January 2009

Beauty Industry Leaders Remain Optimistic for 2009

Industry leaders suggest ways for salons, spas, manufacturers, distributors and clients to work together and weather the storm in these tough economic times


Luz Segovia, Pres., Cosmetologists Chicago:
“Clients are more conservative when it comes to spending, especially during our holiday season. As for 2009, I believe clients will spend more money to treat themselves to an inexpensive luxury service instead of an expensive vacation. The ‘little’ luxury of going to the salon and spa is a great way to make them feel better, and look amazing. This is what we are focusing on with our marketing.”


Penni Jones, Executive Director, Independent Cosmetic Manufacturers and Distributors Association:
“Essentially, I am optimistic that we shall recover. Yes, we are seeing a downturn in attendance at trade shows worldwide, but if you look at it in a positive light, the Euro is better for Americans than it has been in years.

“At Cosmoprof Asia in Hong Kong, most people I talked with noted that it is credit that needs to be loosened or things will not improve.

“These are important issues that salon owners and corporations alike are facing. Close work and a good relationship with your bank and other creditors is required in times like these.”


Larry Silvestri, Mario Tricoci Salons and Day Spas Chicago, Illinois:

“I feel parts of the industry have panicked by discounting their brands too far. For example, I have noticed popular brands in our industry giving away free haircuts with any color service or giving 50 percent off services. I feel this is a huge mistake. This behavior lessens the credibility of the brand and the services that they perform.

“The key is to not get as many guests as possible, rather to attract the right type of guest for you to build your business.

“Rather than discounting, salon professionals should work with their guests who express price concerns and move them into other services that meet their beauty needs at a lower cost.

“Salon owners also need to educate staff about the importance of rebooking and other business drivers rather than discounting.

“Owners need to reduce payroll and other expenses while keeping it invisible to the guest. In other words, continue to paint and freshen up your salon, but control other expense items.

“As salon owners are forced to run their businesses more cost effectively, they will be positioned perfectly when the economy improves.”


Marcia Teixeria, Brazilian Keratin Treatment, Delray Beach, Fla.:

“Even in this depressed economy, clients with special hair needs – such as too curly or frizzy hair – will want salon services that help them achieve the results they’ve always dreamed about. If your salon business is slow, this is the perfect time to investigate new services … and … to [advance your] education.

Talk about your newly learned skills with your current clients. There is no one more excited than a hair stylist who has learned something new.

Your clients want your help to keep their hair looking smooth and high-styled. Be ready to answer their needs with the appropriate services and you will have them as a client for life.”


Philip Palmeri, Director, Cosmetologists Chicago, also of Trio Salon, Chicago, Illinois:

“We remain positive … we see the business is there. At the same time, our retail numbers are down slightly, while service numbers are up just slightly over last year in which we saw record growth.

"The economy has affected our guests – some losing their jobs, yet most remaining positive while mentioning there are certain things one cannot give up. Having their hair done is one. We are able to add services for our new clients that allow us to generate more service dollar revenue.

"Education is also a key to our success. We have an ongoing program that keeps us sharp. Overall, we remain positive that the economy will get better, though it will take some time.”


Cindy Trawinski, Director of Marketing, Fromm International:

“Stay positive with your customers. They come to the salon to feel good, look better and get some personal pampering. Don’t drag them down with talk of the bad economy. If the conversation drifts to more gloomy topics, try sharing stories that inspire a sense of community and compassion.

“Cash is king. During hard times, having cold, hard cash on hand is considered one of the best strategies for handling emergencies. Set aside a percentage of your tips in an interest-bearing savings account. Be sure to set up a separate account for this emergency fund, if you do not already have one.

“[Do] ‘credit card crunches,’ they are the best exercise for fiscal responsibility. Use funds you can spare to pay down high interest credit cards first. Make minimum payments on lower interest cards until you reach a zero balance on your highest interest card. Then focus your efforts on the card with next highest interest rate. Continue this process until all cards are at zero balance.

“Be frugal on luxuries and indulgences and spend against essentials – especially salon tools that will keep your clients satisfied and coming back to you.”


Kathy Jager, Pro’s Salon, Oak Forest, Illinois:

“I think that the current state of our industry is steady. While we are not breaking records, we are not a dying industry. There may not be an abundance of growth, but we still can stay in the game with creative, inexpensive marketing and exceptional service that clients can tell their friends about. Our business is the one luxury people will continue to try to maintain as we offer much more than a beauty service.”

Paul Dykstra, CEO Cosmetologists Chicago and America’s Beauty Show

“There is no question that the economic downturn has affected salons both large and small, which also affects distributors and manufacturers.

“We believe that education is what will make the difference between getting through these tough times and not making it.”


Ken Angermeir, VP, Global Marketing and Customer Service, Pivot Point Intl., Inc.

“The most important action a salon owner can take when business is slow is to provide employees, both full and part time, with education on new styles, new techniques and new tools. Owners must also make sure that every new stylist they hire has had the formal beauty education that allows them to see, think, create and adapt as a designer.

“For hairstylists, the best thing to do is to seek opportunities to learn and grow. Constantly challenge yourself, sharpen your technical skills and don’t be afraid to use a mannequin to practice – even in the salon between appointments. Keeping your skills up-to-date increases your value to your clients and prepares you for future growth as a professional.”