Trend Alert: Feathered Frenzy

By Stacey Soble | 04/01/2011 4:32:29 PM


Feather extensions styled by Phia Salon in Columbus, Ohio. Photo by Michael Houghton.
From rhinestones to bling strands to fine feathers, the Spring beauty shows were rocking with specialty hair extensions. SALON TODAY wondered if clients are equally excited about the trend, so we asked salons what's hot in their own markets, how they are marketing specialty extensions and how clients are responding.  While it seems the pending prom season is driving some interest in a little Spring bling, the majority of the momentum belongs to feathers:

“Our salon is on fire with feather extensions!  More than 100 have gone out the door in the last two weeks alone. This is the easiest add-on service we have ever offered, and from a marketing perspective, they’ve allowed us to maintain our image of being on the forefront of new trends. Stylists who wear feathers sell feathers, and not just to guests in the salon. Whether they are at the dentist, the gym, the bank, etc., the extensions create a buzz and draw in new guests.”--Mary and Scott Randolph, owners of Randolph’s Salon in Waterford, MI

“The work of art that our team created on Gendala Kelli Anna (part owner and manager of Phia Salon), has been a source of joy for her, a source of inspiration for our team, and has been met with awe in our community. She is approached almost daily as a celebrity with comments such as 'ohmygosh, it’s YOU' or 'I’ve heard about you' or 'You’re that feather girl!'--Elizabeth Bella, co-owner, Phia Salon, Columbus, Ohio

“Feather extensions and colored extensions need to be displayed on the staff. They are the walking billboards for these new trends. Also, have the stock available as these are quick-impulse purchase and partner with a great company.”--April Lyn Graffeo, Indra Salon and City Spa, with Pure Talent Academy of Andover, MA

Caroline Sumner, Miss Lake Norman Outstanding Teen 2011, models the feather extension she received at Savvy Salon and Day Spa in Cornelius, North Carolina.
“We have been having a lot of fun with hair tinsel and feather extensions. We won’t make a zillion dollars on these, but they are a great little add-on for a quick change. It is my opinion that we have cut, colored, teased, sprayed, curled and everything else to hair over and over that we are as bored as our clients. This idea is new and fresh. The ‘bob’ was around in the 20s, 40s, and 60s, then it finally decided to become a classic, so it is no longer new. The ‘blonde bombshell’ was great in the real movie star era, then it came again in the 60s and 80s into the millennium. The point I’m trying to make is we cannot change hair using traditional methods because what is new is actually old again. So, what’s next? Let’s add ‘stuff’ to that tired bob or overhighlighted hair. Tinsel, crystals and feathers are a great new offering. We presented it at our local Chamber of Commerce EXPO, showcased by our newly crowned Miss Lake Norman 2011 and Miss Lake Norman Outstanding Teen 2001. We sent photos out in an eblast, and posted them on Facebook. The employees are all wearing them, and heck, I did too. Prom time is just around the corner and I can see these new items being work instead of the ever famous Baby’s Breath. If Beyonce can wear tinsel to the Grammies, these kids can wear them to the prom! We even have young girls, ages 3-10, wanting them. One mother toldme in early March that her girls’ tinsel had lasted since December. Not only are they fun, but they are ‘eye catching.’ They draw attention and that is good for business because it starts a conversation. In our current society, ‘conversations’ are what sells, whether it is in person, in a blog or some other form of social networking. Get those clients talking!”--Pat Helmandollar, owner of Savvy Salon and Day Spa, Cornelius, North Carolina

“Our clients are going crazy for feather extensions. As soon as they hit the market, our staff started wearing them and now 90 percent of our staff, including the men, wear them. That is the only marketing we are doing, but almost every client asks about them. We are not retailing home extensions, we only offer them as a service. As a service, it’s about three times more profitable than a haircut when you look at profit per minute.”--William George, James Joseph Salon, Boston, Massachusetts

“The specialty extensions have been a big hit. For us, it’s mostly the feathers and the colored hair extensions. We are working on the tinsel and crystal strands, but they aren’t as big a hit yet.”--Sondra Thrasher, owners, Appearance Hair Color and Design

“We have been doing feather extensions for about six months now. Our feathers are in bundles of seven feathers with an array of colors on each bundle, highlighting one main focus color. We have had to do no advertising and it has been a consistent stream of revenue for us. It takes very little time on our stylists’ part and is an easy ‘up-sell’ to clients. Many of our stylists have the feathers in their hair, leading to a great conversation starter in the chair. These feathers have been in high demand, and they’ve brought new clients to our salon, many have now have become clients or hair or skin services. All this is from the buzz due to word-of-mouth in the salon.”--Noelle Mills, service manager, Signatures Salon, Lake Charles, LA

“We’ve noticed it’s the young, school-aged kids coming in for color extensions. It is a $15 add-on service and it helps boost some retail sales when our stylists recommend shampoos to help maintain them. It also gets them in for a cut, and their moms as well. The removable clips and combs are OK, but it seems the color extension services are really the ticket.”--Cheryl Duignan, co-owner, Tru, St. James, NY

At Interlocks Salon and Day Spa, a mannequin models the feather extensions in the retail area.
“We have been successful with hair extensions for several years now, and are now experiencing a high interest in feather extensions. We are utilizing Fine Featherheads and offering them as a retail item, with a small fee for application. We have several stylists, assistants, and one service coordinator wearing or modeling them. This occurred by accident—when the first shipment arrived, the staff went crazy and scooped them up! Since that was a sure sign they were going to be a hit, we placed a sizable second order, and have even had to place a third. All in less that three weeks. For us, the clientele who seem most receptive to wearing them are primarily in their 20s. They see the feathers as fun and whimsical, and the ‘natural’ element is appealing to them. Personally, I think Steve Tyler’s presence on ‘American Idol’ is helping to push this trend. We are displaying the feather extensions on a mannequin head in our retail area. We first colored and foiled the mannequin in the very latest trends for stpring, then applied the feathers. Then we barrel-curled the hair and feathers to show that the feathers can actually be styled. The mannequin is a bit creepy (they all are!) but it is generating dialogue and interest in feather extensions, as well as the color technique.”--Ginny Eramo, Executive Director, Interlocks Salon & Day Spa, Newburyport, MA

“It’s all about feathers, feathers, feathers this Spring. We use Facebook, website and mass emails to promote them. They are so popular we can’t keep them in stock or even find places to order them from. By having our staff wear them around we get tons of interest from clients seeing them wear the feathers.”--Anna Martin Craig, Trashy Roots Salon, Round Rock, TX

“We have just started looking into getting them. We have a girl who can make them into clips, so you don’t have to do them as extensions, they can be removed. They are SO chic and the color and texture of them are divine. Love this trend!” --Kim Baker, Bijou Salon, Skaneateles, NY


A quick run-down of what different salons are charging for feather extensions:

  • Tru Salon: $15
  • Interlocks Salon & Day Spa: $40 per feather bundle, which includes 5 feathers
  • Savvy Salon and Day Spa: (1 for $10; 2 for $20; 3 for $25, 6 for $50)
  • Trashy Roots Salon: For the 'short and thick' feathers it's 3 for $10; for the 'long and skinny feathers, it's $8 a piece

Feather extensions styled by Phia Salon in Columbus, Ohio. Photo by Michael Houghton.











Stacey Soble Stacey Soble, Editor in Chief of Salon Today

Stacey has been involved in the conversation of salon business for 14 years—as a reporter, a consultant and as the Editor in Chief of SALON TODAY.

Read Stacey Soble's Blogs You can e-mail Stacey at


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