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More Than Just a Pretty Face




The Jetsons made life look so easy—everything from commuting to work to making a soufflé could be done with a push of a button. While those inventions have yet to be created, today's salon owners have found a machine that increases retail sales, entertains clients and just plain looks good: flat-screen televisions. They're no impulse buy—a 15-inch model can cost you $350—but they may be worth the cost. Here, three salon owners with different budgets explain why.

FOR THE BUDGET-CONSCIOUS The decision to purchase plasma televisions for his salon was a no-brainer for Gaven Smith, owner of Studio Gaven Hair Colour in Franklin, TN. Once Smith's accountant told him the high-tech items were tax-deductible, he purchased computer equipment and three 48-inch plasma EDTV televisions. Although they're of a lesser quality than their high-definition counterparts, the $2,000 TVs are easier on the wallet and get the job done, Smith says. "They're good for what I use them for," he explains. "They give a clear picture, they're small, they hang on the wall, and they're easy to mount. Plus, it doesn't take a lot of technology to run them to a DVD player. And if they blow up in a year, I can just buy new ones."

 Installed for client entertainment, the televisions at each styling station at Rocco Donna Salon create a magnetic atmosphere.
Installed for client entertainment, the televisions at each styling station at Rocco Donna Salon create a magnetic atmosphere.

More than fancy wall decorations, the televisions also double as a marketing tool. Each strategically placed TV shows videos from manufacturers and footage from salon-sponsored community events. "Besides giving clients a point of interest to look at, the TVs help create our overall branding—that we are into technology and are loyalty-driven, education-based and manufacturer-backed," Smith says.

EVERYTHING IN MODERATION Connie and Richard Ouellette own three Angles
Salons and Day Spas in Southern California. Perched on a movable arm at each styling station is a 6½-inch LCD television with a touch screen that clients use to navigate through a content loop of fashion shows, a virtual tour of the salon or regular public TV programs. Since installing the sets a year ago, the Ouellettes' salons have already seen an improvement in their bottom line. "A client may come into the salon and not know everything that's available to her," Ouellette says. "On the TV, she can see the information and maybe take advantage of other services we have."

The TVs at Studio Gaven are used to entertain waiting clients and also attract walk-ins. BELOW: London 's I-Vu technology outfits US and UK salons with technology.
The TVs at Studio Gaven are used to entertain waiting clients and also attract walk-ins. BELOW: London 's I-Vu technology outfits US and UK salons with technology.

Before investing in expensive electronics, Ouellette suggests finding out if they can satisfy your salon's needs. "I think you have to know your salon, your clients and your stylists and see if they're on a high-tech track," she says. "You have to know if it's right for you."

WHEN MONEY IS NO OBJECT Walk into Leonardo Rocco's salon, Rocco Donna Hair & Beauty Art, on legendary Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, and you'll feel like you just stepped into the future. All five styling stations have their own plasma televisions, and a 50-inch screen hangs on the wall in the waiting area. The screens send a clear message to clients that Rocco Donna is an innovative salon. "The main idea was to create a different place, with a special atmosphere," Rocco says. "We show anything that has to do with fashion, from runway shows to photo shoots to music videos." Rocco went all out, spending a total of $60,000 and installing a Bose system, automatic lights and an "on demand" video system for each screen. The expense is paying off: Clients and potential employees can see that Rocco Donna salon is committed to keeping up with technological advances.

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Bonnie Gibbs

Bonnie Gibbs