By Emma Sandler
Following a wave of charitable GoFundMe accounts to solve for sudden furloughs and layoffs, beauty companies are in search of more viable ways to support their salon partners and unemployed beauty professionals.
GoFundMe has become a popular solution for the beauty industry, but ultimately puts the onus of financial support onto customers. Instead, some beauty brands are reconfiguring their business models to directly financially support their salon and spa partners — undoubtedly essential sales channels — by revamping their affiliate programs. The at-home hair dye brand dpHUE raised its commission payout from 35% to 50%, Playa raised its commission from 20% to 30%, and skin-care brand Dermalogica increased its commission from 15% to 30%. Other brands are also trying to re-employ out of work hairstylists and makeup artists by on-boarding them online: L’Oréal-owned DTC hair dye brand Color & Co. began onboarding more colorists onto its digital platform, while DTC makeup brand Il Makiage plans to hire out of work makeup artists to host beauty tutorials with customers.
Premium hair-care brand R+Co revamped its affiliate program on March 23; it previously had an opt-in affiliate program for salons since 2014. Now, it automatically enrolled all 2,000 salons to the program, increased the commission from 20% to 40% for stylists, and accelerated the payment schedule from 30 days to every Friday, said Dan Langer, R+Co president. R+Co also provided each salon with a unique code to send to their clients that brings shoppers directly to its website; a pop-up window explains which salon that person is supporting to reinforce that it is a shop-local program.
“It’s important for us that salons feel they still have a business, that they are part of their communities, and that they can interact and pay their staff,” said Langer.
Historically, Langer said selling products has contributed between 10% and 30% to the overall revenue of each R+Co salon partner. The professional channel is also R+Co’s largest sales channel, but Langer declined to cite specifics figures. He said that salons that “embrace” the program are doubling their typical sales because they have shifted their focus to e-commerce and are doing virtual consultations, recommendations and client outreach. Over the first two weeks of the revised program, R+Co has generated over $100,000 for salon partners; the goal is to pay out $500,000 in the first 30 days, Langer said.
“What we have embarked on over the last few weeks is turning every salon and colorist into a digital micro-influencer,” he said. “We have started to teach and coach them, because not everyone knows how to become an online retailer.”
R+Co is posting daily webinars on tips and tricks on selling in a virtual world, providing one-on-one coaching sessions with salons to create custom digital strategies for them. It now has a podcast that features successful salon partners as guests. On its own Instagram page, R+Co has a new series on shopping local, where the brand reposts when a salon shows how it is servicing its clients remotely.
Color & Co. is taking a different approach to supporting salon colorists by trying to employ individuals directly. Before salon closures, Color & Co. provided roughly 100 consultations a day and had about 45 colorists on its platform, who handled consultation requests at their leisure. Consultations are now at nearly 500 a day and growing, and the company has added another 70 colorists, said Olivier Blayac, Color & Co. general manager. On-boarding for colorists takes up to seven days — the objective is to add at least 250 more colorists to the network in the coming two weeks.
The intent of Color & Co.’s business model was always to supplement the income of colorists. Colorists earn $10 for a customer’s initial purchase following a personal consultation and $1 for every purchase the customer makes after that. Blayac said that the average lifetime value of an individual customer is $20 for a colorist, and the average length of a consultation is 11 minutes. With Color & Co. likely becoming some colorists’ full-time occupation right now, they could earn $200 a day on consultations alone if they completed four every hour for five hours. Color & Co. is now also providing new colorists with a direct link to send to their clients.
Blayac credits the growing customer familiarity with telemedicine and the onslaught of remote work with changing people’s perceptions around at-home consultations. Preconceived ideas about what could be accomplished remotely and virtually are being dismantled, leading people to become more accepting of a product and brand like Color & Co.
“The concept of a video constitution has spread very rapidly and effectively across the country and globe, and hesitant users who would have found it strange to talk to someone through a video chat before are finding it’s not a problem anymore,” he said.