When you train to become a beauty therapist you do so in order to become a professional. Those qualifications allow you to offer a range of fantastic professional beauty products, but what if those products aren’t so professional anymore?
There has always been a divide between professional and non-professional beauty products, and that has suited salons nicely. It has meant that professionals can offer products and treatments that are not available to the general public and allows them to offer specialised product advice based on the training they have received.
However, in the last few years we are starting to see a move by a number of professional beauty product companies into the consumer market. Professional tan, nail and skincare companies are now gravitating towards the High Street, leaving many beauty therapists wondering where they stand.
Whilst not true of all brands, some of the higher profile names to have made this move have recently been acquired by big multi-national companies. This usually means that the ethics and values the company began with are overridden by the larger parent company who will use the brand to swell their coffers as far as possible. The danger with this is that whilst the product companies make money, the salons who have supported them for so long start to lose out.
Salons who have had strict retail prices to adhere to are now seeing the same products appearing online, in department stores and Duty Free lounges at prices that they simply cannot compete with. The brands concerned argue that their foray into the consumer market makes the brand more well known and will increase the number of people requesting it in your salon. However, when that same product is available significantly cheaper elsewhere, customers will go where they can save money, and it the salon that will feel the pinch.
A professional beauty therapist should know more about my skin or nails than me, and that is the whole reason that I visit a salon. That trained professional can examine, diagnose and treat a number of conditions that I simply could not recognise. They are then in a position to recommend products that are intensive and ideally suited to my needs. If the product my beauty therapist puts in my hand is one that I can buy in my local supermarket then I will feel short-changed at the very least. Even if I visit a salon for a pampering session, I still want to enjoy a treatment that I could not replicate in my own bathroom.
If a beauty professional chooses to take on a skincare line that already dabbles in the consumer market, then they know what they are getting, but brands that start out as salon exclusive and then widen their net are doing nothing more than pulling the rug out from under the feet of the very salons who got them where they are today.
I feel sorry for salons who have bought in to brands, often at great expense, who have championed the support, service and speciality of their products, only to have them sell out. Whilst it is fair for all of us to recognise that suppliers have the right to make profit, they must themselves see that it is unfair on loyal customers to move the goal posts.
These days, choosing brands for your salon is about more than whether you like the products. You need to consider the support they offer you, the restrictions they put on you and whether they are effectively competing against you.