Posts Tagged ‘curly hair’

The Pros and Cons of Booth Renting

by Lilly Rockwell on Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

It’s a common crossroad for many established hair stylists: do I work for a salon or become a free agent?

It can be a tough decision for many hair stylists used to the guaranteed income, comforts and camaraderie that come with working at a salon as an employee.Those who strike out on their own by renting a chair from a salon instead will find greater responsibilities and, potentially, a bigger payoff.

The trend of booth renting has become one of the most contentious trends in the industry, with many salon owners citing it as the potential downfall of their industry.

“I think it has to go away,” Ron King, owner of Bo Salon in Austin, Texas, says of the trend. “It cheapens the business. They are one reason people don’t respect stylists.”

For those pondering becoming an independent contractor, there are a number of important considerations.

“Once you rent, you have to buy everything,” said Cala Renee, a curly hair specialist who runs her own salon in Beverly, Mass. However, “it’s a great start for somebody who might be interested in opening his or her own salon.”

By renting, stylists pay to use the chair and provide their own equipment. In turn, the stylists get the freedom of setting their own hours and keeping all the money that comes in for each haircut, plus tips.

Working at a salon means the stylist is part of the staff and paid on commission, typically between 45 and 65 percent of the cost of the haircut, plus tips. The salon pays for your equipment, training and provides personnel assistance such as a receptionist. A salon can also direct walk-ins or new clients your way.

Teresa Callen has done both, and recently opened her own boutique salon called Image Art in Menlo Park, Calif. She specializes in curly hair. The best part about working for a salon is “they do all the paperwork, they deal with all the government nightmare stuff and your taxes are incredibly easy to do.”

“It’s a form of hairdressing paradise if you’re a true artist; it’s fun to just show up and do hair,” Callen said. Still, Callen says she prefers renting a chair. Simply put, a stylist can make more money that way. “There is freedom — you can work whenever you want,” Callen said. But with more money comes more responsibility. That means providing your own tools and products.

“It can be a huge amount to take in,” Callen said. “You have to do everything.”

It can also be difficult to find the right salon owner to rent from.

“It’s very rare to find a really good salon owner that rents out independent chairs,” Callen said. “If you can find them, it’s paradise.”

Cristin Armstrong has worked as a hair stylist for seven years and currently works at New York City-based Takamichi Salon where she specializes in curly hair.

Armstrong recently considered renting a chair, and even found a suitable location, but decided working at a salon is a better fit for her.

“With chair rental it is basically a business-within-a-business,” Armstrong said. “The salon I looked at, the rent was really low.” This salon was asking for $65 a day in rent, considered a bargain for New York. Other stylists said rental fees vary from $850 to $2,000 a month depending on the location and size.

For single mothers or hair stylists looking for a more flexible schedule, booth renting can provide more flexibility as you can determine your own hours.

Working at a salon is best for anyone who is new to hairstyling, or anyone who wants to focus on cutting hair instead of juggling schedules and product inventory.

“For anybody starting out, definitely they want to go somewhere where they can make commission and then consider renting when they are more established,” said Tiffany Anderson-Taylor, who works at the St. Petersburg, Fla,–based Essentials the Salon. Working at a salon gives a stylist an automatic client base to draw from, and exposes them to more experienced hair stylists and training opportunities.

“I could easily look at that option (renting a chair) right now because I do have a big client database and I have a full book right now.” But her salon doesn’t offer booth rentals and she is “really happy” working there.

“The only reason why I’m an independent contractor is I’m a single mother of two,” said Callen, the owner of Image Arts Salon. “If I didn’t need to make more money, I’d love to just show up and cut hair. “

Marty Franco, the owner of Baltimore-based Manetamer Salon, said booth rental could be a financial boon for both the salon owner and hairstylist.

“If you are a stylist and you have a very big book, I recommend booth rentals,” Franco said. A hair stylist with a full book can make about $3,000 a week, he said. While you have to purchase your own supplies, much of that is tax deductible because it is a business expense.

But Franco adds that it can also be distracting for the salon owner and doesn’t make for a very cohesive team when hair stylists are working for themselves.

King of Bo, where two out of the 14 stylists are booth renters, is much more outspoken about the effect on salon owners.

“Independent contractors aren’t team players,” he says. “They all want this beautiful salon to work in, but they don’t realize what comes with it. They want all the profit, but they don’t want any of the expenses. They want to do what they want to do and come in when they want to come in. That’s why I got rid of almost all of them at my salon “

Many hair stylists are happier working in a salon even though they might be able to make more working on their own.

Redken Offers Fall Color Forecast

by Staff on Monday, August 17th, 2009

As temperatures begin to cool down outside, so will hair color this fall/winter season with more sophisticated, cooler brunettes and blonds. Tracey Cunningham, Redken Creative Consultant for Color, and David Stanko, Hair color Consultant for Redken, offer info about the latest in fall hair color trends, professional hair color products to achieve these trends, and consumer tips to communicate with their colorist and to adjust to the “coolest” looks of the season.

“Small adjustments can help consumers update their look from season to season,” explains Cunningham. “When summer comes to a close, I plan to cool my clients’ shades down this fall/winter season with Redken’s new Color Gels Ash Blue — creating sophisticated, cool shades. A color is said to have “cool tones” if it tends toward blue or violet, such as platinum blonds, ash browns, and plum reds.”


Drew Barrymore

Lindsay Lohan

Trend #1: Brunettes

“Brunettes will go to a whole new level this fall/winter with an overall cooler base. Think Fergie’s shade; her lighter highlights really show through her dark, chestnut base making her haircolor look so flawless and effortless,” says Tracey Cunningham.

Trend #2: Blondes

Cunningham says: “Blondes will be blond this fall — think Drew Barrymore’s cool, nearly platinum-blond shade for this inspiration. Clients can often be concerned with the cost to achieve and keep the perfect shade of blond, but I find that women cut back in other areas rather than haircolor as it’s one of a consumers’ most prominent and most-seen-everyday accessory!”

Trend #3: Redheads

“This fall/winter, redheads will be more sophisticated and playful with their beautiful shade, with deep red tones and a few cool, blond highlights throughout to enhance the red even more,” says Cunningham

“To complete the fall/winter hair color story, Redken is launching the new Color Gels Ash Blue shades, creating sophisticated, icy cool blonds and brunettes to cool, correct, and condition women’s hair,” says Stanko. “The three new easy-to-use, versatile shades neutralize warmth and increase cool tonalities from subtle to intense degrees. Redken’s exclusive Select Dye System ensures long-lasting results with supple conditioning and shine. Consumers looking for these cooler shades for fall/winter should ask their colorist about the new Color Gels Ash Blue.”

Color Gels Ash Blue Features and Benefits:

  • Select Dye System: 100% oxidative, long-lasting dyes for color with holding power and resistance to fading
  • Wheat Proteins: Help protect hair’s protein structure during the coloring process
  • Avocado Oil: Serves as a natural emollient to help keep hair soft, touchable and glossy

“Remember that good communication with your colorist is essential for getting the color you want,” adds Stanko. “A few minutes of pre-salon prep can help you explain your goals, and ensure that your colorist understands your desired result.”

More from Redken on their new colors


Three new shades to create the most sophisticated, icy brunettes and blondes. The ultimate addition to the Color Gels palette, new Ash Blue shades neutralize warmth and color correct with a blue corrective tone. The exclusive Select Dye System ensures long-lasting results with supple conditioning and shine.

Who is it for?

  • Colorists looking to create sophisticated, icy cool blondes and brunettes when lifting to lighter levels.
  • Colorists looking to expand the versatility of the Color Gels palette by mixing with other Color Gels shades to increase cool tonalities from subtle to intense degrees.
  • Use Color Gels Ash Blue shades on their own to color correct using a blue tone or for ultimate cooling.

5AB Twilight:
Provides strong blue tones to control orange undertones on light to dark brown hair. Use as a stand alone shade to provide the coolest results. Mix a small amount with R, RB, or RV shades at a similar level to increase the degree of coolness in final result. Mix with an N shade at a similar level to cover gray while maintaining a cool tonality on the finished result.

7AB Moonstone:
Provides light blue tones to control orange undertones exposed when lifting light brown to dark blonde hair. A stunning stand alone shade, yet it can be mixed with NA shades at a similar level to create subtle variations on the degree of coolness in your final result. Mix with an N shade at a similar level to cover gray while maintaining a cool tonality on the finished result.

8AB Stardust:
Provides lightest blue tones to create the ultimate icy cool blonde. 8AB offers superior control of warmth when lifting light brown to medium blonde hair. Mix a small amount with level 9 and 10 shades to prevent excessive warmth when lifting to lighter levels. Mix with an N shade at a similar level to cover gray while maintaining a cool tonality on the finished result.

How is it used?

Mixing and Processing

Mix Color Gels shades in a 1:1 ratio of color to Color Gels Developer (10, 20, 30, 40 volume). Example: Mix 1 oz. 7AB Moonstone Color Gels + 1 oz. 20 Volume Color Gels Developer.

  • Always use immediately after mixing
  • Processing time is up to 45 minutes, depending on the developer used
  • Process at room temperature. DO NOT USE HEAT

See Color Gels Shade Chart or Education Guide for more detailed mixing and processing information.

Pre-Service Best Practices

Before you begin any chemical service:

  • Precisely follow package instructions for haircolor, lightener and texture products
  • Perform necessary patch tests as outlined in the directions
  • Wear suitable gloves for all preparation and applications
  • Utilize protective smocks or capes for you and your clients during the service

Launch: October 2009

Available: Salons and stores

Texture Tips: CURLS Rehab Tips

by Mahisha Dellinger on Saturday, August 15th, 2009

Curly hair is the most temperamental textured tress on this planet. Frizz from touching the hair too often, limp-noodle curls from over-conditioning, dry, straw-like curls from under-conditioning or over-shampooing, and seasonal changes that make us wonder, “What on God’s green earth has happened to my beautiful curls?” are all common curly girl experiences.

You can help rehab your clients. Push your curly hair clients into a mini-boot camp for a healthy curls recovery.

CURLS Rehab Tips

  1. Strip, but don’t tease! Encourage your clients to start with a clean palate every three months, especially the product junkies who just cannot seem to say “no” to any product that is curl related. Offer a “CURLS Detox” cleansing as a part of your services rendered. Choose a clarifying shampoo that is ph balanced and contains mild surfactants to avoid over drying the hair.
    Product Recommendation: Pure Curls Clarifying Shampoo.
  2. Product Relativity – While some curlies like to “cocktail” two or more products together to create the perfect coil, advise against mixing styling products from different product lines. Oftentimes active ingredients will collide and cause the white ball effect or harden up on the hair. Encourage your clients to try one product line at a time. CURLS offers a complete regime of products for every curl pattern, from wavy to kinky.
  3. Defrizz & Debunk! Debunk the myth that the more products applied on the hair the better the curls. The truth is the number one cause of frizz is product overload. Simplify their styling regime - recommend only one styling product and one liquid moisturizer/2nd day curl refresher.
    Product Recommendation: Curl Gel-les’c Quenched Curls Moisturizer.

CURLS delivers organic curly hair care products for women, girls and babies across the US, Canada, UK, Brazil and other international markets. CURLS outshines the rest by offering customized hair care regimes, personalized hair care support, and live workshops on demand. For additional information visit

Students Treated to Priceless Info from Austin Curl Expert

by Aileen Passariello on Friday, August 14th, 2009

ron king

Ron King offers drying tips to a class at Avenue Five.

CurlStylist recently hosted a curly education class for the students at Avenue Five, a cosmetology school in Austin. Curl expert Ron King, owner and head stylist at Bo Salon, was the day’s educator.

King, who says his clients “just can’t stay away,” began the class by explaining that the most important key to success is customer service. Ron attributes his success to the relationship he builds with each client, the trust he develops, and most importantly the customer service that all clients receive every time they enter his salon. Staying consistent with their experience and cut is what makes customers loyal, he says. King emphasized the importance of “contact” by touching the hair, touching the customer’s shoulders, listening, and understanding to gain that trust needed for developing that strong bond between a hair stylist and their customer.

Also, he advises, stylists should not assume that they know what their clients want before they sit down in the chair. “Don’t just assume you know what your client wants because they will surprise you. Always sit down with them, listen to them, discuss how they are feeling and then give your opinion. Clients feel different each day and maybe that day, they are looking for something different. It is important to always listen.”

The students thoroughly enjoyed the class, taking away a wealth of useful information for their future careers.

“Today’s class was very informative and inspiring. I learned how to think about textured hair in a totally new way,” says student Hilary Lowry, who is known on ChairTalk as hil214.

King learned to cut curly hair with Deva. He attended a class in New York and has perfected his technique over the years.

He says he always cuts curly hair dry and always starts from the inside, using a bricklayer pattern. When separating the hair, try to avoid disruption of the curl, he suggests; don’t rip or tear. When cutting, always cut in the bend of the curl to enhance the spring action and create lift.

“Cutting curly hair from the inside in a bricklayer pattern made total sense, and trying not to disrupt the curl as much as possible makes a huge difference in the outcome,” says Lowry.

King addresses the important difference between cutting curly hair and straight hair. “No two curls are the same,” he says. Therefore, each strand has to be treated as an individual, he reminded the class.

“Pick up the curl, shake it out, and cut down the curl,” he emphasizes. Ron believes that the optimal shape for curly girls is the oval shape, as this shape avoids the “bozo the clown look or the mullet look.”

King told the class that after cutting, it is important to condition your client’s hair. Curly hair tends to be dry, so King recommends that his clients cleanse (not shampoo) their hair once a week. Once the washing and the massaging of the scalp is complete, King uses paper towels to absorb excess water. Regular towels have too many fibers and break the curls, he counsels. Fun tip: Sham wow towels also work great! King recommends using fingers to detangle the hair (or a wide-toothed comb) and then with a mixture of product on a paper towel, he mixes Deva B’Leave-in Conditioner and AnGel.

King uses a diffuser on his clients in the salon, but he recommends his clients air dry their hair as much as possible to avoid too much heat. Ron uses as many as 15 duckbill clips on top of the head to achieve root lift. He also recommends the students always diffuse from the bottom of the hair — not the top. King recommends setting your dryer on low speed and high heat setting. He suggests spraying the hair with Deva Set Me Up! pomade. The heat activates the pomade and gives the curl a shinny look.

Lowry was thrilled with all the real-world information King imparted. “I was also eager to learn how much online reviews and networking in the right ways can help your career,” she said.

And ChairTalker AndieJ22 added, “By far it was one of the best classes I’ve seen here. I graduate on Thursday and I couldn’t be more excited and I hope to learn more from Ron in the future.”

Top 10 Tips from Ron King

1. Stylists need to embrace curls and get over their fears before they can cut curly hair
2. Make contact — gain trust by listening and understanding your customer
3. Stay loyal to one product line — keep it simple for your customers
4. It is very important to educate your client about taking care of her hair
5. The majority of your clients are not looking for a shock effect
6. Be consistent with customer experience
7. Don’t get too comfortable with customers; they will surprise you
8. No one curl is like another
9. The best look for a curly hair is an oval shape
10. Cut in the bend of the curl

Top 5 Ways to Jump-Start Your Beauty Career

by Tori Allen/Brainchild Associates on Friday, August 7th, 2009

Tori Allen

Tori Allen is President and CEO of Brainchild Associates, with more than 10 years of experience as a communications professional. She specializes in experiential branding and consumer marketing for businesses and individuals. She has helped numerous clients in the beauty and cosmetology industry.

You’ve looked forward to the day that you were no longer a beauty student for a long time now. Becoming a cosmetology professional is what you’ve been waiting for and now that you’ve graduated it’s time to build a name for yourself as a respected and elite professional in the beauty industry.

But how do you do it? Your talent is an art form. You look at each client as an empty canvas and you know exactly what to do to bring out the beautiful glamour queen or king that lies within them. YOU may know that you’ve got what it takes, but how do you transfer that into the minds of your potential clients?

Here are five solid steps to give you the definite edge when it comes to quickly position yourself in the cosmetology business through personal branding. Many of these tips involve social media, so get your computer out and prepare to join the ranks of the savvy marketer. It’s all about EXPOSURE!

Photos, Photos, Photos! Constantly Build Your Portfolio

Keep a camera with you at all times. Take photographs of every new style, color, cut, weave, or anything else you want to brand yourself with. Use your best photos to create a mobile cosmetology portfolio on your cell phone and online cosmetology portfolio on your dedicated website, blog site or social media profile.

Keeping photographs of your work will help you in more ways than just giving your potential clients an idea of your capabilities. A portfolio can help you to recognize your strong areas and may even drive you into developing a highly profitable niche for yourself. Furthermore, you can post your photos online or send them via email with coupons for your services.

Join Twitter Right Now!
(Even Before Graduating)

Twitter is a way to network with individuals in the beauty industry as well as potential clients. Joining Twitter should be high on your list because you can start networking long before you have an online cosmetology portfolio. I suggest targeting PR professionals, salon owners, area business owners and brands that will help grow your business. Twitter resources such as Twellow and WeFollow are great for identifying key cosmetology contacts you’d like to network with, whether locally, regionally or nationally. If you’ve been Twittering the entire time you are in school you may have well over 5,000 followers! And guess what? You can post your portfolio link right on Twitter and invite everyone to check it out. This drastically increases the chances that people will visit your site and visit you for your excellent services.

Get Your Own Business Cards

As simple as this sounds, there are so many hairstylists that either don’t carry business cards with them or don’t have them at all. Lack of business cards means lost opportunities. You can easily order full-color business cards online for a minimal fee. I recommend fold-over type cards that have enough room to showcase some of your best work. In the beauty industry, seeing is believing. Individuals have a natural fear of trying new things and although hair grows back, no one wants a bad haircut or style. Proudly show off your work every chance you can and you will gain the attention of potential clients.

Another option for business cards is to give extra cards to some of your best customers. Tell them to sign their name on the back of the card and recommend you to others who comment on their hairstyle. After two or three recommendations that come in with these cards, give your faithful customer a free haircut and style. Always reward your walking, talking billboards. Verbal recommendations are the best and most sought after type of exposure. Take care of your customers and they will take care of you.

Build a Blog

Creating a free blog is an easy step to having your own little piece of web real estate. On your blog you can give advice on hair care products, certain styles, tips and trends. As you build up a following of readers, you will be recognized as an authority in your field. A blog is also another place to house your entire cosmetology photo portfolio. I don’t recommend putting an overwhelming amount of time on social media since it can become rather time-consuming. Set small goals for developing your blog and social media accounts. Posting one or two times per week won’t take long at all and after a year passes by, you can easily have 100 blog posts online.

Volunteer Your Services

Lastly, there is no more meaningful way to demonstrate your passion for hair then to volunteer your services. This is a very strategic way to expose your aspiring hair talents, network with prospective clients and be a part of premium initiative that might even be life-changing! Premium volunteer opportunities include makeovers for participants of nonprofit award ceremonies and charity events as well as local TV, film and theater productions. Volunteering with local photographers may also present the key opportunity to connect with target clients and expose your talents through a winning editorial feature!


These five recommendations are just a few ways in which you can quickly build up a client base right after graduation from cosmetology school. As your business grows you must continue to brand yourself through networking opportunities, participating in charities and keeping yourself in the spotlight whenever possible. And since YOU are your number one selling tool, remember to always look your best and present yourself with an air of success!

Looking for More Curly Clients?

by Staff on Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

We all have experienced the power of customer reviews — we use Consumer Reports for our electronic purchases, Yelp for restaurant recommendations, and Trip Advisor for travel recommendations. So how important are these customer reviews?

hairstylist quote

Customer reviews are highly valued, research shows.

Very important, it seems. Consumer reviews and rating are popping up on an increasing number of web sites, sites on which users treat brands and services like contestants on American Idol. People are very interested in what their peers have to say, whether negative or positive. Over half the people in the U.S. said they trusted their peers or “a person like me” for information about a company, product, or service — more than they trusted expert sources.

So how else can you help fight the economic downturn, increase your customer reviews on CurlStylist’s sister site and increase your clientele? According to Marketing Sherpa, 58% of surveyed respondents said they strongly prefer sites that have customer reviews. Not only do the reviews increase sales, they also entices other customers not previously willing to try a product or service to actually try it. This phenomena has led to happier clients and more sales.

What do you need to do next?

#1) Tell your favorite curly clients to write a review today. All they need to do is go to the CurlSalons section.
Reviews will generate more business for you in the long term. In fact, we can send you exclusive Mirror Decals and Curl cards for every client to see. Email us today to receive your Curl Ambassador packet.

#2) Another active approach you can take with CurlSalons on is to sign on to advertise in the monthly state program. To learn more about promoting your salon on, contact us.

The Art of the Launch, from Cibu and Bubbles

by Gretchen Heber on Wednesday, August 5th, 2009


Cibu Spring Roll line.

Cibu, a line of products sold exclusively in Bubbles and Cielo salons in the eastern U.S., has developed innovative ways of launching products to both stylists and clients.

Purple balloons, purple magnets, purple t-shirts! Textured hair everywhere! Imagine the scene at the salons’ Spring Roll Saturdays — a fun day dedicated to introducing clients to the new Cibu Spring Roll line, a collection of products designed for curly heads and for others needing to boost the hydration in their locks.

The Spring Roll Saturday parties included promotional material — party kits, really — that went to every salon in advance of theevents. Purple — the mark of Spring Roll’s distinctive packaging— clings decorated salon windows. Clients received pins and book bags, as well as coupons for $2 off any one product for a month.

jenn mapp

Jenn Mapp

Cibu Brand Manager Jenn Mapp says the company has found these events to be extremely successful in terms of launching new product lines.

Preparation for the events begins months, even years, earlier as master stylists from each salon get in-depth information about the new products — and actually help develop the products — and then bring the knowledge back to the other stylists in his or her salon.

“The master stylists are a very valuable part of the buzz-building. They have 100% creative control. They bring the message back to the salons,” says Mapp.

Additionally, in the weeks leading up to Spring Roll Saturday, the salons distributed brochures to customers and to mall patrons. Mapp says this grassroots marketing, in addition to her popular You Tube vlog, has been sufficient to making these events a success.

“We don’t have a huge budget. Balloons go a long way, as do t-shirts,” she says.


At the Rittenhouse Square Bubbles location in Philadelphia, staffers call attention to the new Cibu Spring Roll line of products.

During the event and for a period after, the salons also offered a very affordable back-bar deep treatment as a way for clients to test the new line.

“Times are tough; people aren’t willingly adding on services. So it was a good way to get customers to try the new product without necessarily having to purchase a take-home product,” says Mapp.

Five hundred clients took advantage of the $12 hydrating mask treatment in the first week the Bubbles and Cielo salons offered the service.

Indeed the entire Spring Roll line has been a hit with both stylists and customers. “It’s beautiful. The cleanser has a great price point for sulfate-free. They love the packaging. The fragrance is great, and your hair looks good!” says Mapp.

Since launching Spring Roll, sales of the entire Cibu line are up 50%, Mapp says.

She attributes much of that success to stylists. “Stylists spread the word. They’re the hardest ones to convince. So if you get them, you’re halfway there. You don’t have to market, it’s organic.”

Mapp adds, “There are so many ways to promote what you’re passionate about. A private salon might not have the kind of dollars that a corporation does, but you’d be surprised. You can do a back-bar treatment with any product.”

A final thought from Mapp: watch and learn from the “big guys”. “We’ve watched Redken over the years, and learned a lot,“ she says.

Good advice for any salon!

Salon Industry Outlook Improving

by Staff on Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

Phoenix, AZ (August 4, 2009) — The outlook for the salon/spa industry improved in the second quarter, as the Professional Beauty Association’s (PBA) comprehensive index of salon/spa activity registered a solid gain. The Association’s Salon/Spa Performance Index (SSPI) — a new quarterly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. salon/spa industry — stood at 101.8 in the second quarter, up 0.7 percent from its first quarter level.

“The SSPI rose in the second quarter, and stood above 100, which is a positive sign for the overall health of our industry,” said Steve Sleeper, executive director of PBA. “Salon/spa owners reported a positive six-month economic outlook for both sales and the overall economy, while capital spending plans held relatively steady.”

The Salon/Spa Performance Index is based on the responses to PBA’s Salon/Spa Industry Tracking Survey, which is fielded quarterly among salon/spa owners nationwide on a variety of indicators including service and retail sales, customer traffic, employee/hours and capital expenditures. The Index consists of two components — the Current Situation Index and the Expectations Index.

The Salon/Spa Performance Index is constructed so that the health of the salon/spa industry is measured in relation to a steady-state level of 100. Index values above 100 indicate that key industry indicators are in a period of expansion, while index values below 100 represent a period of contraction for key industry indicators.

The Current Situation Index, which measures current trends in five industry indicators (service sales, retail sales, customer traffic, employees/hours and capital expenditures), stood at 99.7 in the second quarter - up 0.9 percent from its first quarter level of 98.8. However, the Current Situation Index remained below 100 in the second quarter, which signifies contraction in the current situation indicators.

Salon/spa owners reported an improvement in service sales in the second quarter. Thirty-nine percent of salon/spa owners reported an increase in same-store service sales between the second quarters of 2008 and 2009, up from 35 percent who reported a sales gain in the first quarter. Thirty-nine percent of salon/spa owners reported a same-store service sales decline in the second quarter, down from 44 who reported lower sales in the first quarter.

Although the overall retail sales picture improved somewhat in the second quarter, salon/spa owners continued to report lower retail sales volume. Thirty-three percent of salon/spa owners reported higher retail sales between the second quarters of 2008 and 2009, up from 26 percent who reported a retail sales gain in the first quarter. Forty-four percent of salon/spa owners reported lower retail sales in the second quarter, down from 49 percent who reported similarly in the first quarter.

Salon/spa owners reported a solid improvement in customer traffic levels in the second quarter. Thirty-eight percent of salon/spa owners reported an increase in customer traffic between the second quarters of 2008 and 2009, while only 31 percent said their customer traffic levels declined. In the first quarter, 33 percent of salon/spa owners reported an increase in customer traffic, while 40 percent reported traffic declines.

Labor indicators were a mixed bag in the second quarter, with salon/spa owners reporting slightly higher staffing levels but a decline in employee hours. Twenty-eight percent of salon/spa owners said they added employees between the second quarters of 2008 and 2009, while 23 percent said they reduced staffing levels.

In contrast, 24 percent of salon/spa owners said they cut employee hours between the second quarters of 2008 and 2009, while only 15 percent increased employee hours.

The Expectations Index, which measures salon/spa owners’ six-month outlook for five industry indicators (service sales, retail sales, employees/hours, capital expenditures and business conditions), stood at 103.9 in the second quarter - up 0.6 percent from its first quarter level. In addition, the Expectations Index stood well above 100, which indicates a solid level of optimism among salon/spa owners for industry growth in the months ahead.

Growth in the Expectations Index was driven by an increasingly optimistic outlook for sales growth in the months ahead. Sixty percent of salon/spa owners said they expect to have higher service sales in six months (compared to the same period in the previous year), up from 54 percent who reported similarly last quarter. Only 13 percent of salon/spa owners expect their service sales volume in six months to be lower than it was during the same period in the previous year, down slightly from 15 percent who reported similarly last quarter.

A majority of salon/spa owners also expect to see retail sales growth in the months ahead. Fifty-one percent of salon/spa owners said they expect to have higher retail sales in six months (compared to the same period in the previous year), up from 46 percent who reported similarly last quarter. In comparison, 15 percent expect their retail sales to decline in six months (compared to the same period in the previous year), down from 22 percent who reported similarly last quarter.

Salon/spa owners are also decidedly upbeat about the direction of the overall economy. Sixty-three percent of salon/spa owners said they expect economic conditions to improve in six months, while only six percent expect to see worse economic conditions in six months. This sentiment was relatively unchanged from first quarter levels.

“The Professional Beauty Association continues to supply the beauty industry with timely and relevant economic data to help our members and the industry at large make successful and strategic business decisions” said Steve Sleeper “doing so is a core mission of the PBA.”

The full SSPI and second quarter Salon/Spa Tracking Survey Report can be found at

How to Choose the Curly Hair Products that Fit Your Needs

by Lilly Rockwell on Friday, July 31st, 2009

The Styling Hutch in Plano, Texas, has made a name for itself for its expertise in cutting curly hair. So when owner Claudia Phillips was looking for a line of products to use and sell at her salon, she wanted to make sure she chose one that covered the gamut of clients who walked through her door — from wavy to super kinky.

After using products by Ouidad, a New York stylist who has been a pioneer in curly hair care, she decided to get her salon certified to use Ouidad products and cutting techniques. Phillips says she tried several lines, but across the board, nothing else compared to Ouidad.

“The fact that I can use the whole line for all of our clients was my major consideration,” Phillips says. “There was something for everyone, and it really works. Clients go out looking good, which makes us look good. People come from the other side of the Dallas Metroplex to buy more products.”

Walk into a random selection of salons, and you’ll see that the hair-care products stylists use vary dramatically. Their product choices often are influenced on such factors as the type of salon a stylist works for, the season, the clientele, environmental leanings, nearby competitors and even the economy.

For many stylists, picking which products to use can be an overwhelming task. How do you cut through the marketing hype to pick which products to offer clients and which ones to discard? Stylists say this task is made especially difficult when dealing with curly hair. A product that works well with wavy hair won’t necessarily help someone who has tight corkscrew-shaped curls. And often the choice may go beyond the product to the type of support a company offers, such as training.

aveda be curly hair products

Some salons carry one line, such as Aveda, exclusively.

In some cases, a stylists may work for a salon affiliated with a certain line of products, such as Aveda, Redken or Bumble and bumble. Others stylists may have more leeway, picking products based on the preferences of their clientele and their own personal likes and dislikes. That may mean picking and choosing products from a variety of brands to find the products that meet particular needs.

Some stylists have intricate methods they go about to select hair-care products.

Teresa Callen, who opened her Menlo Park, Calif.-based Image Arts Salon this year, said she frequently receives sample shipments of new hair-care products and sends some time through them to decide which ones to use. But this can be a chore, she says.

“When you work with a product you have to know it as intimately as the lines on the back of your hand,” explains Callen, who has worked as a hair stylist for more than 25 years and specializes in cutting curly hair. “Some of it is trial and error.”

Callen acknowledges she has made “a ton of mistakes” over the years.

“I first use them on my head, then I have my friends use them,” Callen says.

This process takes two to three weeks, and then her friends deliver what they don’t use and provide feedback. She also has a few select clients try the samples.

“Some clients are brilliant at giving feedback and they love to get new products,” she said.

jessicurl hair products

Jessicurl is among the lines Teresa Callen sells in her salon.

Callen currently offers Jessicurl and DevaCurl products, but keeps a close watch on which products sell faster than others. If sales drop “so bad I can’t move it off the shelf,” Callen’s solution is simple: she stops carrying it.

Picking the right product line can really enhance your business, Callen says, bringing in customers that are loyal to that brand. “In the long run, it can be lucrative,” to stick with a certain product line, she says.

Other hair stylists prefer to switch it up, bringing in new lines to attract clients.

That was the case for American Mortals Salon, a 9-year-old salon in Philadelphia. Co-owner Kimberly Bond says she tried a wide variety of product lines before pursuing Bumble and bumble, after watching one of the company’s “Hair Stories” videos, which documented the company’s history.

“We were riveted,” says Bond. “It was the first time my husband (co-owner of the salon) ever related to something like this. It was amazing to witness a company that had a culture so similar to our own culture. They created a product line based of need from their stylists’ experiences.”

American Mortals made the switch three years ago, and retail sales have responded dramatically, tripling from what it was before they became affliated with Bumble.

“We’re selling more retail than we ever sold before, and we have better access to training,” said Bond, who is a big fan of the company’s Curl Conscious line for curly hair.

Hair stylist Cristin Armstrong, who works at New York City-based Takamichi Salon, loves to try new products.

“I try to keep current and ask my clients what they are using,” she says. “I’m always curious what people are using and what is new.” Armstrong spends time researching new products as well, pouring over reviews online and flipping through style magazines to learn about new products.

Hair stylists said they learn a lot about new products by asking their clients what they use. If they hear a certain name pop up frequently, stylists say they will try it out on their own hair and look into carrying it at their salon.

Some stylists prefer to develop and sell their own products, a trend that has been particularly apparent in the curly niche. Curly hair guru Jonathan Torch, who opened the Toronto-based Curly Hair Institute in 2005, has designed his own product line Curly Hair Solutions.

Torch said developing the product line was key to improving his business. If somebody has curly hair, it needs cutting very seldom, while straight-haired customers may need their hair cut more frequently. Curly-haired customers are more apt to buy styling products and targeted shampoos and conditioners more often, he said.

Salons and stylists that cater to both curly and straight hair say they must offer a wide range of products for their clientele because their needs vary.

Tiffany Anderson-Taylor is in charge of retail sales for Essentials, the St. Petersburg, Fla. salon where she works.

“The lines we carry we felt were more appropriate to handle everybody’s needs,” she said.

Her salon carries DevaCurl, Aquage and Brocato product lines.

“Deva was one of the first to stand up and say ‘look, curly hair is different and you need to respect it for being different,’ ” she said.

In some cases, the decision is based on more than just the product in the bottles. It may be the brand recognition, the business support or the training that help a stylist or salon make the decision to choose one brand over another.

Bond was attracted to the business support Bumble provided as well as the continuing education. “You could see they really supported their salons,” she says.

Being a Ouidad-certified salon has helped The Styling Hutch attract clientele from around the country, says Phillips.

“That affiliation gives us credibility among our curly clients that we know what we’re doing with curly hair,” Phillips says.

Sometimes a salon has to take competitive factors into consideration, such as diversion. This refers to the controversial practice of professional hair-care products finding their way into grocery stores and pharmacies because of lax distribution processes. Walk into any supermarket, and there will be an aisle full of brands that used to be found exclusively at salons — a trend that angers stylists and cuts into their bottom line.

Essentials will only offer products that can’t be bought at your local supermarket, which enhances the allure of the salon, Anderson-Taylor said.

Now that many consumers are paying attention to how “green” their purchasing habits are, many stylists prefer to offer products made organically. Stylists say it’s important to read the product labels to figure out which products truly adhere to organic principles and which don’t.

Cala Renee, who runs her own salon in Beverly, Mass., says she carries the DevaCurl line in to cater to her curly-haired clientele, but also liked the product line’s emphasis on natural plant-based ingredients.

“I searched for a line that is all organic,” said Renee, whose salon specializes in curly hair.


Cala Renee carries Sukesha products in her salon.

She also carries Sukesha, which contains no sulfates and focuses on plant-based natural ingredients. And she offers the Aquage line, which uses organic ingredients from seaweed and algae extract. “I’m trying to go as green as possible.”

Representatives visit her salon every two weeks, she says, pushing new products. Like many stylists, she uses the products on herself first before she’ll consider using them on her clients.

Still, no matter how great a product is, if it’s too pricey, she doesn’t offer it, adding that a salon’s price ceiling can change depending on its location. She also monitors what her competitors are carrying and at what prices.

With all the attention Renee pays to the products she carries, she said she still isn’t sure that they ultimately drive clients to choose her salon over others.

“I don’t necessarily think it’s the product line that gets the people into the salon,” Renee said. “I think it’s the reputation of the hair-cutting and curly hair specialists.”

She hesitates a moment and adds, “And then, they love the Deva.”

How KMS Attracts Star Power: The Stylists

by Michelle Breyer on Friday, July 31st, 2009

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

In recent years, hair products have become a staple in celebrity goodie bags as brands look for ways to get star endorsements.

But KPSS, Inc., parent company of Goldwell and KMS California, decided this year to try a different tactic. Their strategy was to put their professional products into the hands of the stylists who work on movie and television sets – the people who actually create the hot looks we see on the screen.

“A year ago, it was hard to get our products into the hands of celebrities,” says Paige Fadden, media relations manager for Goldwell and KMS. “We’ve learned this is the most successful vehicle for us.”

To do this, KPSS has reached out to the unions that represent these stylists, offering up Goldwell and KMS products to those who want them as well as offering them free educational seminars at the company’s Santa Monica Academy at its new Salon 1452 and discounts on other seminars.

“The stylists told us no one has ever done that for them,” says Fadden. “It has helped elevate our brand to a new level.”

Nicholas Cages’ latest film, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice which is currently in production, has been receiving weekly shipments of Goldwell and KMS products. Frank Barbosa, hair stylist on the set of “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” cannot get enough of Goldwell Jewel Shimmer Brilliance Crème Wax and KMS California Hairplay Makeover Spray (which acts as a dry shampoo). Additionally, Mr. Barbosa worked as lead hair stylist on the set of “Bride Wars” featuring Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway and went through bottle after bottle of Goldwell Big Finish Volume Spray.

Hollywood set stylists working on the upcoming films “Fair Game” starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts and Stone featuring Edward Norton, Robert De Niro and Milla Jovovich will have plenty of products on hand to create any color and style that fits the character.

Stylists on set of TV shows such as “Weeds”, the “Bonnie Hunt Show” and “Drop Dead Diva” also using Goldwell and KMS California products. KMS California Hairstay Max Gel is a “must-have” on the set of AMC Originals’ Mad Men.

Barbosa, who has headed up the hair and makeup departments on numerous films, says the endorsement of a celebrity can be huge for a hair-care manufacturer. But most celebrities depend on their stylists to introduce them to products.

“Believe it or not, the celebrities aren’t using what’s in the gift bags,” Barbosa says. “We’re the ones using it every day. Then (the stars) want to know what you used on them to make their hair look so good. They know I’m seeing the latest and the greatest every day. And when people know a celebrity used it in their hair, everyone wants to use it.”

KMS HairPlay Sea Salt Spray was a huge hit among stylists and celebrities alike.

“Before we knew it, we had no Sea Salt Spray,” Barbosa says.

In the past, Barbosa says many stylists had to bring their own products on the set. KPSS has been amazing, he says, in terms of providing all the color and hair products they need to create the looks they want. He says some other brands also have begun doing this.

Barbosa, who has been working non-stop for the past four years, says he also is thankful for the educational opportunities provided by the company because he has little free to pursue it on his own.

Sacha Quarles, who has worked on Sex & the City, is excited to work with the new KMS products. /p>

He plans to use Goldwell and KMS products when production begins on the “Sex & The City” sequel, and can’t wait to try Goldwell’s Radiant Star Shining Spray, Jewel Shimmer Cream Wax and Glamour Whip Mousse on her wavy tresses.

“The hair looks shiny and amazing under the lights,” Quarles says.

But it’s not enough just to give out free products. Those products have to work, says Brent Keene, a stylist who has worked on “The Mentalist” as well as a number of other films and TV shows. KMS and Goldwell products have not let him down, says Keene, who is a big fan of KMS Sea Salt Spray and HairPlay Dry Wax.

“When you’re on the set, those products have to perform,” Keene says. “You only have so much time to get people ready, and if a product doesn’t work, you’re screwed.”

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