Monday, December 16, 2013

Contentment verses Competition

As a Christian, we are to be content with the circumstances that God has you in.  But we strive for more and more.  Is that OK?

I am a very competitive person.  I love to win.

So how do you balance these two realities?  Can I still be content in what situations that God has me in and still be striving for more, being competitive?

Yes!  Throughout Proverbs, it teaches many times to NOT be lazy.  There are many passages that talk about the rewards for those who work hard.

So you work hard, striving to do your best, but you cannot pay your mortgage?  You are giving your all to make your business successful, but you are behind where you were last year.

It is very hard to be content with this circumstance.  I would rather be content and successful!  But sometimes, God doesn't have that for us.  Sometimes we need to learn to be content in the failures of life.  We need to be OK with the fact that your best was NOT good enough.

God could be teaching me something about dependence.  Perhaps all my hard work will only get me so far.  Without HIS blessing, without HIS hand of you; all of our striving will be for naught. 

Keep striving for your dreams!

But be content in the circumstances you find yourself!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Much to be thankful for...

My son Luke just returned from a missions trip to Haiti.  For anyone who has served in this way, you get the sense that you are going to do this work for the people.  You are going to fix roads, build fences and encourage the local missionaries.  But that is not how God sees it. 
Luke and his friends during the work in Haiti

He always does much more IN YOU than He does through you.  Luke is a great kid.  But he, like all of us, takes for granted the amazing life that we enjoy in the US. 

After spending a week in Haiti, he fell in love with the people.  Even though they had almost nothing, they had joy.  He played duck, duck, goose with some of the orphans and now wants to sponsor them.  He saw how the other 95% of the world live.  Very sobering, very humbling.

He cannot stand social media now as the kids his age complain about the stupidest things.  For example, they don't have to get their water from a polluted river.  His friends will likely not have to beg for their meals today. 

I am proud of my son.  But convicted as well.  How can I let the problems of my day in any way get me down?  Traffic, aches and pains, business setbacks... hey I have a God who loves me, a wife who is my best friend, amazing kids, and I love my job. 

Thanks for the reminder Luke!

Monday, November 11, 2013

What are the Keys to being in the Zone?

Recently I read a book called The Element.  It has already inspired one of my recent blog posts.   The idea of the book is that for us to be all that we are going to be, we have to be in our element.  And your element is kind of like your sweet spot.  Another way he describes it is these following words:
  • aptitude
  • passion
  • attitude
  • opportunity

These words lead you to learning what your element is. 

First you need to have the aptitude at it.  For example, you might think you want to be an engineer, but if you fail your math and physics courses in high school, you might not have the aptitude to pursue that career.  For me, I took an accounting class in high school and it totally clicked.  It just made sense.  Many of my friends thought it was hard.  I could not understand how they couldn't get it!  

In college, I took my first music class, piano.  I could slowly but surely learn how to apply the keys to make different notes.  But when we put it together to make a tune, I fell far behind all of the other students in class.  I think my teacher quickly assessed I should not make music my career!  Zero aptitude.

Second, do you have a passion for that which you are gifted?  Ideally, the things you are good at you love.  You love it so much that you don't consider it work to spend time doing that activity.  You think about it when you are not doing it.  You talk to people everywhere you go about this passion.

Next, the aptitude and passion should produce an attitude.  This attitude should be of perseverance, self-belief, optimism and ambition.  Sadly, many of us don't have this attitude because of the life we grew up within.  Perhaps your home wasn't very encouraging.  You may have been one of those who wasn't "intelligent" as the world might judge it (standardize testing and traditional school).  These sorts of things will definitely get in the way of your success.  It is impossible to succeed without the attitude that believes you CAN!

And finally opportunity plays a role in being in our element.  The example he uses in the book about the cowboy who grows up in Antarctica.  He may have the first 3 but in that he is not in a place to succeed, it doesn't happen.  I would also say that if you are middle class or above, you likely have a much better opportunity to be in your element, discover your element.

Putting these all these together allows those to succeed.  These are generally the people that you meet who say they don't think of work as work.  Rather they LOVE what they do for a living.  This is a great joy!  I feel that is where I have been.  I started my own business then worked for a family business.  And now I run a makeup company.  I have always loved the chance to set my own path.  I have enjoyed the risks and rewards of setting that path.  I have certainly not always succeeded, but regardless, I have an aptitude for business.  I have a passion for it.  I was raised in an environment where everything seemed possible giving me the right attitude.  And finally, I was raised in a family business.  I had the opportunity to learn about business every day at dinner.  We had the means to send me to college.  All this has allowed me to be in my element.  I have always LOVED what I have done! 

I trust this is you as well!  Work takes up way too much of our time to NOT love it!

Monday, November 4, 2013

TED Talks Rock!

I love TED.  TED is an organization that has speakers present for no more than 18 minutes on the subjects of T-technology, E-entertainment, and D-design.  Spend an hour watching TED talks and you will realize our world is filled with people who are AMAZING!  Watch these talks regularly and you will likely become more positive about the world we live in.  And they just might make you want to become more yourself!

I also love the search feature.  It is very unique.  You can select the amount of time you want to watch, then chose inspirational, funny, amazing, educational, etc.  TED chooses talks for you.

And it is all FREE!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Love What You Do!

A Friend recently recommended a book to me called The Element.  After reading, it I too would recommend the book.  First, I love stories about people's lives.  Stories about people that are famous, but he tells the story of how they got there!  The book is very inspirational because it teaches us to depend upon the God given talents, imagination, and passions that we have.  As my youngest son is in the process of graduating from High School, our family is faced with many of the things he discusses in his book.

Our world puts way too much emphasis on formal education and takes way to much stock in the standardized testing in determining anyone's success in college and life.  I have always tried to teach my kids that school is something that you must do.  Always try your hardest, but success in school is a very poor indicator for life.  So many of us are not "traditionally" intelligent.  That is, we may have just sneaked through school.  But sadly, because the world judges us for 13-17 years based upon how well we can pass tests, people who are not intelligent in that way are taking away that they are not smart.  And because they are not "smart", the sense is they will not succeed in life.

Wow is that a horrible way to start kids.  As many have written, our schooling system was designed to educate the masses to go from a life of farming to a life in the city.  We were preparing our citizens to take their place in the industrial revolution.  By having this many people trained in the skills for writing, math, and reading; our world developed a labor force designed to make the companies they worked for successful.  And we became the world power that we are today. 

But the world is a different place today!

I am not suggesting that all education is bad.  Rather, it obviously teaches our kids many great skills.  But just because you are not particularly good at sitting still in a classroom for 6 hours a day, that should not make our kids think for a moment that they will not have the ability to contribute significantly to our world.

I have spent my entire adult life with hair stylists.  Most of these people were considered failures for their school careers.  But today, they are earning a living making people feel beautiful.  And most of them are doing something that they absolutely LOVE!

And that is the message I have for my 17 year old. 
  • No, you don't have to decide the rest of your life right now. 
  • It doesn't matter which school you do or don't get into.  Take these years to find what you love.  It might take more than a 4 year degree to do that.  It might take working in several different jobs in several different fields before you know.  But don't let that bother you, it's the journey! 
  • Enjoy what path God puts you on.  Don't get frustrated or disappointed along the way.  Just keep trying your best in each situation you find yourself. 
  • Show up on time.  Keep your eyes and your heart open to whatever possibilities that come along your path.
  • Put a smile on your face and enjoy today.  It was not an accident that God has you here.
Perhaps that is a good message for you to hear as well!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Small business is SO much harder than Big business!

My career has been spent within the salon industry.  Most of this industry is owned by and individual with one salon.  Today that still represents 90% of the industry.  These are small businesses.  Over time I have heard many people complain about salon owners and their lack of business sophistication. 

Though most of these salon owners have never had any formal business training, that does not mean there are not plenty of very sophisticated business owners in this group.  But the big misconception within business is that it should be easier to run a small business compared to a large business.

I think that concept is DEAD WRONG.

When I came to California to run our family business in 1989, we had sales of $900,000 and 24 employees.  Over the next 18 years, the business grew to $200,000,000 with 1,000 employees.  The funny thing was that it was much easier at the end than at the beginning. 

Running a business requires a certain number of things that have to get done in any business.  For example:
  • Bills need to get paid
  • Taxes need to be submitted
  • Employees need to be hired, trained, and developed
  • Payroll needs to be completed
  • Marketing and sales needs to be done
  • Someone needs to keep up with all the government regulations
  • Deposits need to be made
  • Website, social media management
  • Operations management; keeping the place looking great
  • Developing the plan for tomorrow, next month and next year
All of these hats plus many more are handled by the business owner.  With a small organization, all of these hats are worn by the business owner.  In a larger organization these hats all fall on different people or even different departments.

So each time someone talks about how flaky an owner of a small business is, I have to roll my eyes.  It is so hard to juggle all of these responsibilities.  And in the case of a salon owner, these tasks can only happen AFTER they are done doing services on guests 40-60 hours per week!

So if you are going to have a business, make it big!  Just joking.  Small business is very rewarding because you can change the direction of the boat so quickly.  The challenge is that you have to be at the steering wheel to make these changes.  Then you have to be there to handle the new waters the boat is traveling in.

Compare this to running a huge organization.  It will take years to implement change throughout an organization.  As an owner, it is much more difficult to affect the culture in the way you would like in a larger organization.

But either way, business is so fun!  It is like sports, it has a competitive element to it.  There is a scoreboard, sales and profits.   There is a clock; the day, month or year.

Play to win!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Stars, dogs and question marks!

Retailing is not a risk free business.  If you represent Coke, they are constantly coming up with the next new soda.  Some of them turn into Diet Coke.  And some of them turn into New Coke.  How do you know which one to carry?

As a retailer, you have three categories of products that you carry.  First and most exciting is your stars.  These products represent the products that sell very well.  They likely represent 20% of your inventory yet account for 80% of your sales!  The key to stars is to NEVER run out!  If you have a product that your clients like, make sure that you have plenty.  Frankly, you can almost not have too many of the stars.  Some people break this category down between stars and cash cows.  But I keep them together for simplicity.

I used to own a chain of beauty supplies.  When I learned of this concept, we increased our top sellers by 300%.  By tripling our stock, we sold an additional 30%!  The tripling of stock was a one time expense.  But the 30% was an increase across the board! 

The next category is dogs.  These are products that every retailer has.  In many cases, you HAVE to have dogs.  For example, Coke now sells dozens of different types of sodas.  If you represent Coke, you have to carry them all.  The same is true with your retail.  The key is you don't carry the same number of dogs as you do stars.  You would likely have 4 facings of a star to 1 facing of a dog or perhaps many more!  In the case of Mirabella, our lightest and darkest foundations don't sell very well.  But to be in the makeup business, you need to service every skin type. 

Sometimes dogs are mistakes.  You take on a new product line and it doesn't sell.  Or perhaps this dog was a star years ago.  But fashion and trends have moved this product out! 

And finally, the question mark is the last category of retail.  These products are the items that you take on that you just don't know.  This could be a new line, a promotion within a line, or a line extension within an existing line.  Question marks are a risk.
Mirabella within a Cobella Salon in New England. 
  In retail, you have to always be taking risks.  You are constantly looking for that next star!  And trying to avoid the next dog.

Question marks are part experience and part guess.  Over time within an industry, you will get a really good idea what your client will buy.  After being in business taking risks making buying decisions, hopefully you can begin to pick the winners.  But sometimes you take a risk because you are trying something completely NEW.  These risks can be either the most profitable or the biggest losers.  However, if you are in retail and want to grow, you HAVE to take these types of risks.

So what do you do with all these products?

Feed the stars-- as I said you cannot run out of these.  You need to make sure that you are well stocked and that these products get good shelf space.  You don't want your clients to miss their favorite products.  And THIS is where you make your money. 

Exercise your dogs-- These products don't make you money.  Limit the capital you have tied up in these products.  Frankly, you are better off turning these products into cash for your business by helping promote other products.  Clients ALWAYS love free stuff.  Give these away to generate excitement and sales.  Some of these dogs are a necessary part of business, but limit your exposure by keeping your inventory low as possible.

Bet on the question marks-- These are your future.  You need to be constantly taking risks on new and exciting promotions, interesting new brands or inventive line extensions.  After you have given these question marks 90 days of selling time, you can generally start to categorize them into stars or dogs.  As quickly as you can, stock up and promote the stars.  Or blow out the dogs to create more cash to take more risks!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Reminder--- we take money to the bank, not percentages!

This past weekend, Mirabella sold $100,000 at two trade shows.  In a weekend, we set up a store within the trade show floor that is shoppable.  Plus we have 9 makeup artists to do quick touch ups for stylists, owners and estheticians. 

We have beautiful products.  Our team is passionate about the brand.  And we do an excellent job of branding ourselves at the event. 
If the product were a snake, it could actually bite the client!

Put a product on a client and let them hold it... they will buy every time!
Because we have this excitement, we generate a lot of interest.  This interest draws women to our booth.  Then our team turns that interest into sales.

But the one thing that helps us generate interest is that we ALWAYS have free stuff!  And do you know what that free stuff is?  It's our discontinued products that we have remade into a free gift.

Many of our salons are sitting on old promotions, discontinued products or items that just don't sell very well.


Too many owners would tell me, "I cannot do that, I paid $15 for that."  To make a large sale would you give it away?  Sadly, these types of products are literally just collecting dust.

Look at your inventory, segregate those items that are in this dead category.  If you are like MOST retailers, this could be up to 20% of your inventory!  Put the products in a basket up at the front desk with a sign, "Buy $50, get a FREE product".  Or put a few products into a basket with a sign, "Every purchase enters you into a drawing to win this free basket.  New drawing every week!"

You could get creative.  If you have a lot of lipsticks, do a buy 2 get one free sale.

Several years ago, I found we had 15,000 beach bags from an old promotion.  They had been sitting in the warehouse for years collecting dust and taking up space.  We began bringing these to trade shows to use as a free gift.  These DOGS quickly became the most exciting thing we had to offer!

Last but not least, for every deal you do, don't let it last longer than a few weeks.  If your clients come back the next time and you are still offering the same deal, it will begin to feel junky to them.  Constantly change it up.  Do buy 2 get 1 free this month.  Next month, buy $50 get this product free (and frankly it doesn't matter what you give away free... everyone LOVES a free gift.)  Then the next month offer the dead product for a $1 with any purchase.  And finally, put all your WORST sellers into a basket for a weekly drawing.  Shockingly, clients will actually MAKE a purchase to get those DOGS!

If you have purchased an item and it doesn't sell within 90 days, consider it dead.  Begin promoting it.  That cash that you laid out is gone.  Do something to keep the dollars flowing.  You are better off turning your products quickly even though you make a smaller percentage than you are worrying about keeping the highest profit margin on each sale.

Don't get me wrong.  I do not believe in discounting.  I just believe you need to keep an eye on your inventory all the time.  And that means, when items hang around too long, you need to blow them out.  Replace them with the next cool thing.

You take cash to the bank, not percentages.  Also its true, you cannot put your inventory in the bank, but you can turn bad inventory into cash if you use it creatively!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What takes years to attain and seconds to lose?

If you are dedicated to a successful career, you have likely worked hard at developing technical skills like sales, marketing, finance, accounting or a specific trade.  You have also spent time on communication skills, both written and oral, as these skills will traditionally be the most important skills you have.

However, you develop your reputation with every word you say, action you take, or non-verbal cue you make.  This reputation can be positive, full of integrity, and thorough.  Your reputation is what is being built with each of those interactions.  Over many years people come to trust and depend upon you for exactly this sort of character. 

Several years ago, we sold our family business to L'Oreal.  One of my key people came to me and say, "John, you have spent 18 years developing your relationship with your employees.  But the thing they will remember most is how you leave the company."  He was right.  For all the good things I tried to do, if I left the wrong impression on my exit, THAT would be what people remembered.

So think carefully about your reputation.  Are you consistently the person that you are hoping they remember?  Or are you one person one day and another the next based upon the circumstances of the day?

In Steven Covey's book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he has a chapter about keeping the end in mind.  He asks you to think what it would be like to be at your own funeral.  Would the person giving the Eulogy be expounding upon your stellar reputation?  Would there be a long line of people that would like to say a positive word about their relationship with you?

It is during the challenging, stressful times of life that this reputation comes most clearly in view for others.  People say, challenges don't make your character.  Challenges reveal your character!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Some things I learned from a really rich guy!

Growing up I read a book called See You At the Top by Zig Ziglar.  It is a great motivational book.  A few years later, I actually had breakfast with Zig.  Much of my first years in business were inspired by this book and many other motivational books.  I could quote lines from this motivational material today.

But frankly, as a Christian man, these books teach you to depend upon yourself.  I used this line a lot, "If it is to be, it is up to me."  The 10 2 letter words to success.  As a Christian, you are taught to depend upon God.  

So over time, I have really tried to be able to quote the Bible better than I can quote all my motivational inspirations.

Several years ago, a person that was running one of my companies told me about a book I had to read, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived by Steven K. Scott.  It sounded like another motivational book, so I avoided it.

But recently, I bought this book.  It is very powerful!  Steven uses the wisdom of Solomon as a guide for helping to live a better life.  As you might know, when Solomon became the King of Israel, God came to him and asked him what one thing He could give him.  Solomon asked for wisdom.  God said that since he asked for wisdom and not wealth and long life, that he would give him all 3.

Solomon wrote 3 books in the Bible; Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon.  And Scott uses this wisdom to back up all he teaches in the book.

I highly encourage you to read this book!  I bought 3 more copies for my kids. 

What have I learned?

First, it is a great push.  It is very motivating!
  • To have success you need to be diligent!  No surprise, but I enjoy and was challenged by how he said it.
  • The things I did wrong when I didn't succeed, laziness in due diligence and moving with to much haste.  Definitely helps me to think clearly for any new things I attempt.
  • How to avoid or resolve conflicts; either to seek counsel before engaging in a conflict and keeping my eye on always trying to achieve the best possible outcome for all parties.  So often we want to assume WE are right...
  • Improving relationships by avoiding anger... by eliminating unresolved anger.  This was a huge concept.  Much of the reason we are stirred to anger quickly is because of this anger that hasn't been properly dealt with.

Pick it up, you'll love it!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Before planning comes... assumptions!

I recently read a great book called Rumsfeld's Rules by Donald Rumsfeld.  I knew his name.  I knew he was somehow involved with our war in Iraq.  But frankly that is about all I knew.

Wow, what an incredible life this man has led.  He has been close to the source of power for the past 60 years.  He has worked with 4 of the US Presidents, ran 2 Fortune 500 companies, was in the military, in Senate, and was involved in many of the major things in this world over those years.

Kind of made me feel lazy!  And made me want to read his Memoir.

Anyhow, in the book he shares many of his "rules".  Some of them are funny, some pointed, all insightful.  These are things he picked up along the way over all these years.

One of his rules was about developing strategy.  He talked through the process of how you actually go about this process.  It was interesting to me as I spent the first half of this year doing exactly that for Mirabella.

But the one thing he said that made me think was about assumptions.  We develop plans and strategies to accomplish our different goals.  But he said something I had never heard before.  He said, once you develop your goals, but before you begin to outline the plan, you need to ask yourself what are the assumptions I am making about the situation I am facing before I make my plans.

For me with Mirabella, when we did this process we did NOT ask those questions.  So what are the assumptions for Mirabella's plan?

  • The cosmetics market will continue to expand
  • The prestige industry will continue to expand
  • The salon industry will accept color cosmetics gradually until a tipping point in which they will be lost without them
  • Our distributors will continue to represent us
  • Makeup trends will remain strong (that is, we will not going into a phase where makeup is out of trend)
  • The account coordinator program we launched at the beginning of the year will be productive with tweaks.  
  • Our trade show sales will only grow if trade show attendance remains constant or growing
  • No disruptive brands will enter the salon industry space
These are a few assumptions we could have considered.  With our team, I would have opened it up to them and we would have gotten a more robust list of assumptions.  I like this because it forces you to think of the what if scenarios.  You don't have to solve them necessarily, but you should at least consider them.

What assumptions do you naturally make?  Commit these to paper!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Got power? How do you use it?

While I owned Maly's, our family haircare distribution company, we became quite powerful within our territory on the west coast.  We were the exclusive distributor of products like Redken, Paul Mitchell, Pureology, Alterna, Schwarzkopf, Framesi, and several other great brands.  If salons wanted to buy these products, they had to get them from us. 

Since they were all very popular brands, we ended up being important to the salon community.

Knowing this, I used to say to our team all the time, "Yes, we have great exclusive brands.  However, we still need to treat our customers like they could buy them from somewhere else.  We need to EARN their business every day." 

With this power came incredible responsibility to those manufacturers.  We were their ONLY path to market in our territories so we had to constantly be hungry for growth.  We had to constantly be improving our people, our process, and our systems. 

The salon industry is challenged today with companies that have too much power and not enough responsibility to all the stakeholders that they serve. 

But the client ALWAYS has choices.  Yes, they might only be able to get a certain product from a certain company.  But they can find other sources of haircare products. 

We all need to be aware of the power we have and use it wisely.

How about our power as parents?  We can shape and mold our kids to be responsible, hard working, and passionate people.  Or we can let the world do with them what they may.  We need to stay vigilant in every role we have. 

How about our power as spouses?  We can build up our spouse each day, encouraging them, reminding them of your love for them.  Or you can neglect this person that you wanted so badly at one time wanted to marry. 

How we take on this power will determine our path in this life.  Are we takers of love, service, and opportunity or are we givers of love, care, and passion? 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Time- a limited resource

While I was on vacation I read this great book from Al Mohler, called The 25 Leadership Lessons That Matter.  The final chapter is about our legacy.  He asks the question, how are we investing our time?  He hammers home the point that every other resource can be squandered, but time.  This is one that is running out.  In fact he has a wrist watch that has the second hand.  He can literally hear the seconds of his life passing away. 

I know that all sounds depressing. 

But it reminds me of the quote from Steve Jobs on dying, Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. 

That is a powerful quote.  It is funny, while on vacation with my family, having the time of my life that I would be reminded of this.  Do what you love.  You have a choice in life.  Use each moment to its fullest.

During vacation, we watched The Way Way Back, a movie about a 14 year old boy.  My family didn't like it.  But I loved it.  In the movie, this boy's mentor challenges the kid to talk and to live. 

I hope all of us have that mentor in our lives pushing us to live!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Obnoxious roommates, helpful animals and other thoughts from Arianna Huffington

The featured speaker for CosmoProf North America in Las Vegas this year was Arianna Huffington.  Though I knew of Huffington Post, I wasn't familiar with who "Huffington" was.  Started 7 years ago, this news outlet has exploded!  They have offices all over the world and have posted millions of stories.  Much of the site is social.  And this woman is the founder and leader.

Arianna came out and asked who had never seen her before.  Many raised their hands.  She said, "This is my accent."  She has a heavy greek accent.  Her ex-husband said the reason she still has a thick accent after 30 years in this country is because she never listens.  Arianna said, that is why he is my ex-husband!

She is a wonderful, compelling, funny speaker.  These are some of my key takeaways... enjoy!

Failure is a stepping stone to success   Arianna talked about difficult times in her life that seemed hopeless.  But time showed that those failures are the things that put her in a position for the success she currently enjoys.  Don't misinterpret failure!

Obnoxious Roommate  Arianna reminded us that our own negative self-talk poisons us.  We need to stop listening to the obnoxious voice in our own heads that continue to second guess what you are doing.  Tell the obnoxious roommate to shut up! 

Helpful Animals  Disney movies are filled with heroine's who get their cues from helpful animals in the forest.  These animals are there to assist us when we are in trouble.  You say, only in the movies?  Arianna says NO!  Life is filled with "helpful animals" (that is, people) who are able and willing to help us along our path in life.  Look back at your own life.  There are people who helped you get where you are.  They just appear at the right time and provide a hand.  Keep your eye out for these helpful animals!

Don't push the river, it flows  And finally, Arianna shared this quote from Barry Stevens that she has on her desk.  So often we are working really hard on things and are not getting results.  So we work harder.  Perhaps we should just sit back and watch how the things we have put in place actually work!  Given time, many of those things will come to fruition. 

Sleep  She really believes that a huge missing element to many successful people is a good night sleep.  By sleeping restfully, uninterrupted each night, we allow our bodies to recharge and rebuild.  The reason many of us don't get enough sleep is that we want to accomplish more.  She is convinced that is we slept the right amount, we would be more productive and much happier!

MEGA trends  She believes that MEGA trends in social media are:

  1. We are more engaged with conversation then presentation.  Typically news has been a presentation and now our world is more interested in being a part of the story.
  2. Arianna really feels there is a trend developing in disconnecting.  The world is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  But WE need rest.  She feels the world is really seeking the ability to truly disconnect regularly.  She talked about the new feature for iPhone, Do Not Disturb.  
  3. And finally, the trend is that social media has gone from social interactions to chances to change the world.  She referenced Egypt and the other Middle Eastern countries that have changed governments due to the people being able to communicate through social media!
One of my friends was worried she would be political.  She wasn't.  She was funny, insightful and engaging!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The problem is always management!

My son's basketball team held a fundraiser at our local car wash.  We have 40 kids vacuuming and drying cars with 8 parents supervising.  I was helping on the drying.

Can you believe that I spent the majority of my time "supervising" the kids?  A herd of kids would approach cars that they knew the drivers.  And for those cars they didn't know, we would have to drag them over to dry the vehicle.

So the entire 3 hours I spent yelling at the kids.  No FUN!

I came home that night and had an epiphany.  The problem was NOT the kids!  The problem was management!!!  And that was ME!!!

So in hindsight, what I should have done is group 4 kids with a parent.  Number the groups.  We would have had about 4-5 groups of kids drying cars.  Each time a car rolled through, the next number would go.  When a group was done drying the car, they got to rest until it was their turn.

Because what happens is the motivated kids do all the work and the lazy kids work when they want to.  And I had to manage that.

If I did it this way, the kids would have self-policed this.  If one of their group wasn't working, they would call them out. 

Hindsight... it is fantastic!

Learning lesson, at work put the people in teams.  Have them set their goals.  Have them in charge of outcomes.  Then WE don't have to feel obligated to have to enforce rules and positive activities.

Be creative!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What does Southwest Airlines have that I don't?

T. Scott Gross was a speaker at ISBN last week.  He wrote a book called Positively Outrageous Service.  Somehow someone at Southwest Airlines read it and ordered 10,000 copies for their people!

I love Southwest.  I still remember many of the safety instructions they give before a flight takes off.  Things like, "There are 50 ways to leave your lover, but only 6 ways to exit the plane in an emergency."  "If you are sitting next to a child or someone acting like a child, please put your oxygen mask on first, then assist them."


If you want a fun speaker, hire Scott.  If you want to get inspired, read his book! 

Positively Outrageous Service is:
  • Random/Outrageous
  • Out of bounds for the circumstances
  • Customer is highly involved
  • Creates compelling, positive word of mouth
He told a great story about the founder of Romano's Macaroni Grill.  In their first restaurant one day, the own put a note in each guest's folder... instead of the actual bill.  On that letter, the founder wrote, "Thanks for your support of Romano's.  We appreciate you.  Today, your bill is on us."

It was completely random.  They chose one night early in their history.  No one expected to get a free meal.  The customer was HIGHLY involved.  And I promise, those guests that day talked about that for years to come.  Romano's has gone on to great success.  And they have NEVER repeated that trick again!

What can you do to have clients talking to others about your business after they leave?  A friend of mine owns an orthopedic company.  With every order, they gave their clients a tin of danish cookies.  Everyone wanted to buy from them, not for their prices, it was for their cookies!

There is a restaurant in town called Wolf Creek.  If the server knows it is a guest's first visit, they offer them a free dessert.  It really builds the word of mouth!

At Mirabella, we give new salons that carry our brand a success box.  This is not advertised.  But a week after they open with us, we ship them out this box full of goodies to help them be more successful.  We used to advertise it.  But we took it off the menu and just surprise the clients now.

What do you do?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Take the time to think...

Have you ever gotten stuck?  You feel like you are not making progress on something.  Whenever I get in that spot, I take out a blank piece of paper and write something on the top to focus my thoughts.  Then I write 1 through 20 down the left side of the page. 

Then I begin. 

Quickly, I can usually come up with a couple of easy answers to the question I am trying to answer.  To get to 20, which is the requirement takes time and focus and THINKING.  This is a great exercise if you have 30 minutes of uninterrupted time.   But it is hard to do if you are in a place with lots of interruptions.

Things to make my wife happy...
  1. Call her during the day
  2. Rub her feet
  3. Leave a note in her car telling her I love her
  4. Take a walk with her
  5. Plan a day away, mini vacation
  6. Play tennis together
  7. Do a chore she hates for her like getting gas
  8. Call her parents for no reason
  9. Take her out to dinner, especially when its been a difficult day
  10. Listen to her day, be interested
  11. Go on a date
  12. Plan some family time, family activity
  13. Bring her chocolate
  14. Take the chocolate to work!
  15. Clean up the after the dog, outside...
  16. Write notes before I leave on a trip to give her while I'm gone
  17. Go skiing
  18. Being in Michigan on the sand dunes
  19. Snuggling on the coach
  20. Telling her she looks nice (she knows I mean it because I will tell her if something DOESN'T look nice)
You know what they say, happy wife... happy life!

That was an easy one, but you get the idea...
So peaceful on top of the sand dunes!

Friday, May 3, 2013

You don't get what you expect!

While we were doing our staff meeting to follow up from a initiate we had begun, the team reported on what they had learned from the previous meeting.

Each person had some homework.

One of the assignments was to do daily cycle counts on a few specific items.

They noted that the counts were off with mascara 3 days in a row. When we delved deeper we noticed that this mascara was also being used in a kit that had been adjusted, but the timing was wrong, causing the errors.

In that previous staff meeting we had discussed timing issues and how to solve them.

But we all realized quickly that we discussed this issue and I expected that we had SOLVED the issue.  However, I realized that you don't get what you EXPECT, you get what you INSPECT!

If I had left the discussion and didn't follow up, we would still be having the issue.  But since we went back and investigated in detail, we learned that we did not have a procedure that we were actually following.

We do now!  Well, I will let you know next week... when I INSPECT again!!!

Monday, April 29, 2013

What you need in your business is Clarity-- part 5 (Rallying Cry)

Our final Clarity blog...

Recently I read a book called The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni.  It is a follow up to many of the other books he has written.  This is a practical guide to implement many of his "parables" from the earlier books.  After reading the book, I did something I NEVER do.  I implemented it!  My last 10 staff meetings have been focused on these concepts.

If you care to catch up, here is part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4

This meeting was focused on developing a Rallying Cry for the company.  That is, now that we have clarity to why we exist, how we behave, what we do, how we will succeed... you have to do something with that!

The Rallying Cry is simply determining what is the most important thing to do right now for the company.  So our team developed this list of things that need to get done now!

  • New doors-- we feel we need to open 1,000 new salons with our brand
  • Eliminate backorders
  • Improve client communication
  • Develop a compelling consumer branding story
  • Build the team passion
  • Have a more flexible shipping plan
  • Mirabella Bride
After much discussion, the item that would provide the biggest benefit to our clients, our employees and our business is to eliminate backorders.  We have been struggling with our vendors to properly ship to us.  We have been struggling with our largest customer with their inventory.  But our team realizes that those items exist, but Mirabella can still improve in this area.

After we determined that eliminating backorders was our biggest opportunity, we developed a list of objectives that we wanted to accomplish to solve this problem.  They are:
  • Develop a heirarchy for shipping the inventory that we do have
  • Meet with our software vendor to utilize the system to help solve issues
  • Create a forecasting model for our sales team to utilize to communicate demand in a more real way
  • Write and follow procedures to make certain that we will not back order products that we have in house but are not currently available readily 
So tomorrow many of the team members, including myself, will have a meeting to begin solving this problem.

At the end of 3-12 months, with focus, this problem should be dramatically improved.  At the end of this process we should see:
  • More customer confidence with our company
  • Our service should improve substantially while inventory remains neutral
  • We will have  greater accountability with each of us
  • Our team will have developed a inventory communication plan to all the stakeholders that is transparent, accurate, and complete
After this time passes, we can chose our next Rallying Cry.   And day by day, we become a better company!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What you need in your business is Clarity-- part 4 (Strategy!)


Recently I read a book called The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni.  It is a follow up to many of the other books he has written.  This is a practical guide to implement many of his "parables" from the earlier books.  After reading the book, I did something I NEVER do.  I implemented it!  My last 8 staff meetings have been focused on these concepts.

If you care to catch up, here is part 1, part 2 and part 3

Strategy... this is what every business should have, but most don't take the time to consider it.  In his chapter about strategy, Patrick says "What exactly is a strategy?  Did I sleep through the day they taught us the definition of strategy?"  He had worked for 2 years as a strategic management consultant!

But in this book he gives us a very simple definition:

An organization's strategy is simply its plan for success.  It's nothing more than the collection of intentional decisions a company makes to give itself the best chance to thrive and differentiate from competitors.

Lencioni suggests having the team create a list of all the things related to how the company runs its business.  It should include topics like:
  • pricing
  • hiring
  • site selection
  • marketing
  • advertising
  • branding
  • merchandising
  • sourcing
  • partnering
  • product selection
  • in store experience
  • service offerings
  • promotions
  • decor
So this morning our team did exactly that!  We came up with a list of 40 items that included:

  • Quality, luxury products
  • Clean Ingredients
  • Fun, ergonomic, innovative components
  • Artistic sales force
  • Marketing tools
  • Private ownership
  • Streamlined modern look
  • Constantly improving
  • Wearable everyday line
  • Socially active
  • Selective sourcing
  • Pride of ownership with employees
  • Transparent
  • Limited distribution
  • Boutique brand
  • Ambitious
  • Bridal program
  • Education
  • Salon/consumer driven
  • Responsible/accountable management team
  • Sense of community
  • Video education
  • Positive employee environment
  • Hire for attitude and cultural fit
  • Team oriented
  • Inspiring trainings
  • Easy to sell
  • Color cosmetics, brushes, tools
  • International customers
  • Salon brand
  • Accessible-web/distributors/education
  • Entrepreneurial
  • PR visibility
  • Narrow selection of products
  • Competitive prestige pricing
  • Gratis program
  • Perks
  • Customer focused
  • Sleek fixtures
  • School program
  • Trend promotions
  • Colorful
  • Small fish in big pond
Big, long list!  Then, the idea is to match up those things that are similar.  So we began to see similarities with our employee focus, distribution, prestige products, and support.  But according to Patrick, you need three strategic anchors.  Three things that differentiate Mirabella from its competitors.

Writing the things we do was fun and pretty easy.  To see similarities to them also was relatively straightforward.  The hard part is to determine how to write a phrase or sentence to show our differentiation.  This is messy and filled with opinions.
Our messy strategy session

Here is an example of Lighthouse Consulting's strategy:

We will differentiate ourselves by providing extremely high-touch service, staying relatively small and protecting our unique culture, and leveraging the ideas of world-class subject matter experts.

So much so that we ended up having to revisit the session at our next meeting.  We gave Amber and I the assignment of giving a first draft of the two things that we ended up with; products and our customer focus.

I know we are supposed to have 3, but this seemed more natural.  And frankly, I am not a very good rule follower anyways. And this is what we came up with:

Mirabella Mindset
never settle for less than luxe.

Attain modern luxury by directing all of our efforts toward providing unmatched customer service and creating clean, prestige inspiring products.
Strive for the best, and NEVER settle. Good enough is not enough, we live luxe.

With every single employee focused on satisfying our customers, we will exceed the expectations of all of our various partners.

OK, now we have our strategy... next up is our Rallying Cry...

Friday, March 29, 2013

What you need in your business is Clarity-- part 3

Recently I read a book called The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni.  It is a follow up to many of the other books he has written.  This is a practical guide to implement many of his "parables" from the earlier books.  After reading the book, I did something I NEVER do.  I implemented it!  My last 7 staff meetings have been focused on these concepts. 

If you care to catch up, here is part 1 and part 2

My last meeting was the easy meeting.  What we were to do with this meeting is write down "What we do?"  Simple right?  Wrong!  I had each of the team members take 5 minutes and write down what they thought the answer to this question was for Mirabella.

After 5 minutes, I asked each team member what they had gotten.  The answers were all over the board.  Then I read mine. 

Then I told them that this is a very straightforward definition.  Don't use any adverbs or descriptors.  Don't use qualifiers.  Just write what we do.  I read some examples from other companies like:

A power company:  "We generate and deliver electrical and natural gas products and services to people throughout the state."

A credit card company:  "We provide payment products and extend credit to consumers."

The team gave me all kinds of grief.  Of course your answer is right John, you knew the instructions at the beginning!  So, make sure to give good instructions in advance.  Though it seems straightforward, it can get a little squishy if you don't make it super practical.

So what did I write?

"We are the developers of a brand of color cosmetics called Mirabella"
Our newest Bridal Kit, Bohemian Bride

Yes, that is what we do!  It is clarifying to come to this simple conclusion.  It helps, just like the other exercises, to direct us.  It helps us to stay focused on who we are and what we are trying to do!

I have loved this so far.  I think it has caused us to speak about the big picture more than we did in the previous 3 years combined.

Our next exercise is the hard one, how will we succeed?  This is all about strategy.  I made sure everyone got it this time.  I copied the pages of the book for everyone to read in advance.  No excuses this time!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Finding leadership ideas in the craziest places...

Quartermaine's Terms Rowan Atkinson and cast
I went to a play called Quartermaine's Terms.  It starred Rowan Atkinson.  Basically the play was about a language school in England that taught foreign students the English language.  Rowan was one of the teachers.  Each scene was set in the teachers lounge.  All the teachers and administration came and went with their assorted personal problems.

In the opening scene, a new teacher is hired.  He is an awkward man.  But he applies himself to his students, works hard, and frankly doesn't get recognized because he doesn't "get along" with the administration.

The main character is Rowan.  He is a fixture in the teachers lounge.  Everyone comes and goes with their lives.  But Rowan is a likable, agreeable sort that is desperately lonely.  Everyone likes to spill their problems on him as he listens well and is always agreeable.  These traits serve him well with the administration as well.

However, Rowan is a horrible teacher who is completely disinterested in his students.  At one point he actually forgets to teach his class.

In the end, one of the teachers is promoted to take over the school administration.  He promptly fires Rowan in the concluding scene leaving Rowan sadly contemplating what he will do next.

It was like watching a true to life organization function.  Not very good entertainment.  but a GREAT business lesson!

What can we learn?

The Administration-- they are responsible to make their organization great.  And in fact they would like to think they are.  However, when we leave underperformers in place, they are showing everyone; teachers and students that mediocrity is tolerated.  With people like Rowan, the administration needs to tell the truth.  This is really fair and humane for your people.  It is just hard.  No one likes to have hard conversations, especially with nice people that are agreeable and supportive of what you are trying to do.  Also, the administration needs to look beyond the awkward teacher and notice his talent, his work ethic.  Again, it is easy to look past people who are more difficult to be around, people who don't always agree with everything you are doing.

Rowan-- This man obviously knew he wasn't giving his all to his job.  He was bored with his job, but he loved the other people on the staff.  He was NOT achievement oriented.  I always remember my dad saying "Life is NOT a dress rehearsal".  People are filled with fears; fear of failure, fear of confrontation, fear of people.  Many of us are to afraid to upset whatever job they may have as it is stable.  But we are given this life.  We are given skills and talents.  We are fearfully and wonderfully made!  Use what you have been given.  Use it up.  Use it all!  What a sad day, those that never truly LIVE.

If you are a leader, tell your people where they stand!  Tell them both the good and the bad.  Even if you don't like someone, if they are a performer, reward them.  

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What you need in your business is... Clarity? Part 2

After reading my first post on Clarity, you might enjoy my second installment.

I read the great book by Patrick Lencioni, The Advantage.  He states the key to successful companies is a good team of leaders who are willing to deal honestly with each other and get things done.  And second, a successful company has clarity about where it is going and how it will get there.  Few books cause me to shake up my company like this one.  But that is what we are doing!

In the first meeting to help us get Clarity on Mirabella, we discussed, "why we exist".  After a long discussion, we landed on this phrase, "inspiring confidence with whatever the day may bring". 

In our next meeting we tackled an equally difficult topic, How do we behave?  The essence of this topic is determining the companies core values. 

Patrick first tells you what they are NOT.  Your core values are not aspirational, accidental, nor permission to play.  An aspirational value would be a value we would LIKE to have, but frankly it is not part of our core today.  An accidental value would be a value that happens to be true about our company, but it did not happen on purpose.  And therefore, it is not something that we MUST repeat in the future.  And finally, our core values are NOT just a permission to play value.  An example of this would be providing excellent service.  Today, to be successful, you MUST provide great service.  If you don't you won't get a chance to compete.

Once everyone is clear on those, Patrick suggests to identify team members at the company who embody what is best about Mirabella.  Then you list the characteristic that make them admirable. 

For us, someone suggested our Creative Director Amber Bowen.  That is an easy one.  She is a passionate, dedicated, flexible, and humble.  Then someone suggested our National Sales Manager Jennifer Rider.  Again, she is definitely someone who embodies our culture.  She is driven to be results oriented, hands on, persistent, and resourceful.  And finally, we put our Founder Christy Thurston up as one of those that embodies who is Mirabella. 

Christy doesn't work here any more, but her resourcefulness, passion, and persistence are what made this company.

We also listed words like excellence and perfection.

The next part of the exercise is to identify employees who didn't work out for the company, but were very talented.  And what was it that made them distracting? 

Again, each of us remember former team members who were tremendously talented, but didn't make it within our culture.  Again, many of the same words from above came to us about why they didn't work out.  These people generally lacked passion for Mirabella, were not resourceful, didn't embody persistence, or couldn't be flexible.

Forgive the poor hand writing, it's the thoughts that count!
After coming up with our words, Patrick recommends that you put those words into meaningful phrases.   

For us, it ended up being a long discussion.  We had 12 core values.  We needed to narrow it to 3!  Which were the most important?

We realized that some of them were related so we circled those.  Then we ordered them by importance.  Again, there was much discussion about this.

But we finally ended up with these Core Values to answer the question, How do we behave?

I Make It Work

I Am Inspired

I Will Succeed

It Is Not About Me

It Is About Mirabella.

I make it work was about being resourceful and flexible.  These were probably our top values.  We are a small company.  To get things done, you MUST do much for yourself.  You MUST find different ways to accomplish your goals as they will likely need to change.

I am inspired was about passion.  You must have a great passion for Mirabella, its products, its customers, and its people.  Without that, we are just another makeup company.  Each of us need to embody this in how we approach our jobs.

I will succeed is about competing.  It is about being persistent.  To work for Mirabella, its people must be driven to win.  That could mean our salons, our educators, our distributors, or our employees.  As a small company, success is NOT guaranteed.  It reminds me of the great quote, by Theodore Roosevelt.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

And finally, though we were limited to 3 values, we couldn't stand to keep off humility and transparency.  These are key to who we are.  It was important to us that we all realize that it is not about puffing up any one person, but rather it is always about the star of the show, Mirabella.

It was a great exercise.  It better defines who we are... and who we are not (sometimes even more important). 

And the best part is that our team did this.  It was not me who put this together.  It was their words.  I simply guided the conversation forward to a natural conclusion.  I cannot wait for our next session.  We are going to attempt to answer 2 questions; What do we do? and How will we succeed? 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

What you need in your business is... Clarity! Part 1

Have you ever read any of Patrick Lencioni's books?  Death by Meeting is one of my favorites.  They are business parables.  Easy to read, but he makes great points.

He recently wrote The Advantage.  It takes all his other books and puts it into a step-by-step approach to developing a company with a competitive edge. 

The first step is to have a management team that is willing to communicate openly.  He has some exercises to bring your team through that starts them understanding each other better.  Then you teach them how to disagree with each other constructively. 

The second step is what I loved!  In fact, if you read these blog posts, you will walk with me through the process of developing Clarity with the Mirabella management team.  This is the 6 step process:
  1. Why do we exist?
  2. How do we behave?
  3. What do we do?
  4. How will we succeed?
  5. What is important, right now?
  6. Who must do what?  
Today we went through step one, "Why do we exist?" 

The key to this first step should answer the question "How do we contribute to a better world?"  It should be idealistic.  This should NOT be something you can ACTUALLY accomplish, rather it is bigger than your company.  It is what you aspire to. 

Also, when thinking of "Why do we exist?", your statement should ring true.  It should actually be something that your company is trying to do everyday, perhaps subconsciously. 

To help us answer this question, it helped to determine who our audience was.  The following are the different groups your business could be ultimately set up to serve:
  • Customer
  • Industry
  • Greater Cause
  • Community
  • Employees
  • Wealth (the owner)
We then began a discussion of why Mirabella exists.  One person talked about our founder, Christy Thurston and why SHE started Mirabella.  She started the brand so her salon could offer prestige cosmetics in her salon.  Therefore, we wrote down, "Helping salons to be successful with makeup."

Our creative director Amber said that she thinks we exist to help woman feel more comfortable in their own skin.

There was then a long discussion about who is our client.  Is it the woman using our product or the salon that sells the product?  Again Amber stated that we try to think through how a salon could EASILY sell the product to their clients.  We always try to remove the guesswork for our salons.  We ended up realizing that our company exists for consumers, trying to make woman more beautiful.

Then there was another manager that was an internal manager who thought our company exists for its employees.  She admitted she thinks that because she doesn't have a view of our salons and consumers. 

We had a long discussion about mineral makeup.  Is this who we are?  Probably not.  We decided that we indeed have clean and healthy ingredients.  We think that is VERY important.  But ultimately we are not ONLY a mineral makeup brand. 

Then I told the group about Amber and I's discussions recently about a Mirabella tagline.  We really don't have one today.  We had begun playing with the idea "Mirabella--Makeup with Personality".  Amber has been creating products like Blush! Colour Duos that have names like Radiant and Merry.  This is how a woman should feel while wearing this product.  We came up with some fun and beautiful concepts for this year that were all different moods. 

In the end, after lots of discussion, Amber said we are "inspiring confidence with whatever the day may bring".  That really rang true with the management team.

That is who we are.  We try to help woman feel fantastic about themselves no matter what they are doing.  Whether they are moms, employees, wives, board members, or athletes; Mirabella is there to help them be confident!

Then we realized that of the different groups our business served, it seemed we were most interested in the Greater Cause. 

So we are done with step 1. 

It was great to get everyone on our management team discussing the core of our business.  They got much more committed to who we are.  They all had a voice in determining a part of our future.  It was fun.

And I am excited to go to step 2 next week!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Why Private Label is NOT the Answer for Makeup in Your Salon

Salon and Spa owners are busy.  Their list of duties is huge.  They need to:
  • train and lead a team of people
  • market and develop their salon and its offerings
  • handle the financials of the salon including payroll and bill paying
  • educate themselves about all the newest things in the industry
  • hire great people (this is a full time job!)
And this is assuming the owner doesn't do services themselves!

The idea of having your own brand is exciting.  The margins are better.  There are private label manufacturers who do much of the work.

But to develop a brand that your CLIENTS think is AMAZING is a full time job.  In fact, it is more than that.  At Mirabella, we employ a person to manage our social media.  When your customer looks at your brand, they want to know if it has credibility.  If it is JUST your salon, it will lack that social media credibility.

We have a team of people who do product development.  We are constantly surveying the industry for what is hot, interesting, revolutionary.  Then bringing one of these ideas to market takes time and money.

We have a team of people who market our brand.  Whether it is signage, photo shoots for new images, PR, or displays; all this takes time and money.

What generally happens with salons that attempt private label is they make the initial order.  Then they are completely on their own to make the brand work in their salon.

Still due to the adrenaline of starting their own brand, it might actually get a good start.

Mirabella Graphic Girl Collection
But 3 months later, who is going to think of the next innovative thing?  Is there someone you can call on to show you how to do it?

In hair care, private label was a big deal for salons 20 years ago.  But the owners learned they are better off concentrating on their business.  And let others focus on building brands.

But for some reason, salons and spas are still falling for this. 

Mirabella Tester Unit
Save yourself the heart ache, if your going to get into makeup use an established brand that will do all the work of brand building for you.  This will give you time to make your business AMAZING!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Making the Best of Your Best Days!

An easy way to add $40,000 in revenue to the salon in mineral makeup!!!

Most Salons and Spas have times that are very busy and others that are slower.  Try this tip.  Find a freelance makeup artist that can sell.  (I would suggest asking your own staff first, but then put an ad on Craigslist or be aggressive and go to the local department store counters!) 

Look at your books and see which days and times have most clients.  Perhaps Wednesday from 5-9 PM and Saturday from 10 AM- 2 PM have the most clients for your business. 

Ask the person to be there for those 8 hours each week.  The staff can schedule free "touch ups" in advance for your best clients.  And on the rest of the time, this person can go from client to client within the salon or spa inviting them to a Mirabella Minute.  During this minute, the makeup artist would apply some Pure Press, Blush! Colour Duo and Colour Luxe lip gloss or whatever the salon wants to focus on. 

If you find someone aggressive, they will easily fill this time and be productive.  But the key is, did they sell?  If not, I would find someone who can.  Don't waste your money.  It might take a few people before you get a makeup artist that will fit your bill.  Don't stop if the first person doesn't work out.

I would recommend you pay this makeup artist a small hourly way plus commission.  If you paid them $10/hour times 8 hours or $80 and they sold $100 per hour (I would consider this a minimum), they would have generated sales of $800.  Add to that 10% commission and you will keep this person motivated.

Expand the program with either another makeup artist or add hours to the existing person.  As a business person, it is better to have 2 people doing this eventually.  You never know when one person will leave.  Then you still have someone to train within the salon.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Two Keys To A Great Makeup Business

What must a salon do to grow their makeup sales?

Mirabella has two crucial key steps for salons and spas to be successful!  First, the salon must LOOK like they are in the makeup business.  Second, the salon has to have a process in place to consistently sell makeup.

For that average salon or spa, 80% of their clients are women. 100% of those woman wear makeup!  Salons have a large captive audience.  Women spend as much money on color cosmetics every year as they do on hair care products.

So how does a salon LOOK like they are in the makeup business?
  1. Keep the Mirabella tester unit looking beautiful.  Every morning the person who makes the coffee for the salon must do a quick cleaning up of the unit.  Make sure YOU would use the testers to do YOUR makeup.  Are the lipsticks halfway up the tube?  Is the unit free of any loose makeup or dust?  Are the brushes clean?  Are all the testers ON the unit?  (Mirabella offers tester replacements for 40% off!)
  2. Keep the unit up front in the retail area of the salon.  Ideally we would love it to be displayed on a Mirabella Table.  Too many salons put the tester unit back in the salon on a station.  It looks like makeup is an afterthought.  Where do department stores put makeup?  They take the very most valuable selling space, the front, to display makeup.  Salons MUST do the same.
  3. Next to the makeup unit up front in the retail area, put a makeup chair.  It then LOOKS like you do makeup touch ups.  Hopefully you do!  But if not, psychologically, women feel you are!  And that is where they want to buy their makeup.  And YES we do have a Mirabella makeup chair for sale! 
 So, now you have set your salon up to win.  The clients KNOW you are in the makeup business.  They feel comfortable considering buying makeup.

And that is half the battle.

Then, the salon has to have a PROCESS to actually sell makeup.  Our top salons and spas have 3 steps they follow to create great success.

  1. The first step is the staff.  They need to WEAR Mirabella.  If they personally believe in the line, it will speak volumes to the clients.  I was at a major salon chain discussing Mirabella with them.  They currently use a private label brand.  The chain said that none of the 29 makeup artists in the salons USE their makeup because of the lesser quality.  It is no surprise they are not having the kind of success they deserve.
  2. After each salon or spa service, the service provider must give the client a Mirabella minute!  It is as simple as putting on Pure Press Mineral Powder, Blush! Colour Duo, and Colour Luxe Lip Gloss.  This quick application will make the client feel beautiful after having their service.  (In fact, clients will not leave the service area until they have reapplied their own makeup!  Woman feel naked if they are not touched up.)  Salons that do this Mirabella Minute sell makeup!  But equally as important, these salons have a higher retention of clients because of this extra service they offer.
  3. And finally, the salon must do 4 events per year.  Each season dream up a new fun way to engage your clients.  Perhaps you will do a Mother/Daughter event or a Monday Night Football Widows Party.  It doesn't matter.  Schedule it a couple months in advance.  Get a sign-up sheet to each stylist.  Book 30 minute complimentary makeup applications.  After the application is done, ask the guest which of the products they would like to take home.  Expect GREAT sales and new repeat makeup buyers into your salon!  But more importantly, new energy from the whole salon about makeup.  It is easy to get excited, but work to KEEP people excited.  For a full description of a great makeup event click here.
If you will make your salon LOOK like a makeup center and if you will have the PROCESS in place, your salon will sell a lot of makeup!

Steps to a Successful Makeup Event

Mirabella knows that salons and spas can be wildly successful selling makeup!  They just need to follow the 3 keys to success.
  1. Each staff member must WEAR Mirabella.
  2. Each guest is touched with Mirabella at the conclusion of every service.
  3. The salon or spa must conduct 4 events per year.
The first two are self-explanatory.   Holding events is new for many salons.  The following is a step-by-step outline of conducting a successful event.

3 Months in advance:
  • Determine the type of event
    • 2-4 hours of 30 minute makeup applications.
    • A makeup trend report while doing a few of the guests touch ups.
    • 3-4 makeup stations that clients can flow between (Lips, Eyes, Face stations; light, medium, dark complexions; Skin care, makeup, hair stations; Massage, facial, makeup stations; etc).
    • Get creative!
  • Schedule the date and inform your whole team.  Assign everyone jobs for that day; either makeup artistry, selling, ringing up in computer, making guests comfortable when they arrive and get food/drink.
  • Schedule a Mirabella team member if needed (you can use PERKS reward, 2500 points or pay the makeup artists directly, approximately $150 for a half-day).
  • Determine the theme of the event (The benefits of Mineral Makeup, Spring, Mother/Daughter, Aging Skin, Smoky Eyes, Girls Night Out, etc.).
  • Outline the promotions that will be offered (everybody likes something free or an incentive to buy big).
  • Plan the food, drink (nothing extravagant needed).  If you have a local microbrewery or winery, they generally would love to support an event like this.
  • Order any special items from Mirabella Beauty like Fitzpatrick Tests, Face Charts, Colour Catalogs, or Mini products.  Also order any testers at 40% off so the unit will look GREAT for that night.  Do the makeup artists/estheticians have a Mirabella apron?
  • Set a sales goal!!! This is a missing link.  Everyone needs to know how many people you want to get and how much you would like to sell that day!  A reasonable goal is $100 per guest.
  • Have a sign made promoting the event in-salon.
  • Plan where in the salon is best.  Ideally, there is an area for food different where the services will be conducted or the class will be held.  That makes a nice comfortable area for people to mingle and enjoy the salon environment.
6 weeks in advance:
  • Create signup sheet for guests including email address and phone.
  • Do an e-blast to your client, add to your webpage, put on Facebook, make a sign for each service area including the bathroom and reception area,  tell your local paper and radio station, add to your neighborhood events calendar.
  • Bring up at the monthly staff meeting to keep up the motivation.
  • Place an order to make sure you have the product that you plan to sell that day.  If your goal is $100 per guest and you have 20 guests coming, make certain you have plenty of your best sellers like Pure Press 2, 3, and 4; Essential Lash Mascara, Magic Marker Eye Liner,  Skin Tint Creme 2N, 3N, and 3W; Smoke Eye Definer; Prime for Face and Eyes; Conceal 2; plus your teams favorite colors!  Involve them!  And don't forget brushes, they sell well when used!
2 weeks in advance:
  • Do a last push with your team to push sign ups!
  • Reconfirm with your makeup artists on any last minute needs.
  • Re-post event just as you did at the 6 week mark.
  • Confirm the inventory.  Place a last minute order for anything you may have sold.  Sales go up in advance of these events because you are calling attention to Mirabella.
  • Reconfirm with any other vendors attending. 
Day before/Day of event:
  • Reconfirm each guest.
  • Purchase food/drink plus glasses, napkins and plates.
  • Clean (especially the Mirabella Tester Unit)!
  • Arrange the salon for the event.
  • Reconfirm the goal!  Reconfirm everyone's job.  
  • Play nice, fun music.
  • Do beautiful services.  Sell!!!
  • Celebrate!
  • Plan next event!
  • Reorder products!
  • Fulfill orders of back ordered products to guests.
  • Post photos on Facebook at your own page and Mirabella's.  
  • Write a press release to give to local paper, magazines with photos.
  • Buy something nice for yourself from the profits!
Events are great to build team work within the salon, engage your client base with what's new, give a reason to have a party for your guests, and do something newsworthy!

So, when is your next event?!