November 2012

Clive Lamb

Food for Thought | by Clive Lamb


Developing Your Own Brand

How many times has a product company walked into your salon and invited you to partner with them?

Partner? Really? Are they going to pay half your rent?

Product companies have become eager to align themselves with salons in hopes of becoming the exclusive product brand and thereby defining the salon as a (insert product company name) salon.

I'm sick and tired of clients that come to my salon with bad hair and hearing them complain, "I can't understand it, I thought the salon I went to was going to be great because they were a (insert product company name) salon.

Salon owners seem to be moving away from branding themselves and instead, are allowing the product companies to define who they are as a brand.

To align yourself with a brand is fine, but to brand your salon by the product you sell is NOT going to make you stronger. You must develop your own brand.

We use Wella color and retail and use Bumble and Bumble and Kerastase. We chose these products to get the results we want — no more, no less.

Do we get benefits from these companies for buying large amounts of their products? Of course. Are we then considered a Wella, Kerastase or Bumble Salon? No way. We are Clive & Co. and we do it our way. That is our brand, not the products we use.

If one of our clients isn't happy and goes to another salon, I can assure you they'll say they had been to Clive & Co. — not at a Bumble or Kerastase salon.

When choosing a product company, find the products that fit your brand best. If you don't have a unique brand, create one. Be creative and educate yourself and your staff to develop your salon's own individual style. Then choose a product brand that compliments it.

Products should be an accessory to a great haircut or color. Products do not create great hair — talent does.

If you really think about it, products are just stuff in a bottle. Most use the same labs to create their products with either the same ingredients, or slight variations. Really, it's mostly the marketing, image and packaging that differentiate them one another.

Salon owners continually allow product companies to dictate how they do business. Product companies' partnership programs are designed to maximize sales of their product. That's fine, because you will benefit from increased retail sales as well, but don't forget — it's your brand, and your business. The products you choose should represent you, but not define who you are. Your salon's unique talent, passion, standards and image is what defines you as a brand. Choose the products that are right for your brand.

Food for thought...

You can't please all the people all the time. But, you can (and must) take responsibility for your standards, image and brand. Your brand will give your staff something to identify with and will probably keep them around longer than if they've aligned themselves to a particular product company they like.

Clive Lamb owns and operates Clive and Co., a modern, thriving salon based in Dallas, Texas. In addition, Clive was appointed Chairman of the Texas Cosmetology Advisory Board in 2006, a position he held for five years. Clive has over 30 years of international exposure to the vast and constantly evolving hairdressing industry.