January 2010

Lisa Kind - Editor

Esthetic Endeavors | by Judith Culp


New Beginnings, New Opportunities

The new year brings with it new beginnings and new opportunities.

This is good news. The esthetics industry has been hit significantly by the economy in some areas of the country.

Now, more than ever, clients are discriminating in how they spend their dollars. They still want our services but we have to make sure they feel they are getting the “best bang for their buck.”

We are all doing this. We are not just spending, we are evaluating how we are spending those hard earned dollars a little more carefully.

It’s time to go back to the business plan. We need to evaluate every service we offer, every product we use and retail. We need to ask ourselves, does each of these offer results and quality that will please our clients? Are there ways to enhance the value we are offering to our clients? What can we do to enhance the value of our services without increasing the cost to offer them?

Do we have products or service options that are languishing because we have forgotten about incorporating or up-selling them? Maybe it’s time for a revival. Is there a service that used to be popular but now you find you are no longer offering it? Why? Has it been replaced with something better or just forgotten?

Are there products that are slow movers? Why? It’s time to evaluate and be ruthless in your scrutiny. Are the price points in line with your business vision? What about packaging? Maybe it’s time for a sale.

What you can’t move in a reasonable time – donate to a worthy cause. There is usually a group that provides shelter and transition for women in crisis or victims of domestic violence. These folks will be delighted to take your unsold items. Some people also do well marketing them via Craig’s list or E-bay and these are options if you don’t mind the time involved but be sure to remember to cover your shipping costs in addition to the selling price.

Before replacing these items use the evaluation you just performed to help analyze and determine if they should be replaced and if so, what specifications must the new product meet. Not only does it have to be a wonderful product, it needs to meet the needs of the clients specifically served and must give them value. This involves understanding our demographics and having a clear target market. We need to know our special niche.

It’s important to know exactly WHY clients would come to us as opposed to the great technician down the way. If this uniqueness has gotten foggy then start off the new year right by clarifying that. What can you offer that will make you unique? This can be a product, a service, a technique or ambiance.

The new year also brings out everyone’s determination to make a fresh start and do some self-improvement. This makes it a perfect time to do the winter skin care series. Microdermabrasion, peels, facial toning all are wonderful ways to help the client’s skin look and feel more youthful. Even better, they are non-invasive and have no down time. Add value to the series by including a distressing or other bonus to the service rather than just discounting.

It is important to keep in mind it’s not always the lowest price people look for, it’s often the best value. Sometimes clients want to do mini-versions of a treatment to try and bring down the price. If they do a mini-version, will they get the same benefit? If not, then we may be doing the client a disservice rather than giving them a plus. Both microdermabrasion and peels benefit from being done in a full facial treatment so that hydration, serums or light therapy can enhance their result.

Consider this: the Senate is considering a five percent tax on cosmetic medical procedures including both surgical and non-surgical techniques to help finance health care coverage. If passed, the bill will take effect in January 2010. The good news is our esthetic services will not be affected by this proposal. If it passed, we just gain a marketing opportunity.

New beginnings may also include new ways we are staying in touch with our clients and keeping them up to date about new things we are offering or reminding them of the benefits we can give them. This might be by sending out e-blasts, e-newsletters, Facebook, Myspace, twitter or a fresh look for the business website.

The abilities we have now to share information without the expense of postage and printing are awesome. Success is dependent on keeping client contact information updated and also allowing them the ability to opt-out if getting too much mail is creating a negative experience. What about a “special client’s club” where they get an extra bonus for belonging (financial or appointment commitment required. What about a coupon of the month club or posting?

Beginnings are opportunities and now is the time to assess our products, services, and business to make sure we can take the best advantage of them.

Judith Culp, a CIDESCO Diplomat has been in the esthetics industry since 1980. A CPCP permanent makeup technician for over 18 years she served a 4-year term as a Director for the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals, two years as their president. She is president of Culp Enterprises Inc. and CEO of NW Institute of Esthetics. Judy Culp is available for consulting. For more information visit www.estheticsnw.com.