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, Hair Care, That girl in the red coat, Women

Part of the package

As many of you now know, yours truly has spread her wings a little wider and has become an Independent Retail Consultant. Over the years in our beloved biz, I came to realize many Salons were missing out on the perks of retailing their products in their Salons. Not only does retail increase Salon revenue, it enhances your client’s experience and gives them the tools to have a good hair day everyday between their appointments. Retailing in the Salon helps your clients protect their investment, in themselves.

Over the years, and during some of my consultations, I have come across the same concern from every stylist I speak with. “I don’t want to seem pushy.”. With over 25 years of sales and customer service under my belt, let me tell you this…if you are coming from a place of honesty and integrity, you are not being pushy. If your client has just had her hair colored red and you tell her that you highly suggest a color shampoo and conditioner to purchase to use at home to protect her new loved color =not pushy. You are trying to keep her red as vibrant as it can be for as long as possible. Selling said client a clarifying shampoo that she does not need = pushy. A clarifying shampoo would ruin her red. Giving your clients the tools they need to protect their investment in themselves is all you are doing, plain and simple.

 

Another common question/statement is “I don’t see the value of it.”. I have one question in response to this one, would you skip adding developer to your color? Of course not, because without developer the color wouldn’t process properly and in turn, you would have an unhappy client sitting in your chair. The same goes for retailing product. Think about it. Your client is sitting in your chair touching their hair telling you “I love it!”. They leave your shop with a spring in their step, feeling as though they can take on the world. They wake the next day, begin to style their hair only to have it not work out or look as good as it did the day before, and begin to feel as though the world is caving in on them. They may not be in your chair, trust me, in this moment, you have an unhappy client. Everyone wants to have a good hair day, the ladies and the gents. Everyone. Selling your clients product to take home and taking a moment to teach them how to use them ensures your clients will not only be happy in your chair, they will be happy until they are back in your chair with their next appointment.

All Salons have packages, be it a wash, cut and style or cut included with each color service, we all have packages. So, why not add some retail to the package? You are using the products. Your clients smell the products. Your clients see the products on your station. Your clients asks “OOO! That smells great?! What is that?”. All the work has been done for you. All you have to do is answer their questions, have a conversation. That’s it. Plain and simple. In my experience, once the value of the product is explained, the cost is never an issue. The client wants that product. Take flat iron sprays – once I explain the value of a flat iron spray – it protects the hair from the contact heat of a flat iron, that it helps to protect the vibrancy of hair color and that it helps to combat frizz and fly aways, when they leave the Salon, they have a flat iron spray in their hand.

Retail is already part of the package. Your clients love their hair and want to continue the love affair. They need you to help them keep their relationship with their hair “all moonlight and roses”. Adding retail to the package will do just that.

 

 

Beauty, Business, communication, Hair Care, That girl in the red coat, Uncategorized, Women

…my stylist said…

“My stylist said I should use a volumizer.”. “My stylist said that my hair needs a treatment.”. “My stylist said I am using the wrong hairspray.”. These are a sampling of the phrases I hear on a daily basis, more then once, from women and men who have just left their stylist’s chair and have come to see me at our Salon/shop for their hair products. Many times they look confused and more often than not, they look and feel insulted. They have just been told there is a problem with their hair, or the products they are using and were not given a solution. After discussing what it is that their stylist said and more importantly, after I ask them what they think and what they want, I hear an even more common question… “Why didn’t my stylist tell me that?”.

Over the years I have realized one constant in our industry, a key component to any Salon visit is being neglected. Retail. Retailing the products that we use to help achieve our client’s new found love of their hair. Products that we use to keep the vibrancy of their color and the integrity of their hair. Letting your client leave without the proper products and tools to keep the love affair with their hair alive is, well, mean. Yes, mean. Think about it. Your client leaves your chair feeling prettier or more handsome (cannot forget our gents). They have a spring in their step. They are walking with more confidence. They like their reflection. Then the next day, as they are standing in their bathroom trying to get their hair to look as good as the day before, their self confidence begins to fade and they begin to feel stupid. Not giving your clients the proper products, tools and instruction is literally pulling the rug from under them. No one likes to feel like the butt of a joke.

  • First and Foremost! ALWAYS ask what products your client is using at home.
  • when washing your clients hair and you realize that they need to use a clarifying shampoo, explain to them what a clarifying shampoo is and why it should be used.
  • bright and vibrant colors are huge right now. For your clients with multi tone brights, explain the importance of how to wash their hair, that each color should be washed separately for the first few washes so that the colors do not start to bleed together.
  • when discussing the need for a conditioning treatment, explain what that is. Many times the women I have spoken to thought that they were supposed to leave the treatment in, which in turn made their hair look and feel worse than when before using it.
  • explain to your client that a volumizing shampoo and conditioner are a good start but if they want height and volume throughout their hair, styling products must be used. *Trust me, I know of what I speak. Many women I speak to thought that they were doing something wrong because the shampoo wasn’t making their hair look like it did at the Salon.
  • if your client has poker straight hair, let then know that a shampoo for curly hair will not make their hair curly.
  • when using mousse, explain the importance of shaking the can and dispensing it upside down. *That Girl in the Red Coat tip – explain it’s like using a can of whipped cream – if not shaken and dispensed upside down, nothing happens but a great big mess.
  • explain the difference between the hold factors of the hairspray you are using. If your client doesn’t want to fuss with her hair throughout the day, that soft hold factor spray she picked up at the drugstore is probably the culprit of her bad hair days.
  • for your clients that use their flat iron on a daily basis, explain the importance of thermal protectant sprays. They should be used every time the flat iron is used. Every time.
  • if you see you client is dealing with dandruff, instead of just pointing it out, explain different ways they can apply shampoo to their scalp and offer them a Salon professional dandruff shampoo to use at home. *Most brands offer a dandruff/scalp shampoo, you just have to ask.
  • when it comes to waxes and pomades, find out if your client likes a matte finish or prefers a little shine, what kind of hold they prefer and explain the difference.
  • always show your client how to use the products. How to dispense them, how to apply them and how much to use.
  • show your client that every bottle has directions on how to use the product on the back of the bottle, in case they forget.

Ask  your client how they want their hair to look. Ask them if they like to blow dry their hair or not. Ask them if they use a flat iron or curling iron. Ask if they have a water softener. Ask them if there is anything about their hair they would like to change. Asking these questions opens all the doors to understanding your clients needs and wants and in turn, the doors to selling them what they need for their hair are opened too.

Retailing products, tools and giving instruction on how to use said products is a key component to any consultation/appointment. Plain and simple. Your clients are your advertising, they make or break your business and your reputation. If your client only likes themselves, their hair and you while they are sitting in your chair, pretty soon they will looking for another chair to fill.

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

Monday Motivator’s – Goldwell Sleek Perfection & Diamond Gloss Spray

I swear, I blinked on Friday night and poof! it’s Monday morning. It was cold and gloomy this morning when I whined myself out of bed. Not even my cloud filled cup of morning coffee could shake my melancholy. As I was on my way to the shop, the sun broke through the clouds as if the universe was saying “Alright Sara. Chill out and smile.”. I do not enjoy admitting my shortcomings, but at that moment I realized that I was being a big old baby. I woke up in my own bed, in my own house, with electricity and hot coffee. My loved ones are healthy. I have my own car to get to work. I have a job. Yeah, safe to say my life is pretty damn good…oh, and thanks to these gems from Goldwell, so is my hair.

 

Goldwell Sllek Perfection & Diamond Gloss Goldwell Sleek Perfection & Goldwell Diamond Gloss Spray

 

Goldwell Sleek Perfection is a thermal protectant spray serum. It’s waterless formula insures less damage during heat styling and reduces breakage up to 50%. A humidity resistant formulation that locks out humidity for up to 24 hours all the while offering color protection = less fading so your new found color keeps it’s vibrancy. It is lightweight, so a great option for our fine hair beauties, yet potent enough for our thicker, more coarse tresses. It is a fast drying non aerosol spray with no hold factor, so there is never a worry for a sticky residue, or working against any other styling product you may be using. Oh….and by the way…it smells like candy….you know, the good candy from the penny candy counter.

 

Goldwell Diamond Gloss Spray is a fast drying, aerosol shine spray. This gem offers spectacular long lasting shine, reduces frizz and offers color protection. Since Diamond Gloss offers no hold it can also be applied to your hair when it has decided to get a mind of it’s own and becomes unruly or looking a little stressed or haggard – picture being caught in a gust of wind as your umbrella blows inside out – give your hair a spray of Diamond Gloss to get it back in line. I have found it to help with static as well. …and it smells great too.

…you gotta admit, when you are having a good hair day, it helps everything else seem a little less daunting and helps bring some light to your day.

 

 

Beauty, communication, Hair Care, That girl in the red coat

Tales of Truth – the 21st. edition!

Just when I think I have written my final installment of my Tales of Truth, that I have seen and heard it all, the universe gives me a little nudge to remind that I am not quite finished. The upside to the craziness and absurdities – I have something to write about and you all get a giggle or two. So gather ’round Ladies and Gents, boys and girls, for it is time for the 21st. edition of That Girl in the Red Coat’s Tales of Truth!

  • A woman came in looking for a quieter hairspray. Yes, a quieter hairspray. It seems that most aerosol cans are too noisy. As I reminded myself not to show it on my face, I let her know that using a pump hairspray would be a “quieter” option. “No….it’s too much work to press down the pump again and again.”. …that’s not the only thing that is too much work…but I digress.
  • A woman asked me what the difference between non acetone polish remover and acetone polish remover was. I let her know that non acetone does not contain acetone and is a little gentler to the skin and nails and that acetone contains acetone and can tend to be a bit drying but is best for removing darker shades of nail polish. She looked at me and said “So, what you’re telling me is there is no difference.” ….sigh
  • We have a chair at the front window for our Salon clients who may be waiting for ride. I had a woman come in the shop, sit down in the chair and begin to organize her wallet. I asked her if I could help her and she said “No. I just felt like cleaning out my purse and this looks like as good of a place as any.”. …well, it’s a pretty nice chair with a nice view….of the parking lot.
  • “Did you know that I had two toe nails removed yesterday?” – the answer to my “Good Morning!” greeting as the customer came in the shop
  • A woman came in asking if I sold anything for those little red bumps people get. I asked her if she meant the ingrown hairs on legs that can happen after waxing. “No. Not there. Here…” My hand went up and I stopped her right there and let her know that she can just say her bikini area.  ….Ladies, there are other ways to show your Canadian pride than showing your beaver.
  • I had to promise a woman I would not tell her stylist that she came into our shop and bought some product. Very 007.    ….by the way, I have no idea who this woman is or who her stylist is.
  • A gent came in asking about at home waxing. I showed him our selection of waxing products. He asked me “What do you think of brazilians for men?”. I let him know that he may want to go to a Salon that offers that service because he could injure himself if he tries to do it himself, to which he said “Sorry, you misunderstood me. I want to know what you think about them. Do you like them?” ….seriously? Is this what the world has come to? This is the best line a dude can come up with? Hey gents – so you will know and one day your children will know, women do not want to talk about your balls. We don’t.
  • For the past few months the peroxide that we retail has been on back order, so I have brought in a new line until my usual is available. A woman came in asking if her regular peroxide was available yet and I let her know it was still on back order, but I did have another available. “I know that. You sold it to me last time. The little white bottle.” to which I said “Our replacement peroxide was in a blue bottle, not a white. I don’t think you bought it here.”. Well, that was the wrong thing to say. “I ONLY shop here and you are mistaken.”. After about 3 minutes of discussing how I was wrong, I asked her to bring the bottle in he next time she came in, so I could see the bottle. “Oh I will and I will laugh at you!”. The next day, yep, the very next day she came into the shop shaking the bottle in the air, giggling at me. “Here it is! Told you!”. It was then that I let her know that she had bought it at another beauty supply and that the sale sticker was still on the bottle. She looked at me and said ( I shit you not) “well, now that it settled, hopefully you can stop talking about it and move on.”.
That Girl in the Red Coat

That Girl in the Red Coat

 

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, That girl in the red coat

Holidaze

I know the calendar reads September. For yours truly, it’s read December since about May. My final Christmas orders have been placed, shipping dates have been strategically chosen, requests have been approved to have invoicing split into separate months for larger orders. Plans are being made on how products will be displayed and what shelves will be moved where. The shop’s holiday draws are being planned and packaged. Advertising idea’s are in the works. Parties are being planned.

Today’s tale is for Salon owners, Managers and Stylists. The holiday season is upon us and we are entering crunch time for ensuring that the next few months are as profitable as possible. When planned and executed properly, the potential profits from retail during the October – December months can reach the thousands, even the tens of thousands. Yes, you read that correctly, and yes, it is possible. I know it is possible because I have done it. Think of what that could do for your staff, yourself and your business. I’ll give you a minute to visualize.

Before the panic sets in once you realize it’s October in a few days, take a breath, and another. You still have time to make this your Salon’s best holiday retail season ever. (until next year). For many Salon owners, Managers and Stylists that aren’t used to retailing products, it can seem overwhelming and you may feel like you are in a daze and have no idea how to begin your adventures in Holiday/Christmas retail. Being me, I have compiled a little list for you, a “how to holiday” for your Salon if you will. You’re welcome.

  • Call your Sales Rep’s. They all have copies of their distributor’s Christmas/Holiday flyers containing all the deals available
  • Request an email of all sales and deals available – in case a deal in no longer available or a change needs to be added, it can be done A.S.A.P. from wherever you may be, at any time. As the holiday season approaches, and product availability starts to dwindle – it is first come, first serve.
  • Speak to your Sales Rep. about splitting up larger orders into two shipments, one for October and one November. With two shipments comes two invoices = larger orders aren’t such a hit to your pocket book. *If retailing is done properly, once November’s order arrives, you have sold out of October’s shipment which will now pay for November’s.
  • All distributor’s offer net 30 days for payment. Many will change payment terms to net 60 days – another way to give yourself some breathing room and give you the ability to bring in more product.
  • Ask for samples of products that you can add to all your customer’s and client’s bags. A foil sample of a shampoo or a conditioner goes a long way.
  • Request retail bags with every order. Distributor’s will add them to your order at little or no cost to you. It’s a win/win – your clients and customers get a pretty bag for their purchase and the distributor and your Sales Rep. get free advertising for their products.
  • Offer free gift wrapping with every retail purchase. With the free bags you’ve received from the distributor’s and your Sales Rep., all it will cost is a few dollars of tissue paper and ribbon from the dollar store.
  • Check your reward points! Matrix, Joico and Goldwell/KMS, to name a few, have an excellent rewards program. You can redeem your reward points for free products that you can in turn use as daily/weekly holiday draws. Psstt…you can redeem points for FAB! full size products, curling irons, purses, jewelry and electronics.
  • Get your Salon on Facebook. Keep your page professional – only post new product arrivals, new sales or Salon specials. Post pictures of before and after pictures of your client’s new colour’s and cuts (with their permission). Start a Facebook contest – once a certain amount of likes have been reached, a gift card/gift certificate will be awarded to a lucky Facebook page “liker”. In my personal experience, our shop’s Facebook page has brought in new retail customers and new clients for the salon. Our Facebook page has also introduced me to new community organizations that we have donated to and local businesses that I now cross promote with. Pssst….a Facebook page = free advertising!
  • To keep your shelves looking full, separate some of your holiday packs to use as open stock. Sell them for $1.00 – $1.50 less than suggested retail – your clients/customers get a deal and you make a profit, again, its a win/win. *Many holiday packs come with a complimentary product – do not sell the complimentary product, put it aside to give as a free gift with large purchases, or to brighten someone’s day.
  • Many hand cream’s come with a complimentary tester. Keep the tester at the front counter, right by the register, or while your client’s color is processing -ask her if she likes the scent, then offer for her to try some. 8 out of 10 times, she will be purchasing some on her way out. Again, I know because I see it happen everyday. Yes. Everyday.
Retail is vital for the success of a  Salon. Not only does it add revenue to your Salon, it adds integrity to your Salon’s reputation and adds to every client and customer experience. It adds integrity to your Salon’s reputation because it shows you stand behind and are confident in the products your Salon uses. Selling the product you use on your client ensures that their new color will stay vibrant and that your client can achieve their style on their own. 9 out of 10 times, taking the time to teach your client about the products being used and how to apply them will guarantee the sale. Once you see the rewards to your Salon, your clientele and your customers of adding retail to your Salon during the Holiday/Christmas season, I can guarantee that retail will become a year ’round event.