Insight for Stylists

How to Stop Selling and Start Educating


By Erin Gignac

The future is golden for Natalie Sikora, spunky stylist and co-owner of The Studio for Hair in Farmington Hills, Michigan. The weather? A warm 80 degrees—the perfect complement to her sunny disposition.

“We thank God all the time for Eufora,” she said. “We were working really hard but we didn’t even know if we were focused on the right things. We were looking for help and Eufora gave us that help.”

Once a struggling salon, The Studio for Hair, which she co-owns with Kenneth Sikora and Tasha Schurgin, followed Eufora’s 8 Steps to Success—and to the bank. Fast forward eight years and now the salon is one of the 2015 Salon Today 200 for Retail and Merchandising. Plus, they paid for their recent remodel, which is something they never thought they’d be able to do.

“Ten years ago we couldn’t imagine that,” she said.

However, it wasn’t just Eufora or a stroke of good luck that brought them to this place. It was hard work.

Education is Key 

“There’s a lot of people that still view our industry as a fallback,” she said. “It’s not that easy to cut hair. You have you have a lot of education.”

What does education look like? Asking questions, refining your craft and trying out new products to solve your client’s hair problems. That means that the career also requires a lot of passion to stay educated. After all, with each new season comes a new product, hairstyle, celebrity trend and the list goes on and on. It can be exhausting working in a salon if the passion isn’t there.

“I think the success of our salon is contributed to the fact that we are really passionate about what we do. For me, I don’t see it as a fallback career. I want to be No. 1.”

Some salons or stylists overlook passion and education and instead opt to give their clients a get-in and get-out experience. According to Modern Salon, 80 percent of clients come into the salon wanting a professional recommendation and only 4 percent actually get it.

“It’s disturbing.”

On the other hand, she understands why some salons and stylists choose not to recommend products. It’s scary.

“Maybe they don’t have knowledge on the product,” she said. “They don’t understand that retailing is part of client retention and client service. They are clueless to that.”

Retailing is Problem Solving

The key is to stop selling, she advised. So many think of retailing as selling when in reality, they should be thinking about it as problem solving.

“When the client can create the look at home, that’s when you’re really successful as a stylist. Recommending a professional product in a professional setting with professional education raises the bar. There’s more value in whatever the client is paying. Client loyalty is teaching the client how to do their hair at home.”

Sikora does a great job with this. In awe, she talked about how some clients will say they’ve had no problems since their last appointment—which, if you have unruly hair, can be a pretty incredible statement.

“People say that to me. ‘I’ve never had a bad hair day.’”

There are things every salon is doing right, she said. When it all boils down, sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know. However, she did have some advice on how to learn quickly.

“Find other people who are successful and hang out with them.”

From time to time, she’ll text Co-owner of Eufora, Don Bewley, and thank him for all his help.

“He’ll say ‘Hey, you guys did the work.’ That’s the key: If you do it, it works.”

Natalie's Tips for Success

-Charity work—I can’t tell people enough. Give back.

-Stop selling and start educating! Educate your staff first. Your team needs to know your product how it works. Then, take what you learn and educate your guests. “A professional recommendation is gold.”

-Pick the best product for you—something you and your staff is into. We found Eufora because the base is aloe and it has natural botanicals, essential oils and no petrochemicals. That was attractive to us.

-Find other people who are successful and hang out with them.

-Don’t lose sight of your vision! We had so many things we had to go through to understand how to be better leaders. You have to start with passion but you have to educate yourself.

-Have fun. Be number one. Have a great time.

Erin Gignac covers stories for Premier Beauty. Follow her on Twitter and view more of her work here