Genderizing Business: Stereotyping Or Good Strategy?

September 12, 2012

About once per month, I pay $30 for a haircut.

Me, the guy who started cutting his own hair in high school, now pays $30 to have his hair trimmed by someone else. Again, me, the one guy who would prefer to guzzle most household cleaning agents rather than have a total stranger touch his head, pays $30 to have his receding hairline artfully disguised.

What gives?

I now go to a place called Roosters in the Shops at West End in St. Louis Park. It’s not some hoity-toity salon, either. Rather, Roosters specialize in serving a male clientele. This much is apparent when you walk in and notice the half-dozen high-definition televisions tuned into ESPN; the leather chairs in the waiting area where there sits a pile of magazines, including Sports Illustrated, MAXIM, GQ, Esquire and the like in front of a fireplace; a fridge full of soft drinks and no stagnant smell of perm or baked hair. Ron Swanson would have his hair cut at Roosters.

For the record, $30 gets you a 45-minute treatment that includes:

  • A scalp and shoulder massage with your choice of oil — lemongrass or lavender. So manly!
  • A refreshing hair wash with peppermint shampoo and conditioner to make you feel like you’ve dunked your head in the Bering Sea.
  • A hot towel facial treatment to free pores of dirt and grime, which is so uncouth of dudes.
  • A haircut with no electric trimmer — all scissors and straight-edge razor. +5,000 man points for risk factor.
  • Casual conversation about uber masculine things like sports, action films, fantasy sports, meat, speedboats, etc.

I have no data to prove it, but I know my preferred stylist stays extremely busy and I would imagine Roosters does, as well. Anecdotally, it seems as though specializing in serving just one gender has proven a savvy business strategy. A profitable niche has been scratched. It’s really no different than Curves, the national chain of health and fitness clubs exclusively for women.

As a marketer, it makes me wonder where else the gender-specific proposition might work. I mean, let’s be honest, there are places where male or female consumers often feel out of their element. Roosters recognized the opportunity and doubled down.

So, I ask you, all-powerful consumer: In which other types of business and industry would you like to see gender-specific establishments emerge?