Retail Therapy

Adam Broderick offers a variety of products to boost profits.

Just because a salon might have an entourage of talented stylists, provide exquisite service and stock shelves full of professional haircare products does not mean the salon will be profitable when it comes to retail sales. Sure, clients may be leaving with masterful haircuts, but many salons that struggle with the retail aspect of their gross sales find their clients leaving empty-handed. Adam Broderick, the owner of two upscale eponymous salons and day spas in Ridgefield, CT, and Southbury, CT, makes sure his customers walk away sporting slightly lighter pockets, but with quality merchandise and the desire to return again. His retail business accounts for a commendable 25 percent of profits.


"If you do a store well, profit is unlimited," Broderick says. "You can sell a countless amount of products. If you just do the salon well, you are limited by manpower and the number of hours you are open. For the retail store, you just need inventory."

When it comes to selling haircare products, Broderick believes the best time to do it is during the service. "Selling the hair products should already be in the bag," he says. "Part of the responsibility of the stylist is to convince the customer to buy the professional products that are used to maintain the look that was created specifically for him or her." It's also a good time to recommend additional products that might be appropriate for the client, Broderick stresses.

The retail area at the adam Broderick Salon and Day Spa in Connecticut
The retail area at the adam Broderick Salon and Day Spa in Connecticut

Besides selling haircare lines, Broderick offers wellness, beauty and fashion products, such as cosmetics, accessories, bags, jewelry, baby gifts, specialty items and personal-care appliances in his retail area, which he describes as a "high-end department store." "Expand your product offerings and look at other categories of merchandise as revenue," he advises. "Consumers' relationship with a salon business is very intimate. They put their trust in my name, so much higher trust than any other beauty store or drug store. To leverage this intimacy, I offer a very edited version of best-in-class."

His most popular promotion, available four times a year, rewards customers who buy $100 worth of merchandise with a $25 gift card. "I've found that it really drives people to buy that one extra product," he says.

Over the years, Broderick has allocated increasing amounts of space in his salons to retail. The Ridgefield location has a particularly strong retail area, with a white color scheme and spacious lobby that invites people to wander in and browse. He hired a visual merchandising team to keep his boutiques looking fresh and up-to-date, and also has retail specialists and a retail manager. "Treat the retail aspect of a salon as a separate entity," he says, "because if you don't, you assign resources that are convenient as opposed to appropriate."

His final word of advice: Always keep things fresh. He says, "In a world where choice and option are important to consumers, and in a world where innovation and new ideas are flourishing, you don't want to be locked in." —J.H.

The National Cosmetology Association (NCA) has launched an aggressive campaign to help salons increase retail sales by $50 per day. That's a $600 million infusion of cash into salons in 2009 if just 25 percent of the 50,000 salons in the United States participate. Visit for more information.