Journeys, Tips and Advice on Growing Your Hair Extension's Business with Hair Color

March 13, 2017 | 8:51 AM
Lindsey Graham
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Missy Hart
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Bobbysue York
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Ruben Martinez
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Baelee Reiter
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Jen Hoxworth
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How do you get started in the Color Takeover revolution? Stylists who have grown business with extensions and hair color share their journeys, tips and advice.

Lindsey Graham Couture Beauty by Lindsey Graham Salem, OR
I have been doing extensions since 2007. Now I specialize in Donna Bella Taped-In extensions and see about 10 extension clients per week. It’s amazing how far extensions have come. Once you’ve got a client in your chair and can talk to them about their hair challenges or wishes, extensions practically sell themselves.

I have raised my prices as I’ve gotten faster. If you specialize in hair color and start doing extensions, you should pay yourself based on your time and expertise. If you charge $150 for a hair color service that takes you two hours, charge the same for an extensions application that takes two hours (charging separately for the hair and custom coloring services).

The Color Takeover program is the fi rst I’ve heard of any company encouraging the coloring of extensions. I’m impressed Donna Bella partnered with Joico and Framar to give stylists the education they need.  It opens up a whole new world. Anyone with a vibrant or custom color can now get extensions. I can convert a blonde client to silver gray. With these types of options, who wouldn’t want extensions?

Missy Hart, Vintage Boutique Salon, Fox Lake, IL
Before I became licensed in 2014, I was an extensions model for another stylist. I was so happy with the Donna Bella Hair results, I became certified. Now, about 60% of my clients wear extensions.

One of the many things I love about Donna Bella is the versatility and range of what they off er. More than 50 shades, five lengths and four professional methods, including Tape-In, I-Link, Flat-Tip and Kera-Link, are available in professional, easy-to-use Remy hair that can be professionally colored.  Most of my clients are seeking length and wear I-Link extensions, the beaded method. Some have vibrant extensions, like bright blue or multi-colored, custom applications.

I charge $45 for a regular cut and style, and I’ll charge about $150 to install one pack (20 strands) of I-Link extensions. Many clients require or prefer multiple packs of hair, so an average service comes closer to $500 for an initial install service fee, with clients coming back every 4-6 weeks to touch up—and push up—the I-Link extensions.

Bobbysue York, The Salon Diva KC, Overland Park, KS
Our business serves a wealthy area and the extensions business is strong. But more women from diverse backgrounds are wearing extensions, sometimes just one package, for volume. Extensions are affordable and attainable. I use all four types of Donna Bella Hair extensions but the Kera-Link fusion is my go-to. They look the most real and are the most luxurious.

Social media is so important, especially before-and-after photos. I have professional Instagram, Facebook and Snap Chat accounts. Live video is powerful, too. Make sure that everything is informative but also fun. A great Facebook Live post can be as simple as someone standing behind me and recording part of a technique.

Be mindful that a lot of clients who come in for extensions are dealing with damage that you can’t always see. They may be experiencing hair loss because of health issues. They might be going through some other type of loss. These are the clients I love the most. It’s one thing when you wear extensions because you want long hair, and quite another when you’ve lost a piece of yourself and you are trying to find it.

Jen Hoxworth, Live or Dye Salon, Creve Coeur, IL
I first experienced Donna Bella Hair extensions at America’s Beauty Show in Chicago, while still in school. I now see clients full-time in the five-station rental salon I own, and about one-third are extension clients.  Most are 40 years or older and need fullness.

Some stylists and colorists are scared to get involved with extensions because they think the investment they would be asking clients to make is too high. But you don’t have to be rich to want—and get—hair extensions today. Still, it’s important for professionals to charge what we’re worth. If you are confident in your consultation and pricing, if you let clients know you are certified and they are in good hands, then it’s not different from charging what your time and expertise are worth for hair color or any other services.

Donna Bella has so many pre-colored ranges to make it easy to find extensions to match the client’s existing hair. With more clients wanting to change hair color more often, more dramatically, salon pros have to be able to adapt on demand—to take clients from where they are now to where they want to go with a new hair phase. That’s why Color Takeover and custom coloring is so brilliant. 

I always have an extensions-related visual on my station, like the Donna Bella Hair color ring. I’ll say, “These are my extension swatches. Have you ever thought about what extensions can do for you?”  Then I ask what challenges she is having with her hair. There is almost always an extensions and hair color solution.

Ruben Martinez., Solo artist and traveling educator Yost Salon, Las Vegas, NV
My hair extension journey began in 2005, when I was introduced to Donna Bella Hair extensions at a show in Los Angeles. I fell in love with the methods immediately, along with the company’s accessibility and customer service. Today, my work with hair extensions has taken me all over the country and world. I specialize in extensions with a passion for education. 

It’s not just “attaching” hair. Mastering the craft means learning the methods inside and out. Placement and position with an integrity-focused approach is just the beginning. Proper blending and dimensional fl ow are part of it. Then there’s making sure clients are aware of aftercare. When artists give the craft their all, success in the category is inevitable.

Hair color and extensions seriously go hand in hand. Color matching plays a key role in achieving the  “most natural, least obvious” end result. For salons and artists, I believe business can only grow from being recognized as having the ability to create custom masterpieces.

With Color Takeover from Donna Bella as a resource, stylists and colorists have more options than ever. Whether you help meet your clients’ needs for length, fullness, or fashion color, you seriously have a broad range of variety. Be prepared as it hits you right in the feels when you give your clients the hair they’ve always wanted. 

Baelee Reiter, Evolution Salon Minot, ND
My love of extensions took root in beauty school. After graduating, I tried different brands until I was introduced to Donna Bella. I love the quality of the hair—and the support. 

Extensions are no longer just about super-long hair and four-plus hours in the chair. Now I am adding extensions just for pops of color, for highlights, to add volume, to extend or brighten an ombre or balayage service. For thinning clients, we use extensions to add volume. For fine-haired clients, we add darker pieces to create lowlights and added dimension.

To professionals who are a bit intimidated by the idea of bringing hair color and extension services together, I  always say “think back to your first time doing a full head of highlights.” It takes practice—and time—but once you learn the process, your speed and confidence improve rapidly.

You can boost profits so quickly by adding color and extensions. When I talk to stylists at Donna Bella classes or shows, I often hear, “I’m from a small town, no one would want extensions.” Then I tell them about how much business I do at my North Dakota salon.

One of my best tips is to always keep product at your station. Show the client what adding just a few pieces might do for her. Start out with a type of extension that doesn’t have a commitment—Donna Bella offers four types—Tape-In, I-Link, Flat-Tip and Kera-Link. Place a few and tell her, “If you decide within a week that you don’t like it, come back and I’ll take it out for free.” Nine times out of 10, she comes back for more.

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