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Articles > How One Salon Sold $70K In Gift Cards In A Single Day
December 27, 2019

How One Salon Sold $70K In Gift Cards In A Single Day

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How To Sell More Gift Cards During The Holiday Season

A Seattle-area salon sold $70,000 worth of gift cards in 14 hours.

 

Read that again.

 

In one day, SEVEN® Salon in Bellevue, Wash. sold $70,000 worth of gift cards—and the formula this salon used can work for your salon, too. Want to learn how this salon did it, and how you can replicate it in your salon? Keep reading.

 

SEVEN Salon in Bellevue, Wash. has 41 chairs and 65 stylists.

First, some background on SEVEN Salon. It opened almost two decades ago as a 9-chair salon and has grown today to a 41-chair salon with 65 stylists in one of the Seattle area’s poshest shopping centers. The salon also produces and sells SEVEN® haircare products, created and tested by the salon’s hairdressers.

 

Strong business education forms the backbone of SEVEN’s education offerings, and its partner salons enjoy success by implementing the teachings they take away from SEVEN classes. Why? It’s because SEVEN is a “living lab,” testing new ideas, promotions and products in their salon before taking the best of what they’ve learned and teaching it to partners, said Sheue Pella, President of SEVEN haircare.

 

So how did SEVEN sell $70,000 worth of gift cards in one day? We’ll tell you!

 

The salon has its own product line, developed by its stylists and tested and refined in the salon.

 

They identified a problem and saw it as an opportunity.

In years’ past, a local store sold SEVEN gift cards ($70 for $100 in salon credit) for a three-month period during the holidays. In 2018, the store ended that partnership—so SEVEN VP of Education Monica Nguyen had to get creative.

 

“In that moment, we lost about $30,000 worth of sales over that three-month span,” Monica said. “We couldn’t just lose that money.”

 

One way SEVEN elevates the client experience: an on-staff barista creates custom coffee drinks for salon guests.

They tried a new tactic to see if it would work.

Monica and the SEVEN team decided to sell the gift cards themselves on Black Friday, the huge shopping day after Thanksgiving. They ran the same deal–$70 for $100 worth of salon credit—and put some fine print around the promotion:

 

  • They imposed a limit of 10 gift cards per person.
  • To get the deal, you had to come into the salon—no buying online or on the phone.
  • The card is like cash, meaning there are no refunds and it’s not replaceable if lost or stolen.

 

With limited promotion, the salon sold $50,000 worth of gift cards in 2018, so Monica went bigger for 2019. This year, she sent email blasts to clients and ran targeted social media ads, and it worked. In 14 hours, SEVEN sold $70,000 worth of gift cards.

 

Another way SEVEN elevates the salon experience: an on-staff DJ spins tunes all day, tweaking the music to fit the mood of the salon.

They enjoy year-long benefits of selling gift cards.

Here’s why salon gift card sales are so fantastic:

 

  • A client with a SEVEN gift card is going to come to SEVEN Salon, no matter what.

 

  • If a client doesn’t love their hairdresser, he or she is still going to come back to SEVEN and the salon has the chance to match that client with another service provider.

 

  • Some clients lose their cards, so redemption isn’t 100%.

 

  • When purchasers gift the cards to others, the salon gets new customers.

 

  • Instead of experiencing a slow January and February, the salon enjoys steady business from gift card customers.

 

Stylists love it, and here’s why.

Like we said, gift card sales help lock your clients to your salon. Stevie Lyons, a SEVEN Master Stylist, used these tactics to help boost gift card sales:

 

  • Explain to the client that buying gift cards would be a savings on the client’s next year’s worth of salon services—an investment in her style future!

 

  • Look up what the client has spent on salon services in the past year and give her an estimate on how much she will likely spend in 2020.

 

  • Suggest how many gift cards she should buy to cover the cost of her 2020 salon services.

 

SEVEN is a commission-based salon, so the stylist still sees the full value of the service—there is no price discount whatsoever. And it keeps their books full, so they love it!

 

SEVEN pays its monthly salon rent on its retail sales alone.

This formula works for any salon, anywhere.

Whether your salon is one chair or 40 chairs, this formula works, said Sheue. “A lot of SEVEN partner salons aren’t as large as our flagship,” she said. “While the numbers sound big, we’re sharing this because it works. The formula is there and you can apply it to whatever size your salon is—don’t let the numbers scare you.”

 

There’s a lot more to learn from SEVEN’s successes and challenges, too. “Our start was the same as many salons out there,” Sheue said. “Lots of things we did right, but a lot we did wrong, and learning from those things and getting better has helped us get to where we are today. The reason we are so successful in teaching business classes is that we are a salon ourselves.”

 

The company’s management team is all-female: President Sheue Pella, Director of Operations Lisa Biermann, Director of Sales Ashley Short, VP of Education Monica Nguyen and Director of Brand and Marketing Khristina Kravas.

Want to learn more business builders and other salon education?

If you’re interested in building your business, SEVEN can help. The company’s partner salons enjoy customized education based on their own challenges. “We handpick an educator who is best suited for a salon’s need,” Monica said. “If you’re struggling with rent, then it’s a product sales path. If you’re struggling with growth or feeling stagnant, that’s another path. There’s an opportunity for every struggle for every partner.”

 

Because SEVEN is a small company, that customized, high-touch service is a nonnegotiable part of doing business. Personal relationships are super important to the company’s management team. When Sheue came on as president, she sent a letter to partner salons and included her personal phone number.

 

“People texted me and said, ‘I don’t know you, but I’m impressed that you gave me your cell number, and that speaks volumes,’” Sheue shared. “I didn’t even think about that!”

 

And her goal for 2020 is to reach out via phone, email or text to every single one of SEVEN’s 500 partner salons to say hello. “The conventional wisdom is that strong relationships are built in person, and not over the phone. To overcome the disadvantage of not being able to walk into the salon, I wanted to make sure that our partners got something better, which is that they have access to our entire team all the way to the top, and not just their sales rep,” she said.

 

BTC Editorial Director Lauren Rees with Monica, Khristina and Sheue at the salon.

 

“We’re really about the salon owner—we benefit entrepreneurs. That can be somebody who rents a chair, that can be somebody who rents a studio or someone who has a commission salon for 50 stylists,” said SEVEN Director of Brand and Marketing Khristina Kravas. “If you have a dream of business ownership, if you have that pull that you know this is the right thing for you, that feeling of entrepreneurialism, we can help you.”

 

If you’re interested in learning more from SEVEN, click here to learn about DEFINE: Elevate, March 1-3 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. This three-day experience immerses you in topics of your choice—from running a prosperous salon to elevating your cutting or styling techniques. Want to learn more about carrying SEVEN? Click here. Or DM @sevenhaircare on Instagram.

 

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