Spotlight on Urban Betty

  What's in a name?   Urban Betty is an homage to Chelle’s grandmother Betty Virginia and Chelle's given name Betty Michelle.

What's in a name?
Urban Betty is an homage to Chelle’s grandmother Betty Virginia and Chelle's given name Betty Michelle.

  Spotlight on Urban Betty    Owner Chelle Neff and Armstrong McCall North Austin go way back.  When Chelle first started out after finishing her cosmetology license in high school she worked for AmCo in one of our stores! I was so thrilled to hear we were a small part of her journey. She has been moving and shaking ever since. Urban Betty has a giant list of awards and accolades, but my favorite part of chatting with Chelle is her amazing energy. She shares her philosophy of always giving back within her community, and uses her business as a platform to inspire others to do the same. This year marks the 8th annual clothing swap benefitting Safe Place! Not only does this create awareness for Safe Place ( http://www.safeaustin.org ), but it involves her staff and community in a really fun and unique way.

Spotlight on Urban Betty

Owner Chelle Neff and Armstrong McCall North Austin go way back.  When Chelle first started out after finishing her cosmetology license in high school she worked for AmCo in one of our stores! I was so thrilled to hear we were a small part of her journey. She has been moving and shaking ever since. Urban Betty has a giant list of awards and accolades, but my favorite part of chatting with Chelle is her amazing energy. She shares her philosophy of always giving back within her community, and uses her business as a platform to inspire others to do the same. This year marks the 8th annual clothing swap benefitting Safe Place! Not only does this create awareness for Safe Place (http://www.safeaustin.org), but it involves her staff and community in a really fun and unique way.

Chelle started her career as a hairstylist in high school and opened her own salon in 2005 with 6 chairs and only two stylists. Urban Betty has grown into 24 stations with 20 stylists.  Chelle, the owner, was awarded Philanthropist of the Year by Austin Fashion Week in 2014. Urban Betty supports several causes annually through donations and events such as collecting donations for Movember, and acting as a permanent drop-off location for Project Princess.  Urban Betty helps support women fighting cancer by offering complimentary haircuts during October, and half-price throughout the year for those who wish to donate their hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths. Chelle participated in Big Brothers and Sisters for two years as well as being named Entrepreneur of the Year by Austin Under 40 Awards for 2016. Urban Betty has received the Salon Growth and Best Practices award from Salon Today 200 for 5 consecutive years. 

In continuing our chat I asked Chelle what her biggest challenge has been in her experience as a stylist and building a successful business. Learning not to care what others think, and learning to “stand in your own power” is something we all relate to. I’ll leave you with this quote shared by Chelle: “What you think of me is none of my business.”

How are you getting new clients?

This is something we should all be working on consistently and often. Where are your new clients coming from? Do you have a rewards/loyalty program?  Are existing clients sending in friends and family? Word-of-mouth is still one of the top ways new clients find their way to you.  Are new clients finding you online? Always ask how people have found you; it’s a fantastic way to see what marketing channels are working/not working.

Use your social media! Create your online presence to reflect the values and brand you’ve created.  If you’re taking a holistic angle to your craft, feel free to use content that is reflective of that: fitness, healthy recipes, products you’re retailing to support your brand. If you’re high fashion, do a lot of session work, post behind-the-scenes and on-location shots. People love seeing hair photos and before/after pretties that highlight your work, but there’s nothing wrong with including content that’s reflective of your overall brand.  Are you on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and SnapChat? You should be! These are all great avenues to keep in touch with your clients when they aren’t in your chair.

When is the last time you evaluated your website? It’s always wise to revisit your site several times per year to evaluate how effective it is. How is your photography? Is the information current? Are you blogging on a schedule? Blogging is often overlooked and is an awesome way to get organic site traffic with keywords.  Are you offering online booking?

Google your salon/yourself. Be aware of what the online community is saying about you. Yelp and similar user based review platforms can be a great asset! With the huge influx of people to the Austin area every day there is an abundance of people looking for their “new” places: doctors, dentists, and stylists! If there’s no one to get a referral from, the internet becomes the next best thing.

In short, getting new clients is something to work on a bit every day. Understanding what’s working/not working currently is the first step to make positive changes! 

Upsell

Back when I first started my career in sales the best advice I received was never to sell for my own reasons, but to sell based on the needs of the client. It was sound advice then just as it is now. I’ve worn many hats in the beauty industry.  Everything I’ve learned has been through trial and error, which is why I was so excited to start writing this business development series. The old adage “Those that can’t do, teach” is super true in my case. I am not a cosmetologist. If you saw me with shears you’d either laugh or run away! I learned early on that my gift was to share my knowledge in helping others build more successful businesses. I have to admit I’ve always been a little jealous of the hair stylists. I have so much respect for those that are able to directly influence how someone views themselves in the mirror. The information shared in this series isn’t groundbreaking. In fact, most consultants, coaches, and software companies are using these same metrics to calculate growth opportunities. The point that never seems to be touched on, though, is this: Be genuine. It seems simple. Keep in mind that you’re always putting the client’s needs and desires first; you’re not simply selling hair color or take-home products.
With that said, let’s look at average tickets. 
Boosting your average ticket can give your overall business an increase without adding any new clients. You can look at your average service ticket, average retail ticket, or the combination of both.  The first step is to set a benchmark for where you are starting. You need to know your current average ticket value before you can set a goal to increase. 
Convincing clients to spend more of their hard-earned dollars starts with trust.  The goal isn’t to just sell additional services or products, it’s to recommend additional service options to enhance your client’s desired look. Without a strong foundation of loyalty and trust, these points are moot. Genuinely looking at the client’s goals will help increase your overall average tickets.
I know I sound like a broken record, but it always starts with the consultation, asking questions to learn the commitment level, wants, and needs of the client.  Never tried hair color? Maybe a face frame balayage, or a glaze is a great starting point. Hair in rougher shape than you’d like? Maybe an in-salon treatment with some pro take-home products is a great solution. 
For full service salons there’s always the ability to cross-sell services. This not only builds loyalty to the individual, but enhances the overall client experience and builds overall loyalty to the business.
When I began working in the salon world I worked at the front desk of a full service salon and day spa. The owners benchmarked EVERYTHING and gave the entire team goals for improvement. They also gave us the coaching and tools we needed to achieve the increases. The front desk team was taught to always suggest an additional service. Suggest is the key word here. The script sounded something like this: “Mrs. Smith, I have your appointment for “x” and “z” service scheduled at date/time/service provider. There happens to be a manicure (insert available extra appointment here) at the same time. If you’d like to have a manicure while your color is processing I’d be pleased to schedule it for you.” Out of every 100 calls we might get an additional 5-8 upsell appointments scheduled. 
To wrap up, here’s the short list on boosting average tickets:
Upsell additional services/cross-sell with other service providers.
Suggest and explain a take-home product regimen.
Offer value-added packages (service OR retail).

 

Spotlight on Bella Salon Austin

Bella Salon, under the leadership of Sarah Romer, is bringing back the true full-service experience! From cuts to color, nails and makeup, plus a lovely retail boutique, Bella Salon is a one-stop shop. With convenient parking, wi-fi, and stellar guest services, you can be prettied from head to toe in one place! Sure, there are many places that offer a full array of services, but at Bella you can feel comfortable coming right from Saturday morning pilates and feel totally welcomed. The positive vibe at Bella is contagious from the second you walk in the door. 
Sarah was nice enough to sit down with me and chat about her experiences in buying a salon with a long-established history, and taking it from good to great.

Sarah comes from a rich background in business, but is newer to the beauty world. She’s taken business best practices and applied them to Bella.
Most notably, that includes complete transparency for her team. From pay structures and service fees to guest service and customer experience, everything for the Bella team is clear and straightforward. Staff are working toward the same goals of awesome technical expertise for an amazing and memorable visit for all Bella guests. Sarah has quickly strengthened an environment that breeds creativity and passion. The notable thing about chatting with Sarah is her humility and grace. She might be newer to the beauty industry but her passion for it is contagious. 
Clear structures, expectation, and working toward common goals has created a fantastic environment. Staff that feel appreciated work harder and work happier.
Sarah has also taken great care to build her team. Bella offers an apprenticeship program for newer stylists looking to further their education under a master stylist before navigating their own chair.   

BC Bonacure brings hair closer than ever to natural perfection. With therapies to treat all types of hair needs, from damaged, to colored and highlighted, to unmanageable and frizzy, BC Bonacure treatments work to repair, strengthen and revitalize. OSiS+ Session Label brings runway styling performance and precision into our salon for unlimited hair reinvention.

Spotlight on Trashy Roots

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Eight years ago Anna Craig opened the doors to Trashy Roots in Round Rock. Starting with a book of 20 clients she went from fledgling salon owner to building the Trashy Roots empire within the first year. Her (really awesome) advice to those looking to build their business: Hand out those cards everywhere you go! Word-of-mouth referrals and handing out those good old fashioned business cards to anyone anywhere - yes, that includes the hostess at the restaurant, teachers, coaches, and the super lady at the dry cleaners - is organic advertising. Hand out those cards!
Work. Plain and simple. And work hard. Anna’s philosophy is that you get what you give. Accommodate the client’s schedule, not what’s convenient for you. Need to open at 7 am? Do it. Need to stay open late to accommodate after work appointments? Do it. 
Want an appointment at Trashy Roots? How is 8+ weeks from now? There is currently a 2+ month waitlist for appointments. There’s no secret for how to keep a full schedule. It’s all in the pre-booking. Trashy Roots clients book their appointments in advance, sometimes for the whole year. Clients who don’t pre-book run the risk of not being able to get an appointment when they want, and many don’t take that chance.

 Retail Spotlight: DevaCurl. Seven years ago Trashy Roots was one of the first salons in the area to carry DevaCurl. They haven’t looked back since! All stylists at the salon are Deva certified. Curly-haired ladies are extra loyal to both the salon and the products that make their hair look fab. Between the Devalcurl website and www.naturallycurly.com there is a constant influx of new clients to the salon. Trashy Roots gives back! Anna works closely with The Texas Baptist Children's Home doing donation drives several times a year, with all of the profits from the recycling program going directly to them. When the Texas Baptist Children’s Home has a need, Trashy Roots bands together with their client community to help.  Anna has developed a recognizable brand. From the website to social media, logo, and salon décor Anna has created a brand that is truly her. It’s cohesive and it’s reflective of her. She’s built a brand from the heart and it shows on every level.    

Retail Spotlight: DevaCurl. Seven years ago Trashy Roots was one of the first salons in the area to carry DevaCurl. They haven’t looked back since! All stylists at the salon are Deva certified. Curly-haired ladies are extra loyal to both the salon and the products that make their hair look fab. Between the Devalcurl website and www.naturallycurly.com there is a constant influx of new clients to the salon.
Trashy Roots gives back! Anna works closely with The Texas Baptist Children's Home doing donation drives several times a year, with all of the profits from the recycling program going directly to them. When the Texas Baptist Children’s Home has a need, Trashy Roots bands together with their client community to help. 
Anna has developed a recognizable brand. From the website to social media, logo, and salon décor Anna has created a brand that is truly her. It’s cohesive and it’s reflective of her. She’s built a brand from the heart and it shows on every level. 

 

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Rule of 3

I have spent the past decade in salon business development and marketing. That’s ten years of helping stylists make more money. I get asked a lot about the best way to get new clients. It’s a great question and I’ll be answering that in a future post, but to answer that we need to take a step back and evaluate what we are working with. How many of our current customers are we keeping, and how do we make sure they keep coming back? Keeping existing customers happy and coming back is just as important as getting brand new ones.

Our industry average for client retention is about 70%. These are usually clients who have been coming to you for a year. The goal should be to keep 85%. This 15% difference can account for those others who don’t come back for any number of reasons. Think you will never lose a client? People move, get new jobs, finances change.

 In my years of helping stylists I’ve learned that the biggest reason clients leave a stylist is because they want change.  Your clients choose you because you are the expert. You directly influence how someone feels when they look in the mirror.  Change can be subtle or dramatic, but always suggest change or the client might find that change with someone new.

We can address this in a super simple way. I call it the Rule of 3. Appointments can be broken into 3 segments:

 #1. Consultation: Every. Single. Time. This is SO important, especially with established clients. Talk about the hair! How was the last cut/color? How did those highlights work out? What’s one thing you loved? What’s one thing you’d like to change? And suggest a change. Tweak a color formula to reflect that it’s almost spring, add a few balayage foils, add soft fringe. The sky is the limit. The point here is to ask and suggest. If the client wants exactly the same as last time, that’s great. At least they know you are on top of your craft and looking out for them. 

#2. Chitchat: Boyfriend, kids, pets, work. All the fun stuff.

#3. The maintenance for this awesome new ‘do.  Show the client which products you used. Sometimes it’s helpful to physically show them how much to use at home (we all know the difference between a one-inch trim to a client and what a one-inch trim really is; it’s the same principle here), what brushes you used, and when you need to see them back to keep this look fresh.

Keep your current customers happy and try out the Rule of 3.