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Management Practices

The Business of Hair Color: Eliminating Color Waste

Stacey Soble | April 1, 2014 | 12:46 PM

The Business of Hair Color: Eliminating Color WasteIn the salon, you have sophisticated management software technology that schedules your books and tracks all aspects of sales. Now you can get software to manage your color room, too.

SureTint Color Management Software studies the human factors of how the colorist formulates, prepares and dispense haircolor; stores clients’ formulations and histories and manages haircolor inventory. The step-by-step system works with any haircolor brand, and ensures accurate results, reduces errors and simplifies color training, all without interfering with the colorists’ creativity, says Michael Wright, SureTint CEO.

Residing in the color room, the compact system leverages smartphone-type navigation, making it easy for colorists to learn and use. Colorists are able to adjust the color batch and recalculate a formula according to a client’s unique hair properties at the press of a button. Data on each of the salon’s colorists can be collected by the owner and used for training purposes. “While the colorist appreciates the SurtTint system at about an eight on a scale of one to 10, the salon owner’s appreciation is more like 99,” laughs Wright. “That’s because of the system’s role in managing inventory—salons who use it realize color product savings not less than 33 percent, but some as high as 57 percent. Even in a small salon where the average annual color spend is $30,000, they can cut that to $18,000 while servicing the same amount of clients.”

While the system can seem pricey, most salons see payback in seven months or less, and start realizing all the profits. “Before SureTint, our colorists were really compliant in color, but we’ve still seen a minimum of $25,000 less in product ordering, which is really exciting,” says Frank Gambuzza, who co-owns Salon Visage in Knoxville, Tennessee, with his wife Belinda.

Training a colorist to use the system takes about 20 minutes and they adapt fairly quickly. “Although when we first brought in the system our team thought we were a bit nuts, within a month they were really into it,” says Belinda. “A few months later the data went down for a day, they were really going crazy and it was a great confirmation that we knew what we were doing.”

Salon Visage keeps theirs out of the floor, because they have an open color room, and the Gambuzzas say clients love to see the team use it and they view the colorists as more professional. “It also gives young colorists an extra boost of confidence in their formulation,” says Belinda. “But it also makes me feel more confident and I’m a seasoned colorist. I love that a client can come in and say, ‘I loved my color February of last year, I’d really like that again, and you can look in the system and find the exact formula you used.’ As an owner, I love it because all the guests’ formulas stay with us, so we can recreate a guest’s color even if her stylist leaves us.”

“In today’s salon environment with rising costs of everything, cash is king,” concludes Frank. “This helps us not tie up additional costs in inventory because we make ordering decisions based on real data versus gut feeling.”

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