The Shop Salon gives clients a
The inviting atmosphere at The Shop Salon in Bethesda, MD,
perfectly complements the staff’s friendly
professional service. “In our industry there
is a lot of pretension,” says co-owner
Aaron Claxton. “We’re not about that.
We’re about getting to know everybody
and making them feel welcome.”
After working for the previous owner
for several years, Claxton and business
partner Kevin Burkart bought the salon in
2006 and renovated the 1,300-square-
foot upper level about a year ago. The
casual, calming space features floor-to-
ceiling windows, which provide plenty of
light for the salon’s many plants, and an
earthy palette punctuated by splashes of
color. Claxton also incorporated as many
eco-friendly design elements as possible;
for example, he chose to refurbish salon
chairs instead of buying new ones.
“Clients were so thrilled with the way the
renovations turned out,” he says. “We
saw a huge jump in walk-in traffic too—it
almost doubled in the first month.”
Up next, Claxton plans to renovate
the salon’s lower level, and will continue
to place a big emphasis on education.
“Everyone here is fantastic about keeping
up to date with cutting and coloring
techniques,” Claxton says. “Bethesda is an
affluent area with a lot of salons, but we
believe that the way you get more clients is
by building the relationship with the clients
you have and doing a great job.” —L.A.
Styling stations at
The Shop Salon
Putting a fresh spin on PR strategies is worth its weight in gold.
Beauty pros on the lookout for a surefire way to boost foot traffic in their salons would do
well to tap into the power of public relations. According to Sheryl Cooper and Jennifer
Geisman of Star PR, a press service that helps businesses catch the attention of the opinion
leaders at consumer and trade press venues, 99 percent of what people read and hear
results from a simple press release that’s been sent out. “Salon clients are influenced
by what they see in magazines, the Internet and TV,” Geisman says. “Keeping them
informed about what’s happening in their communities is paramount to branding your
salon, maintaining loyalty and heightening consumer awareness, particularly among new
customers. Here, the duo share Star PR’s public relations rules that will help distinguish
your salon from the competition. For additional tips, visit starprnow.com.
Know your goal
Why are you looking for publicity? Do you want to expand your business, forge community
relations, or increase or maintain clientele in a competitive market?
Once you’ve set your goal, develop a strategy. The big holiday rush is long gone and that
usually means a lull in local media markets—the perfect time to make the press aware of
what’s new and unique about your salon. For instance, are you helping to raise money for a
charity, launching a new color technique, hosting a guest speaker or expanding your salon
hours? This is your chance to get your name out there.
Do your homework
Assign a point person who’s responsible for reporting news to the press. At the minimum,
you should have a database on hand that contains key contact information for press
members of broadcast media, trade magazines and online news sources.
Establish a system for dealing with media calls and answering them promptly. When the
call comes in, get the reporter’s name and affiliation, find out what the topic is and the
deadline for responding, and then determine who is the best person to handle the request.
Spread the word
Get the message out by sending the press an e-mail blast with your contact information, a
creative headline (a must) and five sentences about what your salon is promoting.
Good follow-up skills are crucial. Reporters are constantly on deadline, and being sensitive
to their schedules will help foster lasting relationships with them. Phone calls and e-mail
follow-ups are equally important, however don’t inundate their inboxes. Finally, don’t
be discouraged if reporters lack interest in what you’re pitching—the topic may not be
appropriate for them at the moment, but keep the lines of communication open. —K.D.