Sweenys Hair & Beauty Corner
Address: 211 Holland Avenue
#03-28 Holland Road Shopping Centre
Contact: +65 6468 1795
Holland Village’s veteran since 1978
Located in Holland Village Shopping Centre is Sweenys Hair & Beauty Corner, a family-run hairdresser that is as old as the building itself. The past 4 decades have seen the neighbourhood’s drastic transformation into one of Singapore’s hippest night spots, but Sweenys has been its constant since 1978. It was also here where Mr. Shee spent his youth as a hairdresser, before inheriting the family business from his mother.
Compared to the upscale beauty parlors that line Orchard Road, Sweenys does not make the snazziest first impression. Nevertheless, online reviews have underscored the salon’s strength in functionality over plush, supported by a longstanding history of 38 years. Mr. Shee has even traveled to London and America to hone his skills and improve the quality of Sweenys’s services, slowly earning it a reputation as the go-to salon for Caucasian hair.
Take care of your employees and they will take care of your business. Sweenys is sustained by the long service staff who are happy to work for Mr. Shee, and they have built a pool of returning clients for the salon, most of whom are expatriates from international institutes and embassies. In fact, it is one of the few salons that specialises in Caucasian hair, which is especially difficult to care for. Today, 80% of its clients are referrals. In an industry that rages with paid advertisements, that figure speaks volumes about the product.
Changes that lie ahead are daunting even for a business that has stood the test of time. Over the years, the salon was renovated several times to appeal to the new generation, but there is more to staying relevant than physical revamps. More importantly, the salon needs new blood to keep going. Mr. Shee identifies recruitment to be the next challenge, as hiring younger professionals is getting increasingly difficult.
We live in an age of invention where new products are always sprouting in the market. Every burst of innovation, be it a fresh color palette or new equipment, makes the learning curve steeper for hairdressers. To keep his staff’s expertise up-to-date, Mr. Shee often sends them for skills upgrading. They are encouraged to embrace new techniques, incorporate them into old methods, and create improved versions with an optimum balance.
In face of the beauty industry’s challenges, Mr. Shee has tided over hardships and sacrifices with sheer passion. To him, the most rewarding part of the job is making his clients beautiful, and watching them leave the salon a little more confident than before. He urges young entrepreneurs to practise the same virtues that have kept Sweenys going all these years – improvement, sincerity and honesty.