As Australian distributors for the highly successful OPI range of products, International Beauty Supplies have all the answers at their fingertips…

What can or should salons do to encourage their staff to attend training, both internal and external?
This is possibly the most common question within the whole beauty industry – hair, beauty and nails – and applies to everyone. Yes, everyone!

It is important for salon owners and their staff to attend training seminars so that they are kept up-to-date with new techniques and trends. Then of course they need to be kept up-to-date in terms of new industry rules, regulations, work environments, OH&S, government and tax laws and other forms of new information that will impact on the successful operation and profitability of salons. Whilst salon owners might have a grasp on new policies, legislation and techniques, it is the therapists who are not kept up-to-date.

While your staff have completed a beauty or nail training course and have a certificate of competency, this does not mean that they stop learning. There are new techniques being discovered every day and it is critical to keep up to date as new products and ingredients are launched on the market.

It’s all about improving the quality of service and delivery to your clients. For example, look at how 'old fashioned' hair removal has changed terminology and techniques to epilation, Brazilian, electrolysis, IPL and laser light. Clients now speaks this language when booking a service.

Clearly the message is just because you have previous training, this does not mean you can’t continue to learn more, especially from salon suppliers and product specialists whose job it is to know all the latest techniques and industry standards.

At International Beauty Supplies we specialise in importing the best of beauty products, treatment machines and accessories from around the world which we support with our team of highly experienced and trained educators who can ensure that our various brands such as OPI Products, St.Tropez Self Tanning, Depileve and Anesi Skin Therapies are presented with detailed education seminars and workshops in our Sydney studios and in the salon.

We have a saying in our organization; to be successful in our profession one must be able to 'walk the walk AND talk the talk'.

We are learning new techniques every day.

How and where to get ongoing training and education? Start with the news pages and education calendars in professional industry publications or speak with your supplier’s sales representatives.

How do you recommend salons increase their retail sales?
In the 'good old days', a visit to a beauty or hairdressing salon simply consisted of a beauty treatment, hair service perhaps a manicure. And the client would leave the salon only to visit a chemist or department or grocery store to purchase their facial cleansers, moisturisers, shampoo, conditioners etc .Why? Because in those days, retailing was not considered a part of the salon visit. Since then, salons have become business-savvy.

Instead of being highly trained technocrats in their chosen profession, salon owners found that it really was easy to sell product to their client and make money. Clients came to recognise that their professional skincare treatment, the application of the perfect makup and the ultimate manicure or pedicure was done by a professional and so quickly accepted the advice of the therapist recommending products so that they could continue a maintenance program at home.

Then manufacturers started packaging lotions and potions into cosmetically pleasing jars and bottles, which had the look of a quality product that would be readily accepted by the client if sold by salon professionals. This was an important turning point in our industry; salon owners and management undertook education in retailing skills and suddenly the client was in a comfort zone where they would spontaneously buy a cosmetic, lip colour, nail polish etc.

Today retailing is an accepted norm in salons because it adds profits to the business – which in a team environment can result in staff incentives, commission and bonuses – but there is a real secret to earning salon profits: the salon must use and stock reputable brands which are known and demanded by the consumer. Brands that the client identifies with because the supplier promotes and advertises to them directly.

We can offer two forms of advice; the first being a salon that is prepared to invest in products for retail does not purchase only a small number of cosmetics, they purchase enough product so that consumers have choice – have you ever seen a chemist or department store with a few lipsticks or nail lacquers?

Today's client wants choice. They want to be able to select and form their own opinion from advice received from their therapist.

The second bit of advice is for salons to invest in space, stock and staff training to ensure retail success. Whilst you may have retail stock, it is important for your therapist to be able to sell it on to the client.

To summarise:
Stock the products your clients want, and know all the features and benefits to the client of the products.
Ensure your therapists are selling the products to their clients, encourage your staff to quietly talk to the client about maintaining their salon results by having a home maintenance program and follow up the sale at the register when the client is leaving.

To prove this point, order some retail-size products, display them and tell clients you now have these products for them to purchase. Then see how easy it is to make money.

Aside from product, what do you consider to be the greatest contribution a supplier can make to a salon?
The supplier can be a salon’s greatest business asset because they have the latest product information particularly new product developments from overseas. It is not always possible for the salon owner or staff to hop on a plane to Europe or the USA to visit trade exhibitions or manufacturers and it is the supplier who can provide all aspects of the product; material safety sheets, in-salon demonstrations, training, trouble-shooting, staff and client product literature, posters, colour charts and much more, but this has to be a 'business partnership' where there is mutual benefit to truly be successful.

What are the essential components of salon professionalism?
Regardless of whether it is a spa, beauty, nail, hair salon or any other consumer service business they all have the
same fundamentals, and that is that everyone in the business must:

Be smartly groomed

Know and be able to communicate the product features, benefits and services to the client

Strive to make the clients visit memorable, pleasant and desirous of returning to the salon for that service.

Just because you are a qualified professional isn’t always enough. You have to be and show you are a professional.

What do you feel will be the greatest challenge facing the aesthetics industry over the next decade?
There is no doubt that manufacturers will continue their commitment to ongoing research and development of
new ingredients and products which will guarantee a long future of this profession. Newer technical
treatments involving machines will become standard equipment in salons in the future, particularly as consumers
increase in awareness and learn about these new technologies. There is a growing concern that price
discounting may become a serious factor in the future. However, those businesses who offer and deliver a
truly professional service and offer retail support to their clients should not be concerned about those salons who discount. Consumers are becoming more time poor and loyalty is a big factor in terms of retaining and maintaining clients. A client who appreciates the service they receive at your salon will return to you.

For more information contact International Beauty Supplies on 02 9486 3211 or visit www.intbeauty.com.au


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