Published May 31, 2012
At $950 a pop, Ted Gibson’s haircuts are already the most expensive in the world.
Apparently, they’re not expensive enough.
Gibson, a celebrity hairstylist who appears weekly on TLC makeover show What Not to Wear, says he aims to someday charge $1,500 – not because his costs are going up, but because demand for the kind of experience he offers hasn’t let up. While he isn’t exactly sure when he’ll raise prices, he’s confident he’ll still have customers when he does.
Gibson has pulled off this sort of thing before. Two years ago, he more than doubled his rate from $450 to $950 – and people still came, weak economy and all.
To be clear, Gibson’s $950 haircuts are only those that he does himself in either his 8-year old salon in New York or his new salon in Ft. Lauderdale, which opened in February. Haircuts offered by his salon staff range from a more reasonable $75 to $200.
Gibson says demand is strong and shows no signs of waning. There are currently 10 people on the wait list for his $950 haircut in New York and 25 in Ft. Lauderdale. The wait time ranges from one month to eight weeks.
A surprising portion of customers lined up for his pricey cuts aren’t the rich and famous. (Gibson says he generally services celebrities outside of his salon and thus charges his day rate, which is higher than $950.) Some of his customers come because they’re fans of his work on What Not to Wear, and the majority of his $950 haircut customers are actually “mid-income” women seeking the same luxury experience Gibson provides clients for events like the Golden Globes and the Oscars, he says.
“I’m bringing that same kind of access to the Upper East Side woman. The woman from NJ. The woman whose husband wants to give her a gift for the holidays,” he says.
Whether they’re rich or splurging, Gibson strives to make their experience a lasting one. He says the value of his service is getting to know his clients and making them feel special. Little details – like the fact that he’s the one who washes clients’ hair, not an assistant – set the experience apart from other salon experiences. The entire appointment lasts an hour and 15 minutes.
To those who say he’s crazy to put such a hefty price tag on his cuts, he says the ability to make people feel great is priceless.
“Hair – more than the clothes and the makeup and the Mercedes and the Jaguar – dictates how a woman feels about who she really is,” he says.
Gibson is in talks to open two more of his namesake salons and is so convinced of the value of the business he’s in that he believes he shouldn’t be alone at the top.
“Every hairdresser in the world should charge $950 or more,” he quips.