For example, The Braid Bar was at the Urban Fete Greenwich and will be at The Secret Garden Party and Port Eliot later on during summer. The Pop-up Hotel had a blow-dry and braid bar treatment menu at this year’s Glastonbury, giving trendy festival goers the salon feeling without even leaving the fields. These pop-up braiding bars have proven to be popular for festival goers and clients wanting a fresh new look.

As Senior Beauty Analyst for Mintel, Charlotte collates and analyses a wide range of data on the beauty markets, including consumer trends, product sales and new innovations. Charlotte joined Mintel in 2013 as an Analyst across the Beauty & Personal Care and Household sectors and now specialises in Beauty.

Charlotte Libby
Charlotte Libby

Charlotte is a Global Colour Cosmetics and Fragrance Analyst. Her expertise lie in consumer behaviour, trends and product innovation.

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