The pressure of adding retail to your professional beauty business can be daunting as hell. Plus, the fact you have any kind of social media presence means you've more than likely been inundated with random messages from people you've never met saying that you need to be part of their MLM team.
How fun and not at all annoying!
I feel you on this so hard! It took months and months and MONTHS of extensive research before I decided to jump head first into retailing. This blog entry is meant to help you sift through the crap and gain a better understanding of what to look for when doing your own research.
First things first, accept the inevitable facts. If you are in the professional beauty industry, there are very few exceptions to those who would not benefit greatly from adding retailing to their list of services. Freelance Makeup Artists & Hair Stylists (Film, TV, Bridal, Commercial, etc), Salons, Estheticians, Medical Aestheticians, Cosmetologists, I'm looking at you, kids. You'd ALL benefit. Plus, you're already selling product, whether you care to believe it or not.
But Jaxx, I actually DON'T sell anything so you're about to lose my attention.
Let me stop you right there, Suzie Q. If you use any products on yourself or on your clients, you're advertising for that company by way of product placement and professional usage. #FACTS
How many times has someone asked you what you put on them? What happened next?
Exhibit A: If you're a freelance Makeup Artist, you told them the product name and color and where to get it (Sephora, Saks, Ulta, Frends Beauty, CRC, Ricky's, where ever). Your client made note of the details and then bought it all.
Exhibit B: If you're in a the salon world and your salon doesn't retail makeup or skincare, your client complimented you on your eyeliner or lipstick or glowing skin. Since you didn't have those products in the salon to sell, you told your client where you got yours and they went there to buy their own.
You just made a huge cosmetic company more money.
You promoted their product for free and did not get a cut of the profit. If you've been in the industry for a while, think back to how many times this has happened to you. What do you think would happen to your bottom line, had you been able to keep some of those dollars rather than pushing them away?
Before you tell me that you use your Pro Discount from MAC to buy lip glosses and then sell them to your brides, you should know that you're not allowed to do that. It's illegal. All of those brands that you have a Pro Discount with grant you that lower price point so that they can get more product in the kits of professionals. Why? Because they're smart and realize that you are a very important part of their free, word-of-mouth advertising.
The next thing I want to get into is called DIVERSION, but that will need to be a separate post completely. Keep an eye out for that one, especially if you're in the salon or spa realm.
Let's move on to what you should be looking for when researching various retailing opportunities. You'll need a check list of sorts and it should look something like the following.
✔️Does this company offer professional grade makeup & skincare, perfect for bridal, production, salon, spa, and every day wear?
✔️Has this company been in business for more than 7 years?
✔️Can I get my hands on the company's financial projections and YTD sales? Has this company experienced consecutive quarters of growth each year?
✔️What kind of rating does this company have with the Better Business Bureau?
✔️Do I have the ability to create substantial profit margins? How substantial? Like 200%+ substantial? What are we talking about here?
✔️Will this company allow me to cater to people of all shades, undertones, & skin concerns?
✔️Will aligning myself with this company create luxury & exclusivity within my branding?
✔️In the direct sales world, will I have to worry about "end of month" purging?
✔️Does this company have more than one type of product? Is this company in more than one multi-billion dollar industry or will I need to start the research process all over again if I want to expand my services?
✔️Does this company offer free comprehensive online education?
✔️Does this company offer in-person training around the globe?
✔️Does this company offer continued advanced education for professionals?
✔️Does this company offer nutrition & wellness training, relating to beauty from the inside out from real licensed health professionals?
✔️Does this company have an impressive color range?
✔️Does this company also offer hair & body care products?
✔️Are there minimal startup costs & multiple partnership options?
✔️Will I get a website with my unique name attached or do I need to create an e-commerce site on my own?
✔️Will online orders be filled & drop shipped directly to my clients by the company or am I responsible for filling & shipping every single order?
✔️Will aligning myself with this company connect me to thousands of beauty & health professionals around the globe?
✔️Are there multiple ways to create ongoing income or am I restricted to retail profits alone?
✔️Will I be forced to build a team?
✔️Are new products launched every season?
✔️Can I conduct my business from anywhere?
✔️Are the products cruelty free?
✔️Is the compensation plan a MLM structure?
✔️Will I be required to meet absurdly high monthly minimums or carry lots of inventory?
✔️Will this help me defeat product diversion and keep my clients from buying at Sephora or elsewhere?
✔️Does this company give me the ability to custom blend skin therapeutic makeup uniquely to each client, guaranteeing their loyalty & repeat business?
✔️Can I attend trainings before I decide to partner to see if it’s a good fit?
✔️Do I have to push sell in order to make money?
✔️Is it possible for this business to become a will-able asset for my family & generations to come?
Like anything worth doing, making the decision to partner with a retail company can be overwhelming if you don't know where to start. Hell, it can be overwhelming if you know exactly where to start! I recommend you copy and paste this check list to your phone and go down line by line crossing things off. If you're unsure of the answer, seek it out. I urge you not to partner with a direct selling line simply because you know someone else who did. Do your own research because there's a very good chance they did not. Since you're the one who will need to pay your bills, you'll need to be the one who does your own due diligence.
I hope this entry has been helpful. Do you have questions for me? Ask below or email here.