Expanding Into Selling Your Own Products

Expanding Into Selling Your Own Products
by ANHC Pro Founder, Elaine Truesdale

There are several viable ways hair stylists seek to expand their offerings beyond styling hair behind the chair.  One of those is launching their own hair product line.  This is a good direction for hair stylists because stylists already have a customer base which trust their opinion on hair care.  However, there are several barriers to cross before a person can successfully enter the market place with a new product.  Those barriers include marketing, production, distribution, and sales.  Today we are going to talk about marketing, the last thing most people think about but the first thing you need to consider.

Before you can begin mass selling your product, whether your develop it yourself or select a pre-formulated private label product, you will need to do research and build a customer base.  Having loyal customers and advocates in place will make it easier for your to obtain investors, find manufacturers, and get you product into popular retail outlets.  Lets look at building your customer base from the bottom up.  

Who are the easiest customers for you to obtain?  Hopefully, friends and family.  In addition to providing you with honest feedback, your friends and family should become your first loyal PAYING customers.  When we say PAYING we are not saying that you can not offer a "friends and family" discount, but if your friends and family are not willing to pay something for your product they cannot be true advocates for your product.  Of course as you are developing your product or testing private label options you should charge little to to nothing for your products.  

You want your products to work as well or better than the products you currently use in the salon.  Once you decide on the products that will initially represent your brand you can begin establishing your pricing and associated discounts. 

Having already tested your products on friends and family you can confidently begin selling your product to your salon customers.  As a stylist you have already have a built in test market.  Because your customers already trust and depend on you to help them take care of their hair, transitioning them to your products should be smooth process.  Begin incorporating your products into your services and teaching your salon customers how to utilize your products for their home maintenance routines.  

Collect testimonials from your customers and document positive changes in the condition or their hair and scalp as you use your products on them.  With this information you can begin building demand for your products.  Post blogs and videos about your products on your website and share them on your social media outlets.  Their are several subjects you can use for the your videos and blogs including the following:

  • Why You Started Your Own Product Line
  • Benefits of Using Your Products
  • Benefits of Ingredients in You Products
  • Customer Spotlights / Success Stories

Even with all of this, there is only so much reach you can obtain through your personal network.  You want to develop partnerships with other people and and organizations who can share information about your products with their networks.  
If you elect to use a private label products that have already been proven in the market place then you already have a built in partner.  Many private label companies not only produce bottle and label your products, but they also help with marketing because when you are successful they are successful.  Some private label companies that provide marketing assistance include Genesis, Aware, Mana, Your Name, and Dreamline.

Influencers are another source for partnering.  In this context Influencers are bloggers and vloggers who have built their own base of fans who trust and follow them.  The more popular the Influencer the more likely it is that you will be asked to pay for their endorsement and even the public use of your product.  If you do not have the budget for an Influencer with millions of followers offer free products to influencers who compliment your brand and are still building their fan base.  How do you know if an Influencer compliments your brand?  Look at their blogs and videos.  Do they wear their hair in styles that your products can help achieve?  Are your products all natural and do they promote an all natural lifestyle?  Do your product work well for people who workout and do they blog about working out?  Get the point?  When you brand and the brand of up-and-coming Influencers align you all can help each other.

Another source for partnering are civic and professional organizations.  By donating your time, money, and/or products to these organizations you can reach thousands of potential customer outside of your immediate network.  

  • Offer to conduct classes about hair care where you can promote and sell your products.  
  • Become a financial sponsor for their events and projects.  
  • Donate products for gift bags and giveaways.

Many of these organizations already have opportunities in place for partnering.  You can visit their websites or give them a call to find out how you can get involved.  If they do not have built in opportunities volunteer to host a hair care class catered to their members.  If they are a fitness group teach them how to care for their hair in between working out.  If the organization is family oriented teach about children's hair care.  Host the class at your salon or offer to come to their facility.  As a hair stylist you have valuable information share that you can use to help market your products.

With friends and family, salon customers, and strategic partnerships you have the foundation for building a strong customer base that will allow you to more easily transition into mass production and sales.

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Elaine Truesdale - Monday, March 20, 2017
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Jess Jess Ekstrom, CEO and Founder of HeadbandsOfHope.com, posted an article in June of 2016 on Entreprenuer.com about getting youe products into stores. - https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/276734

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