The fairy tale version of owning a salon or spa is that you learn your trade, start your own business, deliver outstanding treatments and gain a large and loyal clientele that will make you both rich and fulfilled.  This is the happy-ever-after version!

The truth, however, is that you learn your trade, start your own business, deliver outstanding treatments and struggle constantly to pay your bills, take home a wage for yourself and make any kind of profit to re-invest into your business.

Things used to be sooo much easier!

The internet and social media didn’t exist and you didn’t have to contend with other salons competing energetically for your clients. On top of this, the beauty industry has also undergone a pretty intense revolution in the past 15 or so years with the introduction of more potent (and more expensive) products along with high-tech equipment now needed to deliver the level of results clients expect to get.  In other words, everything just costs more; and so more revenue needs to be generated to cover those higher costs.

All in all, the fairy tale version is done and dusted and newer, better strategies are now needed to generate more revenue and hopefully bigger profits that will help you to thrive and grow in your business.


And that’s where retail sales stride into the profit equation.


When you sell a service you are, in fact, selling your time.  But time is finite and so it’s important to understand that retailing can actually return 2-3+ times more profit (depending on the markup of your salon or spa retail range) for the same amount of time invested in producing a sale.

Both services and retail have a base cost but the important difference is in the time it takes to generate the sale. As an example, if you provide services for an hour and earn $75, you would make around $37.50 (average) in gross profit. However, if you sell a skincare product for $75 (with 100% markup) you would also make $37.50 in gross profit.

The difference, of course, is the time taken to generate the same amount of profit – 1 hour to deliver services vs 10-15 mins to sell a retail product.

These figures will vary a little from salon to salon due to the cost of labour and products as well as retail mark-ups, but there is absolutely no doubt that retailing is a far superior way to generate gross profits.

So now that you’re convinced you to need to sell more retail, what happens next? Here’s an overview of points to consider.

Recruitment – If retail sales are important to your long-term success (and they are), hire people who are not only good technically but who also have a proven sales record. Many therapists and stylists hate to sell. They are simply not comfortable with the process for a variety of personal reasons, so make sure that you focus on the retail capabilities of your new hires during the recruitment phase.  You will struggle big-time to convert someone who hates selling into even a mediocre retailer.

Training – No-one can sell something they know nothing about. Make sure your team members know your product ranges inside and out. Also, ensure they use these products personally as team members generally sell more successfully if they truly believe in the products they’re selling.

Targets – We all work better when we work towards a target. Keep your sales targets realistic and achievable and help team members to improve the skills they need to achieve them. Once they reach their targets, reward them appropriately.

Product Range – No matter how fantastic a product range is, if it’s too expensive or too cheap for your clients, you will find it hard to sell. Also, look for a range of products that offers your salon or spa a 100% markup and is not readily available online.


In summary, retailing should never be treated lightly in your business as it can literally make or break your business financially. Remember, the profits from retailing can far outweigh the profits from providing services and so it deserves your full attention and planning.