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Last updated: August 02, 2017

Salon Business BOOsters

Your guide to a scary successful Halloween in the salon...

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By Katie Harrington


When it comes to seasonal promotions, Christmas is all about holiday updos; Valentine’s Day means sexy styling and Mother’s Day is geared toward pampering hardworking moms with luxurious treatments and services. But Halloween? That’s when you can really scare up your creativity! Each year, as costumes become increasingly elaborate, clients invest more in their end-of-October parties—including hair and makeup created by you! Here’s some advice for making the most of the holiday in your salon.


Consultations are Key
Just like any other salon service, consultations are crucial. Invite your client to come in prior to her party for a free, 15-minute consultation. It will ensure you’re on the same page creatively, it will give you time to prep for the look she wants and it will enable you to gather all of the supplies that you will need. Plus the free session comes with a psychological advantage. “In any industry, free sampling is always the best marketing tool you can possibly use,” says Richard Parrot, President of Ricky’s NYC, which sells an array of hair products and makeup that can be used for special effects. “So to have someone come in for a free consultation is the way to do it. After spending 15 minutes with you, they’re going to feel like, ‘Wow, this is really personalized, this really is about me. Let’s set up an appointment!’”


Do Your Research
Think you can throw together a costume service the week before All Hallows’ Eve? Think again. “We’re in the business 365 days a year,” reveals Richard. “We watch trends in Halloween costumes the same way we watch trends in fashion.” To ensure success, determine which costumes are expected to be popular so you’ll be prepared to create the looks your clients want.


According to Richard, many favorites from last year will be in demand again this year. Number one on Ricky’s Halloween Hit List? Anything related to Day of the Dead. Animal makeup is also expected to be popular, particularly of the feline variety. “This will be the biggest year we’ve seen for makeup,” predicts Richard. “Years ago, you could throw on a black cat suit and a pair of ears and say, ‘Great, I’m a cat.’ Now, people want serious makeup to complete the costume.” Another tip? Study pop culture to determine possible favorites. “Mad Max,” “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Orange is the New Black” are likely contenders for “most popular” this year.


Intricate animal makeup will be big this year—
especially anything of the feline variety.


Get Social
By now, everyone understands the power of social media for showcasing your work, and that goes for your cats, zombies and mermaids, as well as your highlights! So start filling those Instagram and Facebook pages! “Social media is so important,” says Barbara Stansbury, Manager of Dupre’s Salon & Day Spa in Virginia Beach, VA. “It’s been awesome to be able to target people who really are interested in our work.” To make the most of its social media channels, Dupre’s hosts an annual photo shoot at the salon about a month before the holiday with the Halloween hair and makeup team. “We create costumes, get dressed up, take pictures and use those images to promote our services!” says Barbara.


Customize the Experience
Three years ago, Ricky’s introduced a service called Costume Concierge. “We sold out every appointment last year!” Richard says. “It was so overwhelming that we realized we didn’t charge enough!” The notion behind Costume Concierge is that coming up with an idea for a Halloween costume is half the battle, so helping clients decide what to be is a great way to add value and a personal touch. “The key words are personalization, unique, service, consulting—almost like a personal shopping experience,” says Richard. “That’s how you want to pitch it. Say, ‘Listen, you don’t want to look like everyone else. Why don’t you let us help you make your costume unique?’”


At Dupre’s Salon, Barbara and her team click through Pinterest for inspiration and then source supplies from local thrift shops and craft stores. They also get creative with homemade materials such as oatmeal and corn syrup to create fake wounds and food coloring for blood. “Sometimes the more creative you are, the more realistic it ends up looking!” says Barbara.


Last year, the stylists at Dupre’s Salon & Day Spa sourced seashells
from a local beach to create a mermaid costume for a client.