Market Yourself as a Texture Expert
Honing and marketing your curl skills opens up your appointment book to a world of new business. Let these experts show you the best steps for getting the word out.
By Susan Johnston
With many women trading damaged, flatironed hair for more natural curls or textured ’dos, a growing number of stylists are re-focusing their attention on curly-haired clients and their unique styling needs—a decision that’s proving good for business. Specializing in curly hair not only can bring you new clients, it can keep your chair full during slower seasons. And, the accompanying wealth of new curl products and tools can add a welcome boost to the retail business. To help you get your hands in more waves, Texture! rounded up some key strategies for breaking into this niche and keeping your curl business booming. Then, four professionals share their individual marketing success stories and how they put waves into their business plans:
Take a Class
The first step in developing a curl expertise is to seek the professional education that will give you the know-how. Recent educational options have expanded in response to demand as stylists across the country recognize the growing trend for textured looks. Classes can be found across the country, the most prominent coming from New York’s Deva certification classes, which can last anywhere from one to three days and train stylists in the art of dry cutting, “no-poo,” curl coloring, and styling methods. In addition, Ouidad has a New York certification program, and aids in promoting newly certified stylists through its extensive email database of curlies.
If you don’t want to commit to just one brand, there are several ways to gain more knowledge on the art of curly hair. NaturallyCurly and MODERN SALON Media host “Texture!” each year at America’s Beauty Show in Chicago, drawing hundreds of stylists who have the opportunity to ask questions and watch demonstrations from the biggest names in textured tresses.
Additionally, attending beauty trade shows can offer the biggest bang for your education buck with curl-friendly product lines such as Ouidad, Hair Rules, As I Am, Jane Carter Solution, TIGI and Mizani showcasing the latest techniques for curls and kinks. These shows also are a great place to catch up on valuable business tips. For example, Premiere Orlando hosts more than 50 classes dedicated to building your business as a stylist.
Join a Meetup
A Meetup group is a meeting attended by people with a shared interest, and they have gained popularity with women interested in maintaining, enhancing and controlling their curls. Meetups not only offer valuable education for both consumers and stylists, they repesent a fabuluous opportunity for stylists who want to help women transition from relaxers to natural hairstyles.
One of the largest natural hair Meetup groups comes together in Dallas, Texas, where more than 1,600 curlies look for hair advice at the Nappiology Expo.
If you can’t find a Meetup in your region, consider launching your own. Initiate a curl gathering by inviting interested women into your salon for some texure education, including tips and styling advice, product information and idea sharing.
Tap the Grapevine
More stylists and salon owners are finding unique ways to promote their curl expertise through the grapevine, and today’s grapevine is as much digital as it is face-to-face. With more than 500 million active users on Facebook, companies such as Schedulicity help stylists and salon owners fill their appointment books through business fan pages.
Teresa DeLorenzo, of Mademoiselle Salon & Spa in Haverford, Pennsylvania, says online reviews and word of mouth are her main form of recruiting business.
Stacy Hill, owner of DyeVerCity in Augusta, Georgia, takes it an extra step and offers clients a chance at a product giveaway when they write a review online and she encourages them to post multiple reviews on different sites, such as Naturally Curly, Yelp, Yellow Pages and Google.
Show and Tell
For curly girls, seeing is mandatory for believing. “Where we are located in Georgia, salons are quite segregated and most only do one hair type,” says Hill. “I can say I do every hair type, but I have to show pictures to break through those color barriers—and I get that from all nationalities. Clients tend to react to photos of women with hair types more like their own.”
To capitalize on that, Hill takes lots of images of clients and posts them on her website and on her social media pages.
As you perfect curly ’dos, ask your clients if you can snap their picture and post your work. Better yet, hand them a camera or Smartphone and invite them to share their new curly look with their own Facebook friends and you’ll be sure to draw in a few new clients each time.
Become Your Own Walking Billboard
In many cases, the best curl stylists honed their expertise out of frustration when they couldn’t find anyone who could deal with their own unruly locks. If that’s your case, wear your beautiful curls like a billboard and soon, you’ll find they’ll do their own marketing.
“Having curly hair is like a cult,” DeLorenzo says. “Two curly-haired women meet and right away they start talking about who does their hair.”
Make Waves on your Menu
Make sure your salon’s menu reflects your burgeoning curl expertise. “To a curlie, phrases like ‘DevaCut,’ ‘Devacertified,’ ‘Ouidad cut,’ ‘dry cut’ and ‘natural hair style like braids, twists and weaves’ really means something,” says Michelle Breyer, founder of the NaturallyCurly network. “Integrate those phrases and appropriate descriptions into your service menu and you’ll draw some attention—people are glad when they find you.”
Make it Live
As your curl confidence grows, organize or participate in some live events to spread the waves. Volunteer as a speaker at a local women’s group or gathering, host a curl tent at a local fundraising walk, organize a curl fashion show, or bill yourself as the curl expert at a cuta- thon. The more you get your name, your face and your curls out there, the faster your curl clientele will grow.
Curly Case Studies: