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January 28, 2018
January 28, 2018
Photo: Chester Wade via Unsplash

This article focuses on what I suggested as solutions to the debacle we currently face in the professional beauty industry. To make a long story short, the professional beauty industry has undergone a complete transformation since the ’70s. What used to be a passionate, fun, and lucrative industry for all concerned, led by large family-owned companies such as Redken Labs, Matrix Essentials, Sebastian, Nexus, and Paul Mitchell, has turned the corner into corporate America. Today with the exception of Paul Mitchell, the other four giant leaders were sold to corporations such as Loréal, Procter and Gamble, Alberto Culver, Unilever, and others.

The sad and unfortunate side effect of these changes is that while these huge corporate conglomerates preach how they support the hair stylist and aesthetician, in reality their only obligation is to their shareholders, who buy into the company to receive dividends. In the process, the products manufactured by these giant companies can be found almost anywhere—mass market store shelves, the internet with almost any brand being available to the public, resulting in what has become a “commodity” product. And cost has become so competitive, products are generally purchased for their price point, with convenience as a side factor.

A good example is a hair stylist recommending Redken to their client after the service. What the hair stylist is not aware of, since they can’t read minds, is the client doing mental gymnastics, remembering they have seen Redken at Costco, where they shop every Saturday, online at Target and Sleek, and other places they shop. Do you honestly think the client is going to purchase her Redken from her hair stylist, or is she going to wait to see where she can get the product at the best price?

The success of my previous article, “The Death of the Professional Beauty Industry,” shows that the professional is concerned and actively seeking change.

One of the solutions that I shared with the professional community in the article was that professional-only hair and skincare manufacturers had to be the starting point for change to happen. With greed running rampant in the marketplace, what is necessary is for manufacturers to take on the responsibility for where they market their products and control who purchases them—this would open the door to an effort that is desperately needed today.

If the following question affects you mentally and emotionally, then I have a further solution to this ongoing dilemma.

“Are You Sick and Tired of Seeing ‘Professional Only’ Products In Mass-Market Outlets Available to the Public?”

This one hurts badly as it has become the new normal, and helped kill the great income stream of professional home care. I have made a conscious decision to use the word “retail” to only describe all non-professional channels such as the Targets, Walmarts, Ultas, Sephoras, and online shopping sites such as Target, Sleek, eBay, Amazon and so many more that are too numerous to list.

We do not Retail!—we go above and beyond with our clients by going through a pre-service consultation which gives us clues about what specific products we should be using on that client with educational information being shared to get their hair back on track. This specific consultation elevates your professional image over the average hair stylist who could care less. The final step in the service and the last thing said to your client is, “I recommend so and so for your professional home care as we saw how well the products worked on your hair today.” These basic techniques are the close in sales. Unfortunately many professionals have gotten away from these basic steps with the current dynamics in the industry. One of our goals is to get this type of business education back into the mainstream and applied for greater income possibilities.

I have always maintained that if we utilize the three pillars of successful professional home care, this income stream, different than the service income stream, can easily generate at least half the profit of the entire salon’s business. Powerful, and many of us that came through the ’70s, ’80s, and early ’90s can substantiate these claims about how important professional home care used to be towards the success of the salon’s staff in generating a lifestyle supported by the two income streams – service and professional home care.

When professional-only products became mass market available, it literally killed our ability to recommend professional-only products to our esteemed clientele.

The three pillars of professional home care were and are still: Use, Inventory, and Recommendation.

What we USE at the back bar and at our styling station has power, empowering us in our communication with our clients. If we are using Dawn at the back bar, many salon clients would see that as endorsement of that brand and them purchasing dawn at the grocery store for home use. See how it works? That is why it is critical to only use professional-only products when interfacing with your client.

The second pillar, INVENTORY, is simple enough. We need to have enough stock on hand of our professional products to be able to service each client that wants to follow our recommendation to take home. To recommend and get agreement for what you offer and then find out that you are out of stock kills the sale, but as important is that this client may purchase another product somewhere else to replace your suggestion and find she really likes the new product, cutting you out of future sales.

The third pillar, RECOMMENDATION, is the most important because if you are fulfilling the other two. If you miss this one, you will soon have dust and dead bugs on your product display, as products do not move by themselves.

I have seen numerous consumer surveys conducted by the industry that reveals how consumers react and think when they are asked questions about their salon “experience.” Typically the consumer is asked “Did your stylist recommend products for home use?” The answer is 70% of the time, they did not. The next question is “If your stylist had recommended products for home use, would you have purchased?” Answer is a resounding 80% yes. The case is clear. We like to carry on a bantering conversation with out clients, talking about everything under the sun, yet very seldom talk about their hair or skin—the reason they came into the salon to begin with. These three pillars are the foundation of a great professional home care program, and they should be followed religiously by anyone wanting to maximize their salon’s profitability.

I asked a pertinent question earlier:

“Are You Sick and Tired of Seeing ‘Professional Only’ Products in Mass-Market Outlets Available to the Public?”

If you are a professional hair stylist or aesthetician and you are willing to be part of the change needed to transform the face of our once proud and passionate industry, here is one answer.

I have joined forces with Alan Bentfield Bush, previous owner of ABBA and the dynamic force behind his “Method” of cutting and hair design used by many guest artists around the country and that continues to be one of the most sought-after cutting methods by contemporary artists.

We are supporting his short line of “green” products designed by a hair stylist for all hair stylists, as a professional-only line that is supported by a program I wrote called the iSuccess© Salon/Spa Program. This program challenges the professional hair stylist / aesthetician to evaluate the program for its merit, and if they want to be part of it, they have to sign an agreement with us that the products they purchase directly from us are going to be used professionally at the back bar and styling station, and will become the Professional Recommendations issued by the hair stylist for their clients’ professional home care.

Their working license will be checked against the State Board in their state and that verification, along with the simple agreement they sign with us, opens the door to direct purchasing of our products online at our secure website.

We have eliminated the middle man or distributor in the normal channel of distribution and now are directly allowing our certified salons/spas to purchase directly from our secure website:

We plan to support the salons/spas in our professional network with artistic education handled by Alan’s Method Alliance and the Advanced Business Academy handled by James Hobart. These two centers of education will offer unique salon/spa education that supports our basic foundation and the growth and development of our industry in a positive and forward-thinking way.

If you are one of the many professional-only minded hair stylists and aestheticians still working in our industry that have been looking for an answer to better and higher pay levels, lower inventory costs, control of professional products, and a close association with the manufacturer, then please contact either Alan or myself to get full information on our unique and timely program. We plan to formally launch our concept and product line February 26, 2018, at a Method Alliance program we are conducting in Huntington Beach at the Fuzion Artistry Salon/Spa. Just say YES to YHS…. Your Haircare System.

In closing, I come from an era in this business where professionalism was everything and was exhibited by all players with a stake in the game. It was a glorious time, with success and prosperity for anyone willing to work hard and devote their efforts to contributing to the overall concept. It was a time of passion, loyalty, and generally a lot of fun. What happened? Today we are in an apathetic state, very few are making good money, and opportunities have seemingly disappeared. Being the eternal optimist, I continue to think that we can get professionalism back, but it is going to take all of us moving in the same direction and getting involved at all levels to right the great ship and get it back on its proper course. You now have a choice. Make it the right one.

Read part one in this series The Death of the Professional Beauty Industry.

The views expressed in opinion pieces are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of BeautyMatter.


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