Sunday, January 16, 2011

Why I have been gone...

Oh, the American Dream (tm)...
Work hard, give your life to a company, turn down several lucrative offers in the quest for stability....
And get laid off anyway.

The small hospital my man works for has been purchased by another, large corporation. The move was supposed to bail out the hospital from unfortunate financial problems. They're in a low-income area and cater toward older patients - people that really can't pay for care. It's a problem in our nation and that's as much discussion as this subject will get from me.

The really biting thing is that the corporation has decided that saving the hospital from ruin means closing down a majority of the facility and dismissing many of the staff... Including my guy who uses his wages to pay our rent and utilities while I'm in school full time.

Of course, this came right when we're up on our lease in our current apartment and have decided to move. We're looking at having a final paycheque coming on Tuesday but if it does not come in a timely fashion, his unemployment insurance payments will be coming too late to keep us off the street.

Soooooo..... haven't really had the time for taking pictures of nails and lips.
I have, however, been keeping up on the blogs and read one about the way the industry encourages us to buy products.

I've been thinking a lot about that.
The standard has changed. It used to be that companies would sell us - the professionals - on a product and then we would sell it to our clients. I think it's a great method. After all, we have the knowledge to assess our clients' needs. One thing I've learned is that most every woman thinks her hair is thin and thinks she needs more protein... When actually all they need is a few layers and a moisture treatment. When a client is left to their own devices, they'll grab products because they smell good, not have the results they desired, blame it on the company, and fall back to a particular drugstore brand that seems to be popular because it's so homogenized that each type works exactly the same for anyone's hair.

But now companies are cutting stylists out of the mix.
They're marketing directly to the consumer, assuming the average 18-24 year old women is educated about herself enough to make an informed choice.
There's been several times that I've seen a product launched in fashion magazine several months before their PR writeup in trade publications... And now they're getting product to bloggers before even brochures end up at the distributor.

Once was a day that I would have weekly sign-ups to get samples from the companies. Many of the products I swear by today just appeared on my doorstep without my even asking. I used to get at least one of everything Paul Mitchell introduced. You know what the result was? My salon completely sold out of Paul Mitchell Shampoo Three within a week of my discovering the cache in our back room. It's a great product. I know it's a great product. Because my fellow stylists never had the joy of experiencing it, my clients - who live in an area with a water hardness level of 25-40 - didn't know it was a great product.
Why isn't Paul Mitchell getting Shampoo Three in the hands of every stylist working in a hard water city?

So I replied to the blog post with my thoughts:

Something that's really really been bugging me is the way that - in America anyway - companies are now releasing to the bloggers before the professionals.
In the past, the salon was where women went to get the latest scoop on what's new and hot. Now, we're not even getting samples for ourselves anymore.
This month, my salon got packettes of a Matrix Biolage Shampoo that's been out for over a year. We got them this month because Biolage is our special but (a) we should have gotten them in advance of the special deal so people could experience before coming back in to purchase and (b) most of my clients already have this in their shower, negating the need for sampling.
Even OPI pulled this crap, releasing Black Shatter information to bloggers almost a whole month before the promo materials hit the distributors (and 2 months before the product itself hit shelves).

Part of me almost blames the industry. If professionals took pride in their career and subscribed to the trade publications, checked out what their distributors had on a regular basis, and fostered relationships with the PR people, WE would still be the first line.
But most stylists - and even less nail techs - discuss retail with their clients whatsoever. I have clients who have been coming to my salon for years (I'm new there) that still use a drugstore shampoo/conditioner notorious for causing dulling buildup that can end up damaging the hair. Have their previous stylists never properly educated them on caring for their hair? How do I live in a VERY hard water area and less people know we offer clarifying treatments then when I lived in a soft water area?

It's a whole new world and I'm honestly not sure that I'm ready to work in it.

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