Expert Advice

Pro Products Selling Direct?

Carlos Valenzuela | February 24, 2014 | 10:01 AM

The social networks are abuzz with direct product sales to consumers. Reaction varies from scorn to opportunity—the prevailing sentiment, in many cases, is indifference. Why? Because many salon professionals never had a stake in retail in the first place— and, salons had little to no skin in it. So, for the many, retail profit is something they never had. For those who created a profit center thru retailing, the asset —a salon team trained to retail anything from a premium brand to holy water—is still there. Your treasure is the retail training and timeless system--not necessarily the brand you carry. Give this a think.

Easy for me to say? Yes, because the alternative is to try and make time (progress) stand still. Online sales are not going away. How lucky for those who managed to listen to our Kelly Elhers and established social media client relationships early on. You now have the winning ticket, a list of fans that will move you into the next phase of the salon business. The jury is still out if it will be online retailing or recommending—either way, your social media connections will save the day.

So, what to do if you are in either a state of indifference, denial, anger or see an opportunity? If you didn’t retail, life will be the same—or might actually be better with residual type income from recommending a product for you client to purchase online.

Pro Products Selling Direct?

If you are an avid retailer, here are a few ear- to-the -ground rumblings:

1. Look for your personal opportunity within this new retail format. How much did you retail up to now? Can you make the same or more and not carry inventory? This might be a plus.

2. Embrace technology, get active on social media, look into apps, take a course, ask an expert—whatever, just get going.

3. Don’t “punish” the manufacturer who went direct by discontinuing products—because, if you really retailed, what you affect is your bottom line. Instead—negotiate, now is the time to do it.

4. Take a good look at your profit centers. How much money comes from which service: Cutting/Styling, Color, Extensions,

Skin Care, etc. Decide to go “deep” on the best profit centers by concentrating effort on services, trends, and new features.

5. Don’t ever discount your services. Why would your skill be less on a Tuesday? Stay strictly professional and charge well.

6. Now is the time to add features, benefits to your services

7. Solidify your relationship with your clients—they are more important than money in the bank. This is what the salon industry is about—your one-on-one relationship with your client.

They come to see YOU because they want a winning style—

8. Keep in mind one huge and important fact: clients who come to see you regularly trust you and will allow you to use any product and any brand. You are the Master. Case closed.


Carlos Valenzuela: a consultant, speaker, stylist, bilingual trainer, and author of i-Fabulous Salon Success, a success guide for new salon professionals.

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