On the Road: Sun/Spa/Tan/Body, Evans, Ga.

Sree Roy visits an Evans, Ga. spa.

<p>Everything from lotion to cowboy hats are retailed at Sun/Spa/Tan/Body.</p>

The retail area of Sun/Spa/Tan/Body could almost be mistaken for a standalone retail boutique. I was blown away by the wide array of products available for sale in the suburban full-service salon — everything from the standard nail, skin, and hair products to fashion accessories like bracelets, sunglasses, headbands, swimsuits, and even stylish cowboy hats to go along with the salon’s Country-Western theme. Plus, the newly built-out upstairs featured additional retail displays, with more product lines soon to come. It was a model of salon retail excellence, but how, I wondered, did the salon move all of this product?

<p>Christina Williams gives me a Traditional Pedicure in one of the  salon’s two pedicure areas.</p>

When I asked owner Dawn Hadden about her retail sales philosophy, I soon found my answer (or answers, as it turns out). She ensures her employees are vested in their retail sales through a two-pronged approach: intense education on available product lines and a tiered commission system.

<p>To stay ahead of the competition, the salon recently expanded into a medispa, offering services like light therapy (shown), hair and vein removal, and teeth whitening.</p>

I was especially impressed with the education philosophy. Basically, in her salon, hairdressers get commission on hair products by default, as do nail techs on nail products, estheticians on skin care products, etc. But, the clever catch is, in order to earn commission on specific products outside of an employee’s immediate area of expertise, the employee must take an educational class on the specific product line. (Otherwise, if a nail tech sells a skin care product to a client, she earns zero commission on the sale.) For instance, nail tech Christina Williams took a class at The International Dermal Institute/Dermalogica Training Center in Atlanta, so she could earn commission on Dermalogica’s skin care products. The all-day class “showcased the company’s product lines and how they interact with the skin,” Williams said, adding that it was especially useful for her to learn about a Dermalogica hand/nail cream that she can retail as a home-care product. So it’s a win-win-win situation for the employee, the client, and the owner — more education means more informed sales, which means more sales, period.

<p>”I’m from Texas, and I have a boot fetish,” says owner Dawn Hadden (left) of her salon’s Country-Western inspired theme.</p>

The second prong of Hadden’s approach is a tiered commission system. Previously, Hadden offered a straight 10% commission on all qualified products; now, she offers between 5% and 10% commission, depending on how much product the employee sells. “Retail sales have gone up since I started this new system in September,” Hadden says. Sounds like another win to me.

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