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.
Photo 1 of 2
A glimpse at the NColor retail area, which carries home goods, gifts, jewelry, handbags and small leather goods in addition to professional beauty lines.
Photo 2 of 2

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

More from Salon Management

Technology Sponsored by SoundClouds

Does Your Salon Technology Provide A Human Touch?

June 20, 2019

Functionality, integration, experience—no question these are all critical in a salon technology product. But the truth is, for many salon owners who didn’t grow up in a world of coding and don’t speak tech language, it’s the human connection that’s most important.

Will this client post a five-star review for her balayage service? The answer matters for many reasons!
Salon Management Sponsored by Phorest Salon Software

Are You Raking In 5-Star Reviews? If Not, Here’s How.

June 18, 2019

You drive by that new restaurant in town and wonder if you should give it a try. Your first step? Grabbing your phone and checking the place’s online reviews. If they’re good, you go ahead and make a reservation. If not, you probably pass. And guess what? This is exactly how prospective clients are assessing your salon.

Hair by Mary Ott,
Hair Color Trends Sponsored by Salon Centric

All The Ways To Price Your Specialty Hair Color

May 30, 2019

By the hour, by the level, by the bowl. Those are just some of the ways stylists are setting their rates for specialty hair color. Specialty color is hard work so don’t sell yourself short. Specialty color is also creative, and here are some creative ways stylists are charging for their artistry!

Hair by Jack Martin, @jackmartincolorist
Hair Color Sponsored by Salon Centric

Gone Grey Strategies That Will Keep You In Business

May 30, 2019

Gone grey doesn’t have to mean gone for good. There are still plenty of ways to contribute to your grey clients’ ongoing upkeep. Here are strategies that will keep your grey clients looking chic…and keep your service and retail income looking healthy.

Tech Trends Sponsored by Vish

Are You Losing Money On Your Toning, Retouch Or Highlight Services?

May 16, 2019

The more you know, the more you save and the more money you make. That’s true of everything in your business. When you’re informed, you can make informed decisions. Knowing your numbers when it comes to hair color usage is particularly helpful because it’s so easy to over-use product and undercharge for services. Here’s how three salons, with the help of Vish software, were able to analyze the data available at their fingertips to determine which services were losing money and which were producing healthy profits.

Salon owners, find out how to avoid credit card processing fees, track tips and invent hair salon tipping for your team.
Career Sponsored by Tippy

3 Important Financial Management “Tips” For Salon Owners

May 9, 2019

Are you dealing with credit card processing fees; tracking tips for taxes; even looking for ways to motivate your clients to tip your stylists well and often to supplement their incomes and keep them doing hair at your salon happily ever after? Tippy claims to reduce credit card processing fees for salon owners and increase tips for service professionals.

Team Building
Team Building

Top Tips for Recruiting Beauty School Students

Kati Whitledge | May 1, 2019

One of the best ways to grow your own team is to hire them right out of school and train them in your systems, but how do you get your salon in front of graduating students? Be Inspired's Kati Whitledge offers some key tips for networking with your local cosmetology schools.

Load More