Business Management

Week 7: Becoming the “It” Place to Party

These days, most salons offer party packages of some type or another. You may service the occasional bridal or birthday party, or maybe you market a “Girl’s Night Out” party package for clients to book with their friends, but have you fully tapped into the party market? Have you ever thought about actually throwing the party yourself?

These days, most salons offer party packages of some type or another. You may service the occasional bridal or birthday party, or maybe you market a “Girl’s Night Out” party package for clients to book with their friends, but have you fully tapped into the party market? Have you ever thought about actually throwing the party yourself?

Instead of waiting for a client to call and book a party for 10 friends (a great idea in itself, by the way), why don’t you become the party planner yourself? Make your salon the “It” place to party — and you, the salon owner, become the “hostess with the mostest.” It’s as easy as picking a day (or night) and making it a recurring, happening event. You can do your own Girl’s Night Out (GNO) party every Thursday, say, marketing it to your existing clients, placing ads in the local papers and magazines, and cross-marketing with other like-minded business owners in your area. You can offer shortened, discounted services (mini manis and pedis) or you can simply keep your regular service list and have clients book appointments during the designated GNO hours. Play fun music, have refreshments on hand, and create a fun atmosphere for ladies to come and hang out.

Mani Pedi Cutie (Hermosa Beach, Calif.) salon owner Ally Conley hosts Happy Hour every Wednesday from 5 p.m – 7 p.m. Clients are encouraged to book appointments during this time and come in with friends. Wine or beer is served and Conley also puts out homemade snacks and treats. (We encourage you to check to see if you need a liquor license. Usually if you're giving away a small quantity and not selling drinks, you should be fine without a licence.) Sometimes the happy hour has a theme (one time when I went it was a Mexican Fiesta with Corona beer and mini tacos). She doesn’t discount services, but offers clients a free hand scrub and tasty treats (as seen in the above photo). Women come in for their services with friends and stay to linger over the food, drinks, and conversation. Conley acts as the consummate hostess and introduces guests to each other to encourage everyone to hang out.

Polished Nail Bar (Charlotte, N.C.) salon owner Sonny Kim says 50% of his business is parties. Every Wednesday night is Sangria and Manicure Night, and it always attracts a large crowd. Kim advertises in local weeklies and monthlies to attract groups of friends who might be looking for something fun to do together. By now, everyone in Charlotte knows that Polished is the place to be on Wednesdays. In order not to leave their male clientele out of the equation, Polished also hosts Sunday Beer and Pedicures for the men, where they fire up the flatscreens with sports.

Parties or theme nights can be a great alternative to a group dinner or cocktail hour at a bar. By creating an atmosphere in your salon where people want to congregate, you can help establish your salon as the “It” place to party on specific nights of the weeks.

— Hannah Lee

 Coming Next Week: Using Downtime to Your Advantage  

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