Beauty, Business, Hair Care, That girl in the red coat, writing

Suitable replacement?

Sigh.

 

It happened, again. I lost a fabulous rep. She was lovely. She came every 2 weeks. She emailed me the sales flyers before they went to print so I could preplan monthly specials. She sent complimentary products to use in the Salon. She sent products specifically to me to use, knowing that since I do most of the selling, the more product I use, the more I know and in turn, the more I sell. She sent us complimentary retail bags. She shared her knowledge and her stories. Not only did we have a great professional relationship, over the years we became friends. I received a call over 3 weeks ago from the company that she was no longer with the company and that a “suitable replacement” would be visiting me soon. Lets just say, there are some big boots to fill and by first impressions, my hopes have faded a tad.

10 days ago, the replacement rep. – lets call her the R.R. came by the shop, mid afternoon on a Friday. No call to see what day or time works for me. No appointment made. No email of introduction. Not even a tweet. She introduced herself, I the same, exchanged pleasantries and such. I let her know that my old rep. had a standing biweekly Friday at 10 appointment. I asked if that worked for her. She said yes. We decided on a date for our first official appointment, shook hands and said our goodbyes. Fast forward a week. Yours Truly had the order ready. Special customer orders had been added. Clients and customers had been assured an order was being placed that day and by Tuesday afternoon at the latest, as long as the product was in the warehouse, their beloved product would be in their hands. …or so I thought. Yep. You guessed it. Yours Truly was stood up…and you all know how much that thrills me. 10 a.m. came and went. No call. No email. No text. No fax. No tweet. No Facebook message. No Instagram. Not even a snap. Nada. Nothing. Not a word until this morning after I emailed my order and was told that Friday’s don’t work.

I have said it before and will continue to do so. We are in the business of Beauty. The business. When a rep. doesn’t show up for my order that means that my inventory gets too low or worse, my shelves are empty which in turn hurts my reputation and our revenue. Listen, I have been a rep. on the road. I know that you are told that “color accounts are key”. That they are your money maker. I have some news for you. So are retail accounts. When serviced properly and the value of your retail brands explained, retail can increase your commissions just as much as color can. Something many reps and companies seem to forget, or put on the back burner. I can’t help but wonder if I was a color account, would I have been dismissed so easily? Over the years I have brought over $250000.00 – $350000.00 of retail revenue to our shop…you’d think that everyone would want a piece of that pie. It seems not.

A little bit of advice, for reps. and companies alike – your small accounts could become big accounts, if you show up. Plain and simple.

 

 

Beauty, Business, communication, Hair Care, health and wellness, That girl in the red coat, Uncategorized

Step away from the scissors and listen for a minute

“This is not what we discussed. Look at my hair! What am I going to do? I can’t go to work looking like this!”. – you are picturing a woman right now, aren’t you? Yes, most people picture a woman uttering these phrases when she has received a bad hair cut…and that is the first problem. Women are not the only ones that suffer from bad hair days and bad hair cuts. Our lovely gents do as well. Actually, in my experience, men seem to be the victim of bad a hair cut/style more often than women. For some reason, many stylists seem to think for their male clientele. A gentleman comes in looking for a new style and ends up walking out with the same cut his father gave him sitting in the kitchen with the #1 guide…when he was 4 years old.

As you know, I manage a retail shop/salon. I have many men come into the shop for their hair products, from KMS HAIRPLAY Molding Paste to d:fi molding cream. Some of my lovely gents like to spike up their hair with Joico Ice Spiker and some like to slick it back with American Crew Firm Gel. Some gents like a bit of shine – SOMA Prism spray is a great choice -no hold, just lovely shine, and some like a matte finish – AG STUCCO is great and a big seller. What all my lovely gents have in common is they want to look good. They want to look professional and creditable in their profession – from Welder to Physician. What they don’t want is the “Charlie Brown” head, or as mentioned above, the cut they had from dear old Dad.

Many times, unfortunately, men come into the shop asking me “Do you sell clippers?” – they ask this because they feel their only option is to shave their head because they just cannot face another bad cut, or having another stylist not listen to them when they tell them what they don’t want their hair to look like. I know, believe me, I know that clients/customers do not always explain themselves very well. It is our job, as managers, owners and stylists to take the time to be sure we understand what it is our clients/customers want. When the gentleman in your chair says he wants it short – ask him how short. Place your fingers on his head as a point of reference if need be – every stylist has had a client that when they said take a few inches off, they really meant half an inch. What the client pictures as short may not be what you, as the stylist, pictures as short. You need to clarify. You need to be clear. You need to stop thinking for your client. If you are not sure of how to cut men’s hair, or you only know 3 cuts for our gents – pick up a copy of Canadian Hairdresser, or Salon magazine or hop on Google and go to http://www.behindthechair.com and check out the images and tutorials.

Think about this for a minute, I mean really think about it – what would happen if a woman sat in your chair with shoulder length hair and said she wanted something shorter and you gave her a pixie cut, because that’s what you thought she wanted and you thought that would be best…what would happen? A meltdown of Nuclear proportions, that’s what. When a woman is sitting in your chair looking for a change or something shorter, as a stylist, you may spend up to 20 minutes on a consultation, to be sure you know exactly what it is she wants, how she styles her hair at home, what products she likes to use on her hair and what she has done with her hair in the past. I believe our Gents are worth the time as well. Men are a key component to a successful Salon and retail business – they deserve our attention.

In my 20 years of customer service and in my 10 plus years in our beloved biz of Beauty, I know one thing with absolute certainty. Women may give you a second chance. Men will not, and honestly, when they aren’t being listened to…who can blame them?

Beauty, Business, communication, Hair Care, health and wellness, That girl in the red coat, Uncategorized, Women, writing

Help Wanted

Today’s tale is one for all the up and comers in our beloved industry. We are in the business of Beauty. Our customers and clients come to us because they want to look better and in turn feel better about themselves. They look to us for helpful hints and tips on how to care for their hair and to style their new ‘do.

Over the past year I have had many young ladies and gents come through my door asking if I was hiring for the shop or if our Salon would take an apprentice under our wing. For the most part, I had to say no – and not for the reasons you think. I didn’t say no because of lack of business, lack of clientele, lack of budget or because the economy is slow. I had to say no because as I saw it, if they were not able to brush their own hair, how were they able to help our clients and customers with their hair care needs. One young lady still stands out in my mind.

I hear the chirp of the shop’s door chime and look up to see a young woman wearing jogging pants, an over sized jacket, no makeup applied and her hair in a messy ponytail. “I just finished school and I need my hours…do you guys take apprentices?”. It was at this moment I decided that I was gonna change her life.I took a breath, put a smile on my face and crossed my fingers that the demo flat iron beside her would not become air born. I asked her where she went to school and I asked her if part of the curriculum focused on how to apply for a position in a salon. “Not really” she answered. I let her know that we were  not looking for an apprentice at the moment, but I would take her resume. I also asked her if she had a minute to chat. She said yes. I asked her if she loved doing hair or just liked it. “I LOVE IT!” she exclaimed. I told her I was happy to hear it, because it is a lot of hard work and long hours, but if you love it, it’s all worth it. I then asked her if I could give her a few tips. I let her know that our industry is a visual industry, that being said, she must always look like she is ready to cut/color someone’s hair. I let her know that she needs to have her hair done and a little make up applied – even if it’s just lip gloss. I let her know of Salon’s in town that I had heard were looking for apprentices and told her to go home an do the following;

– call the Salon you are interested in and ask to speak to the manager and ask to make an appointment to come and see them. * Shows professionalism and shows you understand their time, as yours, is important.

– have a shower, do your hair and apply a little makeup. You need to look good and smell good. *think about it, would you want to get your hair done by someone who’s hair was not tidy and they smelled like the gym?

– dress appropriately. Put on a nice pair of pants and a nice shirt – preferably black. (black compliments the client – puts the attention on them). *make sure the pants are clean and the shirt is pressed

– bring your tools along. You never know, you may be asked to give a cut so they can see your technique and composure around their clients.

I let her know you only get one chance to make a first impression, and that most people wouldn’t attempt to see past the jogging pants and wouldn’t give her the time of day. I then told her one of my favorite sayings “when you know better, you do better. So now, you will do better”. She laughed. (whew…thank you Maya Angelou and the powers that be that left the flat iron in it’s place).

After she left I found myself thinking about how we are not educating the up and comers. Sure they are learning cutting and coloring techniques, but these alone do not a stylist make. Students need to be taught customer service skills, interpersonal skills, how to communicate with their potential boss and coworker, how to sell retail product to their client sitting in their chair – they need to be told how to dress for their interviews and in turn for their career. Listen, I am a mother of a teenage daughter so I know you cannot guarantee what you have said has been heard nor can you guarantee what you have taught has been learned. What I do know is this; not educating students and giving them all the tools they will need if they choose to get ahead is, well, cruel and setting them up to fail. Plain and simple. Starting out in this industry is hard enough, and brings out it’s own road blocks, emotionally, physically and mentally. How about instead off adding another roadblock we give them the green light.