Better Business

Q How did you build a celebrity clientele?

"When I came to America from Colombia, I became passionate about my work. One person told another person—this is how I started working with people who are popular in the media. It's all word of mouth, and location is key. I also travel a lot so I know what's in fashion now and what's going to be popular for the season ahead." —Claudia Diesti is a hairstylist and colorist at The Spa at Wellington Greens in Wellington, FL.

Claudia Diesti
Claudia Diesti


Star of texas



Maris Stella Ostrewich, a native of Venezuela, opened the first Sage Salon in Austin, TX, three years ago. She opened the second location in April, in a recently revived, trendy downtown area called 2nd Street District. Joel Mozersky, the highly sought-after architect behind MTV's Real World: Austin house, designed the space. With tan Gamma & Bross chairs and tangerine-painted walls, it exudes what Ostrewich calls a "retro, Palm Beach feel." Sage carries European products from Davines and Leonor Greyl, as well as Austin-based Rae Cosmetics. But it's Ostrewich's staff that she's most proud of. She selected six hairstylists to be part of the new Sage team, after auditioning almost 40 hopefuls from as far away as New York and California. "I hired stylists who have had stringent training under people such as John Sahag and Bruno Pittini, and it shows in the quality of their work and their work ethic," Ostrewich says. She requires everyone on her team to excel at styling and blow-outs, which has resulted in numerous commercial and editorial gigs, as well as a highly devoted clientele. —C.W.





After more than 10 years in business, Las Vegas' DIVA STUDIO has a new, upscale image, thanks to a recent expansion and a revamped corporate identity. The redesigned business card, now a vertical rectangle instead of a square, retains the original image of the goddess of beauty, Godiva, but superimposed on a bronze background, while the logo has morphed into an elegant cursive font with a swooping letter "D." Contact information is on the back. "We didn't want to get too far away from the original look, but we wanted it to tie into the expansion," says Steven Brooks, president and CEO. —L.A.








September brings about change—a change of seasons, and changes to your clients' skin and hair. That makes it a great time to sell additional products using the suggestive selling method. By simply adding one additional product to each sale, you will see a significant increase in salon revenue. Here are a few ways to tap into this powerful selling technique:

  • Suggestive selling should be seen as part of good customer service and a way to serve your client's best interest, so it's important to always recommend products with a benefit or a solution to a problem the client is experiencing.
  • The easiest time to add on to a sale is when your client is at the counter. Additional product suggestions should be offered after the customer has made a commitment to buy, and they should be related to the original purchase.
  • As clients reveal concerns, suggest additional products by first repeating their concern back to them, then stating how the product will address the problem.



People tend to gravitate toward brands they trust. Whenever possible, suggest additional products within a line the client is already using.

Sue Remes is an internationally known keynote speaker and consultant. For more strategic retail sales, management and education solutions, contact her at [email protected] or call 612/378-9398.







Named after a native Wisconsin wildflower, Actaea Works, a salon and spa in Milwaukee, opened earlier this year in the city's trendy Bay View neighborhood. Owner Jason Wedesky renovated a century-old Victorian home, adding modern touches yet still retaining the structure's old-time charm. "It still has the original fireplace, wide-plank wood floors and circular staircase," Wedesky says. "It's comfortable, like being in your own home, except you never have to dust." Wedesky recently began a weekly program for men called MANdays, complete with Red Bull, peanuts and The Sopranos on the plasmas. The point is not to segregate the sexes, but to introduce men to different services so they'll be more likely to return. The salon also offers a gift registry for brides and moms-to-be. "It's another way that we can be close to our clients," Wedesky says, "especially during the most important times and events in their lives." —C.W.



Cyber Space


Joico is harnessing the social-network effect of the Internet to reach out to a larger audience. The company, in collaboration with PR pros from Pierce Mattie, recently teamed up with a group of students at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City to study the impact that viral marketing—a mechanism that not only communicates your message to your audience, but also actively propagates it to their friends and colleagues—has on its haircare brand. The students will blog about Joico's product lines and create a page on to increase brand awareness. Says Sara Jones, Joico's vice president and general manager, "The goal is to measure the impact of viral marketing and PR on a brand primarily through product sampling, exposure and blogging. We want to build a buzz." —K.D.





The Essence of Soul Manicure and Pedicure at Jin Soon's intimate Natural Hand & Foot Spas in Manhattan encourages clients to choose one of five mood-enhancing essential oils—peppermint, French lavender, grapefruit, rosemary or tea tree—to be blended into a sea-salt scrub. The service reflects Soon's desire to provide personalized treatments in a warm environment. "I wanted to create a place where people can relax and have their own time," says Soon. "Everything goes well together: the menu, our service and the architecture." —L.A.





Obtaining publicity for your salon in the national media, or even in your local media, is not easy, according to Kim Weiss, who owns Blueplate PR in Raleigh, NC. But, persistence can pay off. "Keep your target media informed of all the little things you do," says Weiss, whose client list includes two Raleigh salons. "Have you won a award? Remodeled? Hosted a charity fund-raiser? That's all news. Let the media know through a well-written press release." Here, Weiss provides her tips for writing a press release:

  • When sending a release by e-mail, you must write an attention-grabbing subject line. Don't use clichés, all capital letters or exclamation points, which some spam-blockers will bounce.
  • The first paragraph should answer the questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? And sometimes, how?
  • Each paragraph should contain pertinent information in descending order of importance. At the end, be sure to direct the reader to your Web site, if you have one. If not, use your phone number.
  • Keep them brief. Press releases are not articles. Their purpose is to present just enough information to entice the media to write the article or produce the TV spot. They should never be more than two pages.
  • Be sure to include your name, number and e-mail address at the top left of the page.





Our Town


Tulsa, OK's museums, performing arts center and art deco architecture make it a cultural and arts mecca, and the city's salons make sure that locals look the part. Nicole Palmieri found four salons that create hair masterpieces every day.


1. Ihloff Salon and Day Spa


"It's important to me that I create a place that runs like a business and gives employees a chance to grow in the company," says Marilyn Ihloff, co-owner of Ihloff Salon and Day Spa, who was recently named Small Business Person of the Year by the Tulsa Metro Chamber chapter of the Small Business Administration. Along with benefits like 401ks and health insurance, in-salon and outside education with Aveda global network professionals is available to all staff.


The salon, which opened in 1980, now has another location in Tulsa and also one in Kansas City, KS. It attracts mostly upscale locals, who appreciate the atmosphere, the services—such as hair and spa treatments, as well as makeup application—and its involvement in the community and local organizations, including Sustainable Tulsa, a grassroots, nonprofit group. Says Ihloff, "We make it part of our mission to tell clients about the importance of the organization."

In stock: Aveda, SpaRitual


2. B. Jolie Salon and Spa


Educated stylists are what keep B. Jolie Salon and Spa on the cutting edge of trends, says owner Becky Wilkins. "My staff is passionate about education," she says. "After they attend classes they come back and teach what they learned to the rest of the staff." A system based on levels keeps stylists motivated and allows them to move up as they gain more experience and clients. "They have to earn each level," Wilkins says. "Whenever a stylist moves up, we have a 'jump party' for them."


The salon and spa , which opened in April 2006, primarily targets clients who are over 30, but the close proximity of a local college has attracted many students as well. A Redken Fifth Avenue Elite Salon, B. Jolie features a contemporary decor with a unique makeup and juice bar. From hair and nail services to body treatments, this salon and spa has something for everyone.

In stock: Redken, PureOlogy, OPI


3. Bradley's Sanctuary


Located in a loft in downtown Tulsa, Bradley's Sanctuary is attached to owner Bradley Garcia's other business, Gypsy Coffee House, which offers food and drinks to clients while they get their hair done. "Clients come in and get their haircolor done, then order lunch and a latte while they're waiting," says Garcia, who has owned the salon for 10 years. "It's allowed us to service a lot of working professionals who come in during their lunch hour."


The salon is located in an old oil company building from the 1920s, and the decor is reminiscent of a bohemian renaissance theme. Art deco elements, stained glass lamps and antique stations can be found throughout the salon. To keep up with the latest hair trends, Garcia encourages in-house and outside education from Goldwell and Aveda. "Education is important in keeping us ahead of the curve," he says.


In stock: Alterna, Phytologie, Goldwell


4. Iidentity Salon


Twins and Iidentity Salon co-owners Julie Hudson and Jane Huggins require all of their stylists to go through an apprenticeship program to familiarize themselves with the salon's clients and how the business operates, and to encourage their creativity. "We don't just crank out a haircut," says Julie. "We look at each individual and then go from there. As long as the haircut looks good at the end, it doesn't matter exactly how they got there."

The salon, which opened in 2000, has a modern eclectic decor featuring big diamonds painted on the walls in purple, copper, silver and brown and chandeliers over each station. Popular services include foils, cuts and styles, blow-outs and the house specialty—razor-cutting using a straight razor with no guard. According to Julie, the salon attracts a wide range of male and female patrons who want a change and, like the name implies, who are ready for a new identity.

In stock: Bumble and bumble, Logics


Big Fish, Small Pond


In every small town across America, there's at least one salon that raises the bar for everyone else. Salamanca, NY, (population 6,097) has Rapunzel's Salon.

Originally named "Bucktooth," Salamanca, NY, located 60 miles south of Buffalo, is the only city in the United States located on land leased from an American Indian reservation. Many people and businesses in this small city, which was incorporated on the Seneca Nation of Indians reservation in 1913, have moved away over the years, but one business that dedicated locals have come to rely on is Rapunzel's Salon.

One of three styling stations in the salon; the reception area; the backbar displays Matrix and Paul Mitchell shampoo and conditioner options; the nail treatment area offers a variety of manicure and pedicure services.
One of three styling stations in the salon; the reception area; the backbar displays Matrix and Paul Mitchell shampoo and conditioner options; the nail treatment area offers a variety of manicure and pedicure services.

"So many people have given up on the town, but I've stuck it out," says owner Andrea Pincoski, who opened the salon in 2001. "When you stick around, people get to know and trust you."

The 650-square-foot salon features a modern country decor that Pincoski hopes to make even more modern during a complete renovation next year. The small salon features three styling stations and one shampoo station, and just three stylists, including an assistant. Pincoski, who became a Matrix artistic educator last year so that she could offer her clients greater color expertise, hires most stylists right from beauty school. "With my own expertise and Matrix's excellent Internet training, I can make sure my staff stays on the cutting edge of cut and color trends and techniques," she says.

The salon attracts a wide clientele, from teens who want the latest looks they see in magazines to women in their 40s who want to look sophisticated but up-to-date. Repeat clients are important to Pincoski, so she sends out thank-you cards, birthday cards and even client-feedback cards. "If clients aren't happy, I want them to let us know," she says. She also encourages repeat visits by promoting a different service each month, such as the Mid-Life Makeover ($90), which includes highlights, cut and style, makeup application, and a manicure and pedicure.

Pincoski's dedication brings clients into the salon, but it's the level of service that keeps them coming back and sets the salon apart from others nearby. "A lot of local women used to go into the bigger cities to get the latest hairstyles, but now they just come to us." —NICOLE PALMIERI

In stock: Matrix, Paul Mitchell