Asked 40 beauty supply stores What do you do in the low season?

Asked 40 beauty supply stores

What do you do in the low season?

Most beauty supplies consider the summer following the tax return season as slow for the business. Along with the hot weather, you have slow business on top of the sluggish economy. It could be a long day watching over empty aisles. Should you as a business owner just relax and get used to the slow business? A business owner with business acumen says, “if you sit idle in a low season, there comes no busy season for you!”  BNB conducted quite a number of interviews over the phone, and while some business owners complained of the current situation, many others were making plans and moves in anticipation of the future growth. What could be wise plans and moves for the business? We summarized the insights from business owners and advice from business experts.

BNB Q. What do you do in the low season?

“Store renovation”

By far it was the most common answer. In a low season, many businesses worked on remodeling and refreshing the store interior for maintenance and update. They range from cleaning the aisles to merchandise organization to display modification to works on the store exterior.

Display modification: seasonal display is one of the most common characteristics of a successful business. You get a quick response from customers when you place popular summer products such as sunglasses, hats, and sandals. You can try novelty items such as handheld fans and clear bags.

Product/shelf reorganization: some businesses rearrange the sections by shuffling the location of chemicals, hair and miscellaneous items. You get the benefit of wheeled shelving units if you have wisely invested at store opening.

Deep cleaning: cleaning can be well beyond the daily cleaning you perform as a business routine. Cleaning the entire front window, touch-up paint jobs, and dusting the shelves after completely emptying them can take some time. Some businesses take the opportunity to tackle their inventory and cleaning warehouses.

Tips for low season: professional floor cleaning

–  Deep cleaning for carpeted floors: carpets provide commercially desirable benefits such as noise reduction and a cozy mood, but they are prone to stain and make a happy environment for germs. Deep cleaning for carpet typically involves steam, and you can rent a commercial grade steam cleaner from Walmart stores or Home Depot. However, steaming cleaning can take more than a day from cleaning to completely drying, so it often calls for business closure for a day.

Waxing: hard floors can be of various materials including ceramic and porcelain tiles, hardwood, laminate, epoxy, and LVT. While their durability widely varies, an area with lots of foot traffic will get stained and damaged in time. To prevent the damage and maintain a clean surface, wax coating can be fairly effective. Coats do not last forever but get scratches and stains, so it would be a great routine to recoatyour floor every year for a clean and shiny floor. The job is mostly reserved for a professional floor cleaning company.

Faux marbles: a retail store in Georgia recently replaced the floor with faux marble last low season. It cost about two to three times the cost of carpet or other typical flooring materials. However, it reflects light to shine the entire sales floor and looks more luxurious. Reportedly, the downside is items can break when dropped. Also, if you fail to keep diligent on daily cleaning, people would notice the difference pretty quickly.



Store exterior: it is not a rare sight that faded and frayed posters and banners outside of a retail location. It is easy to forget your store exterior, but the show window quite literally shows the first thing about your business. You should get those posters updated.

Beauty supplies with posters on the front window in New Jersey and Georgia.


Tips for low season: you should request more posters.

Some business owners feel uncomfortable to request new posters because it might be too much to ask. However, for wholesalers, those big posters work as a big advertisement opportunity for promoting their products. It is a win-win situation for the retail businesses for beautification of their exterior and the wholesalers for promoting their products. Most hair companies have their own larger printers, so the cost can be marginal for them. You can be more direct with sales associates if needed.




Re-do your hair section: the long-lasting trend of braids calls for a big change to your hair section. Many retail stores have already heightened and expanded their braids shelves and display or been working on it, and a retail business in California which has been specialized in human hair and weaving for decades says that they are expanding braids selection in response to the increasing demand.

However, even further preparation won’t be too much. You may use this time to strengthen your wig offering for the next season. During the Covid-19 pandemic, customers could not try on wigs, so many businesses responded by replacing wig rooms with wig aisles. However, the only item you can easily beat online is the wig. Nothing can beat trying it on before purchasing. If you prepare your wig sections in low season, you will be well prepared for a wig season some day.

Tips for preparing for busy season: wig section update
  1. Wig display

– by length: you can divide wig sections into long (over 14″), medium (10″-12″) and short (4″-6″).

– by style: it’s often better to alternate straight and curl wigs so that they can highlight each other’s clean or voluminous profile.

– by color: you can attract people’s eyes with exotic and bold colors even if they don’t really sell. It is quite effective to have color variations in a sequence for the same product.

– lighting: high-end wigs deserve dedicated display, and bright lighting can make them really shine. Spot lighting creates contrast by strong light on one side and weak on the other for powerful dimensional effect.

– mannequin: you may consider adding a full-body mannequin to put clothing and accessories on as well as wigs because usual upper bodies are limited in this part.

– styling: you should unpack wigs and freshen them up with sprays and blow dryers before displaying them. Having sufficient space between wigs makes them look better and easier to care for.

  1. Wig try-on room

Have a dedicated room for customers who want to try wigs with comfort. Vanities and mirrors are must-haves. Flattering lighting around the mirror can make them look better with wigs.

  1. Place companion items around wigs

If you place lace glues, wig caps, and wig shampoos around the wig section, you can save customer’s time and boost your sales.


“Store in construction”

Going even further, some businesses undergo construction to refresh their retail floor. Of course, you keep the doors open to customers while working on a section-by-section basis. We visited a retail store that is undergoing large-scale construction.

The Story: infinite makeover of Model Beauty

Model Beauty in Centerville, Georgia is undergoing construction for a month. Business owner Youngpyo Son, who is fond of shopping at department stores, acquired shelving units and merchandise from a bath product retail store that is closing the door. Then, he executed his long-planned store construction project. The main concept is a store without storage.

Higher shelves: all of the previous shelving units are replaced with tall shelves that reach the ceiling. The shelves are filled with merchandise up to the eye-level, and product boxes that used to be stored in the storage moved into the top shelves. Unseemly boxes are covered with fabric. The extra shelving space rendered the storage obsolete, and the customers and staff loved the change.


End cap display: the end cap facing your store entrance is what gives your customers the first impression. It is common practice to display high-end products behind the counters or deep inside the store, but you can see hundreds of dollars worth clippers and trimmers at the front end cap, easily accessible to customers. Many end caps serve as a marker for the aisle by placing relevant items in the aisle. In other words, you would simply know which section you’re at by looking at the end cap items.



Price tags: there is no need to pick up items to inspect price tags. The price tags are placed on the shelves under the products to make it visible in a sight.


Exotic items: hard to find in a typical beauty supply, kitchenware, dolls, car accessories, and so on can be found here.



Large LED display: 150″ LED display is installed on the street-side of the store and parking lot entrance and promotes new products at the moment.

Shelf replacement: You may find shelving units at a great bargain by purchasing used items, but you should be very lucky. The cost of replacing shelving units could be daunting to many beauty supplies. So, we’ve found a way around it for you.

Tips for low season: DIY display

SKY Display manufactures store display systems that can be shipped to the store and put together at the store without the need of expert help. The patented modular system is specially designed for beauty supplies, and you can address various needs for each section of your beauty supply yourself.

Types: Counter Systems/ Wig Display Systems/ Accessories Display Systems/ Apparel Display Systems/ Chemical (Hair Product) Display Systems/ Braid Display Systems/ Wall Display Systems/ Warehouse Rack Systems/ Beauty Bar Systems

Made of sturdy metal instead of wood, you can move and rebuild the systems as desired. The standardized systems allow you to modify and update in the future at ease.

▶Contact SKY Display Systems at 678-336-9435 (Korean language support) 404-447-3274

Lighting fixtures: Business owner C in Tennessee replaced all the light fixtures to LEDs. The cost per 12,000 sq.ft. goes around $10,000. While it costs 1.5-times the regular light bulbs, it provides brighter light while saving electricity, making a great investment.

Tips for low season: beauty supply lighting

– Comparison of light bulbs: the upfront cost is high, but LEDs are an obvious winner in the long run.



– how to choose lighting fixtures: LEDs come in various color temperatures. Most beauty supplies have purple white light that is over 6,000K. While it does make the store bright, the cold color may make your store look unwelcoming. You can mix 4,000K natural colors placed in the accessory and clothing section as a spotlightfor a more vibrant and warmer atmosphere.



“You’ve got to clear the inventory!”

It’s a word of advice from business owner K in South Carolina. “Display should be filled with items that pay their rent.” K feels bad for retail businesses that carry tons of old inventory. “You need to first clear them up so that items that sell can be stocked. I think even if you know that, you can’t make that happen because of the cost concern.”

K’s retail store hosts a below-the-cost clearance sale in low season. Items regularly priced at $10 to $20 are sold at $1 to $2. After that, you can have a fresh display of new items and happy customers. The ancient Chinese philosopher Laozi said, “If you want to become full, let yourself be empty.”

– Even if you have to sell below the cost, you need to digest all the previous season’s items. Once you bring them back into the storage area, you may easily forget about them.

– Especially for chemicals, you need to carefully inspect the best-by dates and discard expired goods.

– If you have seriously old inventory, you should simply toss them out to save the cost. Low season is a perfect time to clean out your storage area. After clearance sale, you can donate the leftovers or discard them.



Tips for low season: how to attract customers

The owner of a business that is on aggressive marketing places big sale items at the entrance of the store. The odd thing is that the items are not of the past seasons but currently popular items. More than 20 items from each category of accessories, hair, and chemicals are on sale, at the cost or below the cost, regardless of its current popularity. Some may wonder why they are trying to make losses, but of course they are “loss leaders.”

The top priority is to lure more people into the store, and secondly you want to give an impression that “this store has the newly released products and runs sales events constantly.” Don’t forget to have an item sold at discounted price for about two weeks and mark items with both prices: the original price and sales price.


“Do you want to order more or less? That is the dilemma.”

There is a couple who has been in a long running beauty supply business in San Diego. Although it is a typical mom-and-pop shop, their business management styles do conflict. Especially in low season, the wife says, “reduce the orders and get by” while the husband says, “you do not want items to go out of stock, so having some left over is the safe way.” Even couples have different opinions in business management, and many businesses have their own business philosophy. Upon the phone interviews, we found out while most stores reduce the orders, many others rather increase the order.

“Even with a big sale, you can’t get a big crowd. This is when you should reduce orders and simply sell what you have. If you simply order all sorts of things, you might just sit on old inventory.”


“If you reduce order because fewer customers come, then you become less likely to have what customers look for. And this creates a vicious cycle. To stop the cycle, you need new products and pump the circulation.”



Tips for low season

How to utilize POS reports

Virtually all POS devices provide report functionality, which can be very helpful for running a business. Reports mainly come in three categories: sales, product, and customer.

Sales: sales volume reports come in daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly reports, and they literally tell you about the sales performance. You can categorize them into different product groups. These categorized reports can be a great tool for you as long as you enter your products into the system with detailed categories and sub-categories. For example, you can divide miscellaneous items into subcategoriesinstead of just a miscellaneous category, so you can review your sales performance with more details.

Product: you can see how many pieces of a product have been sold in a certain period. You have various detailed reports for products as well. By department, category, or vendor, you can look them up easily.

Customer: it will tell you how many customers you had for a certain period. You can see how many of them joined the membership and how many were non-member customers. You can also analyze the purchase data of the customers. For example, you can see an individual customer’s spending per visit, frequency of their visit, and even what items they purchased.

For a detailed report from the POS, you should make an effort as a store owner or manager. They solely rely on the data input you enter when you register an item and how diligently you update the data. The POS is only a computer, so you will be expecting output only if you entered input. Although it seems very cumbersome, your data entry work leads to the accurate and more detailed performance data.

▶Expertise provided by Director Scott Yoon of Goldenkey POS (888-992-1715)

“Re-visit your security!”

Unfortunately, low season rather sees more criminal activities including theft and robbery. In fact, we have received reports from retail businesses that shoplifting is increasing. Many beauty supplies are in a situation where they cannot block customers from thieves, so they are utilizing their own creative solutions for mitigation. Security tags are often attached to various products, security monitors are watched for many hours, and employees circle around the store as part of their jobs. If a thief can manage to escape from all security measures, then you let them go.

In California, the Senate proposed a bill (Senate Bill 553) to make it illegal to stop thieves and robbers yourself or by your employees. Your best bet is to catch them on the spot although you cannot just take the matter into your hands. Before a crowded season, you should examine your security system for repair and upgrade if needed.

Tips for low season: EAS system

EAS Antenna

Most retail businesses install security cameras in and about the store. Security camera footage can provide critical evidence for theft, but most critical footage is only reviewed after theft occurs.

Commonly called just antennas, Electronic Article Surveillance systems notifies you when an object with sensor tag moves through an antenna, which alarms the staff. Although you will be needing to attach sensor tags to individual products, you can reduce the theft and have peace of mind. False alarms are one of the most popular complaints about the system, but in most cases the system is not at fault but nearby obstructing objects attributed to false alarms. Advanced technology can detect those obstructing objects for your comfort.

Installation of EAS antennas can vary for sizes of the entrance. For a reference, it would run from about $1,200 to $2,200 including the antennas and sensors for a three to four thousand square feet retail location. Sensor tags are available in various types, and your budget for a generous use would be around $1,000.

Zonetech, a security company specialized in anti-theft systems, is currently running a promotion where you can get a free EAS antenna (valued at around $1,250) when you spend $3,300 or more.

▶Product Information: ZONETECH, Inc. (East: 770-452-0554/ West: 510-541-0400)


“In the low season, we rest!”

We’re certainly not talking about closing the doors entirely. In the low season, every single beauty supply still opens the door to customers looking for daily essentials. When we say “rest”, we mean staff members can take off-days in rotation, go on a field trip or vacation, and spend time with their children. B beauty supply having multiple locations throughout Georgia and Florida offers a company retreat to popular vacation spots every year during low season. “We share our profit with employees to make everyday happy,” says the manager, referencing their business management philosophy, proudly and with anticipation for the upcoming event.

A business owner who gathers display and marketing ideas while browsing other retail businesses of all sorts firmly says, “you have to look at the store from the outside. If you stay just inside the store, you won’t make any change.” Open every single day of a year and over 11 hours a day, beauty supplies take a rest to recharge.



BNB’s answer: “Low season is time for the preparation of busy season” 

The weight of two words, “low season”, feels pretty heavy. When you say low season, you can always hear sighs from business owners.

A business owner in California says, “for twenty years since I started the business, this summer was the worst.”

A well-established beauty supply store in Georgia shared concerns with a cautious warning that “this summer feels different because it is hard to predict when the low season might end.”

Retail business owners often returned a question when talking about the toughness of this low season. “Isn’t everyone the same?”

They want to hear the assurance that it’s not just them alone. In fact, the tough situation is pretty much for everyone in the beauty supply industry. A low season in the middle of a sluggish economy, which was preceded by an unprecedented business boom during the pandemic, might feel like a great famine.

However, it is all about how to accept the situation. A new business owner who acquired a beauty supply about two years ago in Los Angeles, after spending many years as a manager, speaks with passion. “I don’t think it’s the low season. We are busy everyday!” What’s their secret? They didn’t just sit around but kept working. “We open on holidays. Employees take a day off, but my family packs food and comes in like having a picnic. It could be an opportunistic move while everyone’s closed, but it is also our show of appreciation for customers. When a customer walks into a store opened on a holiday, they always thank us for opening. We get the rewards there.”

The owner of F Beauty supply firmly rooted in Georgia for the past twenty years sent a sincere message. “You shouldn’t be consumed by the low season. The business is slow, but you have to place orders and receive shipments that could be sold during the coming seasons. As long as you stay busy preparing, a busy season will certainly come back. Stay strong, everyone!


BNB 매거진 2023년 8월호 ©