February 2009

Professional Cosmetics Poised to Grow Your Business

By Adrienne Kramer

Did you know purchases of cosmetics – and especially lipstick – traditionally rise during challenging economic times?

That’s according to what’s known as the “Lipstick Index,” an economic indicator.

While 2008 was a challenging year for the country and the professional salon industry as a whole, in 2009, the continuing economic challenges very well might bode well for cosmetics sales.

That’s true this time around, as well, as the New York Times recently reported that sales of lipstick over the prior few months were up 40 percent. Hair and full-service salons alike are perfectly poised to benefit from this opportunity.

Your salon can recapture dollars lost to appointment stretching and declining haircare sales when you follow a simple plan that creates awareness of your service and product options and keeps cosmetics in the front of clients’ minds.

Think about it. The salon is the perfect environment for your clients to purchase their cosmetics. After all, they are already focused on their appearance and eager to update their look, or they wouldn’t be visiting you in the first place. They want to look and feel fabulous when they walk out your door – even if they’re just headed home.

For that to happen, they need cosmetics. Add to that the fact lipstick is not a traditional consumable. In other words, women don’t wait to use up the one they have before buying a new one, as they might with a bottle of shampoo. Look in the average woman’s makeup bag and you’ll find at least five different shades, which she selects based on her wardrobe, mood or occasion, and realize she’s always open to picking up one more.

Providing the products they already want and are purchasing elsewhere will provide you with the instant profits retail provides, without a major investment or commitment of time. As well, you can generate impulse sales and walk-in traffic by providing the newest trends. Finally, offering cosmetics enhances your brand, when you demonstrate that you’re in touch with what’s new and what’s important to your clients.

Try one or more of these techniques for making over your bottom line with cosmetics:

Merchandise cosmetics for easy impulse purchase; display products on your front desk or in your window. Another good place to pique clients’ interest, might be where they wait while their color processes.Highlight what’s new. Just like haircolor or nail lacquer, cosmetic shades change four to six times a year. Make your salon the go-to destination where clients can learn what’s new, fun and fashionable first. Keep the buzz going with promotions, including fun gift-with-purchase and purchase-with-purchase promotions that they’re accustomed to buying in department stores.

Offer a menu of makeup services that complement your hair services and turn a hair-only client into a total beauty client. It’s always easier to sell more to a current client than to attract a brand new customer to your business. If they don’t buy that day, send them home with a face chart or the like so they have all the information they need when they decide to make the purchase later.

Create a post service touch-up area where clients can either apply their own cosmetics after their hair service or, if one of your staff is free, they can receive full service assistance. You can also train your receptionist to answer questions and make suggestions. When clients can get hands-on with your products and play a bit, chances are that they’ll be back to buy.

Stock a wide range of colors for women of all skin tones. Look carefully at your client and stylist base and make sure that your inventory meets their needs.

Offer demos and special events. Partner with manufacturers that will send guest artists in to train your team and wow your clients with amazing makeovers. You can generate a tremendous amount of success in a four-hour window.

Create a buzz. Continue to let your clients know what’s new in your salon, on your website, with printed or electronic newsletters, postcards or even a friendly phone call to inform them when the new colors are coming in. Then, ask if you can reserve one for them. In addition to encouraging sales, it’s a great way to stay connected.

The bottom line is that cosmetics offer the ability to delight your clients, make your salon more important to their total beauty and enhance your profitability all with minimal time, space and investment. That’s a state of the industry that can benefit every salon and beauty professionals, as well as the industry as a whole.

Adrienne C. Kramer is president of Mirabella, provider of cosmetics for salon professionals and marketer of cosmetics used and sold in professional salons, day spas and beauty supply stores. For more information, visit www.mirabellabeauty.com or call 800-853-6650.