Retail Therapy




Retail sales play an important part in the Blo Salon experience.

The award-winning Blo Salon, located in Raleigh, NC, attributes around 30 percent of its profits to retail sales, signifying that the salon clearly employs an effective business model. "We consistently represent our brand," says Bryan Nunes, the owner of Blo, a Redken Elite Salon. "We educate our clients and staff on the products we use, and we also give our clients regular incentives."


One way the salon does this is by planning promotions with its distributor up to a year in advance, which inspires creative ideas and allows them to have enough stock on hand and provide clients with a calendar of monthly specials to look forward to. For example, this month, if a customer buys a shampoo and conditioner, or any two styling aids, he or she can receive a free Shades EQ demipermanent haircolor service. "Most salons will run a service and give away retail, but we often give away a service if you purchase retail," Nunes says.

The salon's June Father's Day promotion offers every male client a free Color Camo processing service and 15 percent off retail. "We might not make a lot on the front-end but we create a stir," Nunes says. "What we hope is that six weeks later they will come back for a repeat service." Blo publicizes its monthly specials through various marketing media strategies, such as an e-blast newsletter and in-salon TV promotions.

The retail display at Raleigh, NC's Blo Salon is located in the chemical processing area.
The retail display at Raleigh, NC's Blo Salon is located in the chemical processing area.

Another discount program ties into Blo's signature line of T-shirts and hoodies sporting the salon's logo. When clients wear an item of clothing with the Blo logo into the salon, they receive 10 percent off retail purchases, a promotion that has the added advantage of advertising the business outside of the salon. "Lots of clients will invest in a piece of apparel for the discount," Nunes says.

The design of the salon also contributes to its retail success. The retail shelves are located in the chemical area, with natural lighting overhead and a few mirrors, so clients are exposed to product while their hair is being processed. "While our guest is sitting in chemical processing and application, we have a captive audience," Nunes says. "This setup allows for natural questioning from the client and then at the end, the hairstylist can reiterate the product instead of just introducing it."

Promotions and retail display design aside, perhaps the best way to capture clients' interest in buying products is by having them experience how they work for themselves, which is why every product stylists use on their clients is available for purchase. From blow-dryers to round brushes, everything has a price tag. The reason behind such heavy emphasis on retail? "We provide all of the tools for the stylists as an opportunity for them to sell what they use," Nunes says. "It's only reasonable that our clients, who are investing in a new look, have the ability to purchase the tools and products needed to recreate it at home." —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.