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How To Prepare For The Silly Season


'Tis the season to be jolly and with the festive spirit almost palpable in all its glory, as a lash artist, you know there is work to be done.

Family dinners, work parties, and short getaways are on your clients' to-do lists, and each one wants to look their best. This is where you step in. You must make this season your busiest and most profitable. How are you preparing for it?

We bring you some critical aspects you need to touch upon as you make way towards this busy period. Let's look at them:

Reassess last the previous year’s data

To plan ahead, you ought to revisit your previous year's sales data and bookings. Outline the sales from last December until now, what were the problems you faced or which services and products sold better? What marketing tactics did you use, did they work? Did you have a sufficient supply of stock and enough staff to cater to your clients? Bear in mind the bookings against the cancellations; maybe for this year, you will have to define clear cancellation fee guidelines, waiting list rules, and follow-up services to avoid commotion or losses. It is imperative to understand your sales, marketing, and management tactics from last year to improve and prepare. 

Promote your offers

Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motors, quoted, "Stopping marketing to save money is like stopping your watch to save time." Make sure you throw the word out there to your clients about what you are offering this season. Send newsletters, email, use your social media pages and SMS to promote your services, urging them to make their appointments well in advance before you are fully booked out and miss out on the festive deals. Get your clients excited about the festive season by offering them exclusive deals/discounts. You could even send customized holiday cards to your clients to add a personal touch. Remember, the earlier you create the buzz, the more people you will reach.

Stock up your inventory

With a sure fire earning opportunity coming your way, you wouldn't want to lose it to understocking your inventory. Anticipate your customer flow, the services that would be more in-demand, e.g., maybe your clients would wish to have Russian volumes this holiday season instead of their quintessential classic lashes, and how prepared you are with your plan.

Whether cross-selling or upselling, consider attractively packaged gift packs or add-ons specifically for the holiday season. Well-packaged hampers bump up sales because they make the products more desirable, convenient, and have a higher brand recall. One way to ensure you have enough eyelashes, glues, cleansers, brushes, and bags well stocked up is to order them now. You don't want to hear back from your suppliers that they have sold out. Consider the shipping period and delivery time, and ordering them in late October or early November would be ideal. Remember shipping this year will have more stress on it than ever before!

Staffing

Your business is as good as your staff. It would be best to outline the roster for your team before the crazy silly season hits like an avalanche. Ensure that your staff knows your salon's opening and closing hours to avoid any heated showdowns or last-minute staff shortages. Direct them to take their annual leave before or after the busy period. Given the work pressure, the holiday season demands, keeping your staff motivated by creating rosters with adequate breaks between their appointments is imperative. Make sure their overtime work hours are compensated for as per the Labor laws of your state. You may even want to consider the fact that with increased traffic, you will need additional help. Hiring an extra pair of hands will ease the pressure to do the trivial but important errands like tidying up the salon, bookings, answering calls, etc.

Look after your staff's wellbeing because, without a motivated team, you may struggle to hit your targets. Acknowledge their hard work and treat them with rewards and incentives to encourage them to work for themselves and at the same time reach your business goals. If you are a sole trader, you have more leverage to decide your number of work hours but make sure you are not overworked or stressed. It may be a good season for earning those extra bucks but don't burn yourself out. If you need to include a holiday season surcharge, or just charge more if you are squeezing in extra appointments, DO IT!                   

Décor

What is Christmas without a bit of fanfare? Light up the Christmas tree, fill up the stockings, hang some festoons, and spread the holiday cheer. We may be exaggerating a bit here, but you get the drift. You don't have to go over the top with the decorations, but creating a holiday atmosphere is excellent for your business and boosts your team's morale. Create a corner for the special merchandise; you could offer a drink or some Christmas cookies to welcome your clients. Introduce gift cards, holiday packaged hampers, and exciting loyalty programs to soft sell to your clients. Create a selfie corner in your salon to encourage your clients to take a photo and share it on social media with an assigned hashtag. A unique hashtag could boost the popularity and reach of your salon. 

Although January is a quieter period for any business, revisit your clients' booking history and send them an email or phone reminder of their next appointment. Try reminding them of buying their next foaming pump or a new eyelash brush. With business slowing down, don't stress yourself out; you and your team deserve some downtime before you get inundated with follow-up infill appointments soon. So, enjoy the calm while you can.