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Mission: Business Beautiful

Ali Davidson


CLICK HERE The Great Debate: Client Gifts, Should You Give Them?

The hair professionals’ social forums are alive

with buzz and inquiring minds want to know: Are

you giving your clients a gift for the holidays?

As hairstylists, are holiday client gifts just some-

thing we do now? Do we give gifts to all of our

clients during the holiday season like realtors or

corporate law firms?

At the risk of sounding Grinch-esque, no—this

is not “something we just do now.”

We are not realtors or lawyers that have made

hundreds of thousands of dollars off each client

who may expect a token of appreciation for con-

tributing to the purchase of our mansions. Our

client/service provider relationships are very dif-

ferent from the models in other industries. If you’re

giving client gifts this year just because “’tis the

season and other people are doing it,” you’re wast-

ing your time, money, and energy.

A client gift given out of a sense of obligation

will be received with the same sense of apprecia-

tion as a toothbrush from the dentist following a

cleaning appointment. “Thanks … I’ll throw this in

my medicine cabinet for the next time my mother-

in-law comes to visit and forgets her toothbrush.”

Really, what was the point of that gift? A dentist

hopes his name on the side of the toothbrush will

make you feel appreciated and encourage you to

return to him, but in reality, there’s nothing special

about the toothbrush to remind you to see that

dentist versus any of the other thousands of dentists

handing out toothbrushes with their names on the

side. Giving a client gift just because you think every

other business is doing it is no gift at all.

I am not saying you shouldn’t give your clients

a gift this holiday season; I’m just saying don’t do

it out of a sense of obligation. If you feel the urge

to give your clients a gift this holiday season, ask

yourself these three questions.

Why am I giving a gift?

This is crucial and will

help to determine A) what the gift should be and

B) if you should even bother giving gifts out at

all. For example, if you want to give your clients a

gift to let them know you appreciate their busi-

ness, that would be an entirely different gift than if

you’re giving out client gifts to encourage people

to come in more often, try a new product, or give

you more business.

If you realize you’re only considering giving

your clients a holiday gift because the salon up the

street is, then don’t bother. A holiday gift is not go-

ing to make or break your salon, but one given out

of obligation is transparent, hollow, and a waste of


Is it really a gift?

Not all presents are gifts. If the