When professional salon products became available in retail stores, the aesthetic industry lost a valuable income stream, but savvy salons are now offering their own branded stock and are discovering there are more benefits to private labels than simply regaining their lost retail income stream.

A few years back beauty salons, spas and hair salons had exclusive arrangements with product distributors: their business was the only one in their area allowed to sell specific products. Clients would make an appointment for a treatment, and walk out the door toting a bag full of exclusive items.

Fast forward several years, and these same “sold in professional salons only” products were appearing in upmarket department stores and beauty outlets. Today they are even found in the larger pharmacy chains and online stores, and are more often than not sold to the general public at prices lower than what your business can buy them wholesale.

Almost overnight, the retail arm of the aesthetic industry’s income stream had disappeared, washed down the gurgler with the soap suds.

The good news is you don’t have to get into a price war with these behemoths to be victorious. As many salons are discovering, a smarter solution is to offer their own branded product. Not only are they clawing back the retail component of their income stream, but the power of their brand equity is providing many other wins.

Stand out from the crowd

Creating a private label line for your business could just be the game changer you have been looking for.

Regardless whether your salon is large or small, successful businesses have one thing in common: they stand out from the crowd; they are perceived as superior in their industry.

They build a strong brand for themselves through services that are second to none and offer their clients some value-add – for your clients, the opportunity to take home a little of the luxurious salon experience.

Establishing your own private label adds prestige to your brand. It also allows you to shamelessly adorn your exclusive in-salon and at-home treatments with your name and logo, resulting in improved recognition of your brand.

Grow your brand

Your exclusive private label products can help you to grow your brand.

Simple measures include:

  • Stocking your branded products in the salon window in full view of passers-by,
  • Strategically placing them around the salon so clients rest their eyes on them wherever they look, and
  • Supporting your brand by using the products and talking them up in the salon.

Instead of chatting to your client about the latest celebrity gossip, use the opportunity to share your knowledge about her/his skin. Clients welcome recommendations made by you, so endorse your private label and advise on home care products to complete the treatment.

Free advertising

When clients hold you in high esteem, you not only retain their custom but gain word-of-mouth endorsements and referrals.

You can get more leverage out of this free advertising with private label products. Clients who leave your salon with a bag of products embellished with your name are by association advertising your brand to family and friends every time they see it displayed in the bathroom cabinet.

Take it a step further and provide loyal clients with a sample-size product they can pop in their handbag or leave on their desk in the office, such as a hand cream. Your client will be thrilled with her free ‘gift’; she gets to try before she buys and, more importantly, she will promote your exclusive label and salon to colleagues and friends every time she reapplies.

So what are the costs involved?

Surprisingly, you can set up your private label products fairly quickly with relatively low overheads. By using a cosmetics manufacturer who provides a range of ready-made skin care, hair care, personal care, health and beauty lines, you could be offering your branded product to clients in as little as two weeks!

Expert staff can talk you through their collections and the packaging they have available. They may even be able to provide you with a graphic designer to create your labels.

For an additional cost, you can add your personal flavour to an existing formula by adding just one special ingredient, such as a fragrant essential oil or an on-trend Australian native plant extract, like Kakadu plum or wattle seed.

Clinics that treat skin problems may want a formula developed from scratch to address their clients’ specific needs. This will take longer than off-the-shelf solutions, but will ultimately provide a unique and targeted product for the clinic that features innovative ingredients and breakthrough technologies, such as plant stem cells, peptides or encapsulated retinol, reinforcing their brand as exclusive and superior.

Lastly, before choosing a cosmetic manufacturer, regardless if you are buying off-the-shelf formulas or are having them developed, do your research. Not all cosmetic manufacturers are created equally.

Seek out a company that has its own facility and a research and development team of fully-qualified, in-house chemists who use the latest research, innovative ingredients and ground-breaking processes to develop their formulas.

Make sure they operate to the highest possible standards and under strict guidelines. They should be credited with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Quality Management Systems (ISO 9001:2015).

Certification of these standards confirms industry best practice techniques to ensure client requirements are thoroughly understood, tested, and independently verified. It also ensures methods are in place for preventing and detecting cross-contamination issues, identifying rejected materials, investigating customer complaints, cleaning of premises and machines, maintaining equipment calibration, and other good manufacturing practices.

Finally, take a close look at the range of ready-made products. Do they provide the variety of skincare (dry skin, normal skin, oily skin, anti-ageing, eye serum, treatments) or hair care (normal, straight, curly, detanglers, conditioners and treatments) you want to offer your clients? Do they feature cutting-edge ingredients? Are they produced to the highest of standards?

Isabel Sleiman is a cosmetic chemist who joined the Trulux team in 2015. Visit www.trulux.com.au