Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Good Receiver

Once again, it’s holiday time in the salon. I don’t know about you but it always brings on an uncomfortable feeling. What do I say when someone gives me a gift?

The simple answer is, “Thank you.”

The deeper answer is that you really won’t endear yourself if you make someone feel uncomfortable. Our clients notice our feelings and attitudes. So, get ready for the season and remind yourself how much you offer others throughout the year. You make others feel wonderful. You listen to their complaints and concerns without judgment (well, most of the time) and they think of you as a pseudo-counselor. Go ahead and enjoy the gift.

After all, you wouldn’t want to deny someone else a little pleasure, would you? I didn’t think so.

Happy holidays.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Flaunt it if You Got it!

Your smile lines rock. Your pedicures leave clients speechless and your nail art is so detailed nobody in the salon can recreate it. So when was the last time you got a little press?

Even if you have a full book, good public relations ensures that when openings happen they will be filled quickly. It also makes it possible to attract new hires that will make you proud.

The time might be right to start putting together a press pack. A basic press pack will contain a short bio that outlines your training, awards, photos, and specialties. A list of quotes is a nice touch. These can be tips editors can use in stories or sidebars of articles. A salon menu and any other printed materials such as past articles or tear sheets will round out the packet.

Write a letter to the local fashion and beauty editors of the newspapers within driving distance from the salon. Introduce yourself and offer your services in the case that the editors need an expert for an article. You may also offer to write a small guest piece. These pieces would be informative and not about the salon. They are designed to position yourself as the expert that you are. Browse through your trade magazines. Make a list of the writers it contains. Make contact with professional writers and let them know you are interested in participating in future articles.

Be ready when the opportunity arrives. When the phone call comes, be prepared by having a list of a few short articles you have prepared previously. Start working on this now. You can get someone to help with the writing if you are uncomfortable with putting it together. Start snapping pictures in the salon. The best pictures are active candid shots of nail techs performing services on clients. Take many pictures in a high resolution. The better the resolution, the better they show up in print. Get clients to sign a model release so that you can use the pictures whenever you want. Try different angles and back up the media they are stored on.

Write press releases. If the salon does something noteworthy—canned food drive, charity event, barbeque, etc.—send a press release to all of the local newspapers. You can find simple samples for writing press releases on the internet. Take a look at the Internet for inspiration. After editors see several press releases, they start to get a feel for the salon and you. You will be surprised at how many will pick up the phone when they have a story to do—and call you.

So start getting ready now. You never know when a writer, editor, or journalist will be calling. It could be the big break your salon needs to get noticed. Need more pointers or guidance on garnering press, feel free to email me iNails at hotmail dot com and I’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Gear Up for the Holidays

As the fall weather moves in, people’s attention turns to gifts, wrap, and holiday parties. Lucky for us, we can help clients meet their needs in all three areas.

Now is the time to start thinking about your holiday nail art line-up. You should be assembling a display board of easy to complete, quick designs that can turn a plain manicure or enhancement into a fashion accessory in no time. Imagine adding $5 to every service ticket over the holiday season. That’s conservative. While you are at it, don’t forget about those party toes. With all of that holiday shopping and prepping comes fatigue. Add a quick foot massage to the menu to quickly recharge weary clients. Charge by the minute with increments as low as 5 minutes. This is a great way for our clients to sneak in some pampering. The first year I offered mini foot massages, I didn’t have enough time to accommodate everyone. Now the clients ask as soon as they walk in the door. Everyone loves a foot rub!

Okay, your client is seated in the chair enjoying their service and a cup of tea. What do they see as they look around? Create mini retail areas in their direct line of sight. Baskets of products, paired with gift certificates, testers, and literature will keep them interested. Impulse buying is at its height during the holidays. Start placing orders now and have plenty of lotions, oils, and bath and body products around.

Encourage clients to purchase a gift certificate for themselves. Offer a buy one, get one at a discount and you can busy up those post holiday downtimes. Imagine for every gift certificate that your client buys for one of her friends, she can purchase one for herself at 10% off! Tuck free gift certificates for paraffin dips into gift baskets to encourage the recipients to come in and partake of salon services.

When it’s time to tally up the purchases, don’t forget the wrap. Offer gift wrap or bag services and it will be one less thing your client has to think about. Gift bags are inexpensive and have a fairly high markup. It just makes the whole experience more polished.

Offer to deliver the purchases to the client’s car when the sale is final. If you plan to take care of them, the client will take care of you long after the holiday season has passed.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

When Time Is Money

Time can be an uncomfortable subject. It can get more uncomfortable when we or our clients are running late.It is bound to happen. We find ourselves working more slowly or having to do more work than we expected. When it does, it leaves our client waiting on us. No wonder when they run late they expect us to be forgiving also.

This creates a sticky situation for us all. The best policy is to be up front about time issues. Letting clients know that you will do everything possible to stay on time creates an environment where they feel you have their best interests at heart. I have cards printed for the salon. They are an apology of sorts. The card reads, “I am sorry for the inconvenience of running behind. Please accept this $5 discount towards your next service and my apology.” Whenever I run behind, which is rare, I will hand the client one of these cards. They really appreciate it.

On the other hand, clients also run into snags in their day. We need to handle these issues with grace so as not to offend or upset a client or risk having them go to another salon. One way to handle the conversation is to simply say, “I’m sorry your day is not going well. I’ll do whatever I can to help you catch up and we can reschedule any part of the appointment that we don’t have time for.” You may shorten the duration of the service to fit if needed. The important thing is to charge for the entire appointment. This is a time that you have set aside for them. It is time that you cannot get back. It is gone. Most clients understand that if you are not working you are not being paid.

You may be feeling flustered or irritated. The more you use your interpersonal skills to ease the tension, the better the situation will turn out. Part of our jobs is to smooth out the rough spots in our client’s lives. We just need to make it better for a while. It takes very little effort to offer a kind word or take a deep breath. So the next time you feel irritated that a client is late, look at it from a different point of view. Make it easy on your client, let them get away with just a little bit more, but collect the full fee. You will be smiling later—so will your clients.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

When Bad Days Strike!

Bad days have the potential to bring out the worst in us. Stack the deck in your favor by adopting some of the techniques professionals use to lessen the effect on your business. http://tinyurl.com/5zycfx Your future income depends on it!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Discount Cosmetics that Deliver

I have been enjoying the spoils of social networking in the form of great information! After an evening of tweeting (that's talking in twitter verse)I was guided to a cosmetics site called www.eyeslipsface.com and astonished to find really great prices for makeup. After ordering some to try out (and some for friends) I am back to share my thoughts and some discounts for you.
My personal results are what matters most to me so I’ll share those with you now. Periodically I’ll be back to share some of the results of other testers.

Therapeudic Conditioning Balm (in Vanilla Crème)- This is my new favorite! At about a buck (before any discount) I’m impressed. It compares to other brands at way more moola. I found it felt so nice on my lips that I made it part of my bedtime routine too. I have really sensitive, dry skin. Shea butter pampers my lips and makes them feel soft and silky. If I had found just one item that did what it claimed and delivered a whammo savings to my wallet, this item would have been worth the search! But read on, because the fun is just beginning.

Plumping Lip Glaze (Oasis, and Fire Coral)- Whoopeee! Previously, I’d purchased my lip plumping products from a big time cosmetics store. You know the one. They have a location in Times Square with a ginormous array of beauty products for us to lust after. I’ve been (noticed past tense)the better part of a twenty dollar bill on my lip plumper of choice. NO more, I tell you! This stuff rocks! The clear base goes on easy and tingly with a hint of shimmer. Then the color glaze glides over the top. My lips still felt moist and they looked great. I had clients in the salon commenting on my lip color. The tingly sensation wasn’t too much and felt refreshing. I would continue to buy this item over and over again. And at the great price, I can try many colors instead of having to choose one measly tube. More for me.

Moving on… remember that e.l.f. has generously agreed to give a 50% discount (up to $7.50) on orders if you use the code BeautyWriter at checkout. No, I don’t get paid for this. In the interest of full disclosure I would let you know if I did. So, go to www.eyeslipsface.com for your discount.

Shear Foundation SPF15 (Tone 2)- The shear moisturizing foundation felt great on my skin. Virtually weightless and featherlight to blend. It has a light scent of oranges that is refreshing. Not as much coverage as I like, but an awesome choice for around town, working out, or for teens new to experimenting with makeup. The color was perfect. It did quench my thirsty skin.

Eye Primer & Liner Sealer (clear)- How cool is this. The liner sealer makes indestructible eye liners from your favorite shadow! And the shadow base keep shadow in place all day without budging. It adds a step to the routine, but I’m thinking this will be a step that is worthwhile when there is no time in the day for touch ups. I probably wouldn’t use it every day, but it’s a must for when I have speaking engagements. The shadow base is simple. Twist the stick up and apply, then smooth with your fingertip. Done.

That’s it for now. I still can’t believe that this stuff will be available in places like Target. What will I tell the gal at the makeup counter when I scale back? I’ll probably lean in and whisper, “check out my blog.” She knows I’ll be back to at least try every newfangled thing that comes along…at least once.

e.l.f. has generously agreed to give a 50% discount (up to $7.50) on orders if you use the code BeautyWriter at checkout. No, I don’t get paid for this. In the interest of full disclosure I would let you know if I did. So, go to www.eyeslipsface.com for your discount.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

What a BeautyWriter Does on the Weekend

People ask me what I do and I tell them, "I own a little salon spa and I'm a writer." That's all true. But what do I do? Hmmmm... The short answer is...whatever suits me!

What suited me this past weekend was far from what was supposed to be. I am in love with distance. Precisely, the distance of the marathon. About ten years ago I asked my husband, "What would you say if I said I wanted to run a marathon?"

His response was the same as always. "Whatever you want."

And so I did. My first marathon was a mass of blisters and soreness, punctuated by the powerful endorphins that pumped through my body at mile 24. I was hooked and still am. I was due to run a marathon this past weekend and had been training for months when a serious medical issue brought everything to a halt. Ever the optimist, I still registered for the half marathon.

My family made me promise that I would not be stubborn (a tall order for me) and that I would take it easy and not push it too much. I dutifully promised. So what I needed was a new agenda. The plan became to meet as many people as I could and enjoy the run.

What I found was that it was my all time worst finish time (next to last in my age group) but it was so much fun. I found so many interesting people along the way. Oddly enough, some of the folks I met were from the beauty industry and others, well, not. But did I mention how much fun I had?

I'm going to veer a bit from my beauty platform over the next few posts to share some of their stories with you. These are the stories of people like Ralph, a surfer traversing the country and raising funds for injured vets in his newly restored, red Woody. How cool is that? Check his blog out at www.SurferRalph.com and see what he's up to. I met Stacey at the Expo. She is a spa director. Small world, huh?

There was a lesson in the deviation from the original plan. In being driven to constantly improve my finish times, I was missing out on the beauty of the race. I was missing out on the beauty of the people who ran along beside me. I was missing out on the landscape and local flair. Well, I probably won't abandon my urge to improve but I will take time to enjoy the road.

So if the juice still flows to charge my laptop, and work doesn't overwhelm me, I'll be back to share some of the highlights of OBX2008. Until then, one foot in front of the other and enjoy the beauty in everything.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

When Lipstick Is Neither Red nor Blue, but American

The year 2008 will go down in the history books as a rollercoaster of an election season, one that has highlighted at times both the...

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Tipping 101

Lately it seems like I can’t go anywhere without encountering that awkward tipping moment—a prolonged handshake with a bellhop at a hotel, a lingering stare...

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Trendsetter - By Erin Snyder Dixon

You may or may not have given much thought to your impact on the choices of others. As a salon professional, you are a trendsetter.

Take the lead in the salon by offering nail trends that are not just fashionable but can be completed quickly. Time is money. There are only so many hours in the day. The laws of physics prevent us from creating more. Lucky for us we can choose what to do with the time we have.Influence your time and income in a positive way by choosing which nail designs and services you promote. Instead of confounding your clients with endless nail designs choose a few to feature this month. Practice these designs so you can bang them out in the salon—over and over again.

Wear these designs on your own nails.Sure, you want to be flexible enough to do something different when you get a request. Of course, you will charge accordingly for special requests and deliver them with a smile.Do the math. A simple nail art design can be done without scheduling more appointment time. If you do only ONE design a day at $5, five days a week, fifty weeks a year (you can afford a vacation now), you will have added $1,250 to your service tickets! Complete 5 simple designs a day and you increase your income by $6,250. And think, you have done all of this without staying late, coming in early or working an extra day.

Your clients will become accustomed to checking out the nail board when they arrive to see featured designs. Get the word out by sharing photos of fingers and toes adorned with the designs in your salon newsletter, at each workstation (in and out of the nail area), in the waiting area, and on your website. As you exercise your trendsetting muscle, take inspiration from fashion, fabric, or season. Inspiration is only as far as your environment. So, go ahead, rock your salon with new designs you can pop out in an instant.

Bio: Erin Snyder Dixon is one of the leading professionals in the Beauty industry. She has a degree in business management and the lessons of more than 20 years of experience in business. She has consulted for a number of professional manufacturing companies, spas and salons, and is currently an educator for NSI. She is an award winning nail artist and educator. She is the best-selling author of Attractive Profits in Nail Art, coauthor of Seizing Your Success, Giving Gratitude, and Salon Success, Tweaks & Tips, http://tinyurl.com/4aseaj and has been regularly published in NAILS magazine, featured in several international trade magazines and continues to share her experience with others through conferences and speaking engagements as aprofessional member of the National Speakers Association and the South Eastern Assoc of training and Development.

For nail inspiration and to view trends, visit the following nail art galleries:
NSI Nail Art Gallery
Nails Nail Art Gallery
Nail Art Studio Email This Post

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Value Added Services in the Salon or Spa

As conversations turn to economic woes and sudden uncertainty, the salon can hold enormous power in how they position services. Positioning services doesn't just pad the salon pockets, it helps the client get through tough times also.

So, what am I talking about? You think value added services is just about hyping the benefits of a service. Well, way off. Adding value gives clients another reason to choose us. Simple ways we add value are to absorb casts that the client would ordinarily have to pay for. Some of these costs are for things such as parking, snacks and beverages, trial sizes of products, use of additional facilities, or even the wonderful feeling they get when they leave.

For instance, try adding a simple complimentary coffee bar for clients. I hear clients complain that they are missing their favorite double grand latte because it just had to be cut from the budget. My clients come in and can partake of the grand Lavazza Coffee beverage center in the salon. They can have anything they want. Even take one for the road when they leave. I encourage it. Sure I have a tip center at the bar. The truth is that so far the tips have covered the entire cost of the coffee bar. You hear that? It pays for itself. But, there is more. The coffee bar gives a client a reason to rethink giving up her weekly manicure. 2 coffee drinks cost more than a manicure. In the client's mind, she is getting a deal. She gets to have her manicure and drink her coffee too.

I'm up front with my clients about my motives. I want to make the choice to come to my salon a easy one. Bored, just want to stop in and say "Hello"? I tell them to come on by. Stop, look around, have a cup of coffee. The increase in retail and appointments is worth every bit of effort. The coffee bar entices the clients to keep coming back for more.

So, what other ways do we add value to services. Be creative. Listen to what your clients say they are giving up in these hard times. Tucked into those dreaded budget cuts are opportunities for you to attract clients and keep them. Endear them by giving them back their standard of living.

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Monday, October 6, 2008

October 6th, 2008

The world is a little more uncertain today. What happened while we slept last night? I'm not sure if the mechanics of economy fundamentally changed or if we woke up with a new, more critical perspective. I would like to say that much is as it was yesterday. The world is still the place we live and love. We are in flux though.

As a beauty professional, my job got harder. No, the activities are the same. I still service clients and pamper them. My job as the mental booster of the bad mood just got elevated. I'm in need. People want to feel better and they want to feel better now!

As I look to the holidays, I need to remain focused on meeting the small needs. A hug, smile or tube of lipstick may make all the difference in the world. I'm on a mission to create an oasis that will let clients escape from the world they don't want to see today--if only for a while.

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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

It's a pleasure to meet you.
If you would like to chat or follow me online, just go to www.twitter.com/BeautyWriter and you find me tweeting away between appointments. You can also add me on facebook and myspace too. http://www.tinyurl.com/4cypjs or www.myspace.com/sandinmysuit
While you are at it, tuck away my name and and email address:
Erin Snyder Dixon iNails@hotmail.com
If you are in the beauty industry, I want to know you. If you just love anything to do with inside and outside beauty, I want to hear from you too!
My passion is uniting the professional beauty industry with the consumer in a way that lets us enjoy the pleasures in life. That means enjoying each other's company and taking the experience home.
Over time, I run into a lot of people who think that the spa experience is just out of their reach. It's surely not. Aside from the healing human touch, you can recreate the experience at home.
People will often say, "Doesn't hat hurt your spa and salon business?" and the resounding answer is "no".
The more people who learn how to destress in a healthy way, the better off we all are. Many of my clients were do-it-yourselfers for one reason or another. Busy Moms, workaholics who couldn't get out of the office, or men who thought they just didn't belong in the salons.
Well, I'm here to tell you- professionals and clients alike- that there is a big need out there. I would like to show you both how to find each other and get more out of that relationship over the years.
So, Don't be stranger. Email me, twitter me, or friend me on another space. If I'm not there, send me an invite to your network and I'll join in on the action.
Till I get to chat with you again, it's been fun,
Erin Snyder Dixon "BeautyWriter"

Erin Snyder Dixon's Facebook profile

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