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Hair Removal in Hard Times

By: Abby Penning
Posted: March 27, 2009, from the April 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
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Being aware of how your clients are reacting and responding to economic issues gives you a leg up, too, and helps you prepare better options for your target demographic. “Some clients might be considering trying waxing rather than laser because of the cost per session, or sometimes the pain level differences can cause someone to try something different in hair removal. Some are looking to maintain smaller areas, and that can often be better done with electrolysis,” notes Daron. “It’s still wise to shop around. For some, laser works best, and for others, it’s waxing or electrolysis. It depends on the time, pain tolerance and budget a client has.”

Of course, in order to reap the benefits of clients’ willingness to come in, you have to be both prepared and flexible with your schedule, and new technology can be greatly helpful in this regard. “We are creating and implementing online booking as a service to our clients,” Ford says, explaining how Nuovo consistently informs clients about appointment openings and updates. “Convenience is such a huge factor for everyone, and we are creating a template that will allow us to send out daily e-mails to our client base, letting it know about appointment opportunities available that day. Then we can tie-in value-added services or incentives if a client schedules an appointment.”

Keeping your clients and their interests close can only benefit you. As Julie McGinn, director of skin education for Gadabout SalonSpas in Tuscon, Arizona, explains, “We try to make all clients know we appreciate that they have chosen us for their personal services and do everything we can to ensure they receive five-star service. We are here for our clients and are happy to see them every time they come in.”

Dollars and deals

Even with the opportunity and desire for hair removal services, some clients still need a little push. This is where you need to get creative, like Blue Water Spa in Raleigh, North Carolina, did. When clients brought in canned goods to donate to the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, a local anti-hunger organization, the spa offered them discounted treatments. “Our clients, even in this economy, still want to spend money on themselves, still want to look good, but they feel a little bit of guilt about it,” says Kile Law, president and co-owner of Blue Water Spa. “But when they are doing something for others as well as for themselves, it encourages more people to come in. We found that being able to do these little things that add up to something big really enhanced the loyalty of our clients..”

Customizing enticing pricing and packages can be beneficial options for hair removal offerings, and a way to market maintenance treatments. “We offer package deals. If they buy a package for waxing services, they prepay for five sessions and then the sixth is free,” says Daron. “To attract new clients, we sometimes offer 15–20% off for someone’s first service, and people can also come in and do a trial electrolysis session. This helps when someone isn’t sure about the pain or commitment level. First-timers also get free little underwear that say, ‘I Survived My First Brazilian,’ which is fun.”