Exclusive tips from members of American Salon’s Better Business Network
Hosting in-salon gatherings can help attract new clients and keep current ones happy, say American Salon’s Better Business Network members.
Like attracts like—that’s the motto Paul Pontillo, owner of Paul James Salon in West Palm Beach, FL, goes by when hosting in-salon functions. Inviting the salon’s A-list clients and encouraging them to bring a guest helps him garner new like-minded clients, he says. At least three times a year, he invites 50 to 100 of his most frequent customers, like color clients, to product-launch events. There, the guests enjoy free drinks, food, services and products. Pontillo says these gatherings offer many benefits like meeting potential new clients, keeping the top guests happy and generating more retail sales by creating buzz around new products.
To host a successful party, Pontillo spreads the word through Facebook and email. “We train the front desk staff to market the event, and everyone on staff is involved,” he says. The salon coordinator manages the event happenings, and Pontillo hires caterers to serve food and drinks. “All we’re doing is what we do best, and we don’t have to waste staff time or energy with food and other services,” he says. “It’s a little more costly to use a caterer, but the end result is better.”
Pontillo’s motto about like attracting like also applies to partnering with companies to host events. “When you share a goal, you generally have a better relationship,” he says. “We have a similar cause, and it’s not ourselves.” Paul James Salon pairs with businesses, including a local furniture store, to host silent auctions in which both companies sell their products and donate the proceeds to The Lord’s Place, an organization dedicated to ending homelessness.
On The Green Salon and Day Spa in St. Marys, GA partners with its local Chamber of Commerce to promote joint events, like the Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours network event for local businesses, which salon owner Mary Rose Cannistraro says is its most successful event to date. The Chamber sends postcard invitations to its members and posts information on its website, newsletter and Facebook page; the salon advertises the event as well, inviting both Chamber members and nonmembers. “Anywhere from 200 to 400 people come to the event and learn about our business,” Cannistraro says, adding that guests explore the salon and receive free Aveda mini-treatments and food. “Each guest who comes through the door is taken on a tour, given product samples, and offered food and beverage.”
On The Green Salon and Day Spa in St. Marys, GA hosts several salon events including a Trashion Fashion Show for Aveda Earth Month.
Kellie Johnson, owner of Elan Hair Studio in Sea Girt, NJ, recommends partnering with a business that complements the event and the salon’s services. She has partnered with local florists for wedding events and certified health coaches for wellness events. “It has to be mutually beneficial,” she says.
Johnson also emphasizes the value of sending thank-you cards to guests of events and offering promotions to entice them to return. “We measure the success of the event by sales the day/night of, and the appointments that are pre-booked,” she adds.
Johnson notes blowout boot camps and makeup days are the events that generate the most business at her salon. On makeup days, clients receive a complimentary makeup application with a brand the salon chooses to focus on. “We tie in promotional pricing for blowouts for everyone who reserves a makeup appointment,” Johnson adds. Blowout boot camps offer a great value to clients—they receive information about the best products and tools for their hair types, learn how to blow-dry and style it, and are offered discounts on products and tools that day, as well as a 20 percent discount at their next appointment. “It’s an awesome way to spread the word about our salon and its culture,” Johnson says. ✂—Corie Russell