Retail Rules

Edward Tricomi and Joel Warren of Warren- Tricomi confess that they love to shop. It's not surprising: After all, retail makes up 15 percent of their New York and Connecticut salon business. In addition to providing top-notch hair services, stocking shelves with the hottest "It" products is a big priority for them—in fact, their 7,000-square-foot Greenwich location looks more like the first floor at Barneys than a beauty salon. With a fully integrated retail-salon design, each shop resembles a mini department store where clients can purchase products, including Laura Mercier cosmetics, Kathleen Kadunz jewelry and Rachel Weissman hair accessories. Currently, Tricomi and Warren, along with their partner Dwayne MacEwan, are gearing up for an April grand opening of their new 2,300-square-foot, lounge-themed West Hollywood salon, where they'll sell their favorite finds and their own soon-to-launch brand, PureStrength Three-C System. Here, they offer tips on creating a successful retail program.

Warren-Tricomi combines retail hair products with fashion accessories and cosmetics.
Warren-Tricomi combines retail hair products with fashion accessories and cosmetics.


Warren and Tricomi suggest learning as much as possible about your clientele's needs, interests and preferences before you even begin planning your retail space. "What works in New York isn't necessarily going to work in Connecticut and vice versa," says Warren. "When we opened our Greenwich salon, we didn't just take our business in New York and transplant it in Connecticut." Instead, they catered the salon's atmosphere, design, price points and products to the people of Greenwich. "We didn't do it overnight. We were there a year before we began the retail space," says Warren.


Both Warren and Tricomi stress the importance of featuring distinct brands. Recognizing that trends and needs vary by location, they made sure to handpick merchandise that was unique to each salon. "We began with brands that you couldn't buy down the block at another salon," says Warren. "For instance, in Greenwich our clients want high-end lines, so that's what we buy. If clients like the products, are talking about them and feel like they're exclusive, then that's pretty much the key to being successful in retail."


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Warren points to a direct correlation between the level of education the staff has about a brand and the amount of product sold. "If we like a product and we educate our staff, then that helps to promote salon sales," he says. "But we always sell products in a practical manner and recommend items clients really need," adds Tricomi. "If the client has color, we'll recommend the right color shampoo, for example."


Warren and Tricomi advise salons to make products accessible for clients. "Let them feel and smell them," says Tricomi. "Products shouldn't be untouchable. In our salons we've designed several areas where product sales are going on. This way we can up-sell items naturally, while doing a client's hair. Just don't be too pushy." The bottom line: Giving clients what they want will keep them coming back for more.