Albie X Cortes On The Future Of Retail In Salons: Top Insights

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What’s happening to our retail in salons? Sales are going down, and giant brands like Sephora are taking more and more place. At the 2019 Salon Owners Summit, in a session entitled Retail Carbon Monoxide, Albie X Cortes painted a picture of the damaging trends that are happening in the salon retail space and shared a case study of how one salon owner decided to take it on and combat the problem. Here’s what we learned.

Who Is Albie X Cortes?

Albie X Cortes, President of In Common Beauty for Luxury Brand Partners is a 28-year veteran of the industry. LBP, by way of introduction, are the parent company of brands such as R+CO, IGK, Smith & Cult and V76 by Vaughn. Starting out in sales for a Paul Mitchell distributorship in southern California, Albie then ventured to New York where he worked for Estee Lauder’s Bumble and bumble & L’Oreal’s Kérastase, respectively.

More recently, Albie’s wealth of experience and knowledge led him to help develop and launch In Common Beauty with artists Nikki Lee & Riawna Capri of Nine Zero One Salon, West Hollywood.

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Top Insights

Albie first started his talk by comparing what the giants of retail are doing to what’s being done in our industry. While big consumer brands showcase a strong mobile digital presence and social media engagement, talk about their loyalty programs and have web content that’s meant to engage, what’s happening on the salon and spa side appears to be quite different.

How Does Our Industry Compare?

  • Salons offering an e-commerce option: 8%
  • Salons advertising their loyalty program: 0%
  • Salons using Facebook as their landing page: 40%
  • Salons highlighting staff on their website: 17%
  • Salons highlighting staff’s work on their website or social media: 4%
  • Salons linking to their Instagram profile: 20%

Retail In Salons: David vs Goliath

The second part of Albie’s talk was more of a case study with video interviews. He presented the case of Victor Valverde, owner of Kut Haus Salon, in Claremont, California. Victor has been in business for 27 years and runs four Kut Haus Salons, which makes $4M in annual salon revenue. But he’s had an issue with retail since 2016. You see, Victor founded Kut Haus during the rise of Instagram for hair. He pivoted and turned the hype to his advantage. He started working on building social engagement with the beauty community and promoted the rise of independent education. Over time, the scale of his retail strategy currently averages about 40 000 USD$ a month on retail online. While this article can’t convey what the interviews said, here are three key things that stood out for salons looking into eCommerce solutions:

  • Increase social engagement.
  • Find brands that support your online presence and lean on your partners/mentors.
  • Don’t depend on one person to fix and work out your strategy. It’s up to you to get the work done.
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Salon Owners Summit Roadshow: Tickets on sale February, 1st, 2019! Contact <salonsummit@phorest.com> for more details.

Food For Thought

  • “Preserve the core, stimulate progress.” – Jim Collins
  • “Cash was not an incentive to sell more retail. We substituted with trips or other things of value for the stylists.” – Victor Valverde
  • “The most successful brands have a ying and yang balance.”

For information on everything surrounding the coveted event’s next edition, keep an eye on www.salonownersummit.com! Got feedback? Let us know either in the comments below or tweet us @ThePhorestWord! (Pssst! We’re on Instagram too!)

Thanks for reading! #LetsGrow


Not a Phorest Client?

This event is exclusive to Phorest Clients only. However, if you are looking to take your salon to the next level, then why not request a free quote or demo of our software today, and join the list of esteemed Salon Owners Summit guests!


Featured imaged shot on location of the Salon Owners Summit 2019, in Dublin. Photo by Alan Rowlette. © 2019 Phorest Salon Software.

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