Benefit from the beauty box boom

We caught up with Tia Roqaa, Founder and CEO of Roccabox, to see how salons can benefit from the booming beauty box industry during the pandemic.

Beauty box subscription Roccabox has revealed that it experienced unprecedented growth throughout the 2020 pandemic. Roccabox, which is a UK-based beauty subscription service for women, recently unveiled its annual report for 2020, which demonstrates how the brand managed to grow its monthly subscriptions by a massive 242% from January to December 2020, with this drastic increase in subscriptions accounting for an impressive 515% increase in monthly revenue from the beginning to the end of 2020. 

So, what is behind this boom? Founder and CEO of Roccabox, Tia Roqaa, explains the growth in demand for beauty box subscriptions: “These figures help demonstrate the importance of beauty businesses looking at alternative ways of reaching consumers during these uncertain times. Beauty box subscriptions are able to fill the gap that traditional retail currently leaves.” Which opens up the wider question: what can other beauty businesses that have been negatively impacted by the pandemic, learn from this? And more specifically, how can salons benefit from this boom?

At a time when salons have been forced to close their doors to the public, is there anything that salon owners can learn from Roccabox, and other beauty box subscription services, that could help their own business during the pandemic? Tia thinks there is. “One of the reasons that beauty box subscriptions – and in fact many other types of retail subscription service – have boomed throughout the pandemic is because consumers can’t access beauty retailers for a browse as they used to. At Roccabox we are sending monthly beauty boxes directly to our subscribers’ doorsteps, boxes that are full of new brands and products to try, and this fills that void left by the closure of traditional retail outlets. There’s no reason why salons can’t adopt a similar model of business to get them through the next tough few weeks and months. Of course, salons can’t offer the same face-to-face appointment and experience that they did pre-lockdown, but they can still reach their clients in alternative ways. Reaching your clients virtually is currently the best alternative to face-to-face appointments. Virtual appointments – perhaps to guide your clients through a particular at-home treatment, or for example through using a hair toner or temporary colour to see them through to their next colour appointment – are your next best thing right now.”

So, where should salons begin when it comes to reaching clients directly in their homes? “Think outside the box in terms of how your take your appointments into your clients’ homes. As well as one-to-one consultations on FaceTime, you could offer group Zoom masterclasses and hold online pamper sessions, to try and deliver a salon-like experience to clients at home.” Said Tia.

Consider this is a good opportunity to retail the stock you can no longer sell in-salon, too. “This is a great way for you to continue to retail. Offer your clients one-to-one consultations on Zoom for any hair complaints that can be solved through the products you usually retail in salon– conditioning treatments such as Olaplex homecare and at-home toners, for keeping their colour in check until you can re-open. Use this as an opportunity to sell stock while it is still relevant, new, effective. In addition to live virtual sessions, you can film step-step tutorials – again using the products you stock – and post these on your website or on social media as an on-demand service. It’s about taking the care and service you usually give your clients in-salon to them in a different way.”

One of the reasons beauty boxes are so popular right now is because they deliver a package of self-care in the form of beauty products. “For most people juggling WFH and home-schooling, the kitchen has now become an office, the living room is a temporary classroom and anywhere that goes has become a pre-schooler nursery. It’s hardly surprising that women (and of course men) are desperately seeking some alone-time, where they can indulge in the simple pleasure of their own personal space. It is the basic foundation of self-care. So why not think about how your salon can meet your clients’ desperation to carve out some ‘me time’ for a little self-care and self-pamper? Holding group-Zoom sessions that you advertise, and which can be booked in advance, so that clients can look forward to the session and diarise it as they would an appointment, is something simple that can really impact on your clients’ mental wellbeing. At-home pamper evenings are also a lovely way to bring a community-feel to your clients’ homes. You could hold ‘haircial’ evenings, tailoring each one to different hair types so that clients can choose which session they book on and ‘attend’. Send samples of the products you plan to use at each session in advance of the ‘appointment’ and then during the session demonstrate how to use these products effectively for a glorious at-home salon-like experience. You could even create small pamper packages – mini beauty boxes – to send as part of the ‘appointment’. Again, it’s a great way to show off your retail offerings, introduce your clients to brands that they’ve never tried before, and poses a good opportunity to up-sell. A beauty box subscription can often be tailored – to exclude certain products, or to suit certain skin types etc – so take this idea on board and do the same. Remember you know your clients’ hair just as well as they do – if not more so! – so you’re really well placed to tailor the packages to suit each client.”

Another tip which Roccabox can offer salons is to stay present in your clients’ minds, through the power of social media and online content. As Tia explains, “At Roccabox we’ve seen an increased interest in beauty during the pandemic– in fact, we’ve experienced a 406% increase in our web traffic and a 94% increase in our Instagram followers – so customers still want to get their beauty fix! If you can’t give it to them in real life, then continue to feed their interest in beauty and salons via your Instagram posts, the blog on your website and your weekly e-newsletter. It’s crucial to stay in front of your audience now with plenty of positive, on-brand, relevant content. You should be communicating with your existing clients constantly to remind them that your business is still there and will be ready to welcome them back once the restrictions have lifted. Stay in touch regularly – directly through regular emails and text messages, and indirectly through regular updates on your SM platforms.”

If you want to benefit in a more direct way from the success that beauty box subscriptions are experiencing, then why not try joining forces with them? Perhaps find a local beauty box subscription service, or other type of subscription, and collaborate with them. It doesn’t need to be one of the bigger, more well-known brands, as there are many smaller, local subscription services that will be happy to collaborate with your salon. Get in touch with different services and discuss ways you could contribute towards their box – perhaps you could help put together an ‘at-home salon’ box. Alternatively, you could see if they’d be happy to include vouchers for your salon or discount codes in their boxes, for when you’re able to reopen. You could even partner up on social media – offer a competition to win a hair colour or conditioning treatment – and that way you can both benefit from the cross-brand coverage the competition generates. Offer to contribute to the beauty boxes’ editorial content – for example, offer to write a piece on creating a salon experience at home, or which treatments should never be attempted at home, or how to nail the perfect blow-dry. This is a great way to gain extra exposure for your salon, and it will keep your salon in people’s minds, even while it remains closed, so that when it’s time to re-open you can welcome in plenty of new clients.”

Image credits: Tyler Carr