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Inclusive Innovation: Elevate Your Self-Care Biz with LGBTQIA+ Inclusivity Tools


By Boulevard

Here’s how to leverage technology and make your business a welcoming place for all

Everybody wants to find a place where they belong. For members of the LGBTQIA+ community, this has historically been more challenging than it should be. As a self-care business owner, it’s up to you to make your space welcoming to all, including your LGBTQIA+ clients. That means going beyond the low bar of tolerance to foster active inclusion.

In 2024, there’s no excuse for falling short on inclusion efforts.  Here’s how to use your self-care business software features to elevate inclusivity and create a more welcoming atmosphere.

Prioritize inclusive language in marketing materials

For owners of salons, medspas, and other self-care establishments, your marketing materials represent your brand. Think of ads and email campaigns as an extension of the environment you’re working to create and use inclusive language. Here are a few pointers:

  • Use gender-neutral language: Don’t make assumptions about the preferred pronouns of your client base. Use words like “spouse” or “partner” instead of “husband” or “wife.”

  • Understand the terminology: If you’re not sure what the letters in LGBTQIA+ mean, that’s a good place to start. Make sure you and your staff have done your research before using any terminology; even if you mean well, using the wrong word or phrase could be off-putting or outright distressing to your queer clients.

  • Celebrate Pride: June is the perfect time to run promotions celebrating your LGBTQIA+ clients and their culture. Use email blasts to promote these events and let your audience know that you’re celebrating alongside them. Signal boost LGBTQIA+ voices and stories on your social channels, and use the social booking feature in your scheduling software to send the clear message that everyone is welcome at your salon.

Remember, language is always evolving. Don’t be afraid to put what you think you know under the microscope to keep your brand moving forward, and ensure any promotional materials reflect the most recent guidance. 

Update your forms

Self-care businesses run on forms. Membership forms, intake forms, charts — it’s all part of the process. For your providers, having clients fill out these forms is a minor part of each service. However, the language on your paperwork can majorly impact your clients. For example, if a form with multiple-choice questions doesn’t include answers that reflect a client’s gender identity, it becomes a barrier to delivering the best possible client experience.

Just like with your marketing materials, it’s a good idea to revisit your forms from time to time and ensure they’re as inclusive as possible. At the very least, allow clients to record the pronouns they use. Whether you’re using a template or building forms from scratch, your software should make updating them as seamless as possible. If your current software doesn’t allow these changes, it may be time to start looking for what’s next.

Keep detailed client profiles

Any self-care entrepreneur will tell you that providing personalized service is the key to building your business. That’s why it’s critical to use a software platform with robust client management features. Your providers can’t keep all of the information about their repeat clients in their heads, and last-minute substitutions or staffing changes are inevitable from time to time, so any details that enhance individual experiences should be accessible within client profiles. That way no matter what service provider your clients see, they have a consistent and positive experience. 

These profiles can also help you create a queer-friendly space. By having providers review up-to-date client information before an appointment, you can avoid mortifying mistakes like misgendering or deadnaming a client. Keeping this information safe is just as important as having it at your disposal. Ensure that your client profiles remain confidential and are only accessed by providers when necessary.

Highlight the LGBTQIA+ services on your menu

When people hear “gender-affirming care,” they often think of medication and surgery. However, that term refers to a broad spectrum of “social, psychological, behavioral, or medical interventions designed to support and affirm an individual’s gender identity.” That includes many of the services typically found in self-care businesses, including hair cutting and styling, hair removal, skin care, injectables, and more.

If any of your business offerings fall under this umbrella, you may want to group them under a special menu that’s easy to find on your website or social media. You can also create special packages and promotions during Pride or any other month to let your queer client base know they’re always welcome and that your business is excited to give them a high level of care.

Partner with local organizations

Part of being a good ally is knowing when to ask questions and when to simply listen. If you feel like you need more guidance to keep up with evolving language and inclusivity standards, reach out to local LGBTQIA+ organizations for further insights. They’ll be able to help you navigate the landscape, find ways to celebrate the queer community, and possibly even set up joint promotions. Building trust takes time, but if clients see that you’re working with their favorite advocacy groups, you’ll have a much stronger platform upon which to build.

Making an inclusive self-care business isn’t a one-time task; it’s an ongoing process that you and your providers must work toward every day. Whenever possible, leverage your technology to make that process easier and create the same kind of welcoming environment you would want to see as a client.

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