Retail Therapy




Zano Salon and Spas' Denise Provenzano takes a staff-focused approach to driving retail sales in a down economy.


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Zano Salon and Spas, with five locations in the Chicago suburbs, is clearly doing something right; next year they'll be celebrating 25 years in business. In addition to carefully selected locations and talented staff members, Zano has excellent retail sales figures, which currently account for 44 percent of the business' gross profits, according to Zano founder and President Denise Provenzano.

"There are a lot of things to consider when you're looking at dollars spent in retail versus dollars spent in service and how you gage whether you're having success with it or not," she says. "You have to look at your business in terms of number one, what your pricing structure is (for service), and number two, the price of the lines you carry."

Provenzano takes a staff-focused approach to driving retail sales with an advancement system that links product sales targets to service goals. At level one, stylists are expected to see 100 guests per month and sell $7 per guest in retail products, while at the highest level, six, stylists must see 160 guests per month and sell $10 per guest in retail. As stylists advance through the levels, their service pricing increases, in addition to their commission, which ranges from 40 to 50 percent on service and 10 to 20 percent on retail, depending on how much they sell each month. "The goal is to help them to grow to the next level," Provenzano says. "It allows them to succeed financially, but it's also a prestigious thing to get a pricing increase."

Provenzano reviews the system periodically, making adjustments as needed. "We take a look at our business on a regular basis to see what's affecting us, where we are, what the standards are, and how to set goals for our staff," she says. "We're looking at it now because of what's going on in the economy."

Zano Salon and Spas retails five lines to appeal to clients' different needs and budgets.
Zano Salon and Spas retails five lines to appeal to clients' different needs and budgets.

To further motivate the staff to sell retail, Provenzano runs regular competitions. One contest the salon ran last summer offered top sales achievers the chance to compete for three real diamonds. "It was a very successful contest for us," Provenzano says. "It was a crucial time and it kept our retail sales strong during those months. We've been proactive in what we've offered in the past year, and it's really helped us keep our business steady."

Zano retails five lines to appeal to clients' different needs and budgets—Redken, Pureology, Kérastase, Moroccanoil and Aquage—which means that educating stylists on each product is critical to Provenzano's sales strategy. New products are introduced at mandatory monthly meetings at each location, and quarterly education events always incorporate products into technique training. Provenzano also provides her staff with samples to try out at home so they can make personal recommendations to guests.

"I know what works, and what works for us is making sure that our staff is always well-educated and informed and then held accountable," Provenzano says. "Those are the keys to our success in retail." —L.A.

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.