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Thursday, 23 March 2006 14:46

Promotions with a Capital "P"

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They say, “Diamonds are a girls best friend”. In my personal opinion I have to disagree. I truly think frequent PROMOTIONS, free samples, special events, and monthly specials really create excitement in our salons and spas!
When Filene’s Basement department store in Chicago has a sale…the shoppers are actually waiting and beating the doors down to be the first ones to get in. It’s a sight to see. Who doesn’t love a sale?
It doesn’t matter if you have a skin center, nail salon, or spa. You don’t even have to own the business to practice this phenomenal idea.

THE queen of a make-up, empire Estee Lauder started it all with her magical potions and her touch. Women soon longed for and looked forward to her interactive touch, examples: spraying perfume on the clients to lure them to want the fragrance, the ultimate free gift with purchase affectionately known as GWP, the purchase with purchase. This wonderful offer spoiled women through the years. Soon other cosmetic lines and beauty boutiques had to follow suit, if they wanted to remain ahead of the game and win clients to buy!

Bring your imagination, creative side of your brain, and promotional calendar to life. It’s fun to plan, what, when, and where to implement your promotions or gifts with purchase or with a service. Trust me on this. You’ll do things you never dreamed of.
Interviewing an array of places of beauty here are some ideas they offer to give you food for thought, not for you to copy exactly, but to get your own creative juices flowing.
In New Orleans I visited the historic Monteleone Hotel in the French Quarter. The Spa Aria receptionist showed me and gave me a gift set of skin care products. They said this was something they prepare ahead of time and have handy at the checkout area. The supplies change based on what sample sizes they have on hand. The giveaway is free after a service and entices guests to TRY before they buy. If they like them, they can buy them the next time they come to the spa for a service or just to shop. They also have bags lined up with tissue paper and their name on the bag ready for filling any spa purchases. They are prepared ahead of time for selling. I like that! And I’m sure at the end of the week sales reflect that. They also gave me a bright colored flyer to find and visit their new beauty emporium called SHINE. I found it worth the walk and skipped a New Orleans pastry and a café au lait for a trip there. I even made a purchase of a bath item to pamper myself at the hotel after a long day of fun and shopping. The giveaway made me feel special too!
My next stop was Chicago where the Queen of HSN lives and has a beauty institute, Marilyn Miglin. Through the years I have enjoyed the fragrances she creates and appreciate her spirit and aura. Unfortunately, I did not get to meet Miglin but her staff member Cathy helped answer a few questions. They do not give free samples away, per se, but from time to time do have something on hand as a bonus after a make-up session, face or body treatment. She presented me with a tinted moisturizer in a sweet glass bottle. She also gave me a sample of a mini card that offers a complimentary make-up touch-up. In a few months when I go back to Chicago I will partake of a spa service. The beauty institute was elegant and classy just like the name on the door…Marilyn Miglin.
San Francisco, Calif. is yet another Mecca of shopping with great salons and spas. Arianne Damboise is a make-up artist and new business owner, pregnant and still working while awaiting the birth of her first baby. She offers a free brow arch to give her clients not so pretty brows some zing. This is an effective way to turn them onto her other services for making them look great. Arianne says she is known for her perfect brow work. This is a perk she will give them if the mood strikes her after a make-up lesson, and if the client buys a lot of product.
New York City is home to a fashion/beauty editor’s darling of nails rescue Beauty Lounge. After the best and most pampered manicure in my life, I so appreciated their brand-bottled water as a freebie. With the hot sun and the hustle and bustle of my hometown it hit the spot. I must admit I offer in my business my own brand bottled water as well. I got tired of promoting other bottled water companies and wanted them to remember my company and me when they left… Perrier. A healthy and refreshing idea! GREAT for the complexion and body!
In sunny Calif. The Works Skincare Center is run by a sole proprietor and esthetician Cheryl Goodheim. She is a custom blend beauty guru. She loves to create her own skin therapy from an array of blends, making her FACIAL services very unique to her! She always keeps on hand mini jars and bottles to fill with a customized mix for a client to use and enjoy at home. She gave me a deep mud-cleansing mask for my husband and I to try after a cleansing facial. We fell in love with that free sample jar she gave us and now we are HOOKED on Cheryl and the products, too! She gained two clients instead of one! Get it?
In Fleming Island, Fla. Natural Nail Care Clinic, the owner and nail wizard offers a really UNIQUE concept. Your first manicure is free…just for trying her out. She also has a unique set up. You actually sit at a nail bar, not the traditional manicure chair set up, side-by-side chairs with other clients. It’s the first manicure of this kind I have ever had. Jennifer Peterson has this down to a science from the moment you walk in the door. They offered the following things: assorted tea or coffee, a hook under the counter to place my purse so it doesn’t have to sit on the floor. She gives a lesson and has large charts on the wall that reflect and reinforce what she says. You see it’s interactive. She also offered a starter kit to buy and use at home. So, the free manicure I got really ended up being a $36.90 retail sale worth every minute she spent with me! It’s better to have someone in the chair than no one at all. Now that’s a promotion with a capitol P.
Blowout Hair Salon in Jacksonville, Fla. offers a promotional card that says: Bring three, get one free! Just send three of your friends to our salon, and we’ll give you a free haircut. It’s as easy as 1-2-3! Just fill in the names of the clients you send us, and then bring this card with you for your free haircut.
In my own beauty practice I offer a free make-up session to get you used to shopping and partaking of all we have to offer. I realize you may charge $35and up for a make-up lesson, this free offer really works! It usually almost always results in a sale. The repeat business I get is priceless. But it also lets them know that this is a private studio, not a department store setting and quickie session. There is absolutely no pressure to buy and a glass of wine or cup of tea is part of the visit. You get the picture?

    Here are some SIMPLE ways to make it happen for you!
  • Cosmetics and Cocktails: Have a small party by invitation only after hours. Offer beverages (alcoholic and non alcoholic) and have trays of decadent chocolate, and pastries on one side and show off your products on the other side of the room.
  • Ice cream Social: Serve ice cream sodas on hot summer days and introduce new guests to services and tour them around your sweet retreat. We just did this and it has always been a big hit through the years!
  • Get a manicure: Receive a bottle of cuticle oil free, or an orange wood stick, and emery board
  • Book a Facial: Receive a free jar of eye gel for free.
  • Book a Pedicure: Receive a sample size sea salt foot scrub for you’re at home use.
  • Get a spray tan session: Receive a free bronze lipstick with sunscreen.
  • Get a massage: Get a packet of a relaxing aromatherapy bath to indulge in that evening.
  • Buy a make-up brush set: Get a complimentary make-up lesson.
  • Buy a day of beauty: Get lunch for two at a delightful neighborhood restaurant you love to go to! Chances are they would love it too!
  • Buy the newest toy in our make-up collection “XYZ.’s” ooh la la brush: Receive a free sample of our “XYZ” ooh la la faceand body powder.
  • Buy a skin care system set for oily skin: Receive 20 percent off your first or next facial.
  • Buy an eye makeup kit for $35: Receive an eyebrow brush for free!
  • Free shipping with any mail order purchase this month
  • Spa or Salon money- refer a client for any of your services or products. Receive $5 in salon service money or beauty bucks …free!

Don’t forget these promotions and free samples can come and go any time you’d like them to. YOU decide always make it a limited time offer. Or while supplies last.

Open House- having an open house for your business is opening the door to new business as well as building client loyalty. Send out invitations for food plus fun. Serve food in the colors of the rainbow and the garden. Tell them how food can make them look and feel even more gorgeous! We offer an anti-aging cocktail from our juice bar, which takes up a small space in the kitchen. I love to serve this good for your health anti-aging drink in a shot glass. By the way, we change it from time to time and offer it FREE! Keeps things interesting and they never know what we are going to do or offer next. Promotions are the blood stream of the business besides your attitude!

Noreen’s Fountain of Youth Elixir
1 /2 Orange
4 Carrots
2 Strawberries (or any other kind of berry)
Blend in juicer.

Buying a juicer on special off TV years ago was the best thing I ever did for our home and the business. It cost $125 and offered free shipping at the time, so I jumped on it. Our clients love my special blend mini health-tails and all the nutrients they offer, plus energy for days. I call them anti-aging health cocktails. This is such a passion of mine and a big hit for me.
Never stop dreaming up new ideas to entice, lure, excite, educate, stimulate and appeal to all your client’s senses, and above all to keep them coming back for seconds and thirds of all you have to offer.

Noreen Young is an internationally known make-up artist, educator and motivational speaker. She is an author and has a series of “how to” videos for the beauty professional. Noreen is a consultant to cosmetic companies, salons and day spas. She can be reached by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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