| While quiet in this shot, the retail/reception area at The Spa @ Folawn's was the scene of a wildly successful Black Friday, when attendees rang up $50,000 worth of gift cards in two early morning hours.|
As salon owner Terry Folawn took account of all the specials retailers in her area were offering for Black Friday this year, she decided to implement her own version at The Spa @ Folawn's in San Antonio, Texas. From 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. on November 26, clients who purchased a $100 gift card received a second $100 gift card for free. For the rest of the day, the not-so-early risers who purchased a $100 gift card received a $25 gift card.
"I'm an early-bird holiday shopper, I like to get it my shopping over with before we're in the middle of the holiday rush, so I was interested to see how many of our clients would be interested in a Black Friday special," says Folawn. "Our intention was they would buy a gift card for a friend and treat themselves with the complimentary card. We hoped it would not only thank our loyal clients for their service, but bring in some new business."
To advertise the event, the salon relied heavily on social media. For the two weeks leading up to the event, Folawn posted the special on their Facebook page and included it in e-blasts to their client list, in addition to word-of-mouth from stylist to client in the salon. "We really didn't know what to expect, so we prepared 100 gift cards for that morning and I had two of my front desk attendees and a manager come in to man the desk. In addition, two technicians came in just out of curiosity."
When Folawn's manager arrived at the salon at 5:30 a.m. that morning, she was amazed to find a crowd lined up around the building in the 30-degree weather. "At six o'clock, she called me to tell me we were going to run out of gift cards, so I hurried down to make up some more. We started serving hot cider and coffee to the people waiting in the cold. And at 8 a.m., we ran out and put a Santa hat on the last person in line, indicating the last person to receive the $100 free gift card special.
The salon and spa ended up selling $50,000 in gift cards in just two hours. "To put that in perspective, we only sold $64,000 in gift cards all of last December," says Folawn, who like many salon owners has witnessed a decline in gift card sales since 2006. "We were wowed."
Facebook also allowed the salon to follow client chatter about the event. "One client posted, 'A gift card at Folawn's is the only thing I'd get up early for on Black Friday!'" says Folawn. "Another man came in for the special for his wife, but when he arrived after 8 a.m. and learned he missed the $100 free gift card offer, he went back home. But after he admitted this to his wife, she sent him back to Folawn's to wait in line for the $25 offer!"