In this excerpt from “The A-List Salon: Insider Secrets of How Profitable Salons Wow Their Clients Every Day,” author Veronica Woods discusses how A-List salons plan for longer term growth by watching the trends in the industry.

The savvy A-List salon owner stays ahead of the trends and exploits opportunities for future revenue streams (with a new offering or even a new business). And she makes changes before troubling trends jeopardize current sales. Emerging fashion trends, new health care knowledge, lifestyle changes and the economy can change how consumers spend money on beauty.

Here are a few ways to spot key consumer trends:

  1. Observe trends in your own shop. For example, note whether more clients ask questions about a particular health concern, want advice about an at-home beauty challenge or notice a celebrity hairstyle. Your sales reports also reveal new permanent shifts in the demand for your services.
  2. Discover new trends beyond your salon. Watch what services are popular in salons outside of your city, as a client or as a part of an educational seminar. What is hot in one city today can be the rage in another a year later. Also, keep up with online beauty discussions, reflecting new concerns and needs of salon consumers across the country.
  3. Pay attention to global beauty industry statistics, including sales volume and revenue for skin, hair, and cosmetics products and services. Although the beauty sector has been fairly consistent through economic booms and busts, you can learn from monitoring new product launches. A boom within a specific demographic group or a shift in category (i.e. color, relaxers, etc.) sales can speak volumes.
Here are a few salon trends that should be on your radar

Trend #1: More DIY clients

“Back in the ’50s, women would come in every week for a roller set,” said Chelle Morrison of Urban Betty Salon (Austin, Texas). Today with access to instructional videos on YouTube, hair care technology advances, and the pinch of harder economic times, clients do more on their own. And with better products available at drugstores, consumers have more options to do so.

A-List Salon Opportunity

Offer how-to classes to clients. Urban Betty offers a blowout class for clients who want to improve their at-home maintenance techniques. In this paid seminar, a stylist leads a small group of clients in a 90- minute session on techniques such as how to properly use a round brush.
Trend #2: Busier Schedules

Worn out from juggling family and work commitments, women more often view long full service hair salon appointments as time drains. At the same time, some women (non-DIYers) still prefer the “salon polished look” but in a shorter time.

A-List Salon Opportunity

Launch of blowout only (no cuts or color) salons. Word of mouth buzz of this trend spread through beauty bloggers as well as coverage in USA Today and the Wall Street Journal. Shelley O’Neal, owner of The Hair Bar (Southlake and Dallas, Texas) visited a blowout salon in another city and saw dollar signs.

Trend #3: Clients want to embrace natural textures

For African-American and other curly-haired clients, relaxing and straightening treatments have been a staple for decades. Recently, this trend has dramatically declined right before stylists eyes. Today, the natural hair revolution has hit the mainstream with an explosion of new products from major manufacturers and relaxer sales continuing to drop.

A-List Salon Opportunity

Hire staff that can handle curly hair clients. Dickey of Hair Rules Salon has been a leader in this arena, helping to redefine women, by hair texture instead of ethnicity. He hires stylists capable of handling a wide range of curl patterns.

Trend #4: Men want upscale personal grooming, too.

Men are one of the fastest growing segments in beauty today. Global sales of male beauty products will grow from $19.7 billion in 2009 to $28 billion by 2014, according to Mindbranch research[1]. Researchers explain this increase by the changing attitudes among men about grooming and a labor shift toward more white collar jobs.

A-List Salon Opportunity

Create an upscale barbershop to cater to men. Chris Hurn and his partners saw these growth statistics and wanted to offer men an alternative to an estrogen-dominated environment. He built the Kennedy’s All American Barber Club franchise to capitalize on the demand of upwardly mobile men for fine a haircut and shave.

About the Author

Veronica Woods, MBA, provides consulting, coaching and training services that enable beauty businesses to attract and retain more happy clients— and earn greater profits. To learn more about The A-List Salon book, go to