Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle, That girl in the red coat, Women, writing

2020 Vision

Here we are. The first day of a new year and a new decade. Every time I scroll through Instagram, Facebook or Twitter I see post after post of the decade challenge, descriptions and memories of the past ten years. Achievements, celebrations, life changing moments, you name it, it’s been posted. Few posts celebrate the lows, the struggles, the set backs.

Over the past week, all I could think about was writing again. All I could think about was how I started this blog, all that had transpired in my life, professionally and personally that steered me away from writing. No matter how hard I tried to place blame on any and all events, I came to one irrefutable truth. I was the reason I wasn’t following my gut, my passion, my calling…name it what you will, it was me and me alone that allowed my circumstances to control my life, my actions or lack there of.

I look back on myself and my life 10 years ago. It began selling shoes, missing the beauty industry I adored and the shop I had run for many years. Then the powers that be gave me an opportunity and I grabbed it! Managing the Salon/Shop I adored. Soon after, I began my blog and opportunity after opportunity came my way. Writing for beauty sites and online magazines, consulting Salons on how to improve their retail presence and sales. Being invited to Beauty industry galas. Things kept falling into my lap. Sadly, in 2016, the shop closed. I tried to keep writing, but the fire within was slowly growing dim. A dear friend of mine had a cheese shop and she was looking for some help over the lunch hours. I thought it would be fun, so I said yes. 15 hours a week turned into 40 and I was enjoying it. Learning new things, helping increase the retail presence and forging relationships with the regulars. Yet I was still longing for something. I felt like the world was spinning around me and I was standing still. Sadly, the shop closed. I took a few months off from working. My husband has supported my writing and my drive from the start. He said “take this time to focus on your blog, your consulting, whatever it is you want.”. I found myself staring at my computer, re posting old blogs. I had no idea which road to take. Do I continue to consult? Do I continue to write about Beauty? Do I continue to review products? Do I write about parenting? Do I write about lifestyle? Do I write about kindness? Do I write about how not to be an asshole? …. exhausting reading this huh? Try thinking it all…the…time.  All the while having real life staring me in the face. Husband having a heart attack in 2012 at 39. Father having a heart attack a week later. ( I told them both to stop competing for my attention). My lovely, beautiful, intelligent daughter struggling with mental health issues and trying to get her the help she needed. Be a good wife. Be a good daughter. Be a good Mother. Laundry to be done, child to raise, marriage to keep intact, pay the bills, get the groceries. …this is how I know there is a higher power…god, the universe, the smurfs, whatever you call it, it’s real. I know it’s real because I firmly believe that is how I got through this past decade. There was many a morning I did not want to get out of bed, many a day I did not want to leave the house, but something helped me. Something got me moving, and I may think I’m all that, but even I’m not that good.

Even though I had the support of my family to focus on me, there were bills to be paid. My old employer at the shoe store heard I was free and offered me a job. Whatever hours or days I could give. So here I am, 10 years later, back where I started from. Funny thing, most people find that sad. I get many a “Oh…so you’re back there again huh?” comments. To be honest, I felt the same way for the first few months. Once again, a higher power knew what I did not. That this is exactly where I was and am supposed to be right now. My life for the last 18 months was turned upside down and all around. … a tale for another time.  Being back at this job allowed me to change my day off at a moments notice. Being able to tell my boss “I gotta go” in the middle of a shift and him responding “Do what you gotta do, see you tomorrow.”. It also gave me the time for me. I had time to read, to educate myself, to take a hard look at my life and my responsibilities. To take a hard look at myself, to be accountable about my part in how my life was going, professionally and personally, to own my shit if you will. I may physically be back where I started, emotionally and mentally, far from it.

I have no idea where my feet will land next. I do know this. It is up to me and me alone to decide. To do the work. To put forth the intentions AND the effort. No one, I mean no one is going to do it for me, nor is it anyone’s fault I am unfulfilled but my own. It is up to you and you alone to fill your cup, and today, it may just be a small drop, but my cup is beginning to fill.

 

Beauty, health and wellness, That girl in the red coat, Women

A different kind of Monday Motivator

It’s Monday once again. It’s December 17th and holiday preparations are in full swing. School pageants, church socials, pop up Christmas markets, holiday open houses, tinsel and Christmas lights as far as the eye can see. …oh, and my favorite of all…holiday retail hours. Yours truly is working 8 out of the next 9 days. Perks of being a strong salesperson I guess. For many of us, the two weeks before Christmas can be exhausting for we have our own life and family responsibilities on top of all the other responsibilities and to do lists that accompany this time of year.

Usually my Monday Motivator’s are to cure your hair woes and ensure a good hair day on Monday and everyday. Today is to bring a smile to your face, some warmth to cure your soul and add some joy to your day. I have compiled my most popular holiday posts and “Tales of Truth” for you all.

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2013/12/16/christmas-presence/

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2016/12/20/its-the-little-things/

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2015/12/14/tales-of-truth-the-holiday-editions-2/

 

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/11/25/the-emily-post-of-holiday-retail/

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/12/08/tales-of-truth-the-christmas-chronicles/

 

Be happy. Take a breath. Take five minutes for yourself, to sip a hot tea, a crisp chardonnay, savor a Christmas cookie, text your friend a funny holiday meme, share this blog. Add some joy to your day and that joy will spread.

 

 

 

Business, That girl in the red coat

First Impressions

Yours truly has been in the customer service/sales biz for over 30 years. I have sold everything from luxury cars to hairspray, shoes to gourmet food items. Training, product knowledge, product testing, having the right person for the job, having a strong sales team and a firm yet fair management team are vital to any business’s success. All of the above factor into the image you want your business to convey, be it a car dealership, a shoe store or a Salon. Dress codes are put into place, policies and procedures are followed to convey knowledge and professionalism to the customers and clients. The proper lighting, shelving and product placement are mulled over until they are just right. Phone scripts are followed for consistency. The list is endless.

A few weeks ago I was contacted asking for my opinion on an Infographic. It was an Infographic on “curb appeal”. When we hear the term curb appeal we automatically think of selling houses. Graphic House Inc. , http://www.graphichouse.com gave yours truly a light bulb moment. Curb appeal has a huge impact on businesses as well. Business owners spend thousands of dollars on their image, their social media presence, their products and their store layout yet many times their outside image falls to the way side. Think of it this way, if your business looks disheveled from the outside, more often than not, the customer will assume the inside of your business is the same, if not worse and will not come in.

To give you a how to if you will, here is the link from Graphic House Inc. I was telling you about;

https://www.graphichouseinc.com/blog/how-to-improve-your-businesss-curb-appeal/

I have personally washed windows in 4 inch heels while managing a Salon. I have swept more front stoops than I care to remember. I have picked up trash that was not mine because it was in front of the shop. I have spoken with landlords about painting parking spaces for wheelchair accessibility. I have watered plants and planted greenery to make shops more welcoming. It takes a few moments of everyday to keep it clean and appealing. A fresh coat of paint may cost you a few hundred dollars. Trust me, invest a little and your sales will follow. A little bit of effort goes a long way. The more appealing your business looks from the outside, curiosity will spark and more people will want to see what’s going on inside.

 

Beauty, Business, That girl in the red coat

Get on the floor

I know many small business owners. I know owners of corporations. Each time I speak to any of them, they all say the same thing “Business is slow. Profits are down. I don’t know why.”. I can tell you why. No one is on the floor selling the product. Plain and simple. I am well aware that the state of the economy, inflation, the weather, you name it can be seen as a cause for lack of revenue and profits to be down. In my experience all the mentioned factors go hand in hand with lack of selling. In the age of online shopping being the real only competitor, you need your people on the floor – it’s the one thing Amazon can’t deliver – a salesperson.

Last week, my hubby and I went out for dinner and decided to stop by a local dealership to see if my nephew was working that evening, just to say hello. As we waited for him, we started looking around. There were 4 people in my line of sight, they caught my eye, not one said “Hello”. Sure, maybe they knew I was waiting for someone, maybe they didn’t. I might have been waiting on a salesperson, I may have been there with the intent to buy, without speaking to me, they would never know. After we left, our curiosity was perked, my hubby was curious to see what other new cars and technologies were out there, I was curious to see what the customer service was like, so off we went. The first dealership felt like a ghost town, I was sure I saw a tumble weed blow by. We walked the lot, not a soul in sight. I could see salespeople looking out the window at us… but no one came out to greet us, shake our hand, even say “Hey!”. Off to another dealership. Sad to say, the exact same thing happened, only this time the salesperson looking out at us from inside the dealership was methodically drinking his coffee, looking like he forgot to do something. Psstt…that thing you forgot to do was your job. I know this sounds like a rant, it is not. I sold cars. When a customer is on the lot, you go out and introduce yourself. Every person coming onto your lot has the potential to spend up to $75000.00, they deserve, at the very least, some acknowledgment.

I used a car dealership as an example simply because it is one circumstance we all have in common, we have all had to buy a car, or helped someone to buy a car. There is no difference between purchasing a car or purchasing a can of hairspray. A person is about to part with their money and they want to be sure it is worth parting with. It may be that the customer needs help, has a question about the product they are looking at or they cannot reach the shelf the desired product is on and they need someone to get it down for them. Maybe you just renovated your shop and they no longer know where their favorite product is, or if you accept debit. People do not want to look stupid and most are worried that their inquiries or questions will seem dumb, so they will not start the conversation. A salesperson on the floor = more sales, plain and simple. Without salespeople on the floor to start said conversation, the majority of customers will leave and go somewhere else.

When most picture a sales person, they picture Herb Tarlek from WKRP in Cincinnati. It’s time to picture something else. A good salesperson does not need gimmicks. A well trained salesperson has product knowledge and fact to back up their claim of the product at hand. They are educated on the ins and outs of their products, they know to ask what the customer’s needs are, what their end game looks like, so they are able to give their customer the proper product, be it a flat iron or a home computer.

For those who don’t think a good salesperson or sales force on the floor makes a difference, I have proof it makes a difference. Personal proof. At least once a week, I am stopped at the grocery store, the library, hell even a public bathroom by a customer I helped in the past. “It’s you! You helped me buy those shoes! I went back to the shop you worked at but no one waited on me. What do you know about Merrells?”. …I sold them a pair of shoes 10 years ago. “Oh hello! Who should I talk to about buying a car? You were so helpful when you helped us buy our car.”. …I sold them a car 12 years ago. “Sara! I finally ran into you! Where do I find that Joico Revitaluxe you sold me? Every Salon I go to doesn’t know what I am talking about.”. …the Salon/retail shop I managed closed 6 years ago. Case and point, a poised, educated salesperson equals sales. If I am able to increased sales and profits for businesses that I don’t even work for, imagine how many more sales and customers they could have by simply making their salespeople get and stay on the floor.

No matter your industry, from owning a Hair Salon to a Dealership and everything in between, you need your people on the floor. Plain and simple.

Beauty, Business, communication, Hair Care, Women

Shelf Talk

“Retail doesn’t work.”. “People aren’t buying our products.”. “Everyone sells product, so why should we?”. “Our product just sits on the shelves.”. These common phrases are a sampling of what I have heard over the past 25 years and I am here today to tell you that although this mentality is the norm, it is far from the truth. I have been in sales and customer service for over 25 years and the truth is, nothing sells itself. Nothing.

Many Salon owners have the same concern, that the Salon revenue is down, or the Salon is not generating enough revenue. Ladies and gents, adding retail and selling retail has the potential to cover all expenses, your hydro bill, your lease payment, even your payroll. It can. I know this because I have seen it first hand. In a town of 125000 people, with over 100 salons to compete with, I ran a shop that in a slow month sold over $18000.00 of retail product.

First and foremost, you must stop worrying and focusing on what other Salons are doing and focus on your business. Secondly, you have to sell the product. The packaging may look pretty on the shelf, if your clients do not know why those products will help them manage their hair and have a great hair day in between visits, those bottles are going to continue to look pretty on the shelf. Explain to your customers and clients the benefits of the products you are selling. Teach them how to use them. Taking an extra 10 minutes can save your client hours of anguish in front of their mirror at home, keep your relationship with them in good standing and open the door to new clients for you and the Salon. When people hear of good customer service, word spreads fast. …I have been out of the shop for over 2 years, I still have women messaging me via Facebook, stopping me at the grocery store, at the bank, even at the local shop I was working for asking me “Are you that girl that helps everyone get the right product for their hair?”.

I can hear it now “…I don’t want to seem pushy.”. Giving your client the proper product to protect their hair and enable them to feel good about their hair and their reflection is not being pushy. Protecting their hair and your hard work is not being pushy. You are helping your client protect their investment in themselves, and in turn, protecting your reputation as a stylist. Remember this, your clients are your advertising. They leave the Salon feeling like they could walk the runway, without the proper products at home, within a few days they are feeling like they should runaway. Trust me, if a bad hair day is happening, sooner or later, the stylist is blamed. Selling your clients products to use at home ensures they love their hair and your relationship with them and your reputation remains intact.

Another common phrase “…they just spent $150.00 on their service. They can’t afford to spend more.”. First, don’t do that. You do not know what someone can or can’t afford, assuming anything of anyone is rude, plain and simple. …remember the scene in Pretty Woman?…you don’t want to be like those shop girls. It is up to your client to decide what they can or cannot afford. It is up to you to explain the value. If your client does not understand the value of the product and the importance of the product, they are not able to make an informed decision. Something to remember, you just spent 2-4 hours of your day working on their $150.00 service, selling them the proper products to use at home protects their investment and your hard work.

 

Sign on the shelves look great, unfortunately they are not always read. Shelf talkers beside the products are fun to look at, they do not speak. More often than not, people want help, they are afraid to ask because of a fear of looking or sounding stupid. There are so many products out there, and to the untrained eye, all the bottles look the same. It’s up to us to take a moment or two and ask the simple question “What can I help you with today?”.

Beauty, Business, health and wellness, That girl in the red coat, Women

…don’t ask…don’t get

As of late, many of those that I hold dear are feeling inadequate, feeling like they are missing out on something, wondering “is this all there is?”. Between loss of their job, their business closing, their marriage ripping at the seams, their kids struggling to find answers to questions they don’t even know how to ask, you name it, the struggle is real.

For those of you who follow my tales, you are all familiar with my past and present struggles. For those of you checking yours truly out for the first time, let me shine some light for y’all. I have been the girl who felt like she didn’t fit in. I have been the new wife wondering what my role was to be. I have been (and still am) the Mom wondering if I am screwing up my kid. I have been the woman who couldn’t look at her own reflection. I have been the woman who hated her hair and her body. I have been the woman who lost her job because of a store closure. I have been the wife of a husband with health issues. I have been the daughter of parents with health issues. I have been the sister of a wonderful gal who’s life was turned upside down. I have been the woman who found herself thinking on more than one occasion “now what the hell am I gonna do?”. I am here to tell you that no matter how dark the day may seem or how overwhelming life can get, sooner or later, the light begins to shine and you will once again feel in control. You will. Seriously, you will. You want to know how? Ask. Plain and simple. Ask for help. Ask for advice. Ask your business contacts if they know of any opportunities. Ask for a glass of Chardonnay if you need, just ask.

I know. I know. You’ve heard this before. Tony Robbins makes you walk on hot coals. The Secret tells you to put it “out there.”. Vision boards are all the craze. Everywhere you turn someone is telling you or pushing a Pinterest post in your face or sending a kitten meme telling you “when you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on!”. I for one believe that the mind and your perspective have a HUGE impact on your life’s outcome – here’s the little nugget that seems to get lost in translation – you gotta ask and you gotta do the work. You gotta. Walking on hot coals may remove something from your bucket list, if you don’t follow through with the tools bestowed on you, you will just have sore feet. Putting your desires “out there” is a fantastic idea, if you don’t put your plan into action, the universe will deliver to the wrong address. Creating a vision board is fantastic, I have one of my own. If you just look at it all day without speaking to anyone or leaving the couch, it’s just going to be something you made and look at.

We cannot control everything. We may not be able to reverse a health issue for a loved one or stop a toddler from throwing a fit in the parking lot. One thing I know for certain is, although we cannot control our job status/career, we can damn well have a say in it. The point of today’s tale is to give you the proof you need that if you don’t ask, you don’t get. In the big scheme of things, my accomplishments may seem tiny, to me, they are huge. I have been blogging over 6 year now. The last year I did not write as much as I wanted to. I thought my blog should change – I was listening to fear…big mistake…huge. (Pretty Woman reference…love the movie). After the shop closed, instead of asking myself what I should do, I let people tell me what I should do. Not their fault, that’s on me. Long story short, shit happened and the universe, the powers that be, the smurfs…whatever you want to call it gave me a wake up call. Gave me the opportunity to realize that my blog is fine just how it is. That it grew and opportunities flooded in when I was doing what was true to me. It gave me the back up to ask. To take take chances. I asked and took a chance and ended up on http://www.salonmagazine.ca 7 times. I had my tales followed and retweeted by Hollywood and Grammy Award winning stars. I had companies agree to have me write for them, review their products. I made new business contacts that have now become friends. I have been referred by said contacts to give Salons retail consultations to help them build their business.

Over the past few weeks, yours truly has been an asking fool. I didn’t get all I asked for, but I did get a few things. I have an opportunity coming my way – not telling yet! You are going to have to stay tuned, all because I asked a question. I didn’t just put it out there, I put myself out there. I did the work, I followed up, and low and behold, it worked out in my favor.

Here’s the deal. Ask. The answers are there. The answer may not be the one you wanted, in my experience, it’s the one you needed. Don’t ask…Don’t get. Plain and Simple.

 

Business, That girl in the red coat

The “Key” to sales

There is a word that seems to invoke fear in many Salon owners and stylists alike. The word is retail. Now, before you hide under the covers, I am here to tell you to have no fear. Retail is your friend. Retailing product in your Salon increases profits, helps to ease the financial drain of your overhead and most importantly, keeps your clients hair in the beautiful state it was in at their last appointment and in tip top shape until they see you again. Saryna Key is a line that can do all of the above.

 

Yes, there are many oils in the market. It seems all brands have jumped on the oil bandwagon, so many Salons and stylists think “What’s the point of carrying this line when there are so many others out there?”, “I don’t know how to sell it.” or my all time favorite “Oh, my client’s won’t buy that.”. Well, I am here to help you understand why you should have Saryna Key as a brand in your Salon and how to sell it. Once you educate yourself, you can educate your client. Once a client understands the value of the product, most will not even blink at the cost. Plain and simple.

 

In my experience, many times we get caught up in the ingredients of a product, which I admit are important, to the stylist. The client…not so much. Our clients need to know how to use the product, how much, how often and in what order. So, I am here to tell you how I sold Saryna Key to our clients and our customers. You’re welcome.

Every woman I spoke to asked me the same question. “What’s the difference between all these oils?”. (This is where educating yourself about Saryna Key and its competitors comes in handy.). Before I would answer, I would ask them the following questions;

          What is the issue you are having with your hair?

          Have you colored your hair at home?

          Are you currently using drug store or professional products on your hair?

          Does your hair fall limp easily?

          Do you battle with your curl and frizz?

Asking these questions allows you to diagnose your client’s hair situation and give her the proper product. Once the question(s) had been answered, this is how I introduced Saryna Key;

Saryna Key is as an oil that repairs and restores your hair. Saryna Key is one of the only lines that has created separate oils in separate lines for each hair types, unlike other lines that have only one oil, and as we know, not all hair types are the same. 

  SarynaKey Damage Repair Oil SarynaKey Curl Line - That Girl in the Red Coat SarynaKey ColorIMG_20150112_140505

Then I would introduce the value of Saryna Key;

 It offers a better price point for their products. For instance, their 500ml Shampoo is the same price as the competitor’s 250ml bottle of Shampoo. I would introduce them to the Saryna Key selection, starting with the Damage line, then moving on to the Volume line, the Color line and finally the Curl line. I would wait for them to say “What about those?” and then would introduce their Dandruff Shampoo and the Neutralizing Pigment Shampoo (or purple shampoo if you prefer).

Then I would have a 2-3 minute consultation on how and when to use the products. I would explain how many times per week or month the treatment should be used. I would show them in my hand the amount of oil that would be needed. I would show them in my hair, (or theirs if they preferred) how to apply the oil and distribute it properly throughout their hair. I would show them how to mist the shine spray – how far to hold it away from their hair for even shine distribution. For our curly haired Beauties I would explain the importance of proper product application and drying time to avoid frizz and unruly curls.

…and that’s it. It really is that simple. Once the value of the product was presented and the time was taken to explain not only how the product works, but how to work with the product, another bottle (or two) of Saryna Key left the shelf.