When the economy weakens, don’t shrink away. Spa and salon owners may have felt the blow in 2011, but that doesn’t mean you can’t come back stronger than ever. Here’s how three owners attract clients and keep their business rolling in a tough economy.
Rita Singh, owner of Ossia Salon and Spa in Waterloo, Ont., signed up with Groupon to attract new customers, but then found she wasn’t gaining as much profit as she could once she paid for the coupon service. “I needed to find a way they’d come back after redeeming the deal.” Singh re-strategized with prebookings. Clients would come in for their first appointment with the coupon for a facial treatment and could then pre-book their next two appointments for the same price. “We’d retain 100% of the profits for the future pre-bookings, and I found that once new clients come back after two appointments, they stay with you.” It also helped that Singh sweetened the deal by running a drawing to win $250 for every customer who pre-booked.
In the Salon
Education was the key to upselling for Nina Katehos, owner of the Hair Gallery in Alliston, Ont. “For any client who is getting her hair done, we have our esthetici perform a complimentary mini-glow facial while she is waiting,” says Katehos. While the esthetician worked, she’d also talk about the product and related services that would benefit the client. “It was a way to introduce a service and products to clients. We found that many didn’t even know we offered spa services until we had a cross-promotion.” Katehos also oriented her consultations around customer service. “I started asking, ‘How do you see yourself?’ to my clients, and would be sure to use their descriptions to talk about the treatment I’d customize for them. I’d help clients identify their needs and show how my company gives them more value than they’re giving in dollars.”
From the Neighbourhood
Thinking outside the box was the way Mandy Patterson, owner of the Cactus Club Salon and Spa in Okotoks, Alta., attracted new clients in whole groups. Sitting on committees like the Chamber of Commerce and district business associations, she approached companies for promotions. “Working with a restaurant, we did a Valentine’s Day dinner that came with flowers and a spa service. We also went in to a dance studio and showed the dancers how to apply false lashes and do better makeup for onstage. We were able to sell products to a market we had never considered before.”
At night, the Cactus Club can also become a party venue. “Businesses can rent out the spa space for a night and have dinner and treatments. We have Christmas parties, stagettes for bridal showers, and a lot of people come back from these events to our spa for regular services.”
The bottom line? The sky’s the limit when owners think innovatively and partner strategically.