We are thrilled to have our own resident business advisor contribute a brief article in every issue of APJ Journal. Deb Farnworth-Wood is a highly successful and accomplished businesswoman with a proven track record of achieving phenomenal multi-million-dollar success in all her business ventures within the industry.
Deb would love to answer your toughest questions, so please send us any business subjects. This will be shared with you, so you can gain her wisdom on your most important matters.
Here is a glimpse of Deb’s latest article.
Choosing your Skincare Supplier
Written from both sides of the fence | Deb Farnworth-Wood
I was inspired to write this article by the sudden departure of several skincare companies from supplying the salons market and choosing direct retail as their core business. Social media then went into overdrive as stockists sought out recommendations for alternative suppliers and expressed their dismay at being abandoned in this way.
As a long-time clinic owner, and now also a skincare and makeup supplier I would really like to share my thoughts from both sides of the fence – so to speak!
Like you, as a clinic owner, I’m acutely aware of the importance of a good retail offering to top up profits. At the same time, it’s easy to feel resentful that the product I stock is also available locally in many other businesses. Yet, there is no doubt that it is easier to sell a brand that people know and recognise than one they don’t – In fact 80% of women prefer to buy from a brand they know, like and trust. The irony is therefore, that wider the availability of products, the greater the recognition of the brand and the more people that buy them.
Similarly, it is also easy to resent manufacturers selling their products in their own webstore and to fear the possibility that they are stealing customers away from you. However, don’t panic! Once again, it’s a two-way street.
With my supplier hat on, I know from experience that more people visit our “locate a stockist” page than purchase our products online. Think about it – It’s a more enjoyable experience to stroll down to the local salon, where I can touch and try products, sage advice, and interact with the friendly staff that I know and recognise than order online.
Of course, there’s nothing worse than taking that stroll to find that my local salon is out of stock of my products or infer only a partial range for me to choose from.
What to Look for in a Supplier
So, on what should we judge suppliers? From my experience, I look for service, training, support, and profit margins as my pre-requisites to purchasing. If the company’s rep/business development manager is friendly they will of course get my time. But what truly piques my interest is the value they bring in terms of product knowledge, training, and assistance in driving my business.
Similarly, I would avoid manufacturers that under-cut their own stockists or supply discount web stores that make their profits based on high volume sales at low margins – the exact reverse of the salon environment.
The supplier and or stockist relationship is important and should be seen, as a partnership where both sides understand the other’s point of view and use this to work to their mutual benefit.
Please direct any question you would like Deb to answer to firstname.lastname@example.org