The salon is also in its 16th year of hosting an annual Creative Team Fall Show benefit, a high-energy runway show in which her team displays their talents.
Sponsors and VIPs are invited to enjoy food, wine, music and mini-spa services, as well as win donated prizes. Team members take on all roles from directing, DJ and costuming to ticket sales and soliciting prizes. They perform hair services on more than 100 models and interview 20 to 30 beauty school students to become interns for the show. Often, these interns are later hired by the salon.
The show raises $30,000, which is currently being directed to The Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa. Ihloff thinks the show is a fund-raising model that can work for most salons.
Ihloff believes being involved with the community is much more effective than other types of marketing expenditures. “We have ceased to do any kind of print advertising unless it’s involved with some sort of community benefit,” she said. Community networking has increased word-of-mouth referrals, and Ihloff says she sees more men coming in for spa services because they feel more confident due to the personal relationships she’s established with them.
Creating A Non-Profit
Omagi Salon Spa in Louisville, Kentucky, has been recognized by the SALON TODAY 200 for four consecutive years for its philanthropic efforts. “During the recession, so many charities were facing extinction. Their government funding was cut off, grants were few and far between, and donations fell off considerably. We asked ourselves, ‘What can we do to help that will make a meaningful, lasting impact,’” says general manager Wes Auberry.
In Omagi’s case, the answer was to create their own non-profit, Beauty for a Benefit, that partners with one charity for an entire year to raise both public awareness and funds. “This strategy builds relationships, and we see the fruits of our labor.” In recent years Omagi has donated nearly $30,000 each to Best Buddies, a program for people with cognitive disabilities, and Home of the Innocents, which serves children in crisis.
Auberry, who has a background in managing non-profits, admits this approach isn’t for every salon. “It’s an area that is very involved and can be quite tedious and intimidating,” he said. But for Omagi, the model has worked well.
The salon hosts two major events each year, a high profile event called Louisville’s Derby Fashion Festival, which features original Derby hat designs by local fashion designers that are worn by local celebrities, and a Murder Mystery Dinner. The Derby Festival includes a runway fashion show, sit down dinner, auctions and entertainment, as well as a presentation from the chosen benefactor. The Mystery Dinner is a ticketed event that invites community members to come in costume. Both events have been covered extensively by local news media.