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Better Business

My Brilliant Career

Q: What do you do to attract the burgeoning teen market to your salons?

We've created eye-catching storefront window displays featuring graffiti graphics and hip imagery. Inside, we cater to youth with special services like Get-a-Glow and acne facials. We also make sure our technicians are trained in doing short cuts with bolder shapes enhanced by vibrant colors. Finally, we've found that educating our teen clients on products and grooming gives them confidence and makes them more loyal. —Mario Tricoci is the founder of Mario Tricoci Salons & Day Spas.

 Mario Tricoci
Mario Tricoci

The Great Escape

LA VIE ZEN S.P.A.

Right in the heart of Manhattan is an oasis of tranquility and relaxation called la vie ZEN s.p.a. where clients can indulge in manicures and pedicures, massages, waxing, body treatments like the Sedona Mud Treatment, and advanced skincare services. There are three relaxation areas. One has a flat-screen TV and a selection of tea and fruit; clients wait here for services. Later, clients are shown into another room with a bamboo mural and shades that can be drawn to block out the sounds coming from Madison Avenue directly below. Finally, there's an outside patio covered with glass and filled with plants. A statue of Buddha presides over the retail area, which is stocked with products from Yon-Ka and SkinCeuticals. This April—the spa had only been open for a month—General Manager Bernice Luk participated in Spa Week, an event held in various cities throughout the U.S. (spas offer specific treatments for a discount to drum up new business). "We not only booked up quickly but most of those customers have returned," says Luk, who believes that attention to detail is what sets her spa apart from others. Keys to the lockers are attached to jade bracelets, while snack trays include fresh flowers. The spa also offers a selection of 20 different teas. —M.D.

The reception area sets a Zen-like tone; ABOVE: A statue of Buddha in the retail area adds to the calming atmosphere.
The reception area sets a Zen-like tone; ABOVE: A statue of Buddha in the retail area adds to the calming atmosphere.

IT'S IN THE CARDS

Eva Scrivo, owner of the chic EVA SCRIVO SALON in New York City's West Village neighborhood, chose to make her salon's business cards two-sided. The front of the card is clean, elegant and rich to represent the brand's high level of expertise and professionalism, as well as the salon's sophisticated vibe. In an interesting twist, the reverse side of the card comes in three different versions, with either a lock of hair, vintage barber shears or a vintage razor. —C.W.



MAKING CONTACT

COUNTER INTELLIGENCE

Newsletters are one of the most powerful, cost effective ways to communicate your retail offerings, advertise promotions, introduce new products, or announce retail events and consumer clinics. They're also a great way to stay connected to clients between salon visits. Sending newsletters through the mail is an extremely personal way to communicate, but if your salon collects e-mail addresses you may choose to send e-newsletters instead, which are highly cost effective, as they require no postage and can be done with greater frequency. Whether you use regular mail or e-mail, consider the following suggestions for putting together a retail newsletter:

Commit to simplicity and consistency. This is best achieved by limiting the number of pages and avoiding overly ambitious newsletter programs that require more time and money than you can comfortably invest.



Create an eye-catching and memorable title. Select one that is distinctive and benefit-oriented.

Simplify design. Clutter detracts from your message. Don't make it too busy, too colorful or too long. Keep it clean so that the eye isn't distracted and make headlines easy to locate and read.

Write simply but accurately. Clear, concise and credible writing is essential when creating newsletters.

Sue Remes is an internationally known keynote speaker and consultant. For more strategic retail sales, management and education solutions, contact her at sue@sueremes.com or call 612/378-9398.

EAT, DRINK & BE MERRY

Dtox Day Spa

Wine and hors d'oeuvres coupled with massages and manicures is the latest spa trend to hit L.A. Think of it as social spa-ing. "It's what happens when you combine a spa experience with a social opportunity," says Taylor Kent, spa director of Dtox Day Spa in Los Angeles, which hosts Happy Hour Friday parties on a monthly basis. For the events, Dtox's normally serene spa lounge is transformed into a social setting where guests hang out, mingle and sample a variety of services, including Text Message, a forearm and hand massage; Stress Relief, a neck/shoulder massage; Girls on Heels/Men in Boots, a calf and foot massage; Reiki, which involves healing the body and soul through energy; and manicures and pedicures with a touch of reflexology. Costs range from $39 to $99. "The response has been absolutely phenomenal," says Kent. —K.D.

Guests gather for Dtox's Happy Hour Friday events in the spa's center atrium, which features a waterfall 15 feet tall.
Guests gather for Dtox's Happy Hour Friday events in the spa's center atrium, which features a waterfall 15 feet tall.

Come Rain or Shine

You can't control the weather, but thanks to a company called WeatherBill, you may be able to control how it affects your business. WeatherBill provides businesses large and small with insurance to protect against weather conditions that may hurt revenue. Unlike most insurance plans, WeatherBill aims to provide flexible, affordable coverage based on a business' individual needs, with no proof-of-loss requirements or claims to process.



Spencer Malay, owner of Spencer Malay Hair in Atlanta, GA, is the first salon to use WeatherBill to protect its bottom line. The salon depends on the overflow foot traffic it receives, especially on weekends, from the adjacent shops, restaurants and cinema. But Malay receives about five to 10 fewer walk-in clients on sunny days when people tend to spend the day outdoors rather than inside at the movies or shopping. "Those clients could have resulted in several thousand dollars for the salon over time, so I knew I had to find a solution in order to keep growing the business," Malay says. WeatherBill was just the right fix because he could buy coverage weekend by weekend, depending on the forecast, at a price point suitable for his small business.

Malay worked with the company to put together a customized contract that matched his weather risk. His first contract was for a hot, sunny weekend in April, and Malay received $10,000 from WeatherBill. He now plans to buy contracts for a couple of weekends each month. "It makes my revenue, growth and client base more predictable because I'm no longer at the mercy of the weather," he says. "If it's a nice day and I don't get any walk-ins, I'm not losing money by having employees on staff." weatherbill.com —C.W.

SIGNATURE SERVICE

Clients at Adolf Biecker Spa/Salon's two locations in Philadelphia can add a luxurious and sanitary paraffin service to their manicures, pedicures, massages and facials for a small charge. Clients slide their hands and feet into disposable, steam-heated plastic gloves and booties by Spa Revolutions covered in terry cloth and filled with warm paraffin and essential oils. sparevolutions.com —C.W.

Secrets of Success

Ever wonder what makes successful people tick? Award-winning interviewer Bill Boggs decided to find out. For Got What it Takes? Successful People Reveal How They Made It to the Top (HarperCollins, 2007), he spoke to 44 individuals who are at the top of their game, including beauty industry high-achievers Frédéric Fekkai and Bobbi Brown. They speak frankly about their careers and offer practical advice for how you can succeed in your professional life. —C.W.



FIGHTING STAFF TURNOVER

One of the leading reasons salons struggle or fail is staff turnover. Turnover makes it difficult to retain clients, maintain business growth and foster a professional and positive salon environment. But by implementing the following simple preventive measures, salon owners can successfully combat the problem.

1 Develop a comprehensive staff development program. Seek applicants who share your vision and make employee training a high priority. When you help your hairdressers gain confidence and increase their skills so they can charge more for their services, you'll earn their loyalty and long-term service.

2 Develop an employee handbook that outlines expectations and defines how performance will be measured.

3 Consider implementing work and noncompete agreements to protect your business' interests. Include a customer confidentiality agreement that states that all customers' contact information is the property of your salon. Be sure to have a labor law attorney review your agreement.

4 Build customer loyalty to your salon. Make customer service a priority and be sure that your promotional efforts reinforce the reputation of your salon, not of individual hairdressers.

5 Develop strong leadership skills. Promote honesty and a strong code of ethics; provide praise, incentives and bonuses; and regularly raise your prices to reward stylists for their hard work.

6 Create a fun, positive and professional environment so stylists won't be easily lured away by a new salon.

7 Invite feedback from your staff and let them know you value their opinions.

8 If you experience turnover, react quickly. Reassure each staff member that your salon will continue to move forward. Offer clients incentives, such as a free haircut with another stylist, to reward them for their loyalty.

Jon Gonzales is president of Hairdresser Career Development Systems, an educational company committed to helping hairdressers and salon owners reach higher levels of excellence. For more information, visit hcds4you.com or contact Gonzalez at 800/390-4237.

Our Town

One of the fastest growing cities in the United States, Fort Worth, TX, has a warm climate, booming economy and a legendary Western heritage. The city also has many hair salons that keep residents looking good. Nicole Palmieri highlights four of the best.

1. Salon Eclectic

"We've tried to create an environment that is warm and inviting, that feels like hanging out with a group of friends," says Kelly Arroyo, co-owner of Salon Eclectic, which opened three years ago. Clients, mostly fashion-conscious residents and business professionals, enjoy the services offered as well as the social events, including Gallery Night, which features clients' artwork.



The salon is located in a space that was once an art gallery. Stone tile floors and large white columns harken back to those days. In addition, Arroyo added some of her own unique touches, like toolboxes at every station and automotive repair shop trays that serve as haircolor trolleys. To ensure that stylists keep up with the latest trends, they're required to attend Model Nights at the salon. There, new stylists are asked to cut hair into an in-the-moment style, while experienced stylists are asked to duplicate a look chosen for them from a page in a magazine.

In stock: MOP, Redken

2. Pompeii Salon and Day Spa

Co-owners Nicole Livar, Rose Flores and Tara Endsley decided to open Pompeii Salon and Day Spa in 2004 in an area that was not heavily populated with salons and spas because they believe everyone deserves to be pampered. Pompeii offers its clients, mainly well-to-do women age 35 and older, a variety of hair services, but the most popular is highlights.



The salon's décor is inspired by Tuscany, Italy, with warm-colored walls, pillars adorned with green vines and styling stations with big mirrors framed in dark oak wood. Even the salon's treatment packages are consistent with the Italiano theme, such as the Siena's Special ($125), which includes a shampoo, haircut and style, a spa manicure and pedicure and a choice of Italian dishes for lunch.

In stock: Pevonia Botanica, Joico, Alterna

3. Stylemakers Salon

Specializing in fine and thinning hair, Stylemakers Salon owner Shelly Beatty uses Hairdreams Micro-line hair extensions to help clients feel better and look younger. She requires her stylists to learn to perfectly apply the extensions, which is why she is selective when hiring staff. "There is no room for error when you are dealing with expensive hair extensions and people's hair," Beatty says.



The salon, which opened four years ago and recently moved to a new location, primarily attracts women between the ages of 40 and 60, but its unique Hair Audit consultation attracts many younger women. The free consultation consists of an extensive evaluation of the condition, color and texture of the hair, followed by a complimentary shampoo and style. "The Hair Audit is great for clients because it allows them to get to know and feel comfortable with a stylist before committing to a haircut," Beatty says. "It's also great for stylists because 98 percent of the people who come in for the consultation book future appointments."

In stock: Aquage, American Crew, Nioxin

4. Goldwaves Salon

Located in an old Victorian home with a wrap-around porch, Goldwaves Salon not only looks like a house from the outside, but also makes everyone inside feel at home. "It's a great place for our employees to work and a great place for our clients to escape to," says Manager Leslie Rice, whose mom, Judy, owns the salon.



Goldwaves Salon, which opened 19 years ago, offers the usual services like cuts, color and styling, as well as facials, waxing and makeup application. In addition, a full gift shop allows clients to shop for everything from hair products and makeup bags to hand-painted kitchen utensils and wine glasses. "The gift shop is a great revenue-producer for the salon," Rice says. "It's become a destination spot for clients when they need to buy a gift. We even offer to wrap the gifts free of charge."

In stock: Bumble and bumble, YY

Big Fish, Small Pond

In small towns all over America, there's one salon that raises the bar for everyone else. Clinton Township, MI, (population 95,648) has Bianchi's Salon & Spa.

In 1782, Moravian missionary David Zeisberger and his followers founded the first settlement in Clinton Township, so named for the river that runs through it. A product of the Ice Age, the Clinton River forks into three branches within a mile of the original settlement.

CLOCKWISE, FROM TOP: Bianchi's Clinton Township location opened last year; the reception area and retail offerings; the spa attracts the area's high-end residents; its modern design sets Bianchi's apart from other nearby salons; Italian Gamma & Bross chairs and shampoo bowls add a unique flair.
CLOCKWISE, FROM TOP: Bianchi's Clinton Township location opened last year; the reception area and retail offerings; the spa attracts the area's high-end residents; its modern design sets Bianchi's apart from other nearby salons; Italian Gamma & Bross chairs and shampoo bowls add a unique flair.

Set to open its third branch, Bianchi's Salon & Spa is no stranger to expansion. Owner Ralph Bianchi's sister, Lucille Benac, started the salon in a shopping center in 1976. As the six-chair salon got busier, Bianchi added chairs. "We were growing so fast that at 25 chairs, we were busting out," says Bianchi, who eventually took over the business. It was time to build a freestanding salon.

Now there is a Bianchi's in nearby Troy and the recently added Clinton Township location, which just opened last year. "I put more than $2.5 million into this location," says Bianchi. "It's a big difference from most other salons around here." That's in large part due to the 47 plasma TVs, one at every station, as well as the Porsche chairs and shampoo bowls from Italian company Gamma & Bross. The 8,000-square-foot space also includes a spa in addition to a full-service salon.

Bianchi's team of stylists creates both contemporary and timeless looks for the high-end residents of Clinton Township. Additionally, Bianchi's acts as a vender for a local casino, catering to their VIPs, and can also count the Detroit Pistons' dance team, Automotion, among its clients.

Next up is the opening of a third location in neighboring Royal Oak, which will bring Bianchi's Salon & Spa to a total of 74 chairs. Bianchi is also busy putting a business plan together for an educational academy. With a few flourishing expansions already under his belt, Bianchi should have no problem turning this newest venture into a success as well. —SAMANTHA BEERMAN

In stock: Kérastase, Bumble and bumble, L'Oréal Série Expert, Phytomer, SkinCeuticals, Aquage, Nouba

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American Salon Staff

American Salon Staff