The Business of Make-UpTucked away in a corner of the salon retail area, there's a little section that no one is paying attention to. Unless you have a bride or a teen headed off to prom, your clients may not even know it exists. But fortunately there is salvation for all those lost make-up areas out there-and for you too! When it's brought front and center, make-up not only boosts your sales, it helps show your clients how committed you are to their complete beauty regimen. Three owners share what they are doing right to make cosmetics sales a success in their salons, starting with choosing their retail wisely.


Picking a Line

When it comes to choosing which products to invest in, Beth Melchior, co-owner of Salon Suites & Spa in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, says she and co-owner Lisa Torgersen went through a process of elimination. The salon's current make-up line was being discontinued, so they went in search of a replacement.

"We go to trade shows and events, and we receive a lot of trade magazines, so we see the new products being launched," says Melchior. "We know mineral make-up is huge, so we were very interested." At one  show, they visited the Mirabella booth and bought products to take home to try. "We loved it. We decided to take on the line, because it was the one that we felt most strongly about," she says. What they liked about Mirabella, in addition to its use of minerals, was the full line-up of products including high-quality brushes, several different foundation choices and consumer-friendly colors.

Susan Brennan, owner of Destiny Lifestyle Salon and Spa in Clayton, Ohio, opened her Aveda Lifestyle salon in September 2007, and carries the full line of Aveda make-up. She's been in the business since 1979, and owned another (non-Aveda) salon prior to this one, so her experience with make-up lines has been extensive.

"My advice is to get a really good line. I had trouble being successful with make-up before," she says. "Get an excellent line you believe in, then educate the entire team-not just the estheticians."

What's the bottom line? "Make sure the actual product display is consumer-friendly," says Melchior. "Our previous make-up line  was easily accessed, but it was really big and took up a lot of space. Mirabella has nice little palettes with great imaging. You  need to have the make-up available hands-on so clients will  use the testers even if someone is not there to help them."


Educating the Staff

After picking a line, get your staff on board. At the Beauty Lounge in Pasadena, California, co-owner Joe Aboytes is also one of two trained make-up artists.

"Education is a big key," says Aboytes. In addition to attending classes through the salon's make-up line, Trucco, he has also paid for advanced make-up classes at Los Angeles-area make-up academies. "Education breeds confidence, and that makes it easier to sell," says Aboytes.

At Salon Suites and Spa all the stylists are educated in make-up through Mirabella classes and can perform touch-ups for their clients. The salon also has a new hair stylist, who has had extensive make-up training, and who's role right now is dedicated to doing make-up-both touchups  and full make-up sessions. "Having someone readily available, an artist on staff, is a great thing," says Melchior.

The launch of different collections for the spring and fall seasons also gives everyone on the staff something new to talk about, so utilize the demonstrations and classes for new colors and techniques offered by the manufacturer. Each season, an artist from Aveda will come in to Destiny to show the new colors. The salon turns the day into an event, with clients scheduling appointments with the make-up artist throughout the day, and Brennan offers guests who get their make-up done 10-percent off any cosmetics that day. Mirabella did something similar for Melchior and her staff when they took on the line, sending an educator for a day to do make-up lessons and demonstrations. Clients could book an appointment for $25, and the money went toward any product purchases. Within two days, every appointment had been booked.

"As owners it all comes back to education," says Melchior. "If you have two make-up lines you're teetering between, look at what they are going to give you for education and promotional items and go with the better one."


Marketing It

The Business of Make-UpWhen it comes to selling your new make-up line, introducing it to your customers properly and keeping it at the forefront during their visits is of utmost importance. 

"When you have a new launch, typically it goes well off the bat," says Melchior. "But six months later, everyone forgets about it."

To keep your clients engaged, you have to start with your stylists. Melchior runs staff incentives, and just finished one promoting their make-up line. The stylist with the most make-up sales won a prize.

Complimentary touch-ups are a no-brainer when it comes to selling any make-up line. According to Brennan, when they provide a blush or lip touch-up with another service, their make-up line practically sells itself. >

"People want to know what's new and they want to experience it for themselves," she says. "It's up to us to take the time to show them the latest. Don't let them get stagnant."

Melchior and her staff take the complimentary touch-ups one step further, offering free,  hour-long sessions for any client that wants to explore the Mirabella line. The sessions are offered over the phone in the confirmation calls and the salon usually has three or four clients a day who come in for the full session. She and her staff also did an event outside the salon that catered to 200 women. They did touch-ups, and brought business-sized cards to pass out that invited the women for a complimentary, hour-long, make-up session, plus 10-percent off their first purchase. The back of the card, listed the unique points about the make-up line. Melchior said it was a good, useful marketing tool.  

"Gina, the other make-up artist, or I will occasionally block out time to do free touchups between 10 a.m. and noon on a certain day, and we invite clients to get complimentary makeovers. It's been very successful and everyone that comes in, ends up buying products," says Aboytes.

At the end of the day, clients love freebies! Whether it's an hour-long makeover or a free touch-up, all you have to do is offer your time.


Spring Shades

by Rosanne Ullman


As the runways present a feminine season of bright flowers and geometric prints, make-up trends are following suit with a deliberate collision of the dramatic and natural, shimmery and matte, bold and muted. It all adds up to the word "chic," says Caroline Rushworth of Sothys USA, adding, "The look is elegant, but spirited and modern."

There's even room in this mix for a touch of neon, which "is always fun to play with but can be difficult to wear," adds Alphonse Wiebelt, vice president of Being True cosmetics. "Keeping neon as an accent or accessory is the easier way to experiment with this trend."



Spring continues the call for eye intensity, with the focus on eyeliner. Even the 1960s cat eye is not out of the question, according to Barbara Layne, owner of Academy of Makeup and Fashion in Encino, California. Black is the first line of choice, but thin it out a little, advises Karen Bock at Brushes by Karen/ColorStrokes Cosmetics. Other liner shade choices include mocha and metallics.

Keep the lid nude, go with a shimmery peach or pearly pink or bring a bold shadow to serve as the face's single big color splash. Wiebelt suggests, "To stay modern and wearable, keep the eye shadows neutral with a sheer wash of a complementary yellow or pink across the eyelid."

Lashes are long, and eyebrows are stepping up. ColorStrokes is showing thicker eyebrows that are one to two shades darker than the natural color.

"The trend I'm excited about is a really well-groomed eyebrow," agrees freelance make-up artist Christine Kolenda of Tarrytown, New York. "We're not tweezing the heck out of them anymore."



"Pinky browns are the best for almost everyone's mouth," says Kolenda. "They give a bit of warmth and a bit of cool." You'll also see corals this season and lots of shimmer and shine, even when the hue is neutral. According to Wiebelt, the cream-colored lip showed up frequently on the runways and came in all varieties-glossy, cream and matte.

If the eyes are muted and the lips are the focus of the action, red is still in play. Find a shade of red that looks good on the client, advises Kolenda. If all else is neutral, this season's lips can even handle a deep raspberry or rich currant, says Wiebelt.

Or switch out the red for this season's hottest new color: orange. ColorStrokes is featuring a bright pumpkin lip shade. As for lip liner, Kolenda says that neutral is the only kind you should consider.



Being True's cheek shades, which can be applied to the eyes as well, illustrate this season's general range: Matte Peach, Soft Pink Shimmer, Rich Golden Brown, Bronze Glaze, Gilded Pink and Sheer Gold Metallic. The season's bronzing is subtle; ColorStrokes calls it a "warm honey bronze."

Rushworth agrees that this season backs away from the super-tan. "The bronze, tanned look is out," she notes. "Fresh is in." Sothys packages multicolored compacts that Rushworth says clients love.

"You can swirl the colors together and apply the mixture to the cheeks. We have peaches, pinks, corals, orange, brown and beige. The powders even out the complexion for spring through summer."

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