Want to Rock Your Retail Sales? Get Hands-on.

Source: Aveda

Last year, Gramercy Salon owner Kristin Nelson was in hot pursuit of a goal. She achieved it at the end of 2016 when she doubled her retail sales from the previous year.

Nelson, who opened her Boca Raton salon in November 2015, has also doubled her team of service providers in the past year and now has 19 employees, including an Aveda Advisor.

Kristin Nelson, owner of Gramercy Salon | Source: Gramercy Salon

Kristin Nelson, owner of Gramercy Salon | Source: Gramercy Salon

“I researched experiential shopping, and as an Aveda Lifestyle salon, wanted to capitalize on the experience we offer,” she says.

“So I sent a staff member to get trained as an Aveda Advisor. She is an encyclopedia on all things relating to Aveda products,” Nelson explains.

In the past year, while she was getting Gramercy up and running, Nelson says she wasn’t able to focus on experiential shopping as much as she wanted, and introducing an Aveda Advisor in the salon allowed her to put the spotlight on retail.

“We made increasing retail sales a focus in November,” she says. “The rituals weren’t working when we first opened because we were implementing so many new things—it was just never the right time.”

This holiday season, the time finally arrived.

Hands-on Experience = Retail Results

“When we decided to commit one person to be the trainer, she was able to look into the meaning behind the rituals,” Nelson says. “However, we had to have the right person to do it. Callie is a spiritual woman who’s comfortable touching others and engaging—she loves what she does and is passionate.” 

“She has helped train everyone on the Aveda rituals: how to do them and how to be confident in performing them,” Nelson adds.

Gramercy guests are offered at least two rituals per visit out of a list of six: make-up touch-up, hair consultation, skin care consultation, sensory journey with chakra cards, hand ritual and scalp treatment/massage.

Of the six, the sensory journey with chakra cards and oils has been the most successful at prompting retail sales, and guests enjoy the mini chair massage that goes along with it.

Since Gramercy is hair services only, Nelson hired a massage therapist to teach her stylists massage techniques and to help them get more comfortable touching their guests through massage.

“People feel very cared-for and balanced through our rituals,” she says. “We now have someone scheduled to do rituals for every hour we are open, so every guest is offered something extra. The main role of this ancillary person is to make sure rituals are being offered to every guest.”

Holiday Launchpad

Nelson used the holiday season as a springboard for her retail sales goals by purchasing $6,000 worth of holiday gift sets in November. By the time December rolled around, she increased that order to $8,000.

“I needed my staff to participate in the contests and meetings I had set up to be successful,” she says.

The salon held three client appreciation events: an anniversary event around Thanksgiving, a Pure Privilege party in the beginning of December, where clients could get double points and/or sign up for a free membership for the rewards program, and a final guest appreciation day where retail was 20% off, two weeks before Christmas.

Source: Gramercy Salon
Source: Gramercy Salon

Another big motivator to sell was a competition that The Salon People, Gramercy’s Aveda distributor, held during the holiday season for all their salons in Florida.

“The salon with the biggest increase in retail sales in November/December over the prior year could win a trip to Disney World,” Nelson explains.

Up until November 2016, Gramercy’s retail sales averaged $6,000 per month. In November, they hit $9,400 and in December, $12,800, doubling normal sales and making the salon the winner of the Disney trip.

“I told my team I expected them to win and play as a team,” Nelson says. “And they did.

They engaged with each other, utilized help from our Aveda Advisor, showed clients gifts at the end of service, and recommended products while they were behind the chair.”

Sustaining Success

The holidays are over, but Nelson is just getting started on growing her business. With retail sales growth in excess of 133% in 2016, she feels she can improve even more this year.

But it all starts with her stylists and the individual attention she gives them.

“I have been coaching them since the day we opened,” she says. “I do two 15-minute coaching sessions per month with each team member.”

During these discussions, Nelson talks about six metrics: average ticket price, total services, retail sales dollar per client, requests, pre-booking and percentage booked/productivity.

“Because my salon was so new, I wasn’t able to use retention yet, but I will,” she says. “I also talk to them about what makes them unique and how they can apply that to their business to make it fresh—sometimes we even role play.

“The first three months of coaching someone is usually a lot of nitpicky stuff that isn’t comfortable for me to tell or for them to do,” she adds. “But once they move past that and get the basics down, it’s fun for all of us.”

In between meetings with her stylists, Nelson says the GroupMe app has been instrumental in communicating with her team.

“I do a lot of acknowledgment and shout outs on GroupMe every day to keep the team motivated,” she says.

“No small achievement goes unnoticed.”

By the end of her second year, Nelson’s goal is to have a team of 30 people at Gramercy.

“My plan is to hire one person per month,” she says. “I also want to work on marketing, and just promoted someone who shines in social media and marketing to assistant manager.”

Source: Gramercy Salon
Source: Gramercy Salon

Nelson herself will continue to work on her business, rather than in it.

“I am not behind the chair, which was a hard decision financially—but that’s one of the reasons I can achieve growth,” she says. “The crux of growth this year will be me hiring, coaching and training my team.”


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