Retail sales are more than a great way to boost revenue—offering products to help
your clients maintain their new style is just part of good service. How do you decide
what lines best support your salon brand? We asked an award-winning salon owner,
a distribution executive and a leading salon industry marketing professional:


What is the best process for evaluating
a new retail line?



Mickey Binion

Chief Hair Designer and Owner,
Voce
Salon, Lexington, Kentucky


THE DIZZYING VOLUME of new product
lines on the market makes choosing one a
daunting task. Besides the obvious need for
a product to be effective, there are several
points to consider in determining if a particular
product line is for you.


The right line will reflect your salon and
its clientele; it should complement your
current offerings and fall in line in terms
of cost and target market.


At Voce, we also closely examine product
features like fragrance, ingredients and
packaging, and consider the product’s ease
of use. How complex is the application or
how much time is involved in using it—is
it something a client will use at home?


The best retail product information comes
from your stylists and clients, so solicit
feedback. Think about how the manufacturer
markets the product and how you will
market it to your clients. We always try to
determine what kinds of education and support
we can count on from the manufacturer
when we introduce a new line.


For me, the key question is, is it better
or is it simply new? If you aren’t careful,
you can duplicate your current offerings and
end up just trading dollars for dollars.
More isn’t always better. Sometimes
it’s just more.


Robert Yates

Senior Vice President of Marketing,

John Paul Mitchell Systems


WHEN WE LAUNCH a new product for
retail, we focus on the needs of the hairdresser.
We ask ourselves if this product is
something hairdressers really need in their
arsenal of products.


We speak to our top salons and solicit
their feedback via our company website
and through e-blasts. Our educators are
out working in the front lines and, as such,
are in a perfect position to determine the
expected response from our best salons.
We use this input to gauge the demand the
product will generate.


Ultimately, reorders give us the measure
of a new product’s success and future
sales potential.


Lastly, we turn to beauty editors to validate
a product’s worthiness and its position
in relation to our competitors.

Perspectives: Evaluating a New Retail Line
Cynthia Heisser

Senior Vice President,
Ultimate Beauty
Companies


WHEN I AM EVALUATING a new retail
line, there are a few fundamental questions,
which must be answered:


• How much support (marketing literature,
promotions, education sessions) will we
receive from the manufacturer?

• Do I truly believe in the performance and
integrity of the brand enough to stake
my personal reputation behind it?

• Is there a consistent commitment on behalf
of the manufacturer to do whatever
it takes to grow the line?


After I meet with the manufacturer, I
consider whether the brand fits today’s
salon culture as well as current and future
market trends. For example, we know stylists
are more conscientious about organic
products and services.


I place a lot of value on doing individual
research. Whether it is simply “Googling”
the brand’s history and reputation, asking
for feedback on our UBC Facebook page,
or asking existing customers.


We make our product decisions after
considering the performance, concept
and culture of the brand. Because we
value our customers, they value us, and
I refuse to give them brands that are not
exceptional.