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Management Practices

Salon Rootz Builds a Marketing Machine

Stacey Soble | September 1, 2016 | 9:30 AM
Salon Rootz owners (seated) Jennifer Tryon and Sheila Barco are surrounded by their marketing team, Vanessa Rutherford, Jennifer LeBlanc and Bobbie Gray. Photo by Jennifer Keaton.

Marketing at Salon Rootz in Medina, Ohio, is a team effort, and consistency is the name of the game.

“Whether it’s social media, e-marketing, blogging, photoshoots or press releases, you have to be consistent and persistent,” says Jennifer LeBlanc, who serves as the salon’s operations manager and its director of marketing. “Rome wasn’t built in a day, and marketing is not a one-and-done-type of thing—it’s a 24/7, round-the-clock effort.”

Despite being in the small community of Medina, owners Sheila Barco and Jennifer Tryon take pride that Salon Rootz is cutting-edge not only in hair and fashion, but also as a brand. That’s because seven years ago as their young business was growing, they realized they had to make a black-and-white management choice.

“Either you step out from behind the chair and get educated on marketing and make that your focus, or you hire someone to do it for you,” Barco says.

“We are still very passionate for our craft, and our interest revolves around education and improving ourselves and our team,” Tryon adds. “For us, it made sense find the best support we could to help us continue to grow.”

At the time, one of Tryon’s longtime clients, LeBlanc, was launching her own marketing company, and the Salon Rootz owners decided to try her out.

“We would do a few little projects, then those grew into a few larger projects, and we’d get together every other month or so, and my role slowly grew,” says LeBlanc.

During one of their earlier meetings, LeBlanc brought in a SALON TODAY 200 application and recommended the owners give the national salon business competition a shot, but Tryon and Barco felt even though the salon was in a rapid growth phase, they weren’t ready. LeBlanc believed the salon had a story to tell, and she convinced them to enter.

“When we got the letter that we were an ST200 honoree, I was hooked,” LeBlanc says. “I was head-over-heels for the industry, and that honor was a feeling I wanted to replicate for the salon and the team over and over.”

Throughout the years, Salon Rootz’ marketing machine grew, too. Now, the team includes Barco, Tryon, LeBlanc and two of the salon’s team managers, Bobbie Gray and Vanessa Rutherford. The five of them meet regularly to brainstorm and implement new marketing ideas. LeBlanc is now a salaried employee, and she comes in every morning to help fill the salon’s open appointments, as well as spends Thursdays in the salon working on marketing projects.

In addition to building the salon’s website, evolving its menu, developing a Constant Contact e-letter and social media exposure, the team continually comes up with innovative marketing ideas that grab the attention of potential clients and keep the existing ones intrigued and loyal. The salon has been recognized in all five STAMP (Salon Today Annual Marketing Program) competitions.

While Rutherford heads up the Salon Rootz boutique, Gray serves as the team ambassador.

“Whether it’s popping in to support a photoshoot, helping instruct during education or staying late to help with the last client, she is reliable, and having a support role in the service department is a massive asset to marketing,” Tryon says. Gray also spends time helping team members develop their own professional social media pages, which helps the salon grow as a whole.

While marketing requires consistent effort, the team is quick to claim it’s an effort that’s well worth it.

“We credit our continued growth to our ability to create a community of passionate followers,” Tryon says. “Our marketing approach builds a comprehensive verbal, visual and emotional expression across non-traditional, interactive and in-person experience that give clients a reason to buy an employees a reason to believe.”

SALON TODAY invited the Salon Rootz marketing team to share their five most successful marketing ideas from the past five years. Here are their favorites:

Branded Apparel

“As we began receiving local and national attention,
Salon Rootz has become more than just another Medina salon and evolved into a nationally recognized brand that happens to be located in Medina, Ohio,” LeBlanc says.

The growth and recognition led the team to design a fashionable clothing line showcasing the Salon Rootz brand that both stylists and clients love to wear. Today, the line includes hoodies, track jackets, thermals, tank tops, T-shirts for women and children, biker jackets and messenger bags.  

Webisodes

Working closely with different team members, Salon Rootz developed a series of YouTube videos they call Webisodes that spotlighted certain salon services, such as chalking, braiding, fall color transformations and integrating in Hairdreams Quickies.

“More consumers are relying on YouTube as a source of knowledge, and we felt this series was a highly effective, easily consumable way to get our message to our target market,” LeBlanc says. “We have used these videos to introduce our salon culture, to create excitement for new services we launch, for displaying editorial work created during photoshoots, to show our before-and-after makeovers and to build a solid connection to our clients.”

New Talent Menu

About two years ago, the salon established a New Talent Menu, which helped get new stylists out on the floor quicker while also opening up the salon’s world-class services to new client markets.

“It’s been our experience, that some stylists are insecure when first landing on the salon floor and aren’t confidence in charging what standard level 1 stylists charge,” Barco says. “This program/menu allows them to work their way up in pricing, and it’s a fantastic tool for them to start seeing our regular clients for a quick root touchup or last-minute blowout when the clients can’t get in with their regular stylist.”

The services selected for the New Talent Menu are confidence boosters for the young stylists to execute, and the lower pricing opens up the possibilities for clients who want to indulge on a quality service but have budget constraints.

Reaching Mass Media

“The story goes, if you build it, they will come,” LeBlanc says. “Be unique, be persistent, be consistent and tell your story.”

The salon regularly send press releases to local newspapers, magazines and television stations, and the effort has landed the salon local television appearance and a story on The Today Show in conjunction with their favorite non-profit organization, Angels for Kids.

“In addition, we have been published more than 75 times in local and national print during the past seven years,” LeBlanc says. “Every one of these cost us $0, and although the return on the effort isn’t immediate, it’s strong. It builds a brand like no other.”

The Salon Rootz Boutique

The owners describe the new Boutique at Salon Rootz as one of their marketing monsters. Driven and executed by Rutherford, the boutique provides many benefits to the salon and has helped grow stylists.

“Vanessa is very fashion-forward and the boutique provides an additional source of retail revenue, which adds to our growth,” Tryon says. “It also brings in shoppers and converts them to hair and nail guests. We already help clients make a statement with their hair, why stop there? It’s a true one-stop shop.”

Rutherford hand selects each item featured in the boutique, and two of the popular fashion lines are Z Supply and Mate.

“The boutique is a marketing asset, which will eventually grow into increased retail hours because we are located in a very shop-able plaza,” LeBlanc says. “We’re very excited to see it grow.”

 

 

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