While extensions have become an industry norm, some salons have yet to make the jump in carrying them. Find out everything you need to know about integrating extensions into your salon so you can begin seeing growth in your clients’ styles—and your business.
Education is Key
Application techniques have come a long way. From clip-ins and tape-ins to fusion, micro bonds and everything in between, you can offer a range of options to suit your salon’s clientele. Véronique Beaupré, owner of local B salon in Montreal, has been working with extensions for more than 20 years, and works with Great Lengths in her salon, using fusion and micro bonding. “It’s something comfortable and customizable for every client and is the best solution for long-term wear,” she says. “It’s about working with the right hair extension brand for your salon. And in the long-run, hair extensions became a business for my salon, like colour.”
Jesse Marriott, western Canadian educator for Hotheads Hair Extensions, says tape-ins are still very popular at Utopia Hair & Lash Studio in Red Deer, Alta., where he is the salon manager and a master stylist. “Tape-ins can sometimes look the most natural because they have a bit more mobility and movement,” he says. “Tape-ins can also be a good introduction into the world of hair extensions. The average appointment time is under an hour, so it’s an easy and fast upgrade.”
“When you’re working behind the chair, to be able to make upwards of $250 for a service in an hour is fantastic. We’re so used to slaving away for smaller amounts of money that we need to be able to build up our pocketbooks by working faster, easier and a lot smarter.”
– Jesse Marriott, Western Canadian Educator for HotHeads Hair Extensions
Amanda Merritt, an educator for Babe Hair Extensions and co-owner of Adorn Salon & Spa in Halifax, says there are application techniques that can offer the best of both worlds. “We are using a lot of flat-tip extensions, which are a mixture of tape and I-tip extensions and offer the comfort of a tape-in but are an individual strand. I love mixing the two because you get a full head of length with added texture and natural movement.”
Whichever application method your salon chooses to offer, education is important for achieving natural-looking results, while preventing damage and building your return business.
With some clients always eager to try out the next colour trend, preserving hair integrity is a must. Hair extensions can be an easy (and often faster) solution for clients looking for a quick colour change. And while the colour range for extensions has evolved tremendously over the years, there may still be times when you want to colour your extensions yourself. “You may need to enhance something or tone it down.
Extensions tend to be on the cooler side, so if you’re adding ash they can tend to be even ashier than you had anticipated,” says Eryn Wall, a Great Lengths artist/educator and Wella top stylist. She doesn’t recommend lightening extensions but if you choose to, she advises against using anything higher than a 20-volume, and to always use a bonding system.
As for colour, Marriott suggests using semi- and demi-permanent dyes. “I want clients to have the ability to see their colour soften and refreshed,” he says. Since extensions tend to be pre-dyed with textile dyes and not traditional hair colour, Marriott warns against dying extensions more than two shades darker.
Preventing Sticker Shock
While you may be concerned about the cost of training your staff, and possibly scaring clients away with the pricing of hair extensions, these should not be reasons not to add the service to your salon. “We try to never bring up cost in the salon, but we look at it as an investment. It softens the blow a little bit when clients are looking at a higher priced item. When we say the word ‘investment,’ it helps them think about what they are getting in return. Words like that really do make a big difference,” says Marriott. He cautions that by getting caught up in the cost, you can run the risk of losing clients.
“By not [offering hair extensions], it gives clients the opportunity to walk through somebody else’s door,” he says. “You want your clients to be able to get absolutely everything they need with you. It’s like a relationship. You need to be able to offer everything you possibly can to your relationship or you lose it.”
Maintain and Retain
Since retail can be your key to retaining clients, it is especially true for extension clientele. They can also help you increase your rebooking with follow- up appointments. “Clients should be coming back every six weeks to make sure they’re doing a good job with maintenance,” says Beaupré.
Since the attention spans of some clients can be limited, especially when they are about to walk out the door, Marriott uses a contract to explain the maintenance instructions, which cover detangling, styling, products and the warranty details. “By having them focus on signing the contract, it brings them back to the moment and helps them realize the importance of taking care of their extensions,” he says.
Though the idea of offering a warranty can be intimidating for some salons and stylists, it’s a way to build reassurance with your clients. “Our contracts say if they do not use the recommended products, they don’t have a warranty. But I let them know that by coming to a professional, they don’t have to worry about damage as long as they are following the proper care and maintenance that I’m instructing them on.”
Beaupré agrees, “The success of a great hair extension application involves the client just as much as the technician.”