The Class Act

Torrington, Wyoming

Owner: Jan Alexander

The Promotion: “Every month for the past year we have run a makeover promotion,” says Alexander. “The theme for each month is different. For instance, in February we offered Valentine’s Day couples makeovers, in May we did a mom makeover.”

The Plan: “Two months prior to each makeover, we start advertising the promotion in the local newspaper, on the radio, and with fliers. People who are interested must come into the salon, fill out a questionnaire about what they want done and what they are willing to do. Then, we take a Polaroid and attach it to the questionnaire. At the end of each month, my staff chooses a winner. In addition to the makeover, a clothing store in town donates an outfit and a photographer donates his time.”

The Results: “We get a lot of new clients who come in because the saw or heard about one of the makeovers. The makeovers also increase business and give us a chance to try new techniques.”


Colosseum Salon and Day Spa

Altoona, Pennsylvania

Owners: Cindy Wendle, Stephen Thompson

The Promotion: “Last summer after reading the book Fish! A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results, I came up with the idea to create a fish-themed contest that would help improve our customer service and teamwork,” says Wendle. “Any time a staff member performed a great service, clients and staff were invited to write that person’s name on fish-shaped paper and put it in a fish bowl at the front desk.”

The Plan: “We created signage at the front desk explaining the contest and had fish decorations. On the day we announced the winners, we called an all-staff meeting and asked everyone, m keeping with the fish theme, to pack a beach bag of things like sunglasses for the meeting. Then we surprised the staff by closing the salon and taking the whole group white-water rafting.”

The Results: “I think the contest created excitement for both our staff and the clients. Almost every client wrote down at least one name for the contest. Everyone was more aware of giving good customer service and helping each other to create a great experience.”


Carmen! Carmen! Prestige Salon and Spa at Belk

Asheville, North Carolina

Owner: Belk Corporation

Manager: Linda White

The Promotion: The salon has partnered with a local radio station to do a Mother’s Day promotion for the past three years. This past May, the salon gave away four makeovers and manicures and one grand-prize package of a makeover, manicure, pedicure and massage. The mothers were nominated by write-in stories from their children about why they deserved the prize.

The Plan: “All of the marketing was done through the radio station a couple weeks before the promotion I did a live interview discussing the contest—how to submit entries to the radio station and how a group from the station would pick the winners,” says White. “The week of Mother’s Day a winner was announced everyday on the radio station.”

The Results: The grand-prize winner was a mother whose sister-in-law had died and she adopted her child. “Every time we do a promotion like this it increases our sales—we’ve even had to bring on some extra staff. Since Mother’s Day our overall business has increased at least 5 percent.”


Heidi Christine’s

Ada, Michigan

Owners: Patty and Chris Elzinga, Heidi O’Connor

The Promotion: “Without fail, it seems there are complications with bridal bookings,” say’s Patty Elzinga. “To avoid these wedding day blues, we created a ‘Sealed with a Kiss’ bridal program, where we set up an entire schedule for the bride-to-be.”

The Plan: “We now have two bridal consultants in each salon. They work with the bride to set up an entire schedule including regular facials, a bridal registry to help pay for salon services, bachelorette spa parties and wedding day services. We do a direct-mail promotion after bridal shows. We’ve partnered with other businesses, like a travel agency, a florist, and a photographer to cross-promote services for brides.”

The Results: “For these businesses to partner with us, the owners must first be clients at our salon. So, you wouldn’t believe how many of those people have become clients just to partner with our bridal program. Because the bride signs a contract ahead of time and makes a deposit just like she would at the florist, we no longer have people showing up late and not paying.”


Caruh Salon & Spa

Seattle, Washington

Owners: Michael and Cynthia Taylor

The Promotion: “We’d just gotten a new line of Aveda lip colors and were trying to find a creative way to move our older hp colors, so we created a ‘Perfect Lips’ contest,” says Cynthia Taylor. “Any client who tried on one of our lip colors was invited to be in the contest.”

The Plan: “Aveda provided signage to promote the contest. After trying on a lip color, each client kissed a little card to make a lip imprint. They put their name and address on the other side of the card. Then, at the end of the month, our staff voted for the ‘cutest lips.’ The winner received a make-up kit.”

The Results: “We quickly sold all of our existing lip colors, which was what we set out to do. Plus, it was a great way to call attention to our new colors.”



Fargo, North Dakota

Owner: Paula Eberhardt

The Promotion: “After hearing from a number of clients that they wanted a way to tell their husbands and relatives to give them salon or spa services for Christmas, we created a Christmas mailbox and wish list,” says Eberhardt. “We printed ‘Dear Santa’ cards that clients could address to potential gift-givers. The client included the gift-giver’s phone number so we could let them know what the client had put on her wish list.”

The Plan: “We put up mirror talkers to market the promotion, and we also had a huge mailbox where they could put the letters near a display around our Christmas tree. Last year, we added a second ‘Dear Santa’ gift list where clients could write down the names of people who deserved something special for Christmas. We picked some of those people and gave them gift certificates.”

The Results: “I’d say at least 200 people filled out cards for the wish list and 99 percent of the gift-givers we contacted bought gift certificates. Everyone we talked to was thrilled to not have to go shopping.”



Dubuque, Iowa

Owners: Lori Sandburg and Penny Veach

The Promotion: “To promote our sunless tanner for the spring and summer, we’ve been running a special where a client gets a free loofah with the purchase of either a sunless tanner, a body smoother or aqua body salts,” say Sandburg and Veach.

The Plan: “We created a display with a beach and palm tree picture over a pretty plate that holds sand, tanning products and a loofah. We’ve educated our staff on the benefits of the self-tanner and the importance of exfoliation before using a self-tanner, which makes the loofah the perfect item to go with the promotion.”

The Results: “With a greater awareness of the dangerous effects of the sun, clients are looking for alternatives. In six weeks, I’d estimate the sales of these products have increased about 50 percent.”


American Image Salon and Spa

Chesterfield, Missouri

Owner: Kim Magaletta

The Promotion: On St Patrick’s Day the salon created a promotion with sparkly, cut-out paper shamrocks hung throughout the retail area. Each client chose a shamrock, which on the back revealed a prize ranging from a percentage off a retail product to a salon service.

The Plan: “We bought the shamrocks at a local party supply store,” says Magaletta. “For the prizes, we included services with newer people who needed clients, or gave away products we’re trying to move. We’ll usually do this promotion during a typically slow time and try to pair it with a holiday. We’ve also done ‘pick a flag’ for the Fourth of July’, ‘pick a snow flake’ during the winter and ‘pick a pumpkin’ at Halloween.”

The Results: “We only run the promotions for one to two weeks at a time, but in the months we did this promotion, we saw a 15- to 28-percent increase in retail over the previous year. When we offer a percentage off products, it really encourages the clients to purchase more and with the services, it often gets a client to experience something they normally wouldn’t.”


Asha Salon and Spa

Schaumburg, Illinois

Owner: Kathleen Bucci Bergeron

The Promotion: An ongoing event to introduce clients to microdermabrasion by providing special pricing. Clients who sign up for the introductory promotion receive a special price of $65 per session for the first service. If they sign up for a series of microdermabrasion treatments during the event, they receive 20 percent off the regular price of the service.

The Plan: “We set up a lounge chair on the first floor of our multi-floor salon for increased visibility with a screen for privacy,” says Bucci Bergeron. “E-mail blasts were sent to existing clients and local radio advertised the promotion. I hired an esthetician/retail specialist to introduce the service and close the series sales.”

The Results: “When the e-mails went out we were bombarded with phone calls. Microdermabrasion is a huge commitment for people. By offering an affordable trial run, they can see before committing to an expensive service. We hired an esthetician with a clinical background who was also sales oriented for this position. By selling clients on the series, she is able to book clients for our regular estheticians as well.”


The Atelier Hair and Body Salon

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Owner: Laura Souter

The Promotion: An ongoing event to encourage busy professionals to book hair color services during their lunch hour. The promotion focused especially on increasing male business by promoting a color sealer.

The Plan: “We placed shelf talkers throughout the salon offering the lunch-hour service,” says Souter. “We also relocated the hair color bar to the middle of the salon for increased visibility.”

The Results: “Within a month, our hair color sales doubled. We trained our staff to provide quicker color services without skimping on the client experience. We received training materials from Salon Training International, which focused on providing a great client consultation. It has enabled us to determine our clients’ needs better, so we can serve them more efficiently and profitably.”


Three-13 Salon, Spa & Boutique

Marietta, Georgia

Owners: Lester Crowell, Jr., Marian Crowell, Tony Lacey

Operations Manager: Carey Whitman

The Promotion: A 13-weeksalon event celebrating the salon’s 30th year in business. The event was highlighted with diamond giveaways in honor of the salon’s diamond anniversary and culminated with a huge party.

The Plan: “We sent a direct-mail piece announcing the anniversary celebration to 42,000 people in the salon’s database,” says Whitman. “A second mailing, an oversized postcard, was then sent as a reminder. A third mailing was sent to our best customers reminding them of the promotion and inviting them to the party culminating the event.” Manufacturers provided product giveaways, door prizes and promotional items for staff to wear during a designated week to promote a specific product line. Whitman also solicited local jewelry stores to purchase diamonds to give away during each of the 13 weeks. One jewelry store donated a total of 16 diamonds in exchange for advertising on all of the salon’s literature, signage and its on-hold messaging service.

The Results: “We got about 180 new clients during the weeks of our promotion. The event helped build client loyalty, and we got a tremendous amount of client referrals.”


Mad One Jacks

Hoboken, New Jersey

Owner: Jack Gibson

The Promotion: An ongoing program that encourages new residents of Hoboken to visit the Mad One Jacks salon. Information packets are distributed to new tenants of area apartment buildings.

The Plan: “Hoboken is a transient community,” says Gibson. “We’re right outside of New York City, and there are about 40,000 people who five in this one-square-mile city. I gave the building managers a packet including a salon brochure, a bridal menu, flier, business magnet and a discount off the first service during specific salon hours times. I also give the apartment managers a discount for their services.”

The Results: “This has been an effective tool. It costs very little to put together and basically the apartment managers take care of getting the literature to the right people.”


Salon 124

Roswell, Georgia

Owner: Brian Perdue

The Promotion: A reward program for client referrals that offers both new and existing clients incentives.

The Plan: “We give all of our stylists referral cards with a designated discount on it,” says Perdue. “For stylists building their books, the discount will be greater than for more established stylists. On the card there is an area for the client to write her name and address. When the existing client gives the card to a friend who redeems it, the new client receives a discount, and the existing client gets a ‘thank you’ card with another discount. The new client also receives a ‘Client Appreciation Gift Package’ with a variety of specials and gifts for her first four visits. After four visits to our salon, people usually become long-term clients.”

The Result: “Among four salons, we get about 200 to 300 new clients per month. We estimate that about 10 to 20 percent of the referral cards are redeemed.”


Technicolor Grand

Allentown, Pennsylvania

Owner. Frank Shipman

Director of Operations: Heidi Ulshafer

The Promotion: A spring event to upgrade basic pedicure clients to higher-priced specialty pedicures by offering a free gift with purchase.

The Plan: “We realized that many of our pedicure clients were booking the $45 basic pedicure,” says Ulshafer.

“We introduced a new aromatherapy pedicure line called ‘Get Fresh’ and offered a free foot deodorizer from the line with the purchase of an aromatherapy pedicure. We trained our receptionists to upgrade the pedicure services by informing our clients about the new line and free gift.”

The Results: “We started this promotion in the spring. In April we upgraded 20 clients, and in May, 48 clients. Although the foot deodorizer costs $6, it’s well worth our investment because of the higher cost of the services, and the increased retail purchases from the new line.”


Jacob Neal Salon

Columbus, Maryland

Owner: Jacob Neal

The Promotion: An ongoing program that e-mails clients about last-minute booking availability.

The Plan: “Every night our closing manager looks over the next day’s appointments to see what kind of openings we have, if any,” says Neal. “She then writes an e-mail to our client base, announcing which appointments are available. We offer a 25-percent discount off those services. The only stipulation is that the appointment cannot replace an already booked future appointment. This ensures that clients are not canceling full-priced services. The client must also bring in the printed e-mail to be eligible for the discount.”

The Results: “We’re completely computerized, so we have comprehensive information on our clients. Sending out e-mails has been a great way to keep our books full.”


Louis Christian Wayne Robert

Cherry Hill, New Jersey

Owners: Louis Christian, Wayne Lucarini, Robert Guerriero and Christopher diBattista

The Promotion: To raise funds for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation the salon spearheaded a gala charity event called “Think Pink. Springtime in Paris.” Stylist and public relations coordinator, Denise Pereau headed the committee to plan a day of fashion, hair and auctions.

The Plan: “This event took about a year to plan,” says Pereau. “We sold tickets to our clients and had 400 women attend the event, which featured a fashion show. Various businesses donated items for a silent auction, and goody bags for attendees. A local news anchor emceed the entire event, which garnered a lot of media coverage. And, as an added bonus, we expanded our mailing list through tickets sales so we can send direct-mail pieces to prospective clients.”

The Results: “We raised $25,000 for the foundation. The key to making it successful was the media coverage. But we couldn’t have done it without the help of local businesses, and our clients were our greatest supporters.”


Picasso’s Salon and Day Spa

Enfield, Connecticut

Owners: Julie and Michael Sokol

The Promotion: The three-month program encouraged staff members to increase add-on services, retail sales and in-house referrals by sparking some friendly competition among the staff. The winning team won a coveted Saturday off with pay.

The Plan: “I was really taken with the show ‘The Apprentice’ and how the team members had to work with each other to win each event,” says Julie Sokol. “I divided my staff into two teams, and for three months tracked the number of add-on services, retail sales and in-salon referrals each team received. I also monitored individual success. The staff decided they wanted a Saturday off with pay as their prize.”

The Results: “We increased our sales by about 25 percent. The teams, which already worked well together, really encouraged and motivated each other to sell.”


I Soci & Salon Soca

Boston, Massachusetts

Owner: Marco Evangelista

The Promotion: Give clients who prebook their next appointment a chance to win that month’s prizes.

The Plan: “When a client prebooks, we enter her name into that month’s raffle,” says Evangelista. “Our prizes always change. One month we awarded one client of each sty list a $25 gift certificate with that stylist, while another month we gave away $100 worth of Phytologie products.”

The Results: “I’d say we’ve been seeing at least a 25-percent increase in prebooking since we launched this. It not only helps our stylists increase their income, but also encourages clients to stick to a routine with their hair maintenance.”



Grand Blanc, Michigan

Owner: Shelly Kovach

The Promotion: A festive evening that combined hair models, retail discounts, raffles, food and charitable donations to create a buzz before the holiday season.

The Plan: “We invited clients and our Chamber of Commerce pals to come in and bring lots of friends for a fun November night at our salon,” says Kovach. “We used clients as models for each of our stylists, who demonstrated how to achieve looks through different techniques. We served drinks and hors d’oevres, offered 15 percent off retail and raffled a gift basket of products and tools every half-hour. We also scheduled the event around our month-long promotion to gather clothing and goods for a local shelter, and everyone who donated an item received an ‘Imagine’ T-shirt.”

The Results: “About 100 people attended at some point in the evening. Many hadn’t been in our salon before, and had an opportunity to watch our stylists and choose a good match before they booked. Retail flew out the door, and the charitable aspect brought us media coverage.”


T’eez—A Thomas Sena Salon

Omaha, Nebraska

Owner: Thomas Sena

The Promotion: For one month, a deck of cards and luck determine the discount percentage on a purchase of three or more retail products.

The Plan: “When clients purchased three or more products at once, they picked a card from a standard deck of playing cards,” says Sena. “If they got a number card, they received 10 percent off their purchase, a free card earned them a 15-percent discount and a coveted ace meant a 20-percent savings A poster in the reception area explained the promotion. At Valentine’s Day, to determine the discount percentage, we had clients reach into a bowl and grab a candy heart. They received 10, 15 or 20 percent off depending on whether ‘hug me,’ ‘love me’ or ‘you’re mine’ was written on the heart.”

The Results: “It’s amazing how well this works! We have a high retail ratio anyway—we aim for 30 percent—but this promotion never fails to bring us a 3- to 5-percent spike in retail sales. We’ve been doing one month on, one month off.”


Bill Lawrence Salon

Washington, D.C.

Owner: Bill Lawrence

The Promotion: A chance for nail polish purchasers to win nail products and services by correctly guessing the number of polishes in a bowl.

The Plan: “Instead of discarding last season’s half-full bottles of nail polish, we filled a huge glass bowl with them. We posted a big green and white sign at the front desk explaining the promotion. For every purchase of one OPI polish at the regular price of $7.50, clients were permitted to guess the number of polishes in the bowl. It’s not as easy as it sounds! Only two clients guessed right—39 polishes. Each received a free manicure and pedicure.”

The Results: “We sold 400 to 500 polishes in just a couple of days! In drumming up contestants, our nail tech recruited a lot of new nail business. I can’t wait for this season to end so we can do it again.”


Christian Roberts Salon

Norwalk, Ohio

Owner: Matt Herner

The Promotion: Turn traditionally slow February into a big retail month by offering clients money toward their next salon purchase and a chance to win gifts in a drawing.

The Plan: “We always have on hand specially-printed $5 Christian Roberts Bucks,” says Herner. “We use them for all sorts of promotions. For ‘Stock Up and Win,’ we offered clients the $5 Bucks whenever they” purchased two retail products. In addition, each retail purchase earned them an entry in our drawing for a gift basket worth about $100 and a salon gift certificate. We set up shelf talkers at every station and even answered our phone with a reference to ‘Stock Up and Win.’ We also had our stylists set goals for how much they would sell that month.”

The Results: “We just wanted to see whether we could get something going in a slower month, and it worked: February was a blockbuster month for retail. For many of our stylists, it was their best retail month ever.”


Makeovers Salon and Day Spa

Boston, Massachusetts

Owners: Edward and Nora Blum

The Promotion: Target one large company by offering three employees free salon makeovers.

The Plan: “A regular client who owned a large, local medical supply company partnered with us,” say s Edward Blum. “She rewarded three of her employees who had achieved goals by treating them to a hair and make-up makeover at our salon. When the day came, we set up a separate team of hairdressers that mixed veterans with new stylists, plus a nail tech and an esthetician for each winner. We started at 8 a.m. with a relaxing massage and then changed their color, cut and make-up before finishing them off with beautifully-groomed hands. In the afternoon we sent them back to the company, along with gift bags of some of the products we used, for the grand unveiling.”

The Results: “In return for the $500 worth of products and services we gave away, we gained thousands of dollars in new monthly revenues, plus a sense of teamwork and mentoring. We plan to identify more companies within our target market and reactivate this promotion.”


The Day Spa @ Folawn’s

San Antonio, Texas

Owner: Terry Folawn

Manager: Adrian Galvan

The Promotion: “We’ve always envisioned our salon to have the feeling of a private club,” says Galvan. “So we created a program where members have to book a standing appointment—whether that be for an eyebrow wax every eight weeks or a cut and color every four weeks. Members get ongoing benefits like discount days, birthday discounts, special e-mails and quarterly workshops. Upon sign-up, they receive a Folawn’s bottled water, a CD-ROM previewing all our services, a keychain for the discounts, frequent buyer’s club cards and a discount on products purchased that day.”

The Plan: “To pump up the program, we had shirts made with, ‘Are you a member?’ printed on them and put the same slogan on posters all over the salon. Our print work was really very simple—we left everything in black- and-white to create greater impact.”

The Result: “We’ve had this promotion running since April 1 and we have more than 700 standing appointments! Our guests love that they can reserve a spot in our system for whenever they like as often as they like without ever having to make a phone call.”


Geno Levi Spirit of Style Salon

Bethel Park, Pennsylvania

Owners: Geno and Cindy Levi

The Promotion: “Attracting new clients and retaining existing ones can be quite challenging, even with the most talented of artistic teams,” says Cindy Levi. “Because our artistic director develops exclusive seasonal trends for our salon, we are looking for clients with an eye for ‘fashion on the edge.’ What better place to find them than in high-end local fashion retailers?”

The Plan: “We have done numerous promotional campaigns within South Pittsburgh’s premier mall. During Mother’s Day and at Christmas, we set up promotional tents in the food court to give passersby gift suggestions. In another recent event, Bebe invited us to the invitation-only premiere of their own seasonal trends. We had the opportunity to mingle with their trendiest customers, display collages of our seasonal hair trends, pass out a client ‘sampler’ book loaded with coupons, hand out samples of our favorite home-maintenance hair care products, discuss our unique services and even have our staff model hair trends in the store.”

The Results: “The promotional tents have given us tremendous results. As far as the coupon sampler book, we plan to start marking the coupons so that when they are redeemed, we know where they are coming back from, and we can really measure the results of our efforts.”


Studio 207 Shamokin,


Owner: Kristie Strunk-Bogash

The Promotion: “We do ‘glamour parties,’ or birthday parties, for girls 6-13. It’s two hours at the end of a Saturday, for up to 10 kids, and we only need two to four stylists,” says Strunk-Bogash.

The Plan: “We give them an updo, paint their nails, do make-up and use lots of glitter spray. We charge either a flat rate or per kid. We send each girl home with a salon goodie bag that has pens, magnets and samples in it.”

The Results: “It’s a big hit. We never have to advertise this—we easily sell parties from other parties. We also find lots of new clients in the moms who stop by the salon to pick up the kids.”


Salon Luna

Novi, MI

Owners: David DeWitt, Joe Loose

The Promotion: “Luna Direct is a vertical marketing campaign intended to isolate and speak to our target markets,” says Loose. “We purchase a specific list of career professionals living in our area from a state agency and then mail them a special offer.”

The Plan: “Our first target was real estate agents because we wanted to attract customers who know the value of referrals. The letter entitled them to a complimentary hair design and style and a Face of Luna glycolic facial—a $90 value. The offer was valid for one month.”

The Results: “We were astounded. Of the first 200 letters mailed, we booked 80 appointments—a 40-percent response rate. Not only is that better than any other marketing we’ve done, but the retention of those promotional clients checked in at 45 percent.”


Beauty Store Carlmont

Belmont, CA

Owners: Sandra Barbosa, Diane Kray

The Promotion: “Everyone knows about Locks of Love, but not too many people know who’s involved in it,” says Kray. “We held our event on a Saturday and offered special deals to make sure it got a lot of publicity.”

The Plan: “We put up fliers two weeks before the event. We also gave our retail clients a special: Buy three Matrix products and get a Locks of Love tote free. We wanted to make it a whole Matrix day, so we decorated with hearts and red and white balloons and made a nice display of our Matrix products.”

The Results: “We had three people come in for the free hair cut, which we then sent to Locks of Love. We also sold out of all Matrix products and customers took home all of the Matrix totes. People have been talking about it and want to know when we are doing it again.”


Attitudes and Images

Hollister, CA

Owner: Donna Maiello

The Promotion: “We wanted to let our clients know about Alterna’s Caviar Rejuvenation treatment kits and also meet a service-sales goal that would make our salon eligible for a Las Vegas trip,” says Maiello. “We aimed to sell 96 treatment kits in the month of February.”

The Plan: “We used a script to explain the technology to our clients. We also gave them a deal where if they bought the treatment kits, the service was complimentary. If they bought multiple kits at one time, they received discounts on the support products and if they prebooked treatments for the rest of the year, they got $10 off each kit. Staff members who achieved their individual sales goals were rewarded with a day of spa treatments.”

The Results: “We sold 103 Alterna treatments in February, and the sales from the support products helped increase our total retail by more than $1,000 for that month. We also prebooked treatments for the rest of the year.”


Hoshall’s Salon & Spa

Folsom, CA

Owners: William and Joyce Hoshall

The Promotion: “We sell most of our spa services in packages, and we wanted to do the same thing on the hair side,” says Bill Hoshall. “So we put together the four C’s: consultation, cut, color and cosmetics, and packaged it as ‘Makeover Magic.’ When you put things in a package, people buy it.”

The Plan: “Our salon has created a ‘Makeover Magic’ center with a freestanding display near the reception desk that includes a mirror, pictures of models and cosmetics. We also did makeovers on four different models and published the before and after photos in Sacramento magazine.”

The Results: “Cosmetics application is really the add-on here, and with this package, we usually sell at least double the regular service price in make-up retail, sometimes much more. Makeup sales are up 1,000 percent.”


Lords and Ladies Hair Salons

Boston, MA

Owner: Michael Barsamian

Promotion: About a year ago, one of Barsamian’s manufacturers encouraged the salon’s staff to take a five-hour class on doing hand massages. The owner had his doubts, but now the complimentary hand massages have become one of the salon’s most talked-about selling points and, as an added bonus, have boosted retail sales.

The Plan: After completing the course, Barsamian asked each stylist to spend an additional five minutes with each client performing a complimentary hand massage following the service. Within weeks, the value- added service made a huge impact. Clients began inquiring about the hand massage when they booked their appointments, and talking about the complimentary service to their friends. As the salon became busier and busier, Barsamian began to hire staff solely to perform the hand massages.

The Results: Barsamian credits the hand massages in part to his salon’s overall sales growth by more than 30 percent last year. In addition, since starting the service, hand cream sales have swelled to 10 percent of the salon’s overall retail sales. “I never would have believed it,” Barsamian says.


Gary Manuel Salon

Seattle, WA

Owners: Manuel Benevich and Gary Howse

The Promotion: A gift certificate trade with a top-end Seattle restaurant helps the salon simultaneously attract new clients and reward loyal ones.

The Plan: Benevich persuaded the restaurant’s owners to an equal trade of $5,000 worth of $50 gift certificates. The restaurant gifts its staff and frequent diners with the salon’s certificates, while the salon uses the dining certificates to reward its biggest-spending clients, as well as reward a few staff members who’ve gone beyond the call of duty. The salon mailed the restaurant certificates with personalized thank-you letters to each designated client.

The Results: Almost all of the salon gift cards hate been renewed (for services only), earning the salon approximately 100 new clients. Simultaneously, the promotion thanked and rewarded Gary Manuel’s top clients, thereby strengthening the salon’s ties to those clients. The total promotion cost the salon approximately $1,800—the cost of the labor for the redeemed services plus the printing of the gift cards “This promotion gets the results for a minimum amount of work,” says Benevich.


Tranquility Salon and Day Spa

Manassas, VA

Owners: Gloria and Wayne Harding

The Promotion: As big believers in marketing to your own clientele, the owners began naming a Salon Client of the Week and a Spa Client of the Week.

The Plan: Each week, Gloria Harding surveys the incoming clients for the following week and selects both a spa client and salon client to honor. She prepares a customized bag of goodies that may include products, certificates for services the client has not experienced, and sometimes even jewelry. Most importantly, each bag includes a hand-written personalized card from the owner that expresses how much the client is appreciated. When the client comes in for her appointment, her service provider informs her she was selected as the client of the week and presents the gift.

The Results: “The promotion has been really positive, and created an excitement with each client that urges her to tell friends and family the story of our salon and the award,” says Gloria Harding.


Christina & Company

Lafayette, IN

Owner: Christina Blumling

Manager: Lora Eberle

The Promotion: During the month of August, the salon offered a pedicure package which included three pedicures and a gift bag for $90. The promotion boosted pedicure sales and lengthened the salon’s foot-care season.

The Plan: The salon set a sales goal of $16,000 in package sales, and advertised the promotion with in-salon banners, smiley face buttons and postcards mailed to clients. Staff members decorated their stations and were encouraged to tell each client about the promotion. “Staff incentives further encouraged sales,” says Eberle. “We awarded a pizza party and a jeans day for everyone if the goal was reached, a T-shirt that could be worn all month for any one selling three packages or more, a nail case and $50 for any nail technician that sold the most packages and $100 for the employee (excluding nail technician) who sold the most packages.”

The Results: The salon exceeded its goal, selling more than $16,000 in pedicure packages.


  1. Volve

Colleyville, TX

Owner: Kim Armstrong

The Promotion: Periodically, the salon holds blow-drying classes in an effort to strengthen relationships with clients, boost the staff’s professional image and attract new clients.

The Plan: Classes are held on an evening when the salon is closed. Clients pay $20 to reserve a space, but following the class the registration fee can be put toward retail purchase Attendees are instructed to bring in their own styling tools.

The Results: “We always pick up new clients from this event. In fact, some people will bring in two or three friends,” says Armstrong. “Also, having the extra consultation time with stylists often encourages participants to try different services.”


Urbaca Hair and Skin

Portland, OR

Owners: Thad Grace and Fenn Bourland.

The Promotion: Seeking the connectors as outlined m Malcolm Gladwell’s bestselling book, The Tipping Point, Urbaca’s owners instituted a popular client referral program. The winning client with the most referrals wins a year’s worth of fine dining.

The Plan: Clients are given referral cards with “Client Referring” and “Client Referred” printed on them. In the reception area, the owners placed a ‘50s-style ballot box, where cards are placed when the referring client visits. For an exciting incentive, Bourland trades salon gift certificates with fine dining establishments for dining certificates, until he has approximately $1,200 worth. The promotion runs for several months until the referrals start tapering down. The client with the most referrals wins the grand prize of a year’s worth of dining certificates, but the salon also recognizes other clients who make numerous referrals with certificates for services they’ve not yet tried.

The Results: “We average about 250 referrals each time we do this program,” says Bourland. “But it’s gaining momentum. Last year’s winner referred seven new clients, but during this year’s promotion, many of our competitors reached the double digits. One of those connectors can build a single hairdresser’s clientele.”


Gila Rut

San Diego, CA

Owners: Ken and Carol Davis

The Promotion: A postcard mailing effort recaptures lost clients.

The Plan: Using their computer program, the salon composed a list of clients who hadn’t been to the salon in the past six months. Each was mailed a cleverly designed postcard that included the words, “We want you back,” and three promotional opportunities. When the promotions are used and removed from the postcard, it becomes a salon business card. Says Carol Davis, “For the first return visit, the client receives 50 percent off all services received that day. On the second visit, the client gets 25 percent off, and on the third visit, she gets 15 percent off any product.”

The Results: Although the program is still quite new, Davis is already seeing his clients return. “And they all seem thrilled to get the card.”


Avant Gard Salon

Avon, IN

Owner: Shawn Settle

The Plan: “We have a referral contest about four to six times a year where we give every guest who comes in five cards to hand out to their friends,” says Settle. “They have three months to bring in as many other guests as they can.”

The Promotion: “We’ve partnered with our manufacturers to provide great prizes for our winners. The top prize is a gift certificate to the salon for at least $150 in services, and the second prize is a bag of Wella products valued at $150. The third place prize is usually a bike or outdoor grill from our Wella distributor, Service Beauty Supply. The best part is, the winning client’s service provider is also rewarded for encouraging the referrals. That staff member usually gets a big prize like a trip to the Wella Center in New York City.”

The Results: “Our biggest winner brought in 25 referrals, but even our smallest winner brought in 12. In total, our last promotion garnered 350 new guests with about a 76-percent retention rate.”


Steve Hightower Hair Artists Studio

Atlanta, GA

Owner: Steve Hightower

The Plan: To bring Repêchage facials out of the back room and into the salon, treatments are performed while color processes. “Normally a Hydra Dew facial is $65 in the facial room, but with a chemical service it’s $45,” says Hightower. “I prefer them to be performed in the salon to create interest from other clients.”

The Promotion: “On the mirrors and in the changing room we have signs about our ‘Dew Day.’ When clients ask about it, we tell them about the facial and our special ‘Ménage a Spa’ pricing. We also perform the facials for our long-term clients as a thank-you, telling them we are upgrading them for their loyalty.” Facials are performed by several staff members who have received Repêchage training.

The Results: “For these clients, retail tickets have doubled—they leave with an overflowing bag of products. Clients love getting major pampering all at once; several have referred their friends for this service, which is wonderful since we can sell new clients on hair services with the skin service.”


Living Waters European Day Spa

Pembroke Pines, FL

Owner: Barbara Beckler

The Plan: “We ran a promotion with Pevonia where we sent out invitations to our 600 newest clients for complimentary summer-care treatments for skin,” says Beckler. “We timed it for the week after schools let out, when most kids would be at summer camp and moms would have free time.”

The Promotion: “The 30-minute service included a cleansing and a customized mask to hydrate and nourish. We also performed a skin analysis and recommended professional treatments and products for home care.”

The Results: “It was a great success. Three skin care technicians were booked solid for that day. Every person who came in bought products, so retail did very well.”

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