Today’s consumers are utilizing beauty professionals for more than just a weekly facial or blowout; modern spas and salons have become learning centers for developing complete personal care regimens. Clients now expect education with any service or retail product purchase, but because makeup is frequently an impulse buy, they don’t often opt for a full lesson. Conversely, many professionals don’t have time to give clients impromptu makeup lessons! However, if you let a client go home with products she doesn’t know how to use, you risk fracturing the relationship. She may return the products or stop coming altogether. Transform this risk into an opportunity by offering makeup classes!
Concept of a Makeup ClassEffective makeup classes shouldn’t be limited to products the consumer has purchased — they should also introduce her to additional items she may want to buy. The class should be stimulating, fun, engaging and entertaining, enriching your relationships with clients and naturally building their interest in products rather than delivering a hard sell.
Anna Noble Churchill, owner of Synergy Spa & Aesthetics in Raleigh, N.C., decided to take her spa’s education offerings a step further than one-on-one makeup lessons by appointment. Synergy hosts social gatherings, advertised in-store and promoted via social media, that fill their location with excited clients. They offer hors d’oeuvres and champagne along with live demonstrations from vendors and employees. This casual, fun environment educates their clients and invariably brings a surge in retail sales, not only at that event but also in the weeks that follow.
Educational group events are quickly becoming the new industry standard. They allow beauty professionals to simultaneously educate groups of clients while they have their undivided attention and the professionals are not distracted with upcoming appointments. The following outline can help you get started introducing makeup classes into your spa.
LogisticsIt is important to plan the time, location and logistics of the makeup class in advance, drawing a diagram of the setup and conducting a mock run-through of the class to ensure it flows smoothly. All the following elements must be taken into consideration:
INSTRUCTORThe teacher of the class can be an in-house makeup artist — but only if they have strong communication skills and won’t get nervous in front of a group. You can also request an educator or representative from the vendor who provides your makeup. The latter option gives you the opportunity to promote the artist as a special guest, which excites clients.
SPACEClasses should be held in a space large enough to comfortably hold the group you’re hosting and accommodate a workspace for all who are physically working with the products. The area should have walking space for you to maneuver and mingle among your guests.
LIGHTINGClients want to see the instructor’s techniques clearly, so ensure that lighting is bright and clean. If you are using a model, auxiliary umbrella lights or LED lights are helpful. Make sure that you use bright enough bulbs to illuminate the face of the model. Also, always remember that your best light source for beauty is directly in front of the face, never above it.
SCHEDULINGIf you plan on using the main salon or waiting area, make sure it is blocked off in the schedule for the event.
Class StructureThere are several different types of class formats you can offer:
SEMINARHave an educator stand in front of the room to talk about products and demonstrate applications. This class format is excellent for larger groups.
HANDS-ON EXPERIENCESupply all attendees with testers or purchased products to apply as the main educator leads with step-by-step demonstrations. This works best with small groups or private parties. A few professionals should be available to assist attendees.
LUNCH AND LEARNTake a group of VIP customers to lunch at a private room of a local restaurant and show them new products, techniques and styles.
OPEN HOUSEHave multiple professionals stationed throughout your spa so customers can mingle and experience a variety of educational presentations.
WEEKLY CLASSTake your clients through a step-by-step application instructional focusing on a different layer each week of the month, such as Primer/Foundation, Concealing/Complexion, Highlight/Contour and Eyes/Lips.
Preparing for an EventIf conducting demonstrations, ensure that your testers are clean and aesthetically pleasing. If hosting a hands-on class, ensure there are enough testers and samples to go around. Provide the right tools for optimal results. Brushes are important. Don’t expect customers to learn how to apply eyeshadow with a cotton swab. To cover the costs of these tools, a reservation fee can be applied with the understanding that it goes toward their makeup purchases or covers the cost of the products they receive to use during the class and take home.
Make sure you place a product order for anything you plan to sell before the class. The class should be based around your inventory. Consumers don’t want to place an order for a product, they want to purchase the actual product in the moment while they are excited about it and take it home that day.
Planning and Setup for the EventLet’s break down all of the points into an event rundown, from start to finish. For example, if you’re planning a demonstrative or hands-on class for 10 of your VIP clients:
Planning and promoting should begin eight to 10 weeks in advance. Consider an in-store card and social media image with event details that both you and your customers can easily share.
Plan your setup and place your tester and sample order at least four weeks in advance and ensure you have the inventory to accommodate customer purchases.
Set up the designated space classroom style with two long tables that each seat five. Give each seat a lighted magnifying mirror, eye makeup remover, cotton pads and swabs, a set of brushes and an assortment of makeup including the customer’s foundation (which should be pre-matched before the event). Make sure that disposable mascara wands or personal mascara samples are available.
For the educator, set up a makeup chair at the front of the room and a model with a clean face, draped. Position two umbrella lights four feet in front of the model spaced about three feet apart to illuminate her face evenly.
Position the makeup tester unit on whichever side the instructor is working from and ensure they have all the brushes, disposables and tools required for the class.
Event Rundown5:45 P.M. TO 6:00 P.M.
Guests arrive for refreshments and take their seats.
6:00 P.M. TO 6:10 P.M.
The educator is introduced and opens the session with a brief breakdown of what the class will entail.
6:10 P.M. TO 6:50 P.M.
The educator applies a series of products to the model’s face while describing the technique, pausing between each product so guests can apply that product to their own face. Staff members walk around the room to assist anyone who needs help. By the end of the class, every guest will have applied a full face of makeup to themselves.
6:50 P.M. TO 7:00 P.M.
The educator summarizes the application and opens the floor for final questions. Guests then have the opportunity to purchase all the products they used during the class. Hands on makeup classes bring an excellent return in retail sales.
MarketingTo market the makeup class in your spa, place signs at each service station and in your lobby, and have all staff verbally invite clients who come in for treatments and makeup applications to attend and bring friends.
Outside the spa, send an email registration to your customer database, share fliers at nearby businesses and use local websites’ event calendar listings as well as social media. Printed and mailed invitations are another form of targeted marketing that can make people feel special.
Post-Event PublicityWord of mouth is a powerful business driver. In addition to verbal conversations, clients can now tell their friends about a great experience or makeup purchase in less than a minute via social media. Encourage this at your makeup class by transforming a table or clean backdrop into an Instagram station for guests to post about their purchases and new makeup looks in the moment.
Makeup classes help you utilize all the business-building tools at your disposal. While simply selling is great, selling a skill and an ongoing opportunity for hands-on learning strengthens your relationship with your clients and brings them back time and time again.