For as long as I've been in this industry, the word on the street has been that beauty is recession-proof. The conventional wisdom is that in an economic downturn, people might put off buying big-ticket items, but they'll still splurge on beauty services. What we're seeing now is that clients are still coming into the salon, they're just coming in less frequently. Some are stretching the time between appointments from, say, six weeks to eight. And while they might not be booking the caviar facial, they're not willing to part with a mani/pedi now and then.
Glenn Baker, vice president, Salon Research Group, has been dedicated to developing winning business strategies for salon professionals for more than 20 years. As one of Redken's business partners, he addressed salon owners recently at The Redken Symposium in Las Vegas. Baker calls 2009 the year of the detour. "Webster's defines a detour as a deviation from a direct course of action," Baker says. "The question is, how do we change the word from a noun to a verb? How do we travel the road?" Baker's advice is to be patient. Things will get better. In the meantime, it's not the obstacles and challenges that will defeat us but how we respond to them. "The first detour you're dealing with is low visits per month," Baker says. "Let's say you've been seeing 150 clients every six weeks, which translates to 1,300 client visits per year. If clients cut their visits by 12 percent, you'll need to look beyond the detour and figure out how many new clients you'll need to make up the difference. If you don't find those clients, it's like taking a pay cut or the equivalent of downsizing in other industries." While Baker believes that we'll see more salons close in 2009 than in the past, he also believes that salon owners who take a proactive approach to the recession will be so far ahead of the competition when things return to normal that no one will be able to touch them. "When emotions are high, decision-making skills are low," he says. "What salon owners need to do is take action, not sit back and ride the wave until the recession is over." Baker suggests sitting down with your staff and coming up with a list of commitments or focuses that can help you become more profitable or successful, then create an action plan. The bottom line, Baker says, is that detours can make you bitter or they can make you better. It's up to you. —Brett Vinovich, publisher, [email protected]
The sentiment on this cocktail napkin is a wake-up call for those of us who charged our way through the last decade. Still, there are lessons to be learned in any crisis. Maybe saving for a rainy day is one of them.
THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME!
Chris and Sonya Dove would like to do something special for one of their fellow hairdressers who consistently puts others first. If you work with someone like this, The Doves would like to hear from you. They'll choose one deserving person to receive a trip to their salon in Santa Monica, CA, where they will enjoy a spa day and a makeover (hair, makeup and wardrobe). The icing on the cake? The winner will also get two days of hands-on training at one of the classes The Doves hold in their studio. E-mail your letter of recommendation to [email protected] by June 1. Your co-worker could receive the trip of a lifetime.
Sonya and Chris dove