Changez d’hair, l’hair du temps, Tif et Tondu, I do what hair… All these names correspond to hairdressing salons somewhere in Belgium. This is also a strong trend in the sector: playing on words to better stand out from the competition.
Some laugh about it on social networks, others make books out of it (such as “Pulled by the hair, hair-raising signs” in 2018) or very serious studies like this interactive French map of “hairdressing establishments […] for the purpose of detecting delightful puns“.
But can we do the same exercise for Belgium? Can we identify in an almost exhaustive way the list of all the hairdressers and hairdressers who love puns in our country? Both to highlight an essential craft in the social fabric and as an exercise in data journalism, we embarked on the adventure.
Data in the hair
To get started, you need a dataset. Ours is all found: the open data file of the Banque Carrefour des Entreprises (BCE). With more than a million entries, there are “information on all active entities registered in the CBE“. Important step: the interesting data (name of the company, address, etc.) are in fact separated into several files that will have to be reconstituted beforehand.
Starting from our million companies, we have to carry out a first sorting. Fortunately, each entity is associated with a NACE code, a series of numbers that indicates the type of activity carried out by the company.
What interests us here is the NACE 96.021 which includes among others “washing, cutting, styling, dyeing, coloring, waving, straightening of hair and similar services for men, women, and children“. In short, hairdressers and hairdressers.
A Head (in the hair) of Atmosp’hair…
After having shampooed everything, here we are in possession of a list which makes it possible to study in detail a profession which has, according to Febelhair, the federation of hairdressers and hairdressers in Belgium, some 4000 salons with staff and 19,000 independents.
This is where the most fun part begins. If we search for salons that contain the word “hair”, we get 3124 results, mainly in Flanders. But not all contain puns. The classic “The hair artist” at Mol rubs shoulders with the original “Sam Change d’hair” at Ciney.