Marketing lessons from a hair stylist

Guest blogger: Michael Lynn Adams

About two months ago I went to Bigoudi Salon (Woodland Hills, California) where a wonderful woman named Natsu cut my hair. During the haircut our conversation turned to art and along the way I mentioned that I had a solo show opening on March 5.

She gave me a great cut. I paid. I left.

Last week, exactly a week before the opening, I received in the mail a little red envelope addressed by hand with a return address that said, simply, “Bigoudi – Natsu.” Enclosed was a folded card with a Japanese design and the word “Love” in white letters in the middle of tiny red rectangle on front. Inside was a handwritten note telling me that she had looked at my website, liked my work, and “wouldn’t it be great to have cool hair for the opening?”

Michael Lynn Adams

Michael Lynn Adams, Artichoke. Oil on linen panel, 9 x 12 inches. ©The Artist


Tucked inside the card were two $10 Bigoudi Bucks – a significant discount
. (Frankly, the handwritten note without the gift was enough to persuade me to call.) I immediately made an appointment!

While Natsu was cutting my hair again I thanked her for the card and gift and asked how she remembered my opening. She said that although the salon has a computer database system for client records, she always makes notes about her clients on 3×5” cards that she stores in a little box at her station. The cards are organized by client name. She reviews them regularly and writes the personal notes for special occasions.

Although Bigoudi, a world-wide company, uses branded cards for general announcements to their clients, Natsu makes a special point to use non-branded cards for sending handwritten notes and gifts for a client’s special event.

Natsu’s act exemplified  many of the lessons Alyson teaches–especially in the Cultivate Collectors class.

Lesson: Listening to others is far more important than telling others about myself.
Because Natsu listened she was able to send a thoughtful message and gift that was perfectly timed and meaningful to the events in my life.

My Plan: I will listen and write down what is important in others lives. In a database, and in a simple card file to make recording and reviewing those notes simple, convenient and easy.

Lesson: Handwritten notes are more personal and feel genuine, authentic and from the heart.

My Plan: Always have on hand a few dozen folded cards with images of my paintings on the cover. I will use those cards to send handwritten “thank you” notes, and notes acknowledging special events in the lives of collectors and key prospects and supporters.

Lesson: Gifts that are meaningful the recipient do not have to be elaborate or fancy.

My Plan: I like the idea of sending gifts to key people, primarily collectors on special occasions. I think a discount certificate/card, perhaps 10% off of the next purchase, is good. Maybe the promise of a free hand drawn sketch with the next purchase would work.

I would love to hear your suggestions.

Michael Lynn Adams is a California artists whose works celebrate the beauty in everyday life. His first solo exhibit opens Friday at M Gallery in Sarasota, Florida.

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21 comments to Marketing lessons from a hair stylist

  • What a wonderful, easy idea to implement! I recall my cousin did this in the past, and is now a successful business person. I am trying to do this electronically, but love the idea of notecards.

    Thanks for having a guest blogger!

    Angeline Marie of
    http://www.angelinemarie.net
    angeline-marie.blogspot.com

  • The personal touch goes a long way into today’s business. The smallest gestures can mean so much to people and I try to remember this. I always make a point of sending a handwritten note with all my orders and I think it’s appreciated.

  • What a great story! I love how she remembered you and it IS fun to have a cool cut for shows and openings.

    I always include a handwritten little thank you note with my orders. A personal favorite of mine are these mini thank you’s made by articulations: http://www.etsy.com/shop/articulations?section_id=5629607

    I have included 10% discounts along with orders for returning customers and have to say it hasn’t seemed to work for me. I don’t think it hurt though!

    I also keep notes on certain requests made by people that if I’m unable to fulfill it at the time, if there comes a time when I can, I make sure to remember them and send them a note about the new item that may work for their request.

    Best of luck!

  • I Absolutely Agree!
    I send hand written thank you notes to every customer. It takes time to do this but it’s very important to me that I let my customers know that their patronage means a lot to me. Without them where would we be? I like your idea of noting information about customers because many customers are repeat customers and establishing a personal repoire with them means so much – to them and me. I think it goes beyond making good business sense and extends into what it means to be human.
    Thanks for the great article!

  • I found this article to be a great reminder of how I would like to run my own hair/makeup business and while I make hats and accessories on the side, I couldnt help but think that this can be applied to all sorts of entrepreneurial endeavors I pursue, and personal even. I love the feeling of getting a hand written note or card. I remember when a model sent me one thanking me for letting her model my hats. It felt amazing! Thank you so much for this reminder and while I am new to your blog (and blogging altogether) I want to say that I really like your site!

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  • I love these ideas. I am always so impressed when I get a hand written note from someone I’ve done business with, especially in a world of cold, electronic, non personal communications. It makes me feel special and remembered, which is something we all need from time to time.

  • Great article! So true that the little things like hand-written notes really make a big difference!

    Even taking the time to add a bow to a package can mean a more intriguing impact on the customer!

    Best Wishes,

    Buddy @ EcoDog

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  • I use a system from sendoutcards.com. The system is all online and I can ‘print’ as few or as many as I wish. You can either use their line of cards for when you simply want to convey a greeting or upload one of your images to send to a collector or prospective customer – inform them of new pieces or remind them of a piece they have shown interest in. I also send a thank you card to every customer with an image of the painting they have just bought. I also use them to send as invitations to showings.
    Anyone who is interested may take a look at http://www.sendoutcards.com/mfasi

  • Wow. That stylist knows what she is doing when it comes to keeping clients in her chair after a visit. The marketing there is flawless. If anyone here is looking for a new stylist, they should check out this website complete with pictures of stylists’ work, their contact info, services provided, and a rating system: http://www.seekingstylists.com…Thanks!

  • Once again, great ideas. Eventhough I am a polite Southern lady, this might have slipped by me…my business skills need honing. Love the idea of handwritting a note…and when appropriate including a gift that is both useful to the receipient and moves your business along. Thanks so much Alyson and Michael (love your artwork, too)!

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  • The little things go a long way when it comes to keeping a client versus losing them. Clients want to know that the professional they are visiting and paying money cares about them. And the more personal you can make it, the more the client will value you.

  • karri

    I had two major surgeries in the course of 2 months and moved two salons during ( if you dont work you dont work there seems to be there way salon owners think) and I sent hand written notes to everyone. I have not lost a single client thank god! Its the little things that go a long way. They feel connected to you as a friend when you take time out to remember the small things. Fortunatly it has paid off for me bc I am still doing well even after missing so much work and moving so much!!

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