Salon brands selling out

Lynne Baker

Lynne The Skin!
I see that two major brands have decided to either pull out of salons and spas, or allow their retail products to be sold online on high street shop websites.
I also see that there is an understandable amount of fury from existing stockists especially just before Christmas.
I wonder if people understand the real reason for these changes?
As a distributor I think I might be able to shed a little light on it from the other side.
On a number of occasions I have been approached by prospective customers who want a personal visit from us to show them the products, and chat about "what we're going to do to support them"
On one notable occasion a young lady wanted us to travel to Newcastle upon Tyne, carry out three different facials, free of charge, on her friends and family, so that she could make up her mind. She was a sole trader, working out of a spare bedroom, with no plans to expand. We respectfully declined her tempting offer, especially when she disclosed that she was looking at many different skincare ranges, and it was by no means certain that we were even frontrunners.
All those reps on the road cost a great deal of money. There's a salary, usually a car, pension, sick pay, annual leave, sales commissions, blah blah blah.
If, for a given sales rep, the return from his/her salon base doesn't cover his/her costs, it makes no sense to keep the reps, or indeed, the salons.
I have a couple of trade customers who spend very little with me, which is completely fine; we value all of them, no matter their monetary value to us. What IS a problem is that these 2 or 3 are the ones who are on the phone for hours, emailing us constantly, making unrealistic demands, always wanting a discount, or freebies, and ranting that we're not doing enough to promote their businesses.
Magnify that up to the scale of these companies which are "abandoning" their salon base, and you can see just how of an issue that could be.
For any business, including yours, the income has to be greater than the costs, otherwise it becomes financially unviable, and that's what I think has happened in these cases.
The cost of servicing tiny little accounts is too great to justify. If the salons are unable to buy enough, for whatever reason, the manufacturers have no option to revisit their business model.
I understand the feelings of betrayal, I really do. To have been utterly loyal to a manufacturer who PROMISED to be on your side, for years and years, and to whose success those salons have contributed in no small way is galling at best, infuriating at worst.
Businesses evolve, including yours. Some of you will have taken a cold, hard look at treatments which no longer bring you enough money, and decide whether to keep them or ditch them. I no longer offer spray tans. Yes, I've lost a few clients who had them semi-regularly, but I refused to lower my prices to compete with the girls who market themselves as "your tanner for a tenner", and it's freed up my time to offer much more profitable treatments.
And that's what these companies have done; they've looked at the parts of the business which cost them too much versus the channels to market which require a lower staff input for a greater return.
I've long since been quite vocal (ahem) about why salon owners expect their staff to be brilliant salespeople when no sales training is provided; it's an essential skill like any other, and you wouldn't expect a therapist to carry out a treatment without being trained to do it, and do it well.
Sadly, this is the net result. The manufacturers just aren't making enough money from the salons channel, so they've had to open up other channels.
It's not personal, greedy, or vindictive, it's a matter of survival.
I'd love to hear your views.


Well-Known Member
I think you're absolutely spot on.


Active Member
Very well put Lynne. I do agree that it may not be greed that's making them 'sell-out' but rather necessity/desparation however I believe it is greed that gets them into that situation. If you are a self-titled professional brand and you continue to supply mass market websites that constantly sell your products at heavily discounted rates which your professional clients cannot compete with so that your company can make acute profit increases then that is plain greed and back stabbing. Sx

Yes I also agree. I work in a salon that carries Dermalogica. Perhaps these companies are also preempting the possibility of a no deal Brexit meaning that the smaller salons close? Brexit looks as if it will affect small businesses negatively.

I agree with every business needs to work with what is best for them, BUT I started with bare minerals a year and half ago and have spent thousands and thousands building up a stock. They were a terrible company to deal with but I loved having the products. Only 6 weeks ago I was thinking about leaving them to be told they were going to sort these issues out AGAIN. Then I spent even more on Christmas packs and stock to find out they are stopping selling to salons/spa. They would have known as a company they were doing this a long time ago, so why get all these small businesses to spend so much then throw the towel in with us. The correct thing for them to have done was let people know before they spend a massive amount of money on more big orderes at Christmas. Then to not be accepting any returns (not even within the last few weeks orders) is just another kick in the face. All these testers and stands the company make you buy to have the account as well, things that you feel is ok as you will make profit over time. But not when you can not carry on replenishing your best sellers.


Well-Known Member
I've struggled with my retail and when I look at how much I've invested in displays, testers, training costs I wonder who I'm making money for. But if you find a good brand you'll never look back.

If you like selling make up try Jane Iredale. It doesn't work for everyone, you have to invest in training your staff and you can find yourself with redundant stock and testers when they change products or discontinue lines, so be careful what you invest in. But the products are really lovely.

I opened an account within a few weeks of 2 other salons near me and I was a bit fed up to be honest. There were already 3 other stockists locally but they were very different businesses to mine so I wasn't poaching. The other new 2 accounts were definitely the competition and what we'd hoped would be a point of difference became the opposite! Grr! However within 2 years the other 2 salons pulled out and so did another salon, just leaving 3 of us and apparently we sold more than the other 2 put together.

The businesses that pulled out did not train their staff properly and did not demonstrate the products as a matter of policy and customer service. I've had a couple of bad months recently and my retail sales have totally saved my bacon. I'm still learning what stock to hold and so on but the experience has been very positive overall.

A lot of salons are rubbish at selling retail, my hairdresser wouldn't even sell me some serum when I asked about it, told me to use a tiny bit of conditioner for my flyaways, would love to know what her retail brand would think of that! I get why people are angry but if they aren't shifting the products then the brands need to make money somehow to survive!

Lynne Baker

Lynne The Skin!
And therein lies the rub. I see this all the time; people will spend loads of dosh on yet another glitter/polish, all but indistinguishable from the hundreds they have already, but they just will not spend money on sales training.

Hello, I just saw this post and wondered if anyone might be interested in stocking Barefaced Beauty Mineral Cosmetics, we can give a great profit margin and no minimum order values. If interested please do drop an email to x