Professional Beauty
Professional Beauty


ask the Experts

One of my 2019 business goals is to maximise retail but it’s proving tricky. How can I boost sales?

The key to successful retail can be broken down to this formula: staff plus site, plus stock, equals sales.

Staff: Teamwork makes the dream work. The first objective is to determine what motivates your staff. Some are money-orientated, for others its time off in lieu, while some prefer product incentives. Asking key questions will help you decide what route to take. Set achievable unit targets or monetary goals and constantly remind your team to ensure that clients are continuing to use their customised beauty regime at home. There is no point a client having a monthly facial if they are going home and using face wipes. Work out how much extra money your staff could make if they sell product; once they realise the additional commission they could earn, it will help motivate them.

Site: Retail is detail. Ensure that your merchandise is always in a prime position. Use the posters, images and shelf talkers that are supplied by most brands. Why have a painting of a tree on the wall when you could be promoting the latest product launch or new treatment?

Eye level is buy level; products that are not selling well, or ones that you particularly want to promote, should be placed at eye level on the shelf. Products won’t sell if the customer cannot see them.

Stock: Do regular stock counts and know your stock. Here, the number three is the key. What I mean by this is display three of each product, if possible. Any less looks like the products have been sitting there for ages. Always have testers for clients to try before they make the commitment to purchase as it secures the sale. And finally, throw away the key.Visit any successful top department store and you will never see a locked retail unit.

Amanda Coveney has 30 years’ industry experience and is managing director of professional skincare distribution company Skinbrands.


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How do I know which salon software is right for my business?

The right salon software will simplify your life and make running your business a breeze. It should run on your computer, laptop, tablet, and smartphone, no matter where you are, and be easy for both staff and clients to use. Some salon software solutions only do simple scheduling, while others have tons of bells and whistles you probably won’t use (but will still pay for). Most businesses need something in the middle that combines a flexible calendar with simple, yet powerful business tools like visual reporting and marketing. Jot down a list of what you need your software to do, then compare it to what’s on offer. Not all software will run on all devices, so it’s important you take this into account when looking at your options. Key questions to consider include: will my existing equipment (computer, barcode scanner) work with the new software I choose? Is there an iPhone or Android app? Can we access the appointment calendar and other business information on our phones? Will it work with my other business software like Afterpay, Xero, or Mailchimp?

Talk to others in the industry to get an idea of what’s already working for people and read reviews. Does the software provider release new features often? Is their customer support helpful and accessible? The best way to see if a piece of software is right for your business though, is to just give it a go. If there’s a free trial available, test out the software and get your staff’s opinions too.

Ryan Baker is chief executive and co-founder of Timely Salon & Spa Software, which supplies business of all sizes with time-saving management tools.

What are the benefits of entering my team into lash competitions?

Entering your first lash competition can be very daunting if you have never done one before, but as a salon owner I actively encourage my therapists to enter competitions. There are different categories for all levels of experience, usually a beginner, a novice, and a professional or expert division, across multiple categories, so therapists can enter a division where their particular strengths lie.

There is so much to gain at these competitions for both your therapists and your business. It’s a chance to showcase the skills you have built together. Not only does it reafirm my belief in my team, I believe it can give the shyer therapists that confidence boost they need. Lash artists can gain so much confidence from the constructive criticism they get from industry-recognised judges, which can be taken back to their salon and applied on clients. Therapists may also develop a quicker technique through competing. Another benefit is that by seeing the latest styles or the hottest adhesive on the market that competitors are using, therapists can bring back the latest trends to your business. Finally, if your therapists come back with a trophy or certificate, it’s brilliant to showcase across your social media platforms, and to proudly display in your salon. Who wouldn’t want to have their lashes done by an award-winning artist?

Sarah-Anne Barham is owner and UK director of Sarah- Anne’s Beauty Distribution/ NovaLash UK and a UK master trainer and brand ambassador for Novalash. She also owns salon Sarah-Anne’s Beauty in Felixstowe.


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How can I offset the cost of refurbishing a new treatment room?

Treatment rooms have huge potential to generate revenue for salons, but can be costly to refurbish, especially without sufficient client bookings to offset the expense.

Generating client excitement and bookings can feel like a daunting task, but all salons and beauty therapists have plenty of free resources available to them to ensure their new room is a success.

Develop a selection of packages for courses of treatments in the room. Packages can be tiered in terms of the number of treatments offered and the money clients save. Introduce an element of exclusivity by giving your most loyal or highest spending customer base early-bird access to packages. Treatment courses will help secure return custom further down the line; they glean the best results, so you’ll have several clients happy to rebook once they’ve seen their progress in your hands. Adding products into the packages will make them more appealing, and clients will feel they’re receiving an extra perk. Do make sure the cost of products is included within package rates, so you don’t miss out as a salon. Referral schemes do a lot of the groundwork when it comes to getting the word out about your new offering, so introduce either discounts or bonus services both to the person that’s making the referral, and to the client making a booking based on the recommendation.

Rowan Hall-Farrise is international head trainer and facialist at QMS Medicosmetics, the professional spa and salon skincare brand renowned for its professional collagen treatments.

How often should I get my laser equipment serviced?

Other than buying property, purchasing a laser system is often the single biggest business investment many of us will make, so longevity of your equipment is key – the better your system is maintained, the longer you can expect it to be making money for you. Regular servicing can pick up any issues that might be putting stress on delicate components, which means that they last longer, avoiding costly repairs later down the line. For example, it’s essential that optical components are regularly checked because, over time, even tiny specks of dirt or debris can damage the coating on lenses and mirrors.

Regular servicing also ensures a constant and calibrated output, enabling you to deliver safe and effective treatments for your clients, and retain valid insurance cover. How often your system needs servicing will vary depending on the type of laser or light device. IPL systems, on the whole, have fewer delicate optical components and generally just require one service visit per year, but most laser systems require two to three services.

Some very high precision lasers such as those used for corrective eye surgery are serviced every two months. Speak to your supplier who will be able to advise you on what is required for your particular system.

Dr Samantha Hills is clinical director at Lynton, the UK manufacturer of lasers and intense pulsed light systems.


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How can I help clients protect their skin from the effects of regular swimming?

According to the most recent Health and Wellbeing of Swimming report, 42% of the UK population goes swimming, with seven million people swimming weekly.

Most of us can relate to the tight feeling we experience on our skin after being in the pool. Of course, the swimming pools in most spas are filled with chemicals (mainly chlorine) to protect us from bacteria that can be found in the water. Chlorine strips natural oils and moisture from our skin, leaving it with that familiar tight and itchy characteristic.

So how can we help clients to protect the skin after swimming? The first step would be to remove any remaining chemicals in a warm shower using a mild body cleanser and an effective facial cleanser, containing ingredients such as glycerine which will help to hydrate the skin and prevent moisture loss. After cleansing, recommend that clients use a hydrating concentrate and treatment cream, focusing on re-establishing the skin’s moisture levels. It’s really important they don’t miss out any steps from their usual skincare routine. Products that contain ingredients that have a focus on stimulating hydration, and work to keep it locked in, will not only leave their skin feeling comfortable but also protected. Using a fragrance-free eye balm will stop any irritation and help to protect the delicate skin around the eyes. Using a body moisturiser containing ingredients such as shea butter and brown seaweed osmolyte will leave the skin feeling hydrated and nourished.

Kirsti Shuba has 30 years’ industry experience and is managing director at Fraser Muir and co-founder of British skincare brand Katherine Daniels.

Which elements are crucial for a successful digital marketing strategy?

The critical goal of any digital marketing strategy is to create meaningful engagement with your existing clientele, while attracting additional followers or potential customers. In this hyper-competitive industry, you can’t afford to fall behind with marketing, promotion and positioning – customers can be all too fickle if they don’t receive regular nurturing.

To maximise valuable time, energy and money, your marketing activities must deliver against your broader business strategy and objectives. You should plan annually and review the results quarterly.

When you get down to planning the monthly content, look across all your channels – events, website, social media, blogs and newsletters. While this can feel time-consuming, in the long run it will save so much work. A monthly digital marketing outreach should consist of at least one newsletter, keeping a consistent structure so it’s easier to plan content, and making sure to include website links; and three blogs, but try to come up with titles and angles for these in advance to avoid writer’s block. For optimum SEO, aim for 500 words minimum per blog. Lastly, you should also try to do at least one email or social media advertising campaign per month.

Anna Bjurstam is vice president of spa and wellness at international spa operations company Six Senses and has 25 years’ industry experience.

How can I plan a successful pre-opening campaign for my spa?

In my experience, pre-openings have been primarily dedicated to the operating processes and training principles for a brand. However, with the market changing and becoming more competitive, it is equally important to drive a fully ledged pre-sale activity programme, similar to those used in the health club industry.

Providing online accessibility and convenience is critical. Mobile-first development and a smooth transaction process must be attained at the beginning. It will take about three months before any online ranking will be naturally or organically optimised.

Face it, you will be buying your early customers, so prepare a strong marketing budget and go for it. Balancing the three elements of local activity, digital marketing and third-party support is going to be critical in the early months.

It’s important to blend them carefully, starting with digital, moving to your own activity locally and then increasing support from third-party providers as you move into month three and beyond. Our industry is well served by booking experts so you will get great information from them to choose from. You should expect to open with three weeks worth of business on your books. There is a utilisation percentage that must be achieved in the early months to keep your team eager and you need to explain to them that it will be hard work from the start, so get your working culture right.

Charlie Thompson is chair of the UK Spa Association and co-founder of membership salon model The Massage Company.

What are the main differences between treating men and women’s feet?

Put yourself in a man’s shoes. For many, the stigma remains that pedicures are something only women do. However, there are very few gender-specific elements to the treatment itself – aside from the fact that most men wouldn’t opt for the finer finishes as a women would. The key to treating men’s feet is to think beyond file and clippers.

It is about the experience, broken down into three parts: comfort, trust and education. Firstly, men must feel comfortable in the treatment environment. Next comes trust. It is imperative that the client feels their feet are in safe hands, without fear of judgement for any mistakes they may have made through DIY nail care at home. Likewise, an appreciation that men are stepping out of their comfort zone to seek your help goes a long way. Finally, knowledge is power.

Educating your clients will allow them to maintain good, lifelong foot health. Sharing your expertise and advice with the client will not only help to build trust, but also make your job easier in the long run. After a number of treatments, men’s feet can become as easy, or even easier, to maintain as women’s.

Aldwyn Boscawen is the founder of male footcare establishment Aldwyn & Sons, which was set up in London in 2017 with a goal of changing men’s attitudes to pedicures.

This article appears in the March 2019 Issue of Professional Beauty

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This article appears in the March 2019 Issue of Professional Beauty