While most home salon owners will focus almost exclusively on offering the best possible services to their clients, there’s another area of the business that should also deserve equal attention.
Selling beauty products that you recommend in your home salon is a fantastic way to teach your clients how to take care of themselves well and it is also a great additional source of income for your business.
Why Should You Sell Products In Your Salon?
Many women (and men) develop a relationship of trust with their regular hair stylist. When you are clearly skilled at what you do, they value and trust any advice you give them about beauty in general.
You’re also giving them a hair style that they will then have to go home and recreate every day until they see you again. If you don’t offer them both advice and products on how to maintain that awesome look, then why bother doing their hair in the first place?
There is true value in promoting professional-level products. Some folks may not realize just how effective certain products are until they try them. They may just love you forever for giving them the knowledge and the means by which to create a look that they love.
Finally, keeping your business alive and thriving is another necessary reason to sell products. Products have a much higher profit margin than your services. When you charge for a service, that service has to cover the labor, materials, and other overhead items. A product’s cost only covers the cost of the product plus any shipping charges.
It’s common to have markups of 50-60% for products sold in your salon. If you perform one service, let’s say a hair cut and style for $40, your likely profit (usually 25%-35%) will be $10. Now, imagine if you also sold that client a bottle of shampoo for $22. You’d take home a profit on that one purchase of at least $11. That’s doubling your profit with just a little extra amount of work.
Effectively selling retail products in your salon can be the difference between a successful salon and one that closes far too quickly.
How To Choose Which Products To Sell
This is a very important aspect of your business that you’ll need to take some time to figure out. You want to make sure that you get products you think that your clientele will like and buy, but you also need to get products that you can support.
Poll Your Clientele
When choosing what kind of products to offer, you should take into account the kind of clientele that you have. Are they mostly concerned about their hair or nails? Do they ever ask you questions about how to better take care of their skin or other areas of their body?
If you’re not quite sure about what kind of products your clients would like you to carry, then start asking them. You can do this a number of different ways. If you have a thriving Facebook or Instagram account, then create a poll on there for clients to answer.
You can also talk to your clients when they come in to see you for their regular appointments. Just work it into conversation with them and see what they suggest. They may even have some wonderful ideas that you hadn’t even considered.
If you are collecting your client’s email addresses (which you should be doing anyway), then you can send out an email survey for them to fill out and return. Perhaps even offer a tiny discount on services to get those valuable email replies back if you’re struggling with getting clients to respond.
Do Your Research
There are various ways that you can select exactly which products that you will sell. Hopefully you’ll have experience with the ones that you choose. Maybe you’ve used a great conditioner for a while and think it would work for most clients? What about that close friend who utilizes a certain nail product that has helped her out a great deal?
It doesn’t have to be that you’re the one who has tested the product. You can also rely on the recommendations of friends that you trust and respect their opinion on beauty matters. You could even ask people you see in the local grocery store. See that lady with the gorgeous hair? Ask her how she gets that look?
Educate yourself!! You should always be learning when you’re looking to run your own business. The beauty industry is constantly evolving and if you can stay on top of the latest trends, your clientele will appreciate that!
Finally, you can always hop on Amazon and see what’s the highest rated products in every category. We will talk about that further below but Amazon has already done quite a bit of product testing through their customers.
Which Beauty Products Should I Carry?
From a business perspective, you should carry as many beauty products as your business can hold. Then again, you also shouldn’t carry more than you can sell.
If you spend a few months polling your clients on what products they’d buy, then you’ll have a pretty good idea of how much you might be able to sell month to month. At first, only order what you think you should be able to sell in 2-4 weeks time.
As you sell more physical products in your salon you will be able to get better deals from your beauty distributors and can buy more at a reduced price.
Another thing to consider is to offer products that can not be readily found on your local store shelves. Don’t go with the most common brands that anyone can buy anywhere. Be unique and have your clients come to you when they want more product.
So let’s look at 11 different types of products that you can recommend to your clients. At the end of each section will be a small table of some great recommendations.
Have you ever been in a salon chair and not had the stylist ask you about your shampoo? They always talk to me about it. If your hair looks the least bit unhealthy, your shampoo is the likely culprit.
Your client may already have a favorite shampoo that they have been using for years, but new advances in shampoo come out all the time. There may be something that would make their hair even more luxurious and healthy.
Maybe your client is now starting to color their hair. You know that client would benefit from special shampoo made to let color last as long as possible.
Maybe your clients don’t realize that when they utilize a high-quality shampoo that they don’t have to use very much. Ultimately that could result in saving money for your client.
They key thing is to know exactly how your clients can be helped.
In many cases, the conditioner that is used can be even more important than the shampoo. If you spend more time untangling your client’s hair than styling it, you know that they could benefit from a better conditioner than the one they are using. Don’t hesitate to tell them that.
Is your client switching to a completely new hairstyle? Do they know that there are special conditioners out there on the market that can help them maintain that look even easier?
What if your client wants to deep condition their hair at home? Will you know what to recommend and how to do it? Certainly you can perform this for you at your salon, but you should also have recommendations ready for this common at-home treatment.
3. Hair Products
Don’t forget about other hair products that your clients may need. Is there hair style going to require any styling gel? What about a detangling spray? How about which hair spray should they use? Volumizer? Mousse?
If you are giving your client a new hair style you need to know exactly what will be need to maintain the look that they desire. Have small bottles of those products sitting at your salon station and use them as you style the hair.
Explain to your client what each product does and why it is necessary. Then make sure to let them know that you carry those products or can send them the appropriate links to purchase them on their own from Amazon or another beauty site.
4. Facial Skin Care
Whether or not you do facials or any other facial skin treatments at your salon, you should know that your clients may very well ask you about such things while they are in your chair. Staring at your reflection in the mirror for a while will cause some to wonder how to improve their skin care routine.
There are many products that you can recommend whether it be facial cleansers, moisturizers, acne prevention, chemical exfoliators, eye creams, toners, and many more.
5. Body Skin Care
If you’re offering manicure/pedicure services for your clients, skin care may come up in conversation during the process as well. A client with dry or unhealthy skin may be quite obvious. As part of the process of the treatment, recommendations can be made to the client to improve the look and feel of their skin.
Don’t think of it as a chance to make money as much as it is a chance to help a client. Clients that you can help are more likely to return for further treatments.
If you offer waxing services in your salon, you may be reluctant to recommend waxing products for home usage. However, some of your clients are going to want to be able to do some waxing of their own at home.
If you act reluctant to offer advice in this area consider that your clients will be unlikely to ask your advice on other topics. Always work for the best interests of your client and your business will benefit in the form of repeat visits and referrals.
Pedicures and manicures are two of the most popular services offered at salons. If a client enjoys these services they are likely to return at least monthly.
What kind of products can you refer here? Aside from selling certain high-quality nail polish, you can sell everything from anti-fungal treatments for nails to nail polishers to polish that promises to help you stop biting your nails. Nail conditioners that can treat brittle nails are also popular.
If you don’t currently offer makeup services for your clientele, don’t think that you can’t offer recommendations for makeup that is gentle and more healthy on the skin.
However, as your home salon grows you might consider offering “special event” treatments that involve a fancy “up-do”, nails, and makeup application. Selling makeup may be a natural segue into that.
If not selling makeup supplies, consider offering recommendations for makeup removers
9. Hair Styling Tools
When a client gets a new hairstyle, they are not going to know exactly how to go about maintaining it. It may require the use of a hair straightening brush, curling iron, or a hair bonnet dryer.
This is where recommending the hair styling tools you use in your salon is the best possible way to sell them. Talk about how much you love using that blow dryer, brush, etc.
We’ve done fairly involved review articles in this product category.
10. Hair Loss
Quite frequently the first person to notice hair loss is the stylist especially if it starts in the back of the head. Catching hair loss early is important for many people so that they can get a jump on slowing it down or even stopping it.
Clients may be reticent or embarrassed to discuss their hair loss so a compassionate viewpoint is a must. This could be an excellent way to help your client and bond them to you for hair care.
11. Men Salon Products
Men are becoming more frequent users of salons and spas these days. They are increasingly valuing a good-looking appearance and optimal health.
There are many products that can be directed towards men. Proper hair styling cream for their type hair, beard conditioners, and nail conditioners are but a few of the things that you can present to your male clientele.
Displaying Your Products
Once you’ve decided which products you want to offer, determine where you think they’d be best displayed in your salon. You want them to be visible but not too obvious.
For some, that might mean creating a display rack next to where you take payment from your clients. A smaller vertical rack that can be hung on a wall is one idea.
You could also place the display in clear view of where your clients have their hair styled. They’ll be sitting in that chair for a while. Give them something to look at and think about!
Marketing Your Products
If you are going to offer products, be sure you market them properly. Adding inventory to your business without letting your clients know you have it is just bad business. It’s also not helping your clients. If you believe enough in these products, you should want to let your clients know about them.
Again, this is a great way to utilize things like Facebook or Instagram posts. Email is also a great idea. You can choose various products to feature in different weeks and create posts centered around them.
What’s really crazy? You don’t even have to carry that much inventory if you don’t want to. Have you heard of the Amazon Associates program? What about affiliate marketing with other beauty websites? Putting together a blog or a website with links to products you recommend can be an easy way to generate revenue when when you’re not working.
Affiliate marketing works by creating an account with different beauty brands. They will then give you a special affiliate code that you use to link your recommendations back to that beauty business. When your clients use your links to buy products that you recommend, you earn a percentage of the revenue. Check out this incredibly helpful blog article on the subject for more information.
Should You Utilize Private Labeling?
Private labeling is the practice whereby one company makes a product for another company who slaps their own label on it. This is a common practice you see on Amazon, especially in the beauty industry.
It’s not just as simple as it sounds, however. First, you want to find a generic product that you like and can endorse. One way to find products is by checking out Amazon’s Best Seller list for the beauty category.
Typically the best-selling product list is also a very highly rated list. Approved by hundreds or thousands of Amazon customers already, your product research could already be done.
Once you’ve picked the general type of product you want to use then you need to assess the competition. Is it too high? Are there a multitude of highly-rated, high-selling products like you want to sell? Not a great idea. You’ll need to find something that people want to buy, doesn’t cost too much, but also will allow you to place high on the recommended product list.
There’s so much to this particular topic that I am going to refer you to a blog that goes into great detail about how this all works.
Private labeling is definitely a selling option that extends far outside your local sphere of influence. It can be a method of income that provides a nice boost to the bottom line.
How To Price Products You Sell
We discussed a little bit above on what type of profit margin that is recommended for products. In the salon industry, it appears to be common for a product to have a markup of 50-60%.
That may make you want to sell more expensive products, but it still comes back to backing products that you trust. Don’t choose a product just because you can earn a larger commission on it.
What If I Don’t Want To Sell Products?
I can certainly understand the desire to focus on service at your business. There could be many reasons why you don’t want to recommend products to your clients. Let’s take a look at some of these.
- You’re not a salesperson
- Why would they buy what you recommend?
- Don’t want the hassle of inventory
- Can’t afford inventory
- Worried that clients won’t like your recommendations
Let’s look at this one at a time. So you’re not a salesperson? Most people who don’t like to sell things think it’s because they are taking advantage of another person. Great sales people will look at sales as a chance to help someone else out, not just helping themselves out.
You’re recommending great products that your clientele could benefit from. What’s wrong with that? You should be compensated for your experience and expertise.
Don’t think your client (or anyone else, for that matter) would want to listen to any of your recommendations? Well, why are you in business? If you don’t think you have something good to offer others, then you shouldn’t open a business in the first place.
Don’t want the hassle of inventory? Well, you don’t have to have any inventory if you don’t want. That’s where selling affiliate products with sites such as Amazon or any other beauty affiliate sites. You could send the proper link to to the client and, when they buy it, you get the commission (profit) a few days later.
Can’t afford to hold any inventory in stock in your salon at first? Well, just use affiliate sites like the ones discussed in the paragraph above.
Worried that your clients won’t like your recommendations? If you’re recommending products that you like and believe in, then you shouldn’t worry too much about what your clients think. They should like them as well.
You can’t please everyone, though. That’s part of the learning process of being a business owner. If someone doesn’t like the product, then learn from it. Ask them why they didn’t like it. Perhaps there’s something else you can still offer them. It all comes down to helping your clientele.
There’s no good reason why you shouldn’t offer to sell your clientele salon products that you can stand behind. In the end, your clients will appreciate your recommendations and be more likely to return to you as a client for years to come.