Going from an upscale salon owner to a Salons by JC suite renter, Natalie Beri had ample business experience to draw on when it came to running a business.
When Natalie Beri sold her salon, then transitioned to working in another, she realized that she missed running her own business. Originally, a divorce and a desire for more evening time with her children caused her to sell the business, but within a year, her entrepreneurial spirit was reignited. Then, she saw a Facebook ad for Salons by JC.
“It was still under construction, but when I saw the location and knew I could get a window suite, I realized something great had just fallen in my lap,” she says.
Not only would all the natural light be great for her color work, the cincher, she says, was that the suite had a dedicated concierge, something she was familiar with through her association with her previous salon network. The only question was, would her clients follow her to a different suburb, when she had just moved salons within a year?
“I was afraid of losing them, so I simply asked them,” she says. “Most said yes, that they had come to the new salon for me anyway, and it made my decision easier.”
So, she picked out a name—EnV Beauty Bar and Sugar Spa—and decided to rent at the Bolingbrook, Illinois, location. About 80 percent of her clients followed her, but she had to replace those who wouldn’t travel farther. To do that, she put on her salon-owner cap and got busy with tactics she knew were tried and true.
Business Builders and Client Keepers
Instead of simply asking for referrals, Beri got printed gift cards in $10 and $20 amounts. When she handed them out to clients, she personalized them as a “gift from Sally,’ or whatever the client’s name was. Who wouldn’t love to give their friends a free gift card? Once three came back from a particular client, the client got $30 off her next visit.
She also worked Facebook and Instagram with befores and afters of her haircolor makeovers, which she says are the posts that garner the most attention. Facebook now offers online booking, which she uses, but she also boosted content and offers on her website with online booking, envbeautybar.com. There, she posts ever-changing specials, like her Back-to-School offer of 20 percent off for students and teachers. She also uses her coveted windows to advertise to passers-by with special posters for “Happy Hour Blow-Outs at $40,” Body Sugaring and more.
When it comes to client keepers, Beri also knows what connects most: Value-added services. “I include a hot oil scalp massage with hair services, and incorporate a hot towel treatment during the shampoo,” she says. “Think of what will add value to the service without costing a lot or taking much more time.”
Perhaps the biggest success of Beri’s branding is that while her style is trendy, her service stance relies on good old-fashioned marketing sense. Not only does she promote herself as “your personal stylist,” something all women would love to have, she has an open policy on re-dos, and sends a text after every service to be sure clients are satisfied.
“The follow-up texts are hugely important,” says Beri. “If clients don’t like something, I will fix it until they are happy. I never make them feel guilty or get defensive. From my heart, I really want them to love their hair when they leave. And they love texting questions and having direct access to me, as their personal stylist.”
SOLO ARTIST SPOTLIGHT
Favorite Trade Show: America’s Beauty Show
Education: Classes focused on product lines I use, and anything from Tracey Cunningham or Guy Tang. I also take seasonal trend classes, most recently, from Joico.
For Inspiration: Fashion magazines. Right now, I am really loving New Beauty magazine.
Best Add-on Service: A brow shaping and tint
Pre-booking Rate: 90%. I trained my clients years ago to pre-book—I don’t give them an option. Most come back every five weeks.
Need to Pay the Rent: Three cut and color clients a week cover the $375 rent
Work Schedule: Tuesday-Saturday. I am off by 5 p.m. most days, because I have two children. Tuesday is my late night when I stay until 9 p.m.
Advice to Renters: You have to work at it. Use any downtime to promote yourself; don’t just sit there. I’ve seen stylists in commission salons just sitting there, too. Ask your clients for help. They always will, if you ask.
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