A Comprehensive Guide for your Salon Retail SUCCESS

By Samuel Tokko

Know your value as a hairdresser and take advantage.

Know your value as a hairdresser and take advantage.

The opportunities for success are endless for cosmetologists. You don’t need to be a famous hairdresser or spend more money on classes to taste financial success.. You just need to know your value as a hairdresser, grow your clientele, and take advantage. There’s no better way to do this than through salon retail. If you’re an independent stylist or a salon owner that wants to expand, this guide is for you.



Identify who your clients are. You may have a diverse set of clients, but there should be one characteristic that is similar to most of your clientele. If you’re good at creating beautiful blondes, find products that prevent breakage specialized to fortify damaged hair. Maybe you specialize in curly hair; find products created for curly hair that can tackle dryness and frizz.

Find products that cater to your clients.

Find products that cater to your clients.


Establish your expertise for your target market. You might be getting clients for haircuts when you want to be known as hair colorist. Make sure to change the descriptions on your website, Yelp, and social media to reflect that you’re a hair color specialist. Make sure that you have a presence on the following platforms:

Don’t forget to take a look at what your colleagues and competition are doing. What are they selling? Try to be different and carry another competitive product that they don’t. For example, if they carry Olaplex, then you carry Brazilian Blowout. If everyone carries those two, then maybe look to carry BRAE Bond Angel.


If you specialize in hair color, you would sell after-service products to maintain the colors. Color shampoos are great for clients to re-tone their own hair instead of having to keep coming in. In this business, the more you educate, the more people will show you love. If they enjoyed the color shampoo that you got for them, they’ll most likely buy it off of you again along with additional services.

If you’re a colorist, carry after service products.

If you’re a colorist, carry after service products.



Some amazing events to look for products are at hair and beauty trade shows. The most popular shows for salons and salon professionals are:

Find out when the next shows are make plans to go with your colleagues from the salon.

Find great products at beauty trade shows like IBS New York.

Find great products at beauty trade shows like IBS New York.

The next place you should look is online. Google every product that you’re interested in and you’ll be surprised at how many companies sell the same products, from big companies to smaller ones.


Go outside of the norm of just selling hair care and enter the hair extension market. Joi Hair is a salon exclusive hair extension company that carries 4 different extension options: bangs, ponytails, clip-ins, and halo style hair extensions. Ready-to-wear hair extensions are the ultimate up-sell products since they have the potential to make the most profit.

Enter your information here to see all their different extension packages.

Joi Hair Clip-Ins in beautiful balayage colors.

Joi Hair Clip-Ins in beautiful balayage colors.


Do your Research & dO THE MATH

Compare different brands’ prices and quality.

Compare different brands’ prices and quality.


Once you figure out where to get your hair products, make sure that you do your homework. Read up on how they work and what’s in them. You should ask the manufacturer or supplier these questions before placing an order:

  • Are they sourced ethically?

  • Are they tested on animals?

  • Do they contain harmful substances? (paraben, sulfate)

  • What if my products are defective when I receive them?

  • What is your return policy if I’m not satisfied?

  • Are going to be selling directly to consumers?

  • What is your suggested retail price? (MSRP)

  • Can I charge any price I want for these products?

  • How long have you been in business?

Once you get satisfactory answers for these questions, select 3-4 brands that you like the most and compare prices. When you find your wholesaling options, they will typically ask you for your cosmetology license information and your email.


Face it. All businesses have to do some math.

Face it. All businesses have to do some math.

Here’s an example of how I calculate retail prices:

If I buy 20 hair care products at $10 each, then how much can I sell it for? Here is a formula you can use:

Retail Price = (Cost of Product x Markup Percentage) + Cost

In a salon, we recommend that you can markup anywhere from 100% - 200% or even higher or rarer items. Here’s an example of the formula being implemented for our product if we marked it up 150%:

Retail Price = ($10 x 150%) + $10

Retail Price = ($10 x 1.5) + $10

Retail Price = $15 + $10

Retail Price = $25

Here’s a calculator you can use to do the math for you:

Markup Calculator

So, for a 150% price markup for my product would make $450 if I sold all 20 units. If we take our total revenue ($450) minus the cost of goods sold (20 units @ $10 each = $200), we would get $250 profit.

Total Sales Revenue - Cost of Goods = Profit

Even though, these practices are quite common, keep in mind your clients. Are they the type to spend $25 on hair care? If not, decrease your markup. Maybe, they are the type to spend more money on their hair than the average person. Then increase your markup. You’ll most likely have a mix of these 2 types of customers. Take my advice and keep the markup high until you see retail sales slow down.

Doing these calculations is a great way to make sure that you’re purchasing profit-making products and gives you insight for when you plan to purchase your next line of products.


Market & Believe in the Products you Sell.

if you don’t have a website, you’re practically invisible to new customers.

if you don’t have a website, you’re practically invisible to new customers.


If you don’t already have one, create either a website for your salon or for your professional services. Squarespace and Wix are great website platforms that you can design yourself to make a beautiful website. Make sure that you have lots of images and testimonies from your current clientele. With a website, potential clients will be to find you and the products you sell. If you have something unique like hair extensions, you can promote that on your website; for example: “Clip-ins, halos, bangs, and ponytail hair extensions, now available at Tokko Salon”.

Need advice on how to build a salon website? Check out A Comprehensive Guide to Create a Stunning Salon Website.


The best way to build hype on a product is to either wear or use the product yourself. Clients typically believe that their hairdresser is using the best products for their own hair. Tell them stories about the wonders the product has done for your hair and how things weren’t the same after you tried it.

Make sure the products you sell are the products you’d use yourself.

Make sure the products you sell are the products you’d use yourself.

Find companies that will give you free samples. Joi Hair gives you a free hair extension product along with your Joi Hair Package orders for you to try it yourself. When you apply to be a Joi Hair Distributor, they will send you the list of packages you can purchase from. Just fill out the form here, if you haven’t already.



Don’t be afraid of selling. Your clients trust you.

Don’t be afraid of selling. Your clients trust you.


There multiple points of contact when from when a customer books your services to when they leave the salon after the service. Each point of contact is an opportunity for you to market.

  1. Client books with you (online) - Build a list of client’s emails and promote new products that just came in to your salon retail store or any sales promotions.

  2. Client appointment reminders (phone or online or text msg) - If you have a new product or sale going on, include it in the reminders. If you have a receptionist, make sure he/she is in the loop.

  3. Client appointment day - Give reminders of what products would be best for them and what is on sale. (Make sure to fill out a Prescription Card!)

  4. Client rebooking - When they’re at the receptionist’s desk have the products displayed in front of them when they’re checking out.

  5. Client in between appointments - Email them again. Don’t overdo this, but at least email them once in between appointments.


Create a prescription card with products you recommend for your clients. Each card should have products specifically for the service they received.

Click here to download Free Quarter Page Prescription Cards x4 or Free Full Page Prescription Card.

Quarter Page Prescription Cards x4

Quarter Page Prescription Cards x4

Full Page Prescription Card

Full Page Prescription Card



Do the products you sell have pretty packaging? Clients want products that work, but the objects that catch their eye are the things that stand out. Pretty colors, high quality packaging, and cute phrases all contribute to the overall experience of the retail journey. If the products that you sell have beautiful packaging, then make sure those are on display. It will make your salon space a part of the retail experience.


Invest for your Future

Always invest in the future and you will be rewarded.

Always invest in the future and you will be rewarded.

There’s several ways a starting salon business can survive through salon retail: (1) save money, (2) find deals, and (3) invest for the future.


Your money should be primarily on advertising your salon or investing in products to sell to the clients you already have. From there, you can focus on the branding of your salon and decor.


Finding deals is a matter of researching and communicating. There are many great, small companies in the beauty industry that have incredible products that’ll give you a deal for either promoting them on your social media pages (for example, if you have 10K followers+ on Instagram), or if you buy in bulk.

Give the brands that you carry some love!

Give the brands that you carry some love!

Here are tips on finding deals:

  1. Google products that you want to sell.

  2. Make a list of the 3-4 brands your most interested in.

  3. Contact each company and ask if they have deals.

  4. If you have a high Instagram following, ask if they do anything if you tag or make a post of their products.


In the example in the previous section, we bought 20 hair care products at $10 each. We made $250 in profit after selling them for $25/unit. Use your profits to improve your business and reap the benefits.



Start to get familiar with numbers.

Start to get familiar with numbers.

I recommend getting at least 2 checking accounts: one for your personal finances and one for your business expenses. It makes doing your taxes and budgeting much easier. YNAB is great for not only track my personal finances, but my business ones as well. It gives reports on where my money is going towards and how much I’m saving every month, so I can set goals on future retail purchases.


Salon retail goals.

Salon retail goals.

If you follow the steps that I’ve provided, you can potentially double your earnings per month.

If you’re interested and you don’t know where to start, consider selling ready-to-wear hair extensions from Joi Hair. Check out the product offerings here and fill out your information here to get more info on pricing and packages.

In the meantime, I can’t wait for you to ramp up your salon retail hustle, I hope it’ll help push you to the place you want to be.