You’re gonna do it! You’re gonna open your own salon! You’re going to get the satisfaction of treating clients’ skin the way you want to, working your own hours and offering your favorite skin care treatments. There is a myriad of details that you need to work on to get your dreams to become a reality. One of your biggest decisions is what kind of skin care to carry for your back bar and for retail. There are literally thousands of skincare lines to choose from and it can be overwhelming. But, if you’re prepared to do a little bit of homework, the effort will pay back tenfold.
1. First, do a little research on what your competitors are using. You want to be unique and have clients that have to return to you for skin care because you’re exclusive. If the salon around the corner is carrying the same brand, it’s going to be harder for you to build your personal brand. Ditto if the brand is available at Costco, Sam’s Club and on Amazon.
2. Second, turn to journal and online resources like Skin Inc, ASCP, American Spa, and Day Spa magazine. Check out the ads and the lines being advertised at trade shows. Journals and online resources are chock-full of companies advertising their skin care lines. Make notes on the ones that stick out and resonate with you.
After you’ve jotted down the names of the brands, make sure the companies have focused products for treatments you will be performing. If you’re going to focus on acne treatments, make sure the company has a strong acne line. If you’re going to do anti-aging treatments, make sure they have products to support your skills.
If you have the opportunity to visit a large trade show like IECSC in Vegas, you can gather information. It can be mind boggling, but you’ll get exposed to many, many options. There will be a lot of pressure to commit for the ‘Vegas only’ deal, but don’t commit in Vegas. Ask for time to consider your options and request the Vegas discount when you’ve made a clear decision.
3. Next, investigate a little deeper. Go to the company website and ask for information. How soon does someone get back to you? Look at social media for more clues. Esthetician Connection, a Facebook networking group for estheticians, is a great forum to ask the opinions of its almost 10,000 members from across the United States. What does the Facebook and Instagram pages of the companies you are interested in look like? Are they engaged with their followers?
What kind of educational support do these companies offer? How will they teach you about the products you are going to use and retail? Are online webinars or tutorials available? Is a training manual available for you? Will a company rep give you one-on-one time to learn or are regional or local classes or workshops offered on a regular basis?
4. Next, narrow your choices to a handful. Contact the companies for more detail. Talk to a sales or account rep. Ask for samples. Find out if there is a local rep in your area. The support of a local rep can help with the success of your retail sales. The rep can provide support at open houses by attending and promoting your business, giving you some financial support for refreshments, or donating products in a gift bag for a give-away or raffle. You can also get samples and learn first-hand about new products.
5. Here’s where it gets very important. You need to find out about opening orders and shipping costs. Some companies require you to order a specific dollar amount when you want to open an account with them. Some do not. Some companies charge for shipping. Some offer free shipping or offer free shipping if the order is a specific dollar amount. Shipping costs can add up. Find out where your order will be shipped from. All of this should be part of the deciding factors when choosing a skin care line. If you are on the West Coast and your order is shipped from the East Coast, its going to take longer for you to get your order than if the order is shipped from the Midwest or Los Angeles. Do you place your order online, through the rep or by calling the company? Each of those options affects your schedule and how you will manage your time. If there is a time difference between where you are and where the company is located, you need to be mindful of that time difference.
No matter which line you decide to carry, you always want to make sure that it’s a good fit for your skills, your business, and your clients. With a little extra research, you’ll be sure to find the perfect line for your needs.
Photo: Shutterstock | Alim Yakubov
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Mary Nielsen grew up in Minnesota but calls Portland, Oregon home for the past 30 years. She is the Executive Director of Spectrum Advanced Aesthetics Institute and serves on the board of Certified Advanced Estheticians for the state of Oregon. She is a happily married grandmother who has been thrilled to be working in the never dull field of advanced esthetics for over 17 years. She spends her free time outdoors or at her sewing machine.
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