March 2012

Jerry Tyler

Blue Highways | by Jerry Tyler


Solutions for Current Challenges in the Beauty Industry

The editorial focus this month suggests we have our say so I thought it would be good to share what I see as challenges and some solutions in the beauty industry.

With the long term trend of unemployment, many are leaving the path of traditional corporate America and turning to beauty professions as a new source of career path.

The new demand on trade schools is to not only maintain high exam pass rates but also show gainful employment for three years, to maintain their Title IV funding and student loan programs.

Most schools are expanding their internal programs with the goal of producing long-term, employable graduates that can compete and win in this demanding marketplace.

Because of cuts in government budgets, in some states future beauty professionals are now experiencing long delays in examining. Many schools and academies are offering long term post graduate tutorial programs to assure their graduates maintain their acquired skill and knowledge until they can take and pass their exams. This also goes toward preventing potential student loan defaults which harms both the schools ability to offer affordable loans and protects the graduates' credit rating.

In today's competitive landscape new professionals not only have to interview to gain entry level positions, they are required to pass an audition to see if they have a strong entry level skill set.

Schools recognizing this are designing "school-to-work" programs with business building companies and tool manufacturers to assure a successful transition from school to employment.

Salons have seen a ten year decrease in guest visitation. Many businesses have developed customer appreciation rewards programs for pre-booking and service bundling incentives to end this negative trend and increase business.

With the new reality that mere client retention can no longer assure long term success for professionals and salons you have to look at other ways. Social and business networking have become valuable tools in increasing new guest growth that adds to the already satisfied client base.

New innovations in technique, tools and products keep our industry in a constant evolution mode. This demands new service and prescriptive offerings to again create potential growth for businesses and individual professionals.

With over 40 million Americans experiencing some form of hair loss, hair enhancement as a means of meeting this challenge has created new service offerings in turn creating new earning potential beyond traditional salon services.

The high demand for quality hair to supply those services has moved from the retail consumer suppliers to the professional salons which assures the client of quality and authenticity of human hair creating additional revenue for salons and stylists alike.

As I walked the aisles at a recent trade show I was pleasantly grateful to see so many future professionals as well as many long-time industry friends with 10-40 plus years of experience leading our industry.

With all the many challenges daily facing us it is good to know in our craft we still have more opportunities and solutions to meet those challenges and thrive as a united industry.

Jerry Tyler's column Blue Highways is his "Road Less Traveled" perspective on the solutions and challenges facing the beauty industry. Jerry Tyler has been a stylist since 1975 serving as the former artistic director for Vidal Sassoon Academy and currently as Director of Industry Relations for Carlton Hair salons. He is also a licensed cosmetology instructor and has served as President of the California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.