Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Beauty Biz Resolutions for 2011

As the year comes to a close, many of us reflect and start planning for the future. Many personal resolutions are made, such as losing weight or spending more time with the family. But what about making some resolutions for your business? Now is the time to take stock of what was successful this year and what efforts didn't live up to expectations. From there you can create new goals for 2011 to help drive a successful new year.

Did one of your special offers work like a charm? Was it that "Buy One Product Get One Half Off", was it a free gift with purchase, or a customer loyalty discount? If something worked well, plan to use it again this year or use it more robustly in a slower period of time. If a promotion fell flat, determine what went wrong. Did the offer not resonate with your clients, was the timing off, did your staff not promote it enough? Compose your thoughts and then review collectively with your staff. Ask for their insights for what worked, what didn't, and why. Then the team can brainstorm promotions for the entire year.

Today more than ever businesses are pooling resources and working together. Talk to your neighboring businesses and see what their plans are for 2011. Try co-hosting an event to tie in both your services and drive businesses both locations. A few ideas are to have a sidewalk sale or VIP event. If the business next door is a coffee shop or cafe, have them carter the event and give out discount cards. You reciprocate with a free service or discount on retail products. Promote the event with postcards and emails to both your customer bases and use local advertisement methods to get the word out. There is power (and profit) in teamwork.

Proactive Planning
Many businesses take a haphazard approach to business planning. Owners and directors can get caught up in the day-to-day and forget the benefits of pre-planning. All it takes is a bit of forethought. Being proactive in plotting out a course for the year makes the year less stressful, empowers your team, and gives you goals to strive for. The biggest benefit is keeping everyone on the same page. When you are all working from the same script, things come together. Need some help? Click here to see our yearly promotional planner.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. You will be amazed at what taking some time to reflect and plot out future goals can do. Setting a focused agenda for the year will keep you and your team on track to make a successful and profitable new year. Cheers!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Looking ahead – Beauty Biz Trends for 2011

Time keeps ticking towards 2011. Here is a sneak peek at some of the trends to position your business a head of the curve!

Natural, organic products and services continue to gain popularity. The sustainability and green movements are driving innovative lines of hair, skin, and various beauty products. Try offering a new organic retail product line or introduce a new organic-based service.

A broader sense of beauty is showing up in spas, beauty treatments and beauty products. Beauty is taking on a much broader meaning that just the latest hairstyle or nail color. Anti-aging and wellness are tied into being healthy and beautiful. Adding in some wellness aspects of your services and retail lines can keep you on top of this trend. Partner with a yoga studio to offer discount classes for clients or host a VIP event with your local fitness center. Add a line of wellness teas, essential oils, or relaxation cds.

Niche boutique brands or private label
Many salons and spas will see stronger retail success in carrying niche boutique brands or private label retail products. The big brand professional products are getting easier for clients to find through mass merchandisers or through diversion. Carrying a small brand or a private label brand that can only be found at your location will make your retail products exclusive and avoid clients going elsewhere.

Make-up Products & Services
A key item being added to the salon and spas retail lineup are make-up products. Trends in bold bright and dark, earthy colors can be seen in make-up such as nail polish and eyes or lip colors. Align to one line to test the waters. Promote a free make-over like they do in department stores. Tie in organic or niche brands and you could have a retail rock star!

Personalized and Value Added
Look for ways you can personalize your clients’ experiences by having a la cart services or product options available. For retail items such as skin care lines, allow clients to pick and choose the products they would like for in a value priced set. Offer free personalized consultation, makeovers, or samples so customers can try before they buy.

There you have it – some 2011 trends seen in my crystal ball. Don’t be overwhelmed. Pick one or two that most relate to your business and develop a plan to incorporate the trend in the coming year. What are some trends you are seeing? Share your thoughts below!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Provide Added Value to Increase Sales

In these economic times, clients are looking for more for less. Many have cut back on their beloved beauty treatments and products, but they still love to indulge in little moments of luxury. Here are some easy ways you can provide added value to increase your sales.

Super Size
Many manufacturers are running specials for bottles with 25% more free or increased sizes. Add these to your retail product mix. You can also add in trial samples with each purchase. Clients love free samples! It will encourage more retail sales and they just might love that sample they tried. Another way to increase the perceived value is by creating gift sets. Take a travel bag or elegant packaging and group products sets such as salon systems, skin care collections, or make-up kits into one price. Clients feel they are getting more for their money. You can also create a variety of price points to meet any budget.

Your retail areas should be easy to navigate with organized shelves, signage directing clients to their areas of interest, and styled for the current season or promotion. Take a tip from department stores and add a magic table. These are draped round tables that highlight a product or promotion. Allow customers to try samples and experience your products before the buy. Clients will be more inclined to purchase if they know what they are getting.

Tie your services and products to a charity or other socially responsible effort Align with a cause that reflects your business and customers, such as breast cancer awareness or going green. Choose to donate a portion of service and product sales. Clients will feel better on splurging if they are helping others. Your business benefits for tax purposes and creating goodwill.

Details Matter
Don’t forget the devil is in the details. If clients are investing in a bit of luxury, you want them to feel the luxury in the experience. Make sure your location is clean, warm, and inviting. Call clients by name and offer hot tea or cool beverages when clients receive services. Include details such as fresh flowers, bows tying up gift cards, and elegant packaging for retail purchases.

Adding more value in your offering will make clients feel they are getting more bang for their buck. Clients will enjoy their experience and moment of luxury - and will want to indulge again soon!

Share your tip or idea that has helped your business add more value and increase sales!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Grow your Business with Referrals…without even asking!

One of the best ways you can grow your business is with a recommendation from a client you have already served. Many of us shy away from obtaining referrals. We believe it will be an uncomfortable interaction and could lead to rejection. Here are a couple of easy – and fun – ways to create a referral program without having to truly ask for a referral!

Transaction Based
Completion of a service is the perfect time to reach out for a referral. One option is to educate your guest that you have a new referral savings program. Staff member says, “If you loved the service you received today, we would love to share the news with your friends and family! As a thank you for your referral you will save 20% of your next visit and so will your friend”. Hand them a referral postcard card. They can simply fill it out and drop off in your salon or mail it back. There is no pressure on your staff or your client. You collect the referrals and contact them with their special offer. Another option is send postcard mailing directly to your client list with this same offer. Basing your referral request on a transaction by providing a percentage off or a free product with service will drive new customers and gives your loyal clients a bonus for helping you grow.

Host a Referral Sweepstakes contest in your business. You can tie it into your holiday promotions. From Oct 1st to Dec 20th hold a referral sweepstake giving away a free vacation to a sunny locale or a weekend at the spa. Have signage through out your business showcasing the contest. Each referral a client passes your way allows them another entry in the contest. Follow up with the referral name right away. They should receive a gift or discount for trying your services. Then draw the winner at the end of Dec. Feature the winner in your salon newsletter and promote it in the salon.

These are just two ideas to get you started. Although there are marketing and margin costs involved, not only will it drive new clients to your chairs, but it can also spur buzz about your business if you promote it correctly. Modify these ideas and make them your own. Please share your referral program idea or comments below. Create excitement and make referrals fun for all parties and watch your business grow!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Want to sell more retail products?

In the professional beauty industry, we are the experts on the service side of the business. Many of us have loyal clients with busy chairs. Selling retail products is one area where many of us get stuc. Here are some easy ways to beef up your retail sales and increase your bottom line.

Retail Display
You need a special location to feature your retail products. Typically this area is located close to the check in/out areas. This allows customers to browse if they are waiting for their appoitment and is also easy to upsell at client check out. Your retail display area needs to eye catching. Feature bags with tissue, shelf talkers to highlight specials, and use product risers to add depth and interest. Rotate your display every 4 weeks to keep it fresh and new. Each time a client visits they should see a new display.

Magic Table
Take a tip from the cosmetic departments. Use round tables draped with a cloth and add your product of the month or special offer. This makes the product feel special and draws customers to see what the buzz is about.

Try me - Samples
Customers usually buy more when they can try the product first. Feature try me samples on your magic table. This allow customers to smell and experience your products to be sure they will enjoy it. Provide samples to customers after their service. They will see the difference when they use the products at home and much more likely to buy the product on their next visit.

Staff Education
Many stylists feel they aren’t sales people. They don't want to be “pushy” by halking shampoo. This is far from reality. Educate your staff that selling the right retail products ensures their work will last longer and allows the client to replicate their look at home. It is not being pushy when you are offering to help the client look as good as they are!

What gets Measures Gets Done
The best advice of them all is to measure your retail sales. Have weekly staff meetings reporting on what products are selling the best and who is making the most sales. Brainstorm as a team on ways to improve such as new promotions, retail display ideas, or even new product lines. Additionally,a little friendly competition doesn’t hurt. Offer gift cards or additional time off for the staff members who sell the most.

You don’t always have to offer sales or discounts to increase your retail product movement. Use the power of product promotion to create awareness of your lines, drive interest, and ultimately close the sale!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Don’t hit the summer snooze button!

With the lazy days of summer upon us, it can be easy to coast through these slower times as customers lengthen appoints, opt for a less-maintenance look, and you and your staff are day-dreaming of a beach day. Don't squander this summer slow down. Make the most of this slower time by planning your way to success for the last part of year!

Jump Start Promotion Planning
Remember that panicked feeling you get when you realize it is almost Halloween and you haven’t even started gearing up for the busy season? The holidays will be here before you know it. Use this down time to strategize on how to maximize sales. Review what offers and products moved last year. Knowing what worked and what didn’t will guide you to your game plan. Plot out a rough guess for your inventory needs. Don’t forget the gift set idea. Offer a variety of pre-packed ready-to-go gift sets. Create a variety of price points for all budgets. Work with your distributor now for discounts on pre-holiday orders or special payment terms to you can stretch out your cash flow. Poll your staff for their input on promotions or retail products that sell. If they feel a part of the planning process, they have more buy-in and will be more likely to whole-heartily participate and hence drive more sales.

Join a Cause
Partnering with a charity can not only makes you feel good, but also can encourage clients to get involved. It results in great PR and can increase sales. Pick a cause that is dear to your heart such as breast cancer awareness, heart health, or the environment. You can create promotions or events around these causes. An example is for October Breast Cancer Awareness Month offer a free awareness band with each purchase or donation. In November align with a food drive in your community to provide needy families a Thanksgiving meal. Give discounts to customers who bring in non-perishable food items. December partner with Toys For Tots and hold a toy drive. These events will provide great publicity for your business, plus you are helping these fabulous causes!

Get Social
By now you are probably swimming in information on how your business needs to be participating in social networking. This can be overwhelming since the social networks seems to change like the wind. Take this slower time to get acquainted with these new marketing tools. If needed, enlist the help of your younger staff to give you quick lessons or to assist in your posting efforts. Websites such as FaceBook and Twitter are free to set up and don’t take much to get up and running. Use these sites to highlight special offers, your cause marketing efforts, or even before and after customer pictures. It is all about building a community of your customers and having them share their experience with your business and brand. Once you get going, it will be easy to keep it up with just a few minutes a day.

These are just a few ideas to make the most of your down time. Be the worker ant and not the grasshopper this summer. With a little planning now, you will reap additional advertising, a less stressful busy season, and increased sales!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Make your sales sizzle with Summer Promotions!

Summer time and can be a slow time for business. Many people are planning a family trip, heading to the beach, or catching a baseball game. This can take your focus away from promoting services and retail products. Stand out from the crowd and get attention by rolling out these simple promotions to increase summer sales!

Sun-Kissed Specials
Many skin care and hair systems tout UV protection. Highlight these products for the month of June. Use these products on guests during their visits. Have your staff promote them while performing services and at check out. Offer an "SPF 15% Off" discount for all sun protection retail products. You could add ancillary retail items such as SPF lip gloss, sunglasses, scarves or hats. All of these can increase your average ticket and increase your sales. Highlight all these products in your retail display, check out areas, and promote with in-store signage.

Beach Body Ready
Spas can offer various deals on helping clients get beach body ready. Waxing, spray tanning, body wraps and more can have special promotions. Alert clients via email, postcards, and in-store signage. Or create the "Beach Body Ready Special" offering a completed package of all these services with a discount. You can increase your total service count without breaking the bank, increase your average ticket, and help your clients look great on that family vacation!

Polka Dot Bikini Sale
Have some fun with the yellow polka dot bikini song! In July put yellow stickers on a variety of products and offer special discounts or free trial size gift with purchase. Have a yellow polka drawing for each guest that month. When they check out have them draw a yellow polka dot card. These cards can offer discounts, free services, gift cards, or even a day of beauty package.

Block Party
Chances are you’re located by boutiques, restaurants or retailers. Partner with your neighbors and create a weekend block party. Place a variety of retail products out on small sidewalk tables. Each business should promote a special offer...such as a discount off all prebooked appointments or free gift with purchase that day. Not only will it draw attention but it also allows local businesses share customers and creates a warm community atmosphere.

Dog Days of Summer
Summer starts winding down at the beginning of August. Time to move all that summer focused inventory and squeeze in those body services such as spray tanning. Launch a dog days of summer sale offering deep discounts on that inventory to get it off your books to allow for holiday products.

These are just some suggestions to liven up your summer season. Anything can be a promotion so get creative. Selling more should always be top of mind -- even in the slower summer season. Add some fun, be creative and make those summer sales sizzle!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Last Minute Roadmap for a Successful Mother's Day

Have you waited until last minute to plan your Mother's Day promotions? Are you scrambling to make your clients see your services as "the gift" for their mothers and grandmothers? There is still time for your business to benefit by celebrating Mom. Follow this easy road map to success.

Stop Signs
Does your store have signage alerting the customer to think "Mom"? Keep it tasteful and simple. Use clear acrylic frames with printed sheets that read: "Pamper Mom this Mother's Day with a Day at the Spa" or "Make Mom feel as beautiful as she is - give her a day of beauty!" Place these signs near your check out areas, waiting rooms, and stylist stations.

Green Light
Make it an easy choice by creating ready-to-go-gifts. Use gift baskets, cello bags, vinyl bags to package sets of products. Create a variety of price points so clients can choose the right gift for their budget. Send out an email blast or postcards to offer a special gift with purchase. For spa packages, provide a luxurious robe in a robe box for that wow factor, or offer an incentive of a discount or free gift to the gift giver. Use acrylic holders and display your gift cards and certificates in your check out areas.

Full Tank of Gas
Make sure you are fully stocked with gift certificates or gift cards. (Did you know we print our custom printed gift certificates in just 4 days?!) Many people wait until the last minute. You can be their gift-giving solution. Keep your retail areas organized, clean and full of those ready-to-go gifts. Have your staff prepared by creating excitement about your offers and educating clients on gift ideas.

No Detour
Give them no excuse by making it simple. Offer gift certificates or gift cards in a variety of dollar amounts of for full services. Provide the presentation packaging to make it a one stop shop. Place that gift card in an elegant gift card box tied with a beautiful bow. Try the upscale pillow boxes with gleaming swirl bows. Offering the ready-to-go gift will make it a no-brainer for your clients. Mom will be happy. Child will reveal in glow of giving a successful gift. You will ring up a sale -- and maybe a new loyal client when Mom visits!

Make the most of this holiday and maximize those Mother's Day sales. Time is running out so hit the gas pedal!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Generate More Customer Referrals

Customer referrals can drive new clients into your chairs. Referred clients are more likely to become loyal customers because they are closely connected to the person that recommended your services -- typically family or friends. This builds trust in your services/products and creates a shared experienced between all parties.

Did you know that promotional products help encourage customers to provide you referrals?

Promotional products are little goodies you give as gifts-with-purchase, thank you gifts, or small tokens to advertise your business. They include your business logo, website or phone number. A study by Baylor University found that customers who receive promotional products (advertising specialties, give-aways) are more willing to provide referral names than customers who don’t received these give-aways.

*Business who gave promotional gifts to customers received 22% more referrals than businesses who did not use promotional products.

*Clients that received a promotional product were 14% more likely to provide a referral than those who did not.

*40% of businesses who used the gifts commented on how well the gifts were received by their customers.

This is some powerful data that you can capitalize on!

Create your own Referral Drive
Step 1. - Offer a free gift to clients who provide you with referral names. Possibly offer various size/value gifts for the number of referrals a client could pass your way. The more referrals -- the bigger the promotional gift.

Step 2. - Increase your chance of booking the appointment with the potential customer by handing out "referred gift cards". These cards can be presented for a free gift or special discount on their first appointment. Your client can personally present this gift card for greater impact.

Step 3. - Have you staff on board talking it up with each client. Make special name tags for the event that reads... Pass me a referral and get a FREE GIFT (for you and your friend)!

Step 4. - Creative excitement about this promotion for 2 weeks. Provide motivational team meetings, hold a staff contest for who can capture the most referrals, add in store signage and tent cards on stylist stations.

Step 5 - Don't forget the important follow up. Make sure you wow those referral clients. This makes your current client shine for their endorsement and turns the referral into a new loyal client!

Don't know what give-away is best for you? Click here to see a variety of promotional products ideas. This is an simple program to easily add to your marketing mix. Ramp up your custom referral programs and increase your sales (and client list) today!

Source:, Baylor University

Friday, February 19, 2010

Where to spend your Marketing Budget?

Everyone’s budgets are tighter and a bit slimmer this year. But it isn't time to fret -- it’s time to be smart, savvy, and creative. There are many ways to spend marketing dollars, but you need tried and true ways to benefit from those precious pennies. Below are some proven efforts that turn those hard earn marketing budgets into sales!

Brand Builders
There are several methods to improve your name recognition and grow your repeat business and they don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Many salons/spas spend a lot of money on radio ads, print ads in a local papers, or coupons in various direct mailers. While these can be successful at times, many of them are one hit wonders. They don’t hold extended value. I would recommend a bigger bang for your buck is building a stronger brand.

The easy way to do this are developing a consistent look and feel to all items that touch your customer. Are your signature colors red and black? Then those colors should be incorporated in your décor, packaging, gift certificates, appointment cards and beyond. Your logo should be featured on all these items to reinforce your business. Think of it as your walking billboard. Everything that leaves your business can be seen by others and advertises what you do and who you are. Are those items saying what you want them to say? You are in the business of selling image so your marketing materials should show that you care about your image too!

Don’t know where to begin? Let are in house art department and sales experts help you the create your unique branded look. With our FREE art options and FREE samples we can make sure you look as great as you are!

Promotion Power
You need something customers can get interested in. Promotions can create excitement, draw attention, and bring in additional sales. You can use a portion of your marketing budget to offer gifts with purchase or discounts on current products/services that outshine your competition. A portion of your marketing budget can go to pad the lost margin with the promotion. Your goal is to get the customer to fall in love with the product/service so they will pay full price next round.

Talk up your promotions or customers won’t know about them. Use in store signage with acrylic frames on your front counters, retail areas, stylist stations. Sales staff should be educating clients when appropriate. Mail inexpensive postcards to announce big events or specials. Encourage customers to bring in the card to take advantage of the offering. A monthly promotional calendar is a must to get everyone on the same page. Click here to check out our Promotion Calendar to get your creative juices flowing.

Get Social
Another free (or almost) way to market your business is to get social. Use the power of email and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Email can easily blast your latest special or newest product launch. You can talk up your promotions and gain loyal followers on various social community pages. Create a page for your business and encourage clients to sign up. Provide meaningful content to keep them engaged. Tie in those brand building lessons learned above by using your logos and colors on your communications.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. There are many inexpensive ways to help market your business. Please comment below and share your most effective inexpensive marketing effort. Together we can grow the industry!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Be on Point - 2010 Spring Trends

You’re in the business of selling image. You need to stay on top of the latest trends and constantly present what is new. It can be hard to stay plugged in while juggling your personal and professional life. Don’t worry – the Bag Lady Blogger has you covered. This month I’m sharing the highlights on color and pattern trends for spring 2010 to keep you in the know!

The color of the year – turquoise. It is a very similar shade to the Tiffany’s signature robin egg blue. Other heavy hitters this season are versions of the pink/orange coral colors. When these colors are paired with turquoise, they provide a natural vibe that encompasses the eco-minded atmosphere seen in many color palettes lately, but more lively with bright warmer tones. Other trendy colors are neutrals in the beige family along with olive green. Add in a warm navy blue, a romantic lavender, a tangy red, and a gleaming yellow to round out this year’s spring colors. Overall the message is soft, warm, earthly but not dull. Click here to see Pantone’s Official Spring Colors for 2010.

Trendy patterns swing from muted to loud. Animal prints are still the rage with zebra, leopard, and snake skins leading the pack. They can range from a natural look to mixing in a bold color. Blooms and flower prints are very big. Patterns range from subtle to loud designs of falling petals or bright blooms. Other stand outs include the sophisticated, classic black and white pairings. Additionally, abstract patterns with bohemian, hippy-inspired prints crossing the run ways. Click here to see these looks in action.

Need help incorporating these trends into your professional image? Check out our packaging options that will give you instant style!

Products on Color Trend for Spring: Flowers of Ceres Collection, In-Side Out Totes, Poly Prop Totes

Products on Pattern Trend for Spring: Skins and Safari Collection, Summer Breeze and Pink Perennial Collections and Mosaic Tile Bags.

Have fun playing with these new trends livening up your business décor and retail packaging. The key to incorporating trends is to selectively pick what works for you. Combining everything at once will be overload. Mix them in as appropriate –colors and patterns right for you, your business, or your clients. Fresh, new colors and patterns featured in your displays, packaging and promotions will create interest and drive up your sales!

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