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Shifting Color Gears

Web Editor | July 10, 2011 | 6:23 PM

Shifting Color Gears

Q: "Our salon uses the color line everyone learned in beauty school; how can we convert painlessly?"

A: When assessing a line's gray coverage, use a perm rod to create a "control" section that represents the starting point or an uncolored area, advises David Stanko, a hair color consultant to Redken.

Moving out of your color comfort zone can be hard, but about 1,200 salons a year do it. How? Stanko has a plan. He says about 4,500 salons switched to Redken over the last nine years, which led him to formalize his system.

According to Stanko, it's time to convert when you're dissatisfied with ordering and customer service. There's boredom in the ranks, and all your clients are starting to look the same. Your current company doesn't offer new, salon-ready formulas and techniques, or it seems out of touch with your clientele.

The best way to check out other lines?

"Go to beauty shows and examine different lines, including collateral materials," says Stanko. "Talk to staffers about the line; be sure they're knowledgeable. Ask how the DSC can help you build business. Also, examine the color work on models. The biggest danger when converting is moving too quickly. Remember, all 6Ns are not created equal."

Stanko's steps to a successful conversion start with a staff meeting to secure employee buy-in. Ask questions that lead staffers to the same conclusion you've drawn. Examples: Do you feel as bored as I do with our reds? Are you unhappy with gray coverage? Then, find a fashion hook in the line you're considering. Does the company offer more posters, CDs and DVDs or trendy new tonal families?  Finally, be certain your staff can get proper training.

Swatching out the new line is a must, says Stanko, as is determining key replacement formulas and ways to clear out old inventory. Finally, don't leave your clients out of the loop-make the change-over exciting for them, too.

"Clients will notice a difference, so flaunt change upfront, don't hide it in the back room," advises Stanko.

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