Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Retailing in salons and spas made easy...

Salons and spas spend a lot of time making sure their guest experience is perfect. They want to make sure the facility is clean, attractive, and pleasant for the guest.

The amazing mistake that almost EVERY salon or spa makes is retail. The owners have a view of how retailing should be done in this industry. It is based upon the experiences they have had at other top places they have visited or read about. They are also helped in the retail area by the furniture manufacturers from this industry. And because of all this... Retailing is horrible in salons and spas!!!
Who is the biggest retailer?
World's largest retailer

Walmart. They sell roughly 1 of every 3 products we buy, period. They do not share their receipts tapes with the industry, but it is known that they do 1/3 of every manufacturers business. We should pay attention. And for that matter, where do you buy most of products you use personally. Grocery stores and drug stores. I know you HATE to compare yourself to these types of retailers. You would rather compare yourself to more upscale retailers.

Ok, how about Sephora? They are in the industry and they are upscale and they do a LOT of business. What do all those retailers have in common?
Retailing on "real" shelving
Gondola shelving. Lozier shelving. It might look ugly to you, but all these retailers use it. They use it because it is the most efficient use of space. It allows vendors/manufacturers to merchandise in a way that your guest is familiar. They can use strips to put pricing on shelf. Many manufacturers create merchandising that is designed to fit on top of this type of shelving.

Mirabella Open Sale Unit
You can see it for yourself in any of the distributor stores, Saloncentric or CosmoProf. I am selfish in this information. Yeah, I want you to be better retailers, sure. But at our Spring trade show season we launched our open sale unit. It is a unit like you would find in Ulta and Sephora.

Completely revolutionized Cosmetics retailing
It allows your guest to chose cosmetics on their own. Sephora taught the cosmetics industry that woman are knowledgable. They want to chose their own lipstick, eye shadow, and foundation.

In the fall we are going to begin rolling these out to our distributor stores. It will dramatically increase our sales. But then what? Salons and spa shelving is beautiful, but not functional for "real" retailing concepts like this. Please salons and spas, consider gondola shelving. It will dramatically transform your retailing potential. And it will give me somewhere to out these amazing units that will allow salons and spas to take a chunk out of this $7 billion color cosmetics industry!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Interviewing and Hiring

Creating a great organization is all about people!  As it says in Jim Collins book, Good to Great, get the right people on the bus and make sure they are in the right seat.

So as we have grown, it was important for me to make sure that we had the right people.  This past year we added Stephanie Johnson as our International Sales Manager and Bryan Biggers as our Social Media Manager.  We expanded into RDA/State so we added Ashlee Erickson in Texas.  So with 3 more direct reports, it was obvious to me that I needed help.

At Maly's I did the same thing.  I was the sales manager at first, but I didn't really know how to sell to salons.  So I promoted 3 amazing people into these positions that had proven themselves as great sales people, but also as people that the team looked to as leaders also.  We all have heard stories about promoting your top sales person to sales manager and you kill your company.  Not only do you lose their sales, but if they are the wrong people, they will scare away all your other great sales people.

So at year end reviews, I approached our most successful Regional Manager, Jennifer Rider to take a larger role in the company.  I was not sure where she was in terms of wanting to take the next step.  Thankfully, she wanted additional challenges and was not afraid of the national travel that would be required of this position.

But I rarely promote someone directly into this role.  So first, we promoted her to Senior Regional Manager.  I gave her the additional responsibility of training our most recent new Regional Manager and keeping up with them on a weekly basis.  I did not want her actually traveling into the other markets as she was very successful with Peel's and I did not want to derail that success.

In the first 4 months of the year Jennifer was able to maintain the success she was enjoying at Peel's plus add the responsibility of the training and weekly calls to her list.  The newer Regional Managers felt more supported and were frankly getting better answers to their questions because Jen was actually doing the job!

So now it is time to hire for Jennifer's position as we promote her to the National role.  We put ads in Linked In and Career Builder.  Linked In has been very successful for me.  We tried Career Builder, but it was not worth the ad based upon our results.  The nice thing is that Linked In lets you share your post on Linked In, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.  So not only do you get people who are looking for a job in a particular area, you get your network working for you as well.  You just never know who might know someone in Omaha that is looking to sell make up!

We end up getting 35 applications from Linked In and probably another 15 or so from various other places.  Jen and I did about 12 phone interviews that lasted 30 minutes.  We break those calls into 3 phases.  First, we have them give us their career in their own words.  I will usually jump in and ask questions about why they left this place and went to this other company (was their good reasons or were they just jumping around for the greener grass), what they thought of their bosses (generally if they think all of their bosses were horrible... they will think the same of me).

Second, they need to tell us what they know about Mirabella.  Amazingly enough, some people have not even read the story on our website!  But then there are people like Genea Stark who we just recently hired that knew all of our people before the interview started!  Genea had gone onto Linked In, search under Mirabella Beauty, and found all our employees and educators.  She then looked at each person to understand them.   Boy was that impressive!

After we got done with all of our phone interviews we flew to Denver for formal interviews with 4 of the best phone appointments.  Jennifer had each candidate make a presentation to us about how they would open 50 new salons in the area.  This allows for great conversation.  At the end of these 4 interviews, we pick the top 1 or 2 candidates to fly to Valencia, CA to meet the team.

At this half day session, the candidate gets to meet everyone at the company.  They get to spend a couple of hours with Amber Bowen so they can understand how we make the product and where the brand is going.  This is always very exciting for candidates.

Then at the end of all that, we chose the best candidate for Mirabella!  And so far, it has been a very successful formula!