The Importance of Retail

June 1, 2011

Guest Blogger Lindsey Rice, Cosmetology Instructor

The first day of every class start is always one of my favorite times. Every month, I’m privileged to get to know all of the new people who are embarking on the amazing career of Cosmetology. I’m always so curious to hear everyone’s professional background – whether they are coming to us as a recent high school graduate, if they are making a complete career change, or anywhere in between. So many students assume that they are coming into this industry, knowing almost nothing about it. But, I always make a point to assure them that they already know a lot more than they think…

Being a stylist is absolutely a career centered on customer service, and most of us have some kind of customer service experience. This could be working retail, waitressing, front desk experience, bartending, volunteer work… all of these experiences are going to give you a huge advantage when you start working in the salon. At Bellus, we really pride ourselves in producing stylists that have advanced strong technical skills. But, another one of our main objectives is producing stylists who are knowledgeable and confident enough to educate and prescribe their clientele with the correct home care to be able to maintain healthy, shiny, fashionable hair.

Yes, prescribe. Just like a doctor would. We have to remember that every client that sits in our chair is not only looking for a great cut and color, they are looking for advice. They come to us because we are the industry experts. So many hairdressers are afraid to “sell products” to their clients. They don’t want to appear pushy, they are afraid for rejection – they don’t want to feel like a “sales person.” All of us need to get out of the mindset that we are “selling products” to our clients – we need to approach all retail with a sincere attitude of being the expert, and educating our clients on how they are going to be able to maintain luxurious, beautiful hair for years and years. I truly believe that by ignoring retail and making the choice to not inform and educate our clients about products that can change the life of their hair, we are doing them an incredible disservice.

Prescribing clients with take-home care is also a great way to retain your clientele. It’s a proven fact that when clients see the shampoo and conditioner that you recommended to them, every day, they are continually reminded of your amazing services and are much more likely to call you for their next appointment. Prescribing products also let’s your client know that you care, which is going to create a strong bond of trust between you and your client. Trust equals loyalty, and loyalty is ultimately what is going to pay your bills.

At the Academy, we give weekly product knowledge snip-its called “Product of the Week,” where students are given in-depth information about a different product each week, and are challenged to try that specific product in as many different ways as possible, giving them an opportunity to truly experience the product and gain testimonials. Students are also frequently presented with specific, formal training of each product line we carry at the Academy. The more knowledge we have, the more confidence we’ll have – and I guarantee that this confidence will transfer into flawless recommendations. Just always keep in mind; it is our duty as hairdressers to be the industry expert and to have the ability to prescribe whatever necessary to meet the needs of our clientele!

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