How Gary Harlan Brought in More Than $600K in Individual Service and Retail Sales in 2018

Stacey Soble | March 22, 2019 | 8:27 AM
Gary Harlan, owner of NColor Salon in Naples, Florida.
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A glimpse at the NColor retail area, which carries home goods, gifts, jewelry, handbags and small leather goods in addition to professional beauty lines.
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Over time, Owner Gary Harlan says he gradually understood the importance of knowing his client target. NColor Salon caters to a high quality market in Naples, Florida, and Harlan explains that comes with expectations.

“They are used to receiving a top-notch experience and being surround by a high-end environment, you have to deliver,” he says.

For example, when guests arrive at the salon, they are handed a menu from which they can make a selection of complimentary beverages and snacks, including tea, cappuccino, espresso, Prosecco, fine wines and cashews.

At NColor, everyone shares in the responsibility of each day’s success. During the morning huddle, the team studies the schedule identifying hot spots where someone may be jammed and in need of a little extra help. Harlan believes in well-paid, quality assistants, and he and other technicians pay for the assistant. As the owner of the salon, Harlan definitely sets the pace, and his assistant is always the lead assistant.

“I could never do what I do in services, if that network wasn’t in place,” he says. And, what he did in 2018 was impressive: $537,000 in service sales with $123,000 in retail sales. The salon even has assistants who sometimes bring in more than $100,000 in sales.

For a salon, Harlan’s retail area is unique. In addition to hair care, the salon also retails home goods, gifts, jewelry, handbags and small leather goods. In addition to getting a commission on retail sales, team members earn additional vacation time based on their sales.

“At the end of the year, we’ll look back and if they did $400,000 in sales and 20% in retail, they’ll earn two weeks paid vacation. If 15-20% is retail, they’ll earn a week of paid vacation and if it’s less than 15%, they earn a meeting with me to see how they can focus more on the client.”

New clients go not to the newest members of the team, but the more experienced. Harlan believes in under-promising and over-delivering, and believes senior stylists are better at thorough consultations, deciphering what a client needs and developing a long-term road map for their hair options during the next several appointments.

“We are always upfront about costs, and once clients have been in a few times, we have a solid plan of action for their hair. If that senior stylist’s prices aren’t in line with what the client can spend for their hair, we’ll refer them to someone with a lower price point.”

The salon boosts its services sales with a healthy treatment business.

“We do a lot of treatments in the salon because it’s the only way we can achieve what the client wants,” he says. “We want them to leave the salon with their hair in better condition than when they came in.”

On May 19-21, the Data-Driven Salon Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, will spotlight data stars including Wood in a hands-on workshop approach to mining the metrics to drive salon performance. Learn more at

Check Out the Other Stories in the DATA STARS Series:

Stylist and Owner Jyl Craven Discusses the Game Plan that Helped Her Reach more than $550,000 in Sales

Stylist Amanda Paul Explains How She Averages More than Two Services Per Guest

Harry Wood Shows Stylists How He Brings In $60K in Retail Sales

How Gadabout Motivates the Guests Services Team to Pre-Book

Stylist Jamie Cress Shares Her Strategies for Driving Retail Sales

By Strategically Planning for Growth, Salon Spa W Averages a 20% Growth Year after Year

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