How To Set Up Retail As A Freelance Hairdresser

Published 23rd Oct 2023 by Josie Jackson

Retail is a great opportunity for hair professionals to boost revenue and demonstrate product knowledge with clients – which can in turn build trust and result in re-bookings. As part of HJ’s Freelance Week, we decided to speak to two freelancers that have made retail work for their businesses in different ways.

Retail Offerings As Part Of A Freelance Studio

Rebecca Cooper opened Rebecca’s Hair Studio (@rebeccashairstudio) almost five years ago. It was initially a small, employed studio, however following lockdown, the team changed to working freelance. Rebecca explains: “We have always had retail available to our clients and it has always done well, so with us changing to a freelance studio I did wonder myself if a retail shop would still work. However, given the success we had had previously, and how well established it was with our clients, it would have been silly not to continue with it, so we knew we had to figure out a new system to make it work.”

Instead of working with one brand, Rebecca opted for a brand-neutral environment, so that all of the stylists within the space would have access to the products they wanted. She says: “Myself and the other stylists love these brands and I definitely think this needs to be considered when choosing what to stock. We all trialled the products for a couple of months before stocking. I think the benefit of this is you can get feedback from everyone and it makes sure, even though the stylists are freelance, they want to sell the products, because they are passionate about them – this in turn benefits the retail system.”

Discussing how the retail offering works, Rebecca shares: “I stock the products and receive all the profits, but the freelancers receive points, meaning when they sell something, they receive points – which can then be used towards things like rent free hours or stocking up on their own products for their kit. “The points system has been a great way for us to transition with employed staff to freelance staff, as legally, I can’t pay them – plus, I think this way still offers great incentives.”

Rebecca advises: “If you’re renting a chair, I would speak to the owner of the business and suggest having some involvement in the retail shop available to clients. It's a fantastic way of helping and supporting each other in business.”

Retail Offerings As A Solo Freelancer

Stephanie Henley, of @scissorhandsstephy, is a freelance colour specialist that offers retail to her clients by using an affiliate programme with an online retailer – which she advertises in her salon space and on social media. She explains: “My clients purchase products on the website using an affiliate discount code I give them. This means I’m not exclusive to any brands, as I think that every brand has something to offer. I use a range, such as Wella and Fudge.”

Retailing products to her clients is something Steph is particularly passionate about. She says: “I have been offering retail to my clients since starting my hairdressing journey; I personally believe that professional aftercare is the perfect finisher to keeping your hair healthy and luxurious after investing in a professional service.”

Discussing the benefits, she explains: “Aside from additional income, offering retail allows me to ensure that I’m providing my clients with the best possible aftercare,” which can increase client satisfaction, and in turn, client loyalty. Suggesting some advice for other freelancers looking to embrace retail, Steph says: “It’s important that you’re passionate about, and believe in the products that you’re advertising – that way advertisement will come naturally. I don’t believe in promoting a product or products that you’re not passionate about.” 

You can find out more about HJ's Freelance Week here

Josie Jackson

Josie Jackson

Published 23rd Oct 2023

Josie supports the team with content for the print magazine, website and social media channels at HJ. Having grown up in a salon environment (thanks to her hairdresser mum) and even working as a Saturday girl before getting her degree in English Literature, Josie feels right at home in the industry. Although she’s experimented with a few creative colour looks in the past, she always comes back to blonde, and loves all things hydrating and bond building.

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