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A little retail therapy

When you hear the phrase “retail therapy” the most common picture that comes to mind is a woman or a group of women strolling down the street with many a bag in hand from their favorite shops and boutiques…or Wilma and Betty shouting “Charge it” as they run into the mall. Yes, retail therapy can brighten the darkest of days for us. It can also brighten the darkest of days in the Salon as well. Understanding the importance and the impact of retail sales in the Salon can seem overwhelming for many stylists, Salon Managers and Salon Owners…until now.

 

I have written many Salon Tales covering retail. Today, I am sharing some links for you to make it that much easier to see just how simple adding retail to your Salon’s revenue can be.

salon_mag_logo   A few articles by yours truly featured on http://www.salonmagazine.ca ;

http://salonmagazine.ca/en/news/1146-why-fear-holds-back-the-best-stylists.html

http://salonmagazine.ca/en/news/1282-3-salon-fails-sales-rep-sees-don-t-tell-you-about.html

http://salonmagazine.ca/en/business-retailing/2122-salon-holiday-retailing-tips.html

 

Piidea Buyers Guide ….and my most popular blog on retail to date, featured in the Piidea Buyer’s Guide;

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2014/05/20/if-you-are-a-stylist-you-are-a-sales-person/

Retailing product in your Salon is a win/win. Your clients will be able to protect their investment in themselves, will be able to achieve their new style in between Salon visits, your client retention and your Salon revenue will increase. Plain and Simple.

 

 

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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

 

 

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If you are a stylist…you are a sales person

Ladies and Gents, we are in the business of Beauty. Yes…the business, and as in every business, sales and selling are what keeps the business alive,competitive and profitable. “Oh…I’m not a sales person.”. “I am a hairstylist…not a sales person.”. Two of the most common phrases I hear from hair stylists and Salon owners. Today’s tale is to put this myth to rest. Yeah, I said myth. … convincing a woman to give you 3 hours out of her hectic schedule and pay you $175.00 for hair color – if that isn’t selling than I don’t know what is.

I manage an independently owned retail shop/salon, and I can tell you, in all honesty, that our retail sales make up for over 70% of the salon’s revenue. Yep…you read that correctly, 70%. Many of my customers are the clients of other Salons. Salons that don’t retail any product, or sell the products that they have on their shelves. I am on the front lines, so to speak, and am here to tell you that your clients and customers want their hair to look the same between appointments and are willing to spend that little extra if it means that their hair will look good and feel good. Your clients and customers need to be taught about their products, how much to use and how often. There is a need that is not being met…well, I am meeting it. You can too. You can. Think about it, you have your client in your chair for at least 45 minutes. That is 45 minutes that you can discuss the shampoo, the conditioner, the conditioning treatment, the styling products, the hair dryer and the flat iron you are using on them that day. You can have them smell the products, feel how the dryer’s handle fits their hand, and show them how to adjust the temperature on the flat iron. 45 minutes. There are moments that I have 6 retail customers at once and I have 5 minutes to explain products and how to use them. If I can sell $75.00 worth of product in 5 minutes, imagine what you can potentially sell in 45 minutes.

All professional hair care lines offer product knowledge classes. All professional hair care lines have their own websites that offer a break down of each product, their features and benefits to each hair type. Every bottle offers a description of what the product is used for, and how to use it. It is time to educate yourself and your Salon staff. It really is that simple. At least 3 -5 times a week I am on my lap top or my phone, with my customer right beside me, looking up a product, or showing them a tutorial on You tube. The information is out there. It’s time to find it and use it. Being me, I have compiled a little list for you, a retail aid if you will.

– First and foremost – stop fearing the sale. When you are telling your client about the product you are using in their hair, you are having a conversation. …if you are able to tell them about your nightmare of a date last week, you can tell them about the hairspray you are using.

– remind your client that their new hair color is an investment in themselves, and that is it a worthy investment, that using Salon professional shampoo and conditioner, like the one you use on them each visit, will prolong the vibrancy of their color and nourish their hair to keep it looking like they just left the Salon.

– while using your flat iron, explain to your client the difference between the quality of professional hair care tools and department store brands. In my experience, once my customer understands the difference, the question of what to buy and where to buy it is answered. The value of Salon  professional products has been explained.  Not sure where to begin? Check out my Salon Tale;

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/05/25/to-go-where-no-flat-iron-has-gone-before/

– when your client tells you they love their hair, tell them that if they use the products you used that day that they can love their hair everyday. Offer them 5 more minutes of your time to show them how to use the product.

– offer a complimentary consultation on how to use products. Many times, in my experience, my customers have the proper products at home, they are usually using too much or too little, or the application of the product can be improved. Many of my new customers purchase their products from me because I offered this service to them.

– ask your clients/customers if they are happy with their hair. Their answer will give you all the information you need. You will find out that their hair goes limp by noon, or their frizz is getting out of control. Let them know that you have products that can help them, and offer to show them how to use them.

– explain the value of  Salon professional hair care products. I personally go around to check on prices at the drug store and department store. Many of the products are $1 – $3 less than Salon professional products. I explain this to my customers and remind my customers that Salon professional products are higher quality and more concentrated = less product used and more money saved. …and their hair will look and feel terrific.

It’s time to make retail a priority in your Salon, plain and simple. Retail in the Salon is a win/win. Your clients hair care needs are being taken care of, their personal investment in themselves is being nurtured and protected and your Salon has added revenue. Take the time to talk with your clients, educate your clients and not only will you have made a sale, you will have created a customer.

 

 

ThatGirlx3          ThatGirlx3

 

 

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Picasso and the Art of the Consultation

Over the past weeks, many women have come into the shop in despair. Sure some of them were fretting over getting the exact shade of red polish that would go perfectly with their holiday attire. The women I am speaking of were the women that had hair styles they couldn’t style on their own or a new cut they couldn’t manage. When I asked them why they chose the style/cut, they all had the same answer, “the stylist told me it would be what was best for me.”. …alright now stylists, before you get all worked up, I know, trust me, that people can tend to over exaggerate  and that wires can be crossed during a conversation. This being said, when a proper consultation has been given, your client will walk out with an agreed upon style/cut and should have the tools and products with them as they leave the Salon, so that they can achieve the same look in between salon visits. Unfortunately, from the looks on the faces of the women I spoke to and by their hair resembling a Picasso, a proper consultation had not happened and the maintenance of their new look had not been explained.

This is a point I cannot stress enough to all educator’s, stylists, Salon managers and Salon owners – the client consultation is a VITAL part of the appointment/Salon visit. I have seen and heard the stylist’s at our Salon spend up to 30 minutes discussing their client’s hair and the look they are hoping to achieve. It’s amazing what you can find out with a simple consultation.

– you may find out that your client is taking medication, which can affect the outcome of the color process.

– you may find out that your client hates how dry her hair is because of all the perms she has had because someone told her that was the only way to get volume at the roots. While offering to add a conditioning treatment to her service this would be a great time to introduce her to a root lift like Big Sexy Root Pump Plus

-you may find out that your client has arthritis, so maybe that straight edge bob that requires a flat iron  everyday may not be the best cut for her.

– you may find out that your client is in the midst of a chemo regime and her hair is more fragile, so maybe a perm isn’t the best option, today.

– you may find out that your client is the caregiver to a loved one who is ill, so she doesn’t have much time to fuss with her hair. Introduce her to a Dry Shampoo, like Quantum’s Refresher Spray. A powder free spray that makes the hair look freshly washed for those days that become too much.

– you may find out that your client has skin sensitivities or allergies, which in turn can help you make sure to use a gentler shampoo and a styling product that has less fragrance. * A great option is KMS Head Remedy Sensitive Shampoo.

– you may find out that your client is recently separated and unsure of herself and her looks, so maybe chopping off her shoulder length hair into a pixie cut may not be her best option, today.

– you may find out that your client has a severe gluten sensitivity, so you need to be careful which products you use. *Alterna Bamboo is a gluten free line

– you may find out that your client’s kids have just gotten over a lice outbreak, a perfect time to teach her about preventive measures, for herself and the kids. * Tea Tree is a natural lice repellent – Paul Mitchell has a lovely Tea Tree line including styling products.

– you may find out that your client has been losing her hair because of illness or stress, and feels that cutting it off is her only option. What a great opportunity to educate her on hair loss and to give her hope and a style that makes her feels beautiful. * NIOXIN – a great product line to stop hair loss in it’s tracks – in my opinion, a must have product for any Salon

A consultation is a great way to find out what styling tools your client already owns, what products they currently use, if your client is capable of achieving the same look at home and the consultation is a great way to add retail to the service. With a proper consultation, you know what your client wants, your client will know what they are getting and how much effort or how little effort will need to be applied to their new style, and you, the stylist, get to feel like Picasso…you have just made someone’s world a little more beautiful.

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It’s time to be a little more social

Everywhere you look, you see someone with a cellphone. The majority of us, after our morning greeting and good morning smooch to our loved ones (…and I hope your loved ones come first), grab our coffee and our cell phone, find a comfy spot and sit down to see what’s going on in the world. Facebook – check. Twitter – check. Instagram – check. Pinterest – check….you get the idea. Social media is our morning paper and our evening news. It is. It is also a key ingredient to any successful Salon. It is. Today’s tale is for my beloved Salon owners and Stylists. It’s time to become a little more social.

I know of what I speak. I see the results of using social media everyday. It works, plain and simple. Everyday I see the results of making sure our shop’s Facebook page is updated. (Twitter is an awesome tool as well, but more people tend to use Facebook, in my experience). I hear you now “what results could she possibly see?”. Well, how about an increase in our retail sales and revenue, and more client retention because of the tips about products shared on our Facebook page. Every day, at least 100 people see our posts. Some days my posts on the shop’s Facebook page have reached over 500 people. Yep…500 potential customers and clients. On any given day, I will receive a message from a customer or client about a product I have posted to our Facebook page. Many times the message ends with “hold one for me – I will be there after work!”. I have sold many products from hairspray to flat irons to holiday packs this way. Using social media has helped me acquire new customers and in turn new “likes” to our Facebook page. (psssst…more likes = more views and shares of your page and your posts = more clients and customers).

*It’s a great tool to introduce a new stylist to your customers and clients. Also, to alert your clients when a stylist has returned from a maternity leave.

*Changing your hours to Holiday Hours? Post ’em on your page

*Having a monthly draw? Post the picture on your page

*Follow the pages of the products you sell & share their tips and tricks – a HUGE retail aid!

*Bringing in a new line? Post it on your page

Something I hear far too often from Salon owners, Managers and Stylists is “I don’t have the time to do that.”. Okay, if you don’t have time to do it, get someone in your Salon to do it for you. I’m sure you have someone in your Salon that has their cell phone in arms reach. The owner at our shop is also our head stylist, and is booked 2 months ahead, all the time. She really doesn’t have the time, so that is why I was given administration rights to our Facebook page and I take care of the Facebook page, because I do have the time. Honestly, it takes 10 – 30 minutes of your day. I add it into my daily duties, so it isn’t missed. Orders made – check. Inventory counted – check. Schedule done – check. Facebook page updated – check. It really is that easy.

Social media can be a great marketing tool for your Salon, if used properly. I stress the word properly. We have all seen the sassy limericks – save those for your personal pages, this is a business and needs to be seen as such. Watch the language and the content. Put it this way – if you wouldn’t want your clients and customers hearing those words coming out of your mouth…then don’t put it on your Facebook page.

Social media works and can be a huge addition to your Salon’s client retention and retail revenue. It’s time to make it work for you.

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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.

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Fear of Heights

We all have fears. Some have a fear of spiders, some a fear of germs and some of us, for some reason, many of us in the beauty industry, have a fear of heights…not the looking down from the penthouse patio kind of heights. The “what if no one buys it” fear of heights. Taking your Salon and your customer service to the next level.

I manage a retail shop/salon- that is not a franchise. We are locally owned and operated. In our shop we carry over 25 professional hair care lines…which , by the way, is not the norm. Most Salons retail one or two lines…well, the product is on their shelves. Unfortunately, not much selling is taking place. For some unknown reason, most stylists have no problem charging $150.00 for a color service, but cannot ask their client if they need any product for at home.  Everyday, I mean EVERYDAY, I have at least five women come into my shop who have just left their stylist’s chair at another Salon, to buy product, from me. Four out of the five said women, when asked what product the stylist used, have no idea. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the business and am more than happy to help anyone keep their hair looking great. What I cannot begin to fathom is why would their stylist not want to help their client with their new cut and why wouldn’t the stylist want the client to protect their investment. Yeah – I said investment. People work hard for their money and $150.00 is an investment. More importantly – clients are our billboards, our free advertising. Why in the hell wouldn’t the stylist want their walking portrait to be as beautiful as possible?

What I have come to realize over the years in my beloved industry is this. Most Salon owners and stylists are afraid. They are afraid to invest in themselves and in their Salons. Afraid that the customer won’t buy the product and they will lose money. Guess what sunshine? You can’t sell what isn’t there. What Salon owners and stylists should be fearing is not that their clients won’t buy the retail they bring in, they should fear their clients not returning because of the lack of customer service. Getting your client an expresso and a magazine while their color is processing won’t always be enough. Without explaining the importance of using professional salon products at home and how to use them, sooner or later, your client is going to start thinking it is you that is ruining their hair – because they can never get their hair to look as good as the day it was done. More often than not, people will start feeling they were played the fool.Trust me, I hear it everyday. Think about it…when you bought your cell phone the salesperson didn’t hand it over to you and say “Thanks again! Best of luck!”. We shouldn’t do that to our clients or our customers.

Before you start to think “if my client can make their hair look as good at home they won’t come back” or “no one will buy shampoo from me!” – give your head a shake and calm down. Of course they will come back. They need you to help with the cut and the color, and of course they will buy shampoo from you, they spend $150.00 for you. They trust you with their hair, I am sure they will trust your advice about shampoo. What will begin to happen is you will find they come back on a regular basis ( we will cover re booking another day…one lesson at a time eh?), and may even bring you more clientele…because you have given them 100% of your time and attention, you have given them the best form of customer service. You are helping them look good, feel good, and protect their most important investment, themselves. Not so scary now, is it?