by Mark T. Palermo

In a recent random survey of more than 100 professional hairdressers, a vast majority admitted reluctance in making a professional recommendation of salon hair-care products to their clients. The primary reason? Sympathy. The massivemedia coverage of a "doom and gloom" economic outlook is leading hairdressers to presume their clients are strapped and thus not able to purchase professional salon products. Oh, contraire!

Our recent research paints quite a different picture. The short of it is this: Consumers are continuing to seek outhigher priced, professional oriented hair care products, just not in salons. Unfortunately, we, the professional beauty industry arethe culprit, more so than the economy. Take for example, the following quotes from a recent Advertising Age report:

"Salon Sales Struggling, but Consumers Still Seek High-End Products". 

"Recession or not, salon hair care products are proving to be hot commodities - just not in salons."

"Alberto-Culver Co. reported that it's Nexxus brand, an exclusive salon brand converted to mass distribution three years ago, had grown sales at a double digit pacelast quarter".

Source: Advertising Age, a leading authority on consumer trends, marketing, and branding.

Additionally, consider these historical industry facts:

1. The biggest complaint, time and again, from salon clients regarding their salon hair service experience is not knowing how to replicate the hairstyle
    provided by their hairdresser.
2. Professional working women, the industry's primary targetaudience, are more information - oriented than ever. They spend time at their cubical on
    breaks researching ways to sustain health, wellness, and beauty.
3. Professional working women, many of which are single moms, work the equivalent of a 13 month year.
4. Professional working women rank their hairdresser second only to their gynecologist as the professional service provider they are most likely to confide
    in on personal matters.
5. There is a direct correlation between client retention/loyalty and salon Take Home hair care.
6. Professional working women equate their image with job security, status and advancement.
7. Professional working women perceive premium priced professional hair care as a necessary aspect of their home hair care regime.

The aforementioned paints a very clear picture - there is a widening gap between hairdresser misperceptions and consumer behavior. The most troubling aspect of the trend is equally clear: if not properly addressed by the professional beauty industry the recent trend will most certainly lead to an adverse ripple effect that could threaten salon cash flow/working capital, hairdresser incomes, but most importantly the integrity and credibility of the professional hairdresser.

"We see a lot of potential in the conversion [of consumers] from salon to retail."  - Casey Keller, U.S. President of Alberto-Culver Co.

No worries! Vanguard Salon Systems has the solution! Fortunately, we have proven expertise in helping salons maximize the eight key areas (profit centers) of your business. When given the opportunity, Vanguard Salon Systems and John Paul Mitchell Systems can help you turn this trend in a positive direction and thus protect the multi-billion dollar "Take Home" revenue stream the industry has enjoyed for decades. I strongly urge every Vanguard/JPMS salon to meet with yourVanguard representative as soon as feasible. You will be amazed by our results - put us to work and you can see first hand..."The Vanguard Difference".

Mark Palermo is the CEO of Vanguard Salon Systems, Inc., a full service beauty distributor,Vanguard Consulting, an industry research and consulting firm, and Vanguard College of Cosmetology, A Paul MitchellPartner School. He has a BA Degree in Finance and Management with a concentration in Marketing. Prior to joining the professional beauty industry, Mark worked as abusiness analyst for the prestigious Dun & Bradstreet Corporation. Mr. Palermo has been recognized for his perceptive analysis and intuitive foresight. He has a remarkable track record for predicting industry trends for more than 18 years.
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