Snip-its, the fastest growing child hair salon in the U.S., is raising awareness during the
month of April for National Autism Awareness Month. In this exclusive Q&A, Marsha Cole will be discussing Snip-its’ role in helping families with children with Autism.
Franchise Chatter (FC): Tell us more about Snip-its salons and your role there.
Marsha Cole (MC): Snip-its is the nation’s fastest growing child haircut franchise that is dedicated to making haircuts fun for children and relaxing for parents. Founded in 1995 by busy mother Joanna Meiseles, Snip-its is turning a traditionally mundane and often unpleasant experience into a fun-filled, animated adventure.
My role at Snip-its is to create and implement different training programs such as our Autism Certification Program.
FC: What sets Snip-its apart from other children’s salons?
MC: Our atmosphere, with our colorful salons, custom cast of animated cartoon characters, interactive computer games, the ‘Magic Box,’ and a complete line of hair care products specially formulated just for kids, set us apart from other children’s salons.
Also, with our unique variety of training programs, Snip-its has changed the dynamic of children’s hairdressing.
FC: April is Autism Awareness Month, tell us more about Snip-its’ ties to this cause.
MC: Snip-its partnered with the national Autism Speaks organization in 2009 to create a very unique stylist training program that aims to make every child feel comfortable in what could otherwise be an unfamiliar, intimidating situation.
For the month of April, our salons light it up blue to raise awareness and let our communities know we are the certified experts when it comes to cutting hair for children with Autism.
FC: What makes a haircut so difficult for a child with Autism?
MC: A haircut is a total sensory-overload for children with Autism. There are many sights, sounds, and physical contact that occur, causing the unfamiliar experience to be very traumatic for the child.
FC: Tell us more about the training program that Snip-its stylists receive to work with children with Autism.
MC: At Snip-its, our stylists receive special training and certification to ensure that all of their clients, including those with Autism, have an exciting and fun haircut experience. We first created a DVD on haircutting tips to go through the process on how to make the haircutting experience pleasant for the child, parent, and stylist. Our clients have access to this DVD on our Snip-its website. It’s a great tool for the parents to use to make their child comfortable as well.
We also created a haircutting guide which is for parents and stylists. This guide has what is called a visual path. This visual path includes steps taken from the DVD which the stylist can use to distract the child from the haircut and to show them each step they will be going through and receive praise at each step. This can be printed out from our website as well, and parents can use it to prepare their child for the haircut.
After the stylist is certified, they will receive a certificate to be framed and placed on their station.
FC: What are some tips and tricks that Snip-its stylists use when working with kids with Autism?
MC: Our stylists learn many unique ways to work with children with Autism. We offer children with Autism a pre-visit which entails getting the child comfortable with the stylist as well as the surroundings. Some other tips are to bring in a comfort toy or food with the child, and come in on an off-peak time, speaking in a low and calm voice, never surprising the client from behind, and giving them simple instructions with plenty of time to think about and process the information.
FC: What does it mean to you to work for a company that is so involved with its communities?
MC: It’s very rewarding to work for a company that cares so much about our clients. The Snip-its stylists are so dedicated to making sure each and every community member that walks through their doors has a positive experience, and this partnership with Autism Speaks does just that.
FC: How can parents learn more about Snip-its’ Autism training program?
MC: To learn more about this great program, I would recommend visiting Snipits.com/AutismSupport
FC: Where is Snip-its looking to expand?
MC: Snip-its looks to sell 30 locations in 2016 and is targeting markets across the United States, such as Minneapolis, San Diego, Orlando, San Francisco, New York, Kansas City, St. Louis, Philadelphia, and Miami.