Host a Summer Soiree

Take a cue from Dawn and Niko Longmore of Trio Salon in Burlingame, California. The longtime salon owners (19 years and counting) don't need a special occasion to throw an amazing party for their clients-their clients are reason enough! Dawn tells us that they have their events catered and give away goody bags full of products. Although the parties are complimentary for clients (and potential clients), Dawn and Niko certainly cash in, in the long run. "We did so much retail at our first event-just under $5,000 in two to three hours," Dawn says. Want to make your clients feel special, plus earn bonus retail dollars and new customers along the way? Here are five tips for hosting the ultimate Summer Soiree:

1.     Choose a theme

Keep it seasonal and fun, but tie in a practical "how-to" session or even a fashion/hair show. For example, a Hawaiian luau theme would be the perfect backdrop to teach clients how to "humidity-proof" their hair during the sweltering summer months, or create effortless finished looks for weddings, graduation parties and anywhere else they need to look haute this season. Have ukulele music strumming in the background (courtesy of a CD or MP3 player), serve skewers of ham and pineapple and scatter a few faux palm trees throughout the salon to set a true "aloha" vibe!

2.     Invite clients to bring a friend

Encourage invitees to make it a girls' (or guys') night out! Offer VIP perks or a discount on retail products for every client who brings a friend to your event. If they take you up on your offer, you've already doubled your attendance for the event-and possibly wrangled a new crop of clients.

3.     E-market with E-vites

Sure, there's something to be said for receiving an invitation in the mail-stamp, envelope and all-but we recommend a faster, more cost-effective method: Evites. Now's the time to put all of your clients' e-mail addresses to use (you have been collecting them for your database, right?). Simply visit (or another e-invite site) and create a personalized invitation that will grab your invitees' attention when they visit their inbox. Best of all, Evites cost nothing and clients can RSVP (and add attendees) with a click of their mouse.

4.     Pick the right day of the week

A Friday or Saturday night might at first seem like the best time to host a soiree-but think again. Although your attendees might be up for going out on the town those nights, chances are, they've already got plans to be out and about elsewhere. Think strategically about when you'll get the most bang for your buck when hosting an event. Dawn Longmore recommends Tuesday nights. Your clients' social calendars are probably open then and business might be a bit slow for you. Voila! Perfect timing for a party!

5.     Invite the media

One important guest that should be front and center on your list is your local media. Simply gather the names of your city's newspaper and magazine editors, and TV news producers-you can usually find this information on the news outlet's website. Write up a simple press release with all of the event's most important information, plus a few quotes from you, and send it to each of those people (this is usually done via e-mail). It's not a guarantee that you'll get media coverage, but it can't hurt to try. Plus, although the editors might not attend this particular event, they could keep your name in mind as a beauty expert for future stories. Sometimes a little self-promotion goes a long way!

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