2

…you’ll figure it out

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September. Although the calendar marks January as the beginning of a new year, many feel September is the beginning of all things new. The kids are back in school, commencements are commencing, the care free schedule of summer has come to an end and the more regimented schedules of work, home and life have returned. This September truly feels like a beginning for yours truly. For those of you familiar with my blog (thank you again for all your lovely support), you are well aware of the closure of the shop. Many were and are still worried about what will happen, about what I will do now. When asked “What will you do now?”, thanks to the above quote by the FAB! Tina Fey, my answer is now “I will say yes and will figure it out afterwards.”. …and I have begun to do just that, and I gotta tell you…it’s been pretty fabulous.

Many changes have occurred, my tag line being one of them. Since I am no longer at the Salon, I have decided to change my tag line from “Mane Tales from the Salon” to “Bringing Enlightenment to the world of Beauty”, for my primary focus has always been about beauty. I write about hair products, hair product reviews, retailing tips, tips on how to be kind, tips on how not to be an ass, or about life in general, all in the hopes of helping someone. Be it with their hair, their business or their self image and self worth. Sharing my experiences may help someone feels better about themselves, begin to like their reflection, feel capable of achieving the hair style they have always wanted, be able to improve their retail revenue and in turn their business, or simply remind someone that they are not alone. If that is not a thing of beauty, I do not know what is.

Over the past weeks, I  have taken a break. A much needed rest for my mind. It was as if the universe, the powers that be, the smurfs – take your pick knew I needed a reset and gave me one. The closure of the shop was a gift, it really was. I had no excuse not to slow down for a moment or two and figure out what needed figuring. The guilt about leaving someone else at the helm, feeling selfish taking time off, that aching feeling that I was forgetting something, all those thoughts and feelings were no where to be found. For months I knew it was time to move forward, but I didn’t want to let anyone down, or leave anyone in the lurch. Thanks to the closure of the shop, I no longer had those feelings, those worries or those concerns. Well, quite honestly, those fears. … which got me thinking. How many of us, in our work life or home life, put these unneeded fears in our way? Worrying about what people will think? What will people say? What will happen? What will I do?

Don’t get me wrong. I still battle those shouts of fear, for I am embarking on the known yet unknown. I know my capabilities. I know I am good at what I do. I know I have much to offer. I know what the next step is to take and I know where that step is. What I don’t know is what comes next – that in itself is the fear talking. So when I hear the fear shouting “Uh Oh! Oh, I don’t know”, I listen for the faint whisper of “Say yes and figure it our afterwards”. It’s always there. Always.

 

 

 

 

1

…from the inside out

“Trade expectation for appreciation” – Tony Robbins.

It was Sunday morning. I was sitting on the couch, staring out my window while mindlessly flipping through the channels, pondering my circumstances, when I heard the above quote. I turned away from my window to see Tony Robbins speaking with Oprah, on Super Soul Sunday. This wasn’t the first time Mr. Robbins appeared in my living room. About a month ago, whenever I was on Facebook or twitter it seemed someone was posting about his Netflix documentary “I am not your guru”. So, being me, I had to see what all the hype was about. I grabbed my water and a snack, got comfy on the couch and turned on Netflix. I have to admit, I was a little skeptical. Being 44, I was familiar with Tony Robbins and his motivational workshops and books. I had given them a try in the past, however nothing ever seemed to resonate in me. I would get a spark, but the fire never stayed lit. Until now. There I was, sitting up, leaning towards the television with tears running down my cheek. Did I happen to mention I was 10 minutes in? Maybe it is my age. Maybe it is where I am in my life. Maybe it is because I am more open than I used to be. Whatever the reason, it was beautiful. It was powerful, magical even. It has been 4 weeks since I have watched it, and I think about it at least once a day. It was the first time I felt I actually saw the real Tony Robbins. No bullshit. No politically correct rhetoric. It was the most refreshing moment I had seen and heard in a long while, and it was exactly what the Dr. ordered.

 

For those who follow my blog, you know that the shop/Salon I manage is closing at the end of the month. The past few weeks have been trying to say the least. Every customer that comes through the door has the same questions “You’re closing?”, “This is so unfair! What am I going to do?”, “Where will I get my product now?”, “What are you going to do now?”, “Guess you are shit out of luck with no job huh?” and countless other negative comments and inquiries. After 3 weeks of repeating myself, smiling, being courteous, I have to admit, their opinions and statements were beginning to sink in and were setting up shop in my mind. I was starting to expect the worst, which is not my style.

Fast forward to this past weekend. Just as yours truly was allowing the “what if’s” to make their way into my mind and allowing fear to control what I expected my plans to turn out like, what do I hear at the exact moment I was getting all stressed about my expectations but Mr. Robbins himself stating “trade expectation for appreciation.”. …okay there universe…I get it. I feel the nudge. So, that is exactly what I did. Yes, it was weird at first. Yes, I had to really concentrate on appreciating. Yes, I felt a little foolish. Then I realized it felt weird and foolish because I was thinking of what others would say or think instead of thinking of what I think and what I want to say. Then I remembered a quote I came across months ago “I used to care about people’s opinions until I tried to pay my bills with them”, enough said.

What is happening in your life does not define you. It only defines you if you let it. Plain and Simple.

 

 

1

Tales of Truth – the final edition

Well, here it is. The final edition of That Girl in the Red Coat’s Tales of Truth. I thought I had heard, seen and smelled (yes … smelled) it all. Over the past weeks, I have been proved wrong. With the full moon, a heat wave and news of the shop’s closure, it has been an interesting 2 weeks around the shop and I must say, I know for sure there is a higher power, because yours truly has been able to hold her tongue and keep it professional. So, gather ’round ladies and gents, boys and girls, for it is time for Tales of Truth.

  •  A woman came in looking for hard wax to do her own Brazilian wax at home…I guess she is really getting into representing the host of the summer Olympics. Anyway, as I showed her our selection, she asked me if instead of using a spatula to apply the wax, could she just use her fingers, like the last time. I asked her “The last time? I thought you said this was your first time?”. “Oh, it is. The place I go to, the girl says using her fingers was easier.”. I took a breath, swallowed the little bit of puke that came up and asked her if “her girl” wore gloves. “No. She just applied the wax, ripped, then put her finger back in the wax and did it again”. …..*THAT GIRL IN THE RED COAT tip – if your “wax girl” is using her fingers and double dipping with you, she is with everyone else. If you do not see gloves and a spatula….RUN!!!

 

  • Since the shop is closing, we have our products on sale. The signs say Everything on Sale. A woman came in and asked “Is everything on sale?”. “Yes, everything.”. She tilted her head to the side and said “So everything right? I’m not gonna get up to the counter and then you’ll pull the rug out from under me and charged me full pop on some things?”. I told her “That’s correct. Everything. No rug being pulled out.”. “Well, I’m gonna add up my total on my phone and it better match yours!”. …they matched.

 

  • A woman asked if she could return a product she bought a month ago and then buy it back with the new discount.

 

  • I was asked “Since you are closing, does this mean you won’t be open anymore?” …I am still trying to figure that one out.

 

  • A woman started to spray every hairspray she picked up. I let her know they weren’t testers. “What’s it matter? You’re closing anyways!”.

 

  • A woman came in for her hairspray. I let her know that unfortunately we had sold out of it and the owner was not ordering any more product. I shit you not, she leaned on the counter, turned her head to the side, spoke out of the side of her mouth and said “Listen, you order me 12. Sneak an order in. No one has to know. I’m good for it.”. …okay there Fredo.

 

  • We open at 9:30 a.m.. At 9:45 a.m. I hear the chirp of the Salon door and with it a shriek of “NO!!!!!!!” – so loud one of my stylist’s shut off her dryer and walked away from her client to see what the shouting was about. “You can’t close! You can’t! Where will I go now? You have ruined my whole day!!!!”. …and good morning to you as well.

 

  • “You’re not closing.” a woman said as she came in the shop. I told her the owner had decided to close. “No she didn’t. You’re not closing!”. It took 5 minutes to convince a woman that the shop was in fact closing.

 

  • A woman came up to the counter with her product and told me “I have a bone to pick with you! I was in last month and you said nothing about closing. You let me buy product at full price! I am not impressed!”. I let her know I understood her disappointment since I didn’t know a month ago either. …she stopped talking after that.

 

  • “Well, aren’t you just the most annoying thing today!” – what a woman said to me when she saw the shop is closing.

 

  • A woman came in, stared at me, stomped her feet, pouted then sat in the chair by the front door for 5 minutes staring at me without saying a word. (I know it was 5 minutes, because I timed it). When she finally stood she looked at me and said I was being unfair for closing the shop. I let her know the owner had decided to close and before I could explain why she told me “If you cared, you would have made her stay open. This is horrible. Now I have to drive further for my products!” …took every ounce of restraint to not say “time to get off your cross, someone needs the wood”

 

  • “Well, aren’t you shit out of luck. All you can do is this and now the shop is closing.” …just another gem bestowed on yours truly. …you would be happy to know I didn’t hold my tongue on this one and assured the woman that I was not just a girl standing in a shop.

 

  • As I rang through a women’s purchase, I told her the total and as she gave me the cash, she smirked and said “Shop’s closing huh. No job for you!”. …I know of the soup Nazi, guess she is the job Nazi.

 

  • “Where am I going to get my shampoo now?!” – something I hear at least 20 times a day. When I let them know they can check the local Salon’s “Can’t you call around to all the Salon’s for me?”….sometimes, there are no words.

Last but not least, the woman who flashed me her red bump riddled bikini line came in and said “Sorry to see you’re closing! Who’s gonna help me now? Who am I gonna show my issues to?!?”. …I…shit…you…not.

 

Tales of Truth

 

 

 

0

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.

 

 

1

Tales of Truth – the 23rd Edition

So here we are, at the 23rd. edition of That Girl in the Red Coat’s Tales of Truth. The past weeks have been, well, lets just say, interesting. The summer has arrived and with it the rising humidex and the lowering of common sense. So gather ’round ladies and gents, boys and girls for it is time for some Tales of Truth.

 

  • a woman came into the shop, came up to the counter and said “So, you do hair huh?”. I let her know that I personally do not, and offered to introduce her to one of our stylists. “So, you work here and don’t do hair huh?”. “That’s correct.” I told her I manage the shop and asked if I could help her with anything. She looked at me for a minute and then said “Yeah…where is the mailbox around here?”.

 

  • I was told my shop isn’t family friendly because I wouldn’t let a woman’s child try on the nail polishes that we have for sale. I was told that I should keep them out of children’s reach if I don’t want them touched.

 

  • A woman asked “Do you have toe nail files?”. I showed her our selection of emery boards and nail files. She sighed and looked perplexed. “Oh no! No toe nail files?!?”. It took me 5 minutes to convince a woman that she could use a nail file on her toenails, that nail files and emery boards can be used on finger nails and toe nails. “You promise nothing bad will happen?” she questioned. I assured her it will be fine. …I refrained from calling the authorities.

 

  • A woman asked me if the tweezers I sold were any good. I assured her that they were and that I actually own a pair. She asked me if I could get at those pesky hairs. I let her know that yes, even the shortest of eyebrow hair can be plucked with our tweezers. Then she asked “What about nipple hair?” …sweet baby Jesus, thankfully she didn’t feel the need to show me what she was talking about.

 

  • A woman was looking at our travel size display and sighing. I walked over and asked her if I could help her find something or if she had any questions. “No. I don’t know why I am looking at these. All they do is make me sad knowing I don’t travel.” ….oh my.

 

  • “Hey honey! You got any of those flat irons I could buy? Not for me. For my lady. A man like me don’t need these girly things” – Yep, said to yours truly as he adjusted himself, I shit you not.

 

  • I was asked if it was alright to use a travel size hair dryer at home…you know, because it is meant for travelling. …sigh

 

  • Last but not least…I was asked if shampoo would help hair…down there. (her words, not mine). You see, because it gets dry and itchy – HEY! If I gotta go through it, so do you. I told her it would be best to talk to her doctor about her south of the border issues as I searched for my hand sanitizer

 

Tales of Truth

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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.

 

 

0

…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.