Q&A: Opening a Salon Without a Clientele

Hi Candice,
Very inspiring story. I have a question: did you have clients when you opened? I'm opening Sept. 1 and am wondering how I can build my clientele without spending money on expensive advertising.

Hi Solo!
I'm glad my story is inspiring to you and wish you luck on your opening! I did not have any clients when I opened the studio, except my two practice clients. The only money I spent on advertising was the shop sign, business cards, and the card stock to print up my special offer fliers that I handed out. So far my sources for new clients are 1) word-of-mouth referral, 2) handing out business cards to people who compliment my nails, and 3) Craigslist.
Since I am new to this industry, I really didn't want a ton of clients right at the start, as I wanted to work out the kinks in the studio layout and services, and that was really great. I'm actually surprised at how many clients I was able to generate in the first five weeks without putting out too much effort!
My family is moving this weekend, and after we get settled I have a few things that I will be doing to try to generate new business:
--Facebook account: I've been told by a few people that they generate a couple new clients a month with this.
--Putting together a special offer for hairstylists and going to every salon in the area that doesn't offer nails and introducing myself, perhaps over the course of a few months.
--More Craigslist ads. I only ran a few of these and got at least one service from each ad! Not bad for free advertising. I am considering targeting my ads to specific services on specific days to try to keep my books balanced as I build; this did work for one day where I wanted to fill a gap.
--I probably will do some business to business sales calls as well, but am planning to prioritize going to hair salons first.
—Candice, Panache Nail Studio, Marysville, Wash.

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