Solo Artist

Sold on Selling

Lauren Salapatek | October 1, 2015 | 1:35 AM
Sheila Holmstrom says that retailing is easy, “Just tell your clients what they need.”
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At Tanglz Salon in Appleton, WI, Holmstrom is the only renter with a separated suite. She pays more for it, but it allows her to brand her space.
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The black, white and gray color theme in Holmstrom’s suite underscores the Paul Mitchell brand’s colors.
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Sheila Holmstrom of Tanglz Salon in Appleton, Wisconsin, is a retailing wizard. No wonder she was the $10,000 winner of the Loxa Loves Stylists contest.

Renters who find it hard to retail should talk to Sheila Holmstrom. A raving Paul Mitchell fan since she was licensed in 1995, Holmstrom says that at a recent Paul Mitchell Gathering, she learned about and signed up for Loxa Beauty’s Loxa Professional e-commerce website. At first, she wondered why she should offer her clients a virtual store for ordering salon products from her, but then she thought, “Why not?”

“I just shared the link to my Loxa profile page on Facebook, and clients automatically began shopping with me,” she says. (FYI: Loxa Beauty offers the virtual store and mobile app, through which stylists and salons can sell over 3,000 professional salon products to consumers. Renters who sign up get a 12% sales commission or credit on sales.)

Astonishingly, Holmstrom also carries tons of in-salon inventory; she says she bought $29,000 worth of Paul Mitchell products via CosmoProf stores last year, and sold it all. So how does she do it?

Secrets to Retail Success

A renter for the last 16 years, Holmstrom works four days a week, from as early as 7 a.m. to as late as 10 p.m. She’s booked solid during those times and recommends retail to every one of the 40 to 45 clients she sees weekly. Her retail sales are a whopping 29% of her tickets—which probably puts her in the top 1% of the country for retail success.

“I don’t want clients to leave with one product; I bundle three at a value price,” she explains. “I want them to try a shampoo, conditioner and treatment all at once, and know they will reorder. They are going to buy products somewhere! I tell them, if you want salon hair, you need salon products.”

Holmstrom also retails make-up via Loxa (the Balm, Sormè)—cosmetic shades change frequently and using a virtual store prevents her from getting stuck with dated inventory, she notes. 

As for winning the $10,000 contest, Holmstrom proved there’s strength in numbers again: She created hundreds of product review videos and postings, which netted her multiple contest entries and a better chance to win.

Rental Longevity

A pioneer in renting, Holmstrom initially got her business off the ground by, what else, “multiple” thinking.

“Years ago, I offered a ‘bring-a-friend’ promotion in which an existing client had to bring a new person for both a cut and color, and they had to book at the same time,” she says. ‘If they did, I charged for the price of one person.”

Retention is a separate issue, and Holmstrom credits that to being on time, maintaining a professional appearance and focusing on education.

“I’m constantly going to shows,” she says. “Recently, a new client tried to barter down my prices and I explained that I take classes all the time, and as a result, am in high demand.”

While a lot of that education comes from cashing in Paul Mitchell points for retailing, they can’t be applied to airline tickets. That’s what Holmstrom is using the $10,000 for—to take her entire family to a Paul Mitchell Education Hawaii Seminar.

“I’ll have been married for 15 years, will turn 40 and can’t wait to see Hawaii,” she says.


Most Recent Promotion: If a client sent me two new clients, I gave them a Paul Mitchell Smoothing Iron for free—a $120 value! I only ran this for one month, but any renter can adapt it to need, such as limiting it to referring new clients who will book in the afternoon only.

Cut and Color Price: $125

Best Add-on Service: Waxing or deep conditioning

Average Turns: My men come in every 2-4 weeks, gray-coverage clients every 4 weeks and regular highlights clients every 6-8 weeks.

When You Rent: Help each other. There are 25 of us at Tanglz, and 18 of us have been here for 16 years. We are committed to one another and are respectful of each other’s clients.

Best Advice: Have fun, smile and go above and beyond. Come to work looking good and be great at what you do. There isn’t a day I dislike going to work—I’m always ready to go back to work on Monday.

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