October 2010

Charlene Abretske

Beauty Business Buzz | Charlene Abretske


Beauty Diversity — Tapping into a Wider Market

Not so long ago there was one standard of beauty for women in the United States; the “beautiful blonde goddess” was the epitome of ethereal appreciation.

When we were little girls our baby dolls were blonde and blue eyed, and then we graduated to Barbie. If we did not grow up to meet the beauty standard set forth by Christie Brinkley, we did not fall into the category of “traditionally beautiful.”

Over time, as women came into positions of power in entertainment and media, we began to see a complete shift in the perception of beauty. This shift embraces what makes every woman beautiful, whether she is blonde, brunette, White, Black, Asian, Hispanic or Multicultural.

Our cultural standards of beauty have changed considerably in the last 30 years. This has allowed the beauty industry to explode with different styles, products and technologies that help every woman reach her personal standard of beauty.

It has long been the calling of beauty professionals to help all women feel respected, special and beautiful. Now, as a society, we see the effect it has on all women. Stereotypes have been smashed and our beauty icons have evolved.

With this relatively new beauty acceptance comes a responsibility for salons to keep up with the trends in new products and services, as well as offer them in different ways and to different clients than we traditionally might have.

Trends in the beauty industry begin by beauty professionals trying something different in their chairs. When you take that chance and explore your creativity to make one woman in your chair feel beautiful, you are actually elevating the industry and all women as a population.

With so much diversity out there, what do you do to tap into a wider market? Start by allowing your clients access to universal treatments, specializing and branching out.


Offer services that appeal to women of all ages, and all ethnic backgrounds. The beauty industry as a whole is great about offering new technology that will increase your sales and market share.

A good example of this is the advent of hair extensions. Until the mid nineties, women did not have much choice about the length of their hair. Even though they had been embraced for decades for their long lasting and dramatic look by salons that specialized in African American hair, if you did not have a stylist back then who was trained in the art of hair extensions, you had to just wait and let your hair grow.

Eventually, more and more products that were much easier to use came out as the demand grew. This allowed all women to have access to the hair they wanted, when they wanted it. This trend also brought back new and better versions of clip in extensions, allowing women at all economic levels to make the choice to change their look at a moments notice. The popularity of these items also allowed for a completely new class of retail items, allowing salons to increase their retail sales.

Another good example is blow out treatments. These cross all boundaries and allow all types of women to go silky and shiny with minimal maintenance. These appeal to women with varied hair types, ranging from curly, to unruly, to resistant gray. The popularity of these treatments is exploding in all types of salons with all types of specialty clients.


Having experts on staff will allow the rest of your clientele to grow. When clients are ready to make a change in their look, having someone on staff that specializes in that particular area will allow the client to make that change with confidence. Furthermore, if they change their mind as styles change, you will have the ability to keep them as a client by moving them back into the more traditional choices your salon offers.

An example of this would be having someone on staff that specializes in natural hair, even if your salon primarily deals with relaxers and weaves. This allows your clients to have all the options they need to explore the type of beauty they would like to, while still coming to you for their services.


If you are looking to have a broader appeal, finding the clients you want to open up to is critical. Does your website reflect the environment you are offering along with offering an accurate menu that appeals to the clients you would like to have? Make sure the menu on your website offers the newer services you are offering. If a potential customer is searching for “natural hair” in your town, make sure your salon appears in that search. This will help match you with the right clients, and you will be surprised how many of the people you want will find you.

Every client should feel beautiful when they leave your salon, and the more diverse your salon is, the more beauty you can offer to your clients.

Charlene Abretske is an independent business advisor. To reach her email charleneabretske@gmail.com or call (760)453-1882.