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Hairdressing Industry: Digital Doings!

Thursday, 29 May 2014 22:02

The digital dimension in the hairdressing industry touches all levels, from professional product manufacturers to individual stylists. Why you should get connected...

Back in 1984, Madonna sang about living in a material world... and although it may be true that her lyrics had a different connotation, in retrospect it is ironic that at about the same time, the Internet existed, but was still limited to scientific communities. Little did we know that not even a decade later, our world was to become much less “material” and much more “virtual”, “digital”, and even a dangerous-sounding “viral”. Whether you consider it a boon or a bane, it is a fact that most of us are “connected”. In spite of the risks, this may entail to your security, privacy, and time manage­ment, more often than not, if you are an entre­preneur, you risk more by not being in the loop.

OLD WORLD – NEW WORLD
Let's start with what we know best... Estetica: a prestigious trade journal based in Italy with a long-standing tradition of excellence in publishing hair fashion photography and news. Italians in general have art and a heightened sense of esthetics and fashion their blood, and few trade publications could ever compete with the outstanding quality paper and the graphic layouts of the latest trends you found inside. Yet the magazine seemed to exist in another dimension and not in “real time”. Already an international affair with 27 editions worldwide, eighteen year ago, Estetica Network decided to step outside an “Old World” mentality and venture into this “Brave New World”. Today Estetica offers websites in seven different languages and has just recently launched its new Estetica.it portal, bringing all the latest local, national, and international industry news and imagery daily, even hourly. And it's optimized for tablets and mobile. Sign up for a weekly newsletter for the top stories, or log on and like one or more of our Facebook Fan Pages.

GOLDWELL'S DIGITAL GURU
“To be successful, salon professional need platforms to play with, from devices for digital photos/video to places to put them in the spotlight, like active Facebook pages, YouTube channels, Pinterest boards, and Twitter accounts,” says Patrick McIvor, Artistic & TechniCulture Director for Goldwell/KMS California and one of the most highly respected digital gurus in the business today. He considers Facebook as the modern-day town square, Twitter is today's news, Instagram is the box of family pictures. Instead, blogs and forums are places where hairdressers can find comfort in the company of kindred souls. Probably most hairdressers or salon owners already have a Facebook page and are most likely in touch with clients and posting their work there or on Instagram and Pinterest. But when you are exploiting these means to show how good your work is, McIvor also warns about indiscriminate posts. He cautions, “We have to make sure, as hairdressers, that every one of our digital images speaks to our brand... also by making sure the wrong images don't reach the digital world.” For more “information, education, and ideas that work”, visit patrickmcivor.com, where there is wealth of information on haircolor, HI:) Media Solutions, social networking, professional coaching, and more.

FAMILY AFFAIR
Matrix Director of Digital Marketing Kevin Nemeth eagerly boasts, “We have a robust education offering within our MyMatrixFamily.com site and our MyMatrixFamily mobile app, which contains an interaction color formulation tool and a “Little Black Technique Book” where stylists can save their own cut, color and styling notes as well as photos of their finished work." But Nemeth shared another big scoop with us, “We are launching our Class for Glass series soon, where stylists will get the unique first person perspective of Celebrity Stylist George Papanikolas and our Artistic team as they cut, style, and color.” Matrix also relies on Facebook to engage daily with their community, which now numbers over 800,000! Twitter is used to tweet about red carpet trends. Nemeth says they love tweeting at Matrix for the big buzz it gets going in real time. Instagram instead is used to offer a glimpse into the backstage life of the brand with a view to fostering a sense of community. Blogs also tend to feature Matrix Artistic Directors like Ammon Carver, Chrystofer Benson, and Papanikolas, forging even stronger 'family links'. In fact, Nemeth says, “Matrix provides a family-like atmosphere and our audience embodies that 100%.” Fun contests and giveaways across all channels reward the community and keep people engaged. Of course, the Salon Locator helps channel new clients to salons. “All it takes is for clients to share their new looks on their social media channels to redirect new clients,” advises Nemeth, “Digital word of mouth is such a critical piece of business development!”

THE E-COMMERCE EDGE
Still somewhat of a new frontier in the professional haircare industry, the online selling of professional products online is carving out a niche of its own, albeit with different approaches, results, and benefits. Whereas most manufacturers have a B2B site that their partners can access for inside information on products, education, news, and more, actual retail sales were generally limited exclusively to the salons themselves. Today, instead, companies are more and more frequently using savvily designed e-commerce websites to sell their professional products directly to consumers, while bringing added benefits to salon owners and the business in general. Last year, Moroccanoil launched an official e-commerce site (www.moroccanoil.com) with a view to reaffirming the company's commitment to the stylist/client relationship. Indeed, this website was designed to attract sales away from unauthorized websites, boost salon profits, and channel clients to nearby salons. In fact, when a customer makes a purchase on this site, they are asked to select a Moroccanoil salon that will receive a percentage of the total sale, thereby sharing profits with the entire distribution channel. If the e-client opts not to select a salon, the one nearest the shopper's address is credited automatically, while a list of the five Moroccanoil salons in the vicinity of the client's home is sent with their purchase. Gerardo Ludert, Moroccanoil Chief of Operations, affirms, “Our new e-commerce site provides our customers with easy access to authentic Moroccanoil products in a trusted online environment while sharing profits and making referrals to our trusted partners.” A triple whammy!

Aveda has seven e-commerce sites around the world, with the USA site being the first to open. Aveda Executive Director of Consumer Engagement, Rachel Ostrom, confirms that the system is similar, offering salons commissions for guests who shop on Aveda.com. Ostrom shares, “Each year through emails and the website, our e-commerce site generates over 30 million referrals to our Aveda Concept Salons.” When the Sam Villa brand launched, there was already an e-commerce site in place. Like with Moroccanoil and others, Dan Polhamus, VP of Interactive at Sam Villa confirms, “E-commerce has not changed the relationship with our partners because we have implemented programs that provide profit-sharing plans for orders placed through our website. Sharing is caring!

EDUCATION AT YOUR FINGERTIPS
Once a client walks into an Aveda salon, they can rest assured that the hairdressers have had special training and are always seeking new sources of inspiration. This good news gets better, as Aveda Purefessionals needn't look far and wide to get inspired – as the Aveda professional website offers key learning and educational tools just for pros. Ostrom says, “We also have recently developed a new Aveda Business College course on social media to help Salon Owners build their social media efforts to drive business.” Instead, two apps – MyAvedaStyle and MyAvedaMakeover are geared more toward inspiration. The  former is an iPhone app that allows guests and stylists to create an online look book of their favorite looks to share with clients, while the latter is an iPad app that enables colorists to upload guest photos and virtually change their haircolor for a preview before taking the big step. OYA also shares a website at OYAbeauty.com and a phone app called OYA Colorist, containing downloadable material. OYA strives to give hairdressers the 24/7 in-depth online training they need and crave to succeed in their business.

Sam Villa is another go-to brand for online education, both at the website (www.samvilla.com) and their YouTube channel (www.Youtube.com.samvillahair). Dan Polhamus, VP of Interactive at Sam Villa, says, “The Sam Villa brand launched as a digital company offering education through DVDs and online videos, producing education for salon professionals, cosmetolody students, and salon owners. The lessons focus on salon usable techniques and addressing common problems that hairdressers face on a daily basis, often with the use of Sam Villa Professional styling tools.” Although all three focus strongly on the educational potential of the Internet, all readily admit to engaging their client partners with all kinds of content. To expand on this, Shelley Simmons, Aveda VP Global communications, shares with us that Aveda has also recently launched the Living Aveda Blog, where everyone can enjoy anecdotes and stories about the Aveda tradition. Although Sam Villa admits to having shunned Twitter in the past, this will most likely change in 2014, as will Instagram! Even TIGI is launching a new B2B site as well as a new InCrowd site for a salon loyalty program. This is the scoop, but no details have been released as of yet. So let's wait and see.

LIKE FACEBOOK...BUT BETTER
We got Randy Taylor and Gerard Scarpaci of www.hairbrained.me to talk about the beginnings. This small group of educators was disappointed with the limitations of MySpace and so, in 2008, decided to venture out on their own to meet the needs of hairdressers. All the content is curated and hair and hairdressers are the absolute protagonists. It's the ultimate wall for any intrepid hairdresser's coloring, cutting, and styling manifesto. And The Sunday News newsletter features the best content of each week and any other important community announcements. Always keeping a finger on the pulse and working as active hairdressers themselves, they fully realized the difficulties involved in getting quality tools. So in January of last year, they launched www.hairbrained.pro as an e-commerce service where stylists can purchase tools whenever they want with fast delivery and low shipping costs. “Hairdressers love it,” says Randy, “Sales are climbing steeply month by month. We fully expect them to double over the next 12 months. And to accomplish this goal, we will continue to focus on the needs of our community.” Isn't that what it's all about?

By Marie Scarano

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