Whether it’s going bombshell blonde, covering gray, or simply adding a few subtle highlights, hair color has become hot business in salons. Younger clients and many men are emulating their favorite celebrity color chameleons with streaks, tips, and volleying between caramel and chocolates hues. Baby boomers are rethinking their roots with toners that take a few years off their look, and even the formerly color-shy are seeing the light in dimensional shades that perk up mousy or washed-out hair.
According to a study by Professional Consultants and Resources, half of all American women color their hair, with color being the fastest growing service in 2006, representing $12.5 billion in service and retail revenues. It’s easy money.
Well, not so fast: Color training is intensive, and can require a substantial investment from salons. Stocking professional color also means spending money—and then watching a lot of it go down the drain when it’s wasted by careless technicians. Finally, convincing clients that color is worth the extra cost and maintenance can take finesse, not to mention a thorough consultation that outlines realistic expectations and results that fit each individual.
When done right, color services have the potential to be your highest grossing service, enhance loyalty in your clientele and give your salon a reputation for excellence. But too many salons are still floating in a murky gray area, with little understanding of how to max out profit and make this department a main draw. Here, meet a few savvy owners whose tips will help make your color services shine.
Like a (Color) Virgin
Ronit Enos, owner of Maxime Color Salon in Higham, Massachusetts, loves color so much she made it part of the salon name. “All of our clients know we’re color, so that’s how they get in the door,” she says. All services are tailored for color-treated hair, so a client that comes in just for a cut will learn the salon’s philosophy that every cut is enhanced with the right color design, and that the color is looked upon by the staff as an art form.
The support staff is a key factor in capturing new clients, says Enos. “The front desk staff have to explain our color system to clients without losing them. The prices are high; we are not cheap.” The rundown includes a description of their color level system, added treatments to strengthen and protect the hair, and colorist training (all done by Enos).
A concise summary counts: Clients are bound to get lost when there are too many details. For more information, they can visit the salon website, which covers the department in-depth. Over the phone, “we can explain our system in five minutes,” says Enos. “We’re very upfront about the length of time a color appointment takes, and that our cancellation policy requires 48 hours notice,” she adds, “When it’s a phone customer, 90 percent of the time they book a color appointment.” Today, 80 percent of Maxime’s clientele gets color, with the majority 25-50 years old.