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

Yes…there is time for that.

Yesterday I was part of a focus group. My first one ever. Joico invited me to be a part of the discussion that was closed to licensed stylists, so being invited was quite a big deal, if I do say so myself. It was quite an honor for yours truly. …and yes, I will tell my tale of my adventures in Toronto, another time. Today’s tale is for all my fellow Beauty Biz beauties, stylists, managers, receptionists and owners.

Being a focus group, everyone was giving their opinions and thoughts about the products being discussed. What I found interesting was when we were asked about the client/customer perspective, many of those around the table couldn’t answer, or added their own personal opinion of the products. All the products were seen as a tool for a stylist to use and apply or a back bar product, not a potential retail product and in turn, profit for the Salon. The major complaint was that there were too many products and that no one has time for that, so why suggest it to the clients. …umm…have you met a woman? Trust me, if it means her hair will look as great as it does at the Salon, a woman will set her alarm 2 hours earlier and will make the time. Everyday. Think about it…how many steps is the average woman’s daily facial care regime? At least 3. Time will be made and saved for that matter when the explanations are made and the proper products are in place.

I have spoken to many stylists and Salon owners and I hear the following phrases far too often;

  • our client’s can’t afford it – first of all, how can you know this? Unless you are privy to their finances, this is one of the worst assumptions to be made, and quite honestly, it’s insulting. Plain and simple.
  • our client’s won’t pay that – in my experience, clients and customers will pay for a product once it’s value is explained to them. Take a moment or two to explain the value of using professional Salon products. Explain the differences between Salon professional products and what can be found at the local drug store. Explain that they have just invested in themselves, and using the proper products will protect that investment, and in turn, they can achieve their new found style at home, everyday. …and before you tell me it sounds like I am feeding you a line, I am not. You & I both know that to keep the vibrancy of hair color, the proper products MUST be used.
  • our client’s don’t have the time to learn about products and how to use them – Yes they do. Your client has just given you at least one hour of his/her time, they are sitting in your chair. Your client wants to look good and wants to like their hair everyday. Your client wants you to teach them. Your client wants you to explain what products to use and how to use them. How do I know? Your client tells me when they have come to see me, asking me what products they should be buying, after leaving your Salon. Let’s be honest here…I fear stylist’s say their client’s don’t have the time because the stylist doesn’t want to take the time.
  • our client’s don’t care what they use on their hair – There are no words to explain the utter idiocy of this statement. Yeah, I said it. First of all, yes they do care. Second of all, if you think they do not care what they use on their hair, as their stylist, you should be explaining to them why it matters what products they use on their hair. Your clients are your advertising. To paraphrase the great Vidal…if they don’t look good, you don’t look good.
Explain what products you are using and how to use them, make this a part of EVERY consultation and/or discussion when your client is in your chair. You must STOP thinking for your clients. Stop assuming anything about them, be it their at home hair care routine or their finances. Making assumptions not only affects your bottom line, it is also a tad insulting to your client. If you have time to keep up with the Kardashian’s, you’ve got time for this. …and so do your clients.

That Girl in the Red Coat

 

 

Beauty, Business, communication, Hair Care, health and wellness, Uncategorized, writing

No, it won’t run itself

You hear the chatter, you hear the laughter, you hear the hum of the blow dryer, you smell the aroma of fresh coffee brewing mixed with the scent of hairspray, you are at the Salon. The place where we come to renew ourselves, treat ourselves to some “me time”, to share our woes and our celebrations. Yes, the Salon is a wonderful place to be. Not only can it change a person’s hairstyle or color, it can change their perspective, even change their life.        It is a great business to be a part of. Yes, a business – from time to time, something that Salon managers/owners forget.

I deal with over ten reps. from different distributor’s and each time I see them we always end up having the same conversation…Salon manager/owners;

1)  not ordering retail product.

2) no rhyme or reason to staff attire/behaviour.

3) not having their orders prepared.

Always to be followed up with the same complaints from the Salon manager/owner’s – business is slow, they have “no idea” about how to make their staff behave, and have no idea what they need for the Salon.

Ladies and gents, I know beauty is fun and exciting and you always dreamed of owning a Salon and changing people’s lives. Guess what? It is also a business and it takes work, and effort, and time, and attention. When taken care of and done properly, it can  be awesome and not even feel like work. When not taken care of and everything put on the back burner, it’s gonna feel like you are on the chain gang. If your Salon is struggling and your staff isn’t performing up to par, as a Salon manager/owner, well, it’s your fault. Yeah, I said it. I am a manager of a Salon/shop and when something isn’t going right, I look at what I am doing first. (…not my favorite thing to do, admit a wrong…but this is what I signed up for). I lead by example,I am fair, but firm. I do not ask anything of my staff I would not do myself, from sweeping the floor to washing a baseboard = fair. If you show up late for a shift, you are getting a verbal warning = firm. Hey – as managers/owners this is what we signed up for. As managers/owners, we cannot be the “friend”. Yes, we can be friendly, yes a friendship may bloom after years of working together, but at the end of the day, we are the manager/owner, not the friend. If  you want to be the “friend”, you may want to rethink your position.

Salons, as all businesses, need structure, process, leadership. Your staff needs to know the ground rules, where the line in the sand is drawn,so that they aren’t always wondering what is going to happen next. They need to know that their manager/owner is taking care of the orders so they know if there will be enough color for their clients this weekend. When a Salon has structure it will blossom, because your staff only has one thing to think of, their client in their chair and the customer walking through the door.

– Staff meetings are a must, for salons with two or ten stylists. A meeting people – not a gossip fest about the newest juiciest news about your last client or a whine fest about someone not washing the towels enough.

– A staff manual is always an awesome idea. Oh calm down…It doesn’t have to be a novel. A few pages outlining the salon’s procedures for client care, the cash register, reception, pre-booking, retail sales & commissions, opening/closing procedures and dress code. Make two copies, one for the employee and one for their file. Have the employee sign both copies, for two reasons;

1) an understanding of what is expected of them and of the Salon

2) by chance, for example, the dress code is not being followed, you can show them that you know they know what is expected of the dress code…since they read and signed it. (if it happens again, now you know you have a problem). * As the manager/owner – we MUST follow dress code, at all times. Lead by example.

As managers/owners, we MUST know our inventory. We need to know how much stock we need, from color to gloves to coffee for the clients to disinfectant for the tools. There are many awesome Salon management programs out there. At our shop we use SAM by Milano and it is awesome, especially for retail. All you need is your clients name and number ( and you already have that) and this gem tracks all their purchases. An AWESOME tool for retail – in case of package changes or you can’t remember the last hairspray they bought, it’s there in their file.

You have to do the work. You need to be present and professional. A Salon will not run itself but with the right procedures in place, respect for your staff and clientele, it will begin to feel like it.