For salon owners and stylists considering launching their own product line, the new reality series L.A. Hair will be of particular interest. On the show, entrepreneur and celebrity stylist Jonathan Antin offered valuable business advice with fellow stylist Kim Kimble, who’s looking to expand her hair care line. Here we take a look at Antin’s five tips for launching a successful startup or product line in the beauty industry.
1. A Good Idea
“It all starts with a good idea,” says Antin. “Are you solving a real problem in the salon world or improving the client experience? Is there market demand? How is your hair product, line or set of services unique from all others? Test your idea by talking to people in the industry – ask questions and do research. Whether you’re launching a product line or opening a salon, start out by visualizing your success. How is this idea driving sales, brand awareness and securing retail partnerships? Imagining how your idea will fuel these metrics is the first step.”
2. Know the Salon Client
“Know your target demographic – why will clients be attracted to your brand? Understanding how they usually make purchasing decisions is key. These days, the salon client is mobile, social and informed– they expect to be able to book and pay online and their assessment of your brand is influenced by reviews and ratings. Understanding the avenues that your clients take to discover new hair and beauty services and products will help you position your brand strategically.”
3. Build a Good Team
“Building your network of personal advisors, advocates and supporters will help guide you,” says Antin. “Every successful salon or product line has supporters that believe in the business regardless of how many other people say it will fail. Embrace the outside world, too - think about offering advanced product samples or pre-launch demos of your product hair and beauty media and social influencers - they just might line up reviews. Feedback and quotes from friends and colleagues are great, too - use those as supporting content in your launch-related press releases, newsletters or online blog posts.”
4. Strong Execution
“A successful execution requires quality preparation and planning. Timing is huge - if you’re too late or too early, your plan could flop. How can you prepare? Get to know the world of hair inside and out. When are other big brands launching, when are the important salon and beauty tradeshows or industry events? Understanding the industry’s calendar and competition will help you time your launch strategically. Next, have a salon business management software like MINDBODY in place so that you can immediately start tracking your clients, sales and inventory.”
5. Form Partnerships with Salon Industry Influencers
“Partnerships can be so helpful for bringing your brand to the next level. Analyze the salon industry to determine potential partners – how can you help them, how can they help you? The best partnerships are mutually beneficial and enable both parties to grow in some way. If your product only available online to start, consider tagging a target retail outlet in your neighborhood on social media to make them aware. Is there an influential hair or beauty blogger that covers your product? Offer to partner up on a sweepstakes - in turn for writing about your brand, you send them 5 samples of your product that they can give away to their readers. The possibilities are endless!”
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