The Secret Ingredient to a Thriving Business
by Janet Brewer
For so long, I saw myself as just another stylist and I wasn’t happy. I had clients who had been coming to me for years --- decades in some cases -- but I felt my business was stagnating and I was on my way out.
A new restaurant had just opened up next door, transforming our once derelict block into a new and vital part of the Ballard neighborhood. It was clear to me that the key was Internet exposure and I wanted to understand how it worked and how it might impact my business.
The graphic designer I hired estimated it would cost between $15,000 and $20,000 for photos, graphics and web design. I was looking for a photographer to take high-end photos of my best work and was referred to Jenn Morgan.
Jenn was direct. She told me that I could certainly pursue the Internet idea and end up with a beautifully designed website, with snazzy photos. But a new website without a strategy that I have the skills to implement, she said, won’t create business results. I would spend a lot of money for a makeover that didn’t generate new clients.
She probed and plotted, recognizing that my talents, as evidenced by a loyal client base, went way beyond just styling hair. And she forced me to contemplate the answers to questions I never thought to ask myself: “Why do my customers keep coming back?" Jenn told me the answer to that question could be leveraged as part of a strategy to bring new clients through the door. A strategy that I could easily do with my unique skill set.
Jenn helped me realize that more than a hair stylist, I am an artist who thinks of hair as the canvas that frames the most beautiful part of a person: their face. This new way of recognizing myself was exciting and gave me new confidence and passion to grow my business. Jenn pointed out that I already have a captive audience for marketing myself; those loyal customers in my chair for hours at a time. With the right message, they might just help me fill my appointment calendar.
Jenn designed a word-of-mouth campaign called “a recipe card for great hair,” which highlighted the unique way I think about my clients' hair. Then, she had me share the card with them as they sat in my chair, sparking conversations about their experiences as my clients and about the type of client I enjoy working with. This got them thinking about who among their friends and family they would refer to me.
“Janet Brewer: Your Secret Ingredient for Beautiful Hair” became my trademark. And when someone complimented one of my clients on her hair, she’d respond, “I have a secret ingredient. It’s my hairstylist. You should go see her.” My clients distributed the recipe cards to friends and colleagues. And the strategy paid off.
I was able to leverage my loyal client base to bring new ones through the door.
In two months, I was booked solid and within a year and for the next two years, I had to stop accepting new clients, referring them to other stylists. Three years later, I moved my business to a more prestigious neighborhood in a new salon, where many clients followed. Jenn led me to fall in love with my business and it’s been eye-opening to see myself from my clients’ perspective. For the first time in three years, I have openings in my schedule and I’m interviewing potential clients to determine if we are a good match.
I no longer think of myself as in competition with other stylists; I feel like I’m in a league of my own. Promoting myself has become a natural extension of the experience I create for my clients. I never would have guessed that communicating my unique value is the secret ingredient to a thriving business and the key to feeling fulfilled in my work.
Janet Brewer, Stylist and Color Specialist
Schedule a consultation , 206-235-6230
“Janet Brewer: Your Secret Ingredient for Beautiful Hair” became my trademark. And when someone complimented one of my clients on her hair, she’d respond, “I have a secret ingredient. It’s my hairstylist. You should go see her.”
"I no longer think of myself as in competition with other stylists; I feel like I’m in a league of my own."