Japan’s first multi complex share salon opened for professional community

Is working long hours for a company a thing of the past in Japan? The answer is, not yet, but it seems that one by one, industries have started to reform various systems and expectations in an attempt to improve employees’ work-life balance.

Qnoir offers a ‘share salon’ where professionals from various fields, including beauticians, nail artists, yoga instructors and language teachers can provide their skills and services in one convenient location. The first branch opened in Kita-Aoyama, Tokyo on October 1.

(Image: PR TIMES)

(Image: PR TIMES)

In white-collar fields, there have been many changes in work style with coworking and satellite offices becoming more common in recent years. However, work styles in the Japanese beauty industry have lagged behind these trends. According to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, there are about 750,000 “sleeping beauticians”—willfully unemployed beauticians or hairstylists with valid licenses—who most likely left the profession because of its labor-intensive nature and long working hours.

Although a system called “Mengashi” (literally ‘lending a face’ in Japanese, in which a stylist rents a chair at a beauty salon in order to offer their services) does already exist, it has its challenges. For those stylists, the difficulties to attract and stabilize customers and to negotiate a fair percentage of profit-sharing with the salon owner are considerable obstacles to running a sustainable business. The other option of opening their own salon seems risky, and the costs involved are substantial. The number of newly-opened salons closing within the first three years has been consistently high, not an encouraging fact for those who dream about starting their own business in this industry.

This multi-complex share salon, Qnoir, tries to resolve these industry issues from two sides: ‘sharing’ and ‘technology.’ With no opening costs and practically free monthly expenses, any professional can start a new business full time or as a side job. Qnoir supports professionals by attracting customers, managing reservations and processing payment. Professionals only need to register the time and dates they want to work through Qnoir’s app on their smartphones.

Clockwise from top left: Hair salon section; aesthetic section; studio section; nail and eyelash extension section. (Image: PR TIMES)
This type of business has the advantage of reducing the advertising costs by referring customers to each other among professionals in various industries—leading the community itself to develop in its system. Qnoir’s business model gives us a hint how emerging practices within the new sharing economy can provide solutions through which workers, customers and the work environment all flourish.

[Reference] PR TIMES

(This article was originally published on Zenbird Media.)

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