Point, Click, Color

Modern Technology Takes Off at the Color Bar

by Debbie Miller

Industry statistics tell us that 54 percent of all women in the United States over the age of 25 are altering the natural pigment of their hair.

These statistics also tell us that “color” service is now the most requested service in all professional hair salons.

Today, 80 percent of the salon’s technical work is related to haircolor, making it the premier service ticket driver.

By the close of 2010, the number of teens in the United States will grow to a staggering 35 million, with the average teenager spending $80 each week on themselves. The data also points out that in the span of 2006-2016, a growth of 47 percent of 55 plus boomers will go into the workforce and stay well into their retirement years.

Considering all these statistics, we must begin to recognize how much opportunity the color category offers, as well as figure out how to take advantage of it.

Some salons have made costly changes building a state of the art “color bar” showcasing the salon professional mixing a color formula, but, for the most part, that is where the technology stops.

The cost of maintaining a color inventory has escalated over 300 percent over the past 15 years. Color once priced at $1.50 per two ounces is now approximately $5.50 for the same two ounces.

The average eight-stylist salon will perform approximately 9,600 color services per year and the cost of color (two ounce tubes averaging $5.50 each) can average $52,800 (color only -- no developer, shampoo, conditioner, gloves or foils). Results of the “Fishbowl Exercise”* tell us that approximately 25 percent, or one ounce of the color formula mixed is poured down the drain.

Cleaning up the waste in the color bar could be a click away by applying technology in three important areas:

Digital Scales Connected to Salon Software — Traditional methods of measuring color are inefficient and costly. Pouring a cream developer and transferring to a bowl leaves an average of half an ounce of developer “clinging” to the beaker for inaccurate measurements, and wastes an average of 25 percent of the formula.

When adding color from a tube, one is prompted to “squeeze to a line,” thus making it impossible to identify smaller amounts, such as a quarter ounce. Furthermore, an independent study found that the best efforts using tube markings were only accurate to + / - 50 percent.

Controlling the Developer — Controlling the developer also means controlling the cost. Using computer-guided software that supports the ratio of colorant to developer will automatically re-calculate batch sizes with correct proportions of multiple shades. Downsizing batches by one ounce per retouch can save the owner an average of $13,440 per year.

Controlling the dispensing of the developer allows the stylists to be creative and artistic in color choice, and provides a tracking system for the owner. Through the reporting capabilities of software today, the inventory can be easily ramped up for busy seasons and promotions, or scaled down for slower periods.

Security for the Owner — A high-tech, savvy color bar protects inventory from “disappearing” and can access detailed reports of all color activity with one click. This provides security for the inventory and important data that will be useful when coaching and mentoring the salon team on growing their color business.

Understanding Your Color Business

Unfortunately, many salons experience 25 percent of color waste and 15 percent of shrink with the total loss as high as $950 per month. Understanding how the inventory is moving “tells the story of the numbers.” It is imperative that the salon owner have all the information available to shift an inefficient color room into a lucrative profit center.

If you think the cost of technological advancement is high, then wait until you get the bill for hanging on to the good ole’ days. If your clients are choosing to be more careful how and when they spend their money, what are you doing as a business owner to encourage them to spend it with you? How are you letting your clients know that you can take better care of them than someone else can?

Debbie Miller is a salon professional from the Midwest who as a Global Performing Business Artist for Redken Fifth Avenue has created and developed several successful business programs such as Power Booking, The Business Connection and The Assistant Training Program. For more information on “the Fishbowl Exercise”* and applying modern technology to your color visit www.suretint.com . SOURCES: http:/blogs.hairboutique.com/index.php haircolor debunking popular myths; humanforsale.com/hair-color.asp; CBS Business Network mediacentral.com.

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