From the dollars brought in through community outreach efforts within the salon and spa community, you wouldn’t know that 2008 suffered through a challenging economy. Here, SALON TODAY reports on a smattering of what you’ve been up to in raising some big bucks and offering the gifts of your own hands and hearts:
1 Touche SalonLibertyville, Illinois
Source: Lora Sloan, owner
Event: Month-long effort to raise funds for Chicago Bears’ charitable organization, Bears Care, which gave 100 percent of proceeds to Rush Medical Center for breast cancer research. During October, the salon donated 10 percent of the service ticket total for any client wearing pink with jeans, and conducted a raffle and silent auction during the week leading up to a one-day cut-a-thon that included sales of funky pink hair extensions and retail profits.
Outcome: The combination of components brought in $8,917.
Promotion: “We ran an ad in our local newspaper, but we focused mostly on our own clients through in-salon signage and talking it up.”
Team motivation: “Our team probably woke up that Monday and thought, ‘I can’t believe I have go to work today,’ but by the end of the day we were all hugging and so happy. Our shampoo staff, front desk—everybody participated. When you instill the culture of giving back, employees see how good it makes them feel.”
Client recruitment: “It didn’t bring in many new clients, but this was just the beginning. Every year that we repeat this event, the word will get out and clients will begin to bring their friends.”
2 Hair Experts Salon and SpaLawrence, Kansas
Source: Brenda Peterson-Smith, owner
Event: 9/11 anniversary “Day of Giving” cut-a-thon to benefit the spouses and children of U.S. servicemen and women deployed from a nearby National Guard unit as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. “We have a Day of Giving on a Thursday every year, and since this year September 11 fell on a Thursday, we chose that cause.”
Outcome: More than 70 clients participated, raising roughly $4,700.
Promotion: “I take care of the hair for people at the local TV station and the business manager of the newspaper, so they both gave us free publicity.”
Team motivation: “We’ve done our Day of Giving for 17 years—we don’t have to even pump up our staff anymore. Staffers also like that they can wear jeans and tennis shoes that day.”
Client recruitment: “Our own clients start asking early in the year for the date of our Day of Giving so they make sure that they book that day, and they do tell
3 Daireds Salon and Spa PangeaArlington, Texas
Source: Daired Ogle, owner
Event: “Tribute to Women,” a bi-annual evening of salon and spa services with a portion of proceeds benefiting local women’s shelters. Attendees, who include women who help at the shelters, receive discounted services along with a gift bag of beauty products.
Outcome: The most recent event raised about $4,500, which includes a $2,000 check one client writes every time. The maximum of 60 clients is always met, and the salon donates an additional $10,000.
Promotion: Word of mouth, in-store signage and e-mail blasts to the salon’s 13,000 clients. “Attendees at the previous event get first choice, so we call them first.”
Team motivation: “In our salon culture we expect respect with regard to our charities. We hire people who are like-minded and want to give back to the community.”
Client recruitment: “When you are sincere about your charitable activities, it’s one of the most honorable ways to get your name out into the public. Then when your client receives a compliment on her hair and tells someone where she had it done, the person says, ‘Yeah, I’ve been hearing a lot of positive things about that place.’”
4 Bella Bethesda SalonBethesda, Maryland
Source: Stacey Dabney Ramirez, co-owner
Event: “Cut It for a Cause,” a week-long offer of free makeovers to anyone who will donate at least 10 inches of their hair to Locks of Love, a non-profit that makes wigs for financially disadvantaged children who have lost their hair due to medical reasons.
Outcome: More than 640 inches of hair was donated by 63 individuals. In addition, people with shorter hair who signed a pledge to participate next year received a voucher for a free makeover. Funds of nearly $500 came from a portion of profits from product sales and stylists’ gratuities that they donated.
Promotion: Marketing within the salon’s client base followed by a press release that triggered free notices in the Washington Post, in the local Gazette newspaper, in a Daily Candy e-mail blast and on Fox Morning News.
Team motivation: “We’re a new business, and it just made sense for us to establish a culture of giving back from the beginning. We held this around Valentine’s Day, and focusing on children made everyone feel great.”
Client recruitment: “About a month after the event, we sent a postcard to everyone whose hair we cut, offering a discount if they wanted to keep up the look we gave them. This helped the stylists keep most of the participants as clients.”
5 Scott Talbot SalonSpaAkron and Canton, Ohio
Source: Jeff Scott, co-owner
Event: Annual get-together, auction and raffle to benefit Camp Quality, a camp for children battling cancer. In addition, some of the staffers went to the camp to do the kids’ hair, make-up and nails for their big dance of the year.
Outcome: Event has raised $16,000-$22,000 each of the four years it’s been held, helping many of children afford the $1,000/week camp fee. “For us, the most rewarding part is going up to the camp. The kids just absolutely love it; they call it ‘spa day’ and wait patiently in line. We’ve done up to 100 kids on that day, including boys in their tuxes. The children are so brave and strong-willed. They remind you of what life really is about.”
Promotion: In-salon marketing accompanied by a press release. “The majority of people who attend are our clients and friends.”
Team motivation: “The idea started when a client asked if we could do some of the kids’ hair for the dance. At a staff meeting, I talked about the camp, and my staff went right for it and signed up. That part was easy! And it was the staff who made it grow to what it is now.”
Client recruitment: “The exposure from giving back brings in clients. We’re well-known for giving to the community, and it does come back. You give, and you’re blessed.”
6 Mania’s SalonPark Ridge, New Jersey
Source: Corey Mania, marketing director
Event: Cut-a-thon to benefit Allies of Hope, a foundation that donates funds to fight muscular dystrophy. Cut-and-blow-dry services are offered at greatly discounted prices, with all proceeds and tips going to the organization.
Outcome: Nearly $5,000 was raised, which was higher than the first cut-a-thon last year. “For next year, we’re looking to partner with a large corporation to have a bigger event.”
Promotion: Allies of Hope sends out press releases to local newspapers and magazines, which publicize the event. They also e-mail their clients.
Team motivation: “We started doing this because one of our stylists’ cousins has MD and founded Allies of Hope. It wasn’t even a second thought; when there’s any way to help with anything, the whole staff jumps in. We’re very family-oriented.”
Client recruitment: “That’s not the reason we do it, but people realize we’re not just a business; we care about the community. They see our name connected with many charities.”
7 Dolce Vita Hair SalonNaples, Florida
Source: Tiffany Campbell, front desk
Event: “Hair-athon Marathon,” a month-long donation to Habitat for Humanity of Collier County with 100 percent of proceeds from one new stylist’s services.
Outcome: Raised about $1,300 for the cause and provided about 70 regular clients for the stylist out of the 100 people he styled. Although he was an experienced stylist, he had recently relocated to Florida.
Promotion: Advertising and some free press in local newspapers. “Some advertising was donated by the Southwest Florida Dog Trainers’ Alliance, whose members are our clients. We also extended our referral program to this fundraiser, so anyone who referred two clients to our new stylist received a free cut and blow dry.”
Team motivation: “Although only one stylist participated, it was a team effort to publicize it. We never have someone refusing to participate in our charitable efforts.”
Client recruitment: “Since our stylist was new in town, this was a wonderful way to start building his clientele. When clients try Johnny once, they want to come back!”
8 Ihloff SalonsTulsa, Oklahoma, and Leawood, Kansas
Source: Marilyn Ihloff, owner
Event: “A Tribute to Rock,” a two-hour, rock and roll-themed runway show presenting hair, make-up and style makeovers to benefit the Resident Center for Women. Corporate sponsors purchased the makeovers and either used them themselves or donated them to women staying at the Resident Center.
Outcome: The 25 sponsorships raised $53,000, with ticket sales from the 1,000 in attendance adding another $1,700. The women residents who enjoyed their complimentary makeovers? Priceless! “Every year we change the theme and raise prices, so this year brought in more than last year. Attendance is always standing room only,” says Kirsten Begman, public relations manager.
Promotion: In-salon marketing and visiting beauty schools to talk it up. “The local media love this, and they give us a lot of great publicity. We also gave away a makeover through Fox broadcasting, and Fox came to the salon to show the makeover in progress as well as the result.”
Team motivation: “Voluntary participation is kind of mandatory! Everyone gets excited and involved with the makeovers. Staffers love seeing the difference it makes for the women.”
Client recruiting: “This has become a community event, and our clients are hugely supportive. They get their corporations involved, and they buy tickets.”
9 Madison Avenue International Salon and Day SpaPhoenix, Arizona
Source: Janet Geil, manager
Event: Dinner, fashion show and auction to benefit the Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA’s Strong Kids Campaign, which provides scholarships to children who cannot afford the Y’s membership fee.
Outcome: About $15,000 raised with 300 in attendance, the highest total in the four years of holding this fundraiser.
Promotion: Flyer to the Y membership and free press from The Foothills News, one of the sponsors. “Also, we post notification on our website, and talk about it to our clientele. The Y asks businesses to put up posters.”
Team motivation: “This is a whole-team project. We come up with a theme, and the staff runs with it. The stylists recruit models and do the costumes and choreography, and our estheticians help with the make-up. We work on it for five months, and it brings us all together.”
Client recruitment: “We publish programs that have information about a variety of businesses, including ours.”
10 Picasso’s Colour StudioRiverside, California
Source: Cynthia Bleier, owner
Event: Cut-a-thon to benefit the American Diabetes Association, in conjunction with the charity’s three-mile walk-a-thon. In addition, Cynthia Bleier revealed that she has been diagnosed with Type II diabetes and vowed to lose a significant amount of weight. “I’m challenging myself. I tell people that they’ll see less of me next time!”
Outcome: The cut-a-thon raised $650, with additional funds brought in through donations.
Promotion: In-salon marketing, plus the local Press-Enterprise picked up the story as a full feature with a photo, which brought in a lot of donations.
Team motivation: “My stylists find it exciting; it’s a great way to meet new people! When I joined Paul Mitchell 20 years ago, I knew that they offered lots of opportunities to give back. When you have a gift and a talent, you should give back. We all feel that way.”
Client recruitment: “Giving back is a win/win. Clients get excited and want to give back, too, especially if they can relate to the cause.”
11 Artiste Hair and Nail Design CompanyGreensboro, North Carolina
Source: April Robertson, manager
Event: Cut-a-thon and nail-a-thon to benefit Guilford County Department of Public Health Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program (BCCCP). All proceeds went toward breast and cervical cancer screening costs for BCCCP participants. In addition, free cuts and shipping were offered to anyone who would donate at least 10 inches of hair to Locks of Love.
Promotion: Flyers and word of mouth, plus two TV stations came onsite to report about the event.
Outcome: More than $1,800 was raised. “We had never tried this before, and the health department told us that we did pretty well for the first one. Next year we’ll do it in October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”
Team motivation: “We’ve been together for so long and work together so well that this was easy. Whenever you do something that brings you together, it makes you stronger as a team. We’ve had so many clients with breast or cervical cancer; we felt it was time to give back.”
Client recruitment: “I would estimate that we gained ten new clients. But most of the people who came in were our current clients.”
12 Salon Jacqueline & SpaSouthfield, Michigan
Source: Julie Walsh, co-owner
Event: One evening a month of dinner, fashion consulting and pampering to women in need of assistance, including those associated with Looking For My Sister, an organization that fights domestic abuse.
Outcome: “We do this throughout the year to build these women’s self-esteem. We invite them to come back for services, which will always be free of charge.”
Team motivation: Young women 16 and older can lose their way so easily. We want to show them that someone cares about them and will prepare them for getting a job in the business world.”
Client recruitment: “A lot of our clients are women who are part of the organizations we help. Seeing us pitch in makes them want to support us even more. When people see us out there really trying to help the community, they want to be our clients.”
13 Cactus Salon Spa25 locations on Long Island, New York
Source: Samantha Brand, public relations
Event: Staff softball tournament to raise funds for Make-A-Wish Foundation. Each salon in the group, or several together, formed a team and sought sponsorships. Past recipients from Make-A-Wish spoke at the game, and people donated food that was sold.
Outcome: About $10,000 was raised, with roughly half of the 700 employees playing ball and additional team members filling the cheering squads. Winners received trophies.
Promotion: Confined to the salon group’s network.
Team motivation: “Our philosophy about philanthropy starts at the top; Joseph Secreti, our CEO and founder, drives this. We’re well-known on Long Island for our fundraising, so people who come to work with us are happy to be part of the giving back.
Client recruitment: “Some clients probably come to us because of our charitable efforts, but we’re not focusing on that as we’re doing them.”
14 Mi Salon and SpaFlorence, Kentucky
Source: Melissa Graus, general manager
Event: All day cut-a-thon and spa-a-thon to help with the expenses incurred by a stylist’s father who is battling cancer. The event included a bake sale, car wash, silent auction and grill out.
Outcome: Raised $7,500. “We’ve held a lot of fundraisers for other causes, but this was the most money we’ve ever raised.”
Promotion: E-mail blasts and posting on the outside marquee. “Our beneficiary comes from a large family, and they must have sent a lot of e-mails to their contacts. We were full, and people still stopped by just to drop off a check.”
Team motivation: “We are so blessed with an incredible, giving staff. They’re the ones who decided they wanted to participate in two charitable events per year. When we hire people, we look for a willingness to give back.”
Client recruitment: “We hope that by giving back to the community, people will want to do business with us, but that’s not our motivating factor and we don’t actively market it with that reason in mind.”