• 20-21 August 2022
  • ICC Sydney Darling Harbour

CARLY KNOWLES - OWNER, BELLA PELLE

Carly Knowles provides practical business advice for small beauty salons and freelance artists during lockdown

 

Tell us a little about you and how you got into the beauty industry

I have always been an industry enthusiast growing up, having bad skin as a teen and my Mum taking me for treatments with a super talented skin therapist to seek answers and results for my own skin. I think the help she gave me was probably one of the major inspirations for me joining this industry as I was in awe of her knowledge. I’m a therapist of just under 20 years, since 2006 a clinic owner/entrepreneur, Mum of 2 maniac toddlers, Miller & Bonnie, & I am a country girl from a rural area in Victoria, from a small town called Yarrawonga.

I have had a busy career jam packed full of opportunities that have presented to me over the years.

I was lured to the Gold Coast in my early days to pursue working in the film industry because back then there was so much work happening at that time.

I worked in some high end clinics around the Gold Coast for a few years, where I snagged quite a few contracts working with some A grade celebs as their private therapist, and also working in the make-up trailers assisting.

I opened my first ever clinic on the Gold Coast in Mermaid Beach and had that clinic for 10 years. It was my baby, and I nurtured and loved that business like it was my own child. My husband and I then decided it was time to move closer to family, to have our own family, and relocated home to country Victoria where I would then open my second clinic in the small regional town of Yarrawonga.

Last year was tough and it all taught us to pivot our business in some way. I had a side project I had been working on for years on and off, it was just a bit of a love project that I had never found the confidence to actually launch or do anything with. 

Last year, having more time on my hands, I found myself feeling an urge to complete this project and actually bring it to life to ensure that I would then have jobs and more security for me and my team if and when more shutdowns happen due to the pandemic. So that is when Dewy & Lewy Skincare was born, a cosmeceutical skincare range, offering powerful formulations, with cell changing ingredients! We are so proud of what we have achieved with our new side hustle and am excited to finally share it with our customers.

 

What do you enjoy most about working in the beauty industry?

The connections I get to make with people. I absolutely love my clients, and no matter where I go, I always stay connected to the people I have been in contact with. Most of my ex-staff members are still in touch with me years after they have moved on, and I have been very grateful to have been guided, worked with and aligned myself with some amazing people in our industry who have opened up multiple opportunities contributing to my businesses success. I love that our industry has unlimited avenues. There are so many opportunities and ways for you to gain career advancement by being in this industry. It truly never gets boring.

 

How do you manage your business, Bella Pelle, through lockdown?

Being in a forced shutdown really sucks and you are allowed to feel all the emotions. But you can not stay there. You have to use this time to be proactive and give your business the attention you always say you haven’t got time for. It’s not the time to sit down and feel sorry for yourself for too long, don’t fall into a device vortex and spend all day just flicking through social media. Don’t let this messed up pandemic win. I refuse to let it swallow my livelihood and that’s how I would encourage anyone else to start tackling it too.

I really focus on what I can do rather than what I can’t do during these times.

I constantly check in on my team, making sure they are ok, keeping the communication lines open with them, and try to keep them engaged and connected with the business as much as possible.

 

 

What is your business advice for small beauty salons/freelance artists during lockdown?

Keep up the connection with your customers.

This is so, so, so, important particularly right before a lockdown, during a lockdown and immediately after lockdown. Your customers need to feel like you are still here for them.

If you just turn the key and walk away and leave a sign saying see you when we're-open, they will do business with someone else. Trust me. You risk losing them as they will feel unsupported.

I know this first hand because during lockdowns we always gain new customers reaching out to us because they are not feeling supported by their current clinic.

Ways to engage with them? 

1)    Let customers know what’s happening with your business and why!

I suggest putting together a Coronavirus Statement. This should include some answers to the main questions customers will have. (Are you open? What measures are in place to keep everyone safe, are there any changes to your service when you reopen like mask restrictions etc, is there anything more you can do to help? Invite questions, thank them for their understanding and support.)

Keep your customers updated through your website, your social media, your Google My Business profile as well as emailing or DM those you have permission to contact.

2)    Don’t forget to review any scheduled content and ads you may have. You don’t want a pre-scheduled promotion going live when you have just started a lockdown phase!

3)    Cold call them. Not in a creepy desperate way, but use reasons to call them like the bookings they did have with you or perhaps think about clients that might like to know about a certain promotion you might be running and tell them you thought of them. This is a sure way to lead to sales over the phone, because it keeps them thinking of you and your business, and the second they realize they are running low on a product, or their skin feels dry and might need a mask, they will pounce on the opportunity to spend with you!

4)    Even if you can’t trade at present, you still know your customers and what they need. Create and share content on your social media platforms that will let them benefit from your knowledge and experience. This could be in any format, e.g. how-to guides, step-by-step photos or even short videos, and live streams, shared on your social platforms, YouTube, email, or messengers. Consider how your customers will be getting by without your services and what issues they are likely to face. Great examples for this are the home hair colouring packs some of the hairdressers have been doing, and gel nail soak off kits, brow tint kits, DIY facial kits etc..

 

Is there anything you have done differently this time around?

We stepped up our social media presence.

For those in lockdown, there is no better time than now to get onto your socials for posting.

Consistency is key. And I know some of you absolutely dread the idea of having to even understand and learn how to create content ideas, let alone actually getting in front of the camera and performing, but you need to put on your big girl or big boy undies and get to it, or delegate the role to your team members. The thing is, your customers want to see you. Creating really cool content is absolutely not hard once you know how and you have a bit of practice. Your social media skills will grow, your confidence with doing it will grow. Trust me. And then in turn your business will grow. It’s an absolute no brainer and an essential part of advertising these days.

A few simple things to keep in mind are tone of voice and how to talk to our clients. Make sure when you're first starting out, you have a few practice runs. Picture yourself just talking to a client as if they are in front of you in your salon. Speak with confidence and purpose. Know your goal behind what you're posting. You want to post to get conversion & you need to have a strategy. Make sure you are thinking about your Niche targeting. This involves breaking down a specific target market to narrow down on people dealing with certain pain points or having specific interests in your product or service. The goal is to narrow down the audience group to those that might benefit the most from your service, product or offer.

Just be real on your social media, let the clients know you’re here for them.

Be inspirational for people. Your clients really need you right now!

Is there anything different small businesses may not have heard about that could help them in this difficult time?

Retailing during lockdown: Everyone can retail during shutdowns and this is almost the only way to keep some cash flow coming in your doors when closed. Get into the salon, show customers you are there as much as possible.

Get your website or online store up to date and working efficiently for you to be able to offer click and collect, postage and contactless home delivery options.

When it comes to retailing, are you setting your teams up for success??

Do you invest in the time for training your teams on product knowledge so that they have the skill and the will to sell? If you haven’t done this for a while then offering this type of sales and product knowledge training for your teams during lockdown is the best way to keep them engaged and using the time out of the salon wisely.

Does your team understand the benefits of the products and how they actually work on the skin/hair on an anatomical or compounding level? If they don’t understand exactly how they will work on the cells of the skin, then they will never confidentially convince a customer to purchase.

Work with your brand companies to offer Gift With Purchase or promotional stock to help with upselling or so that you can run a promotion to entice people to keep buying from you.

Do you have enough options to choose from in your retail offerings?

Stocking multiple brands gives you more opportunities to cherry pick, and to ensure you will always have access to stock. Maybe this is a good time to research and create some new offerings to re-launch your business when you re-open. Create some excitement to drive the customers back into your clinic/salon.

You can reinvent the wheel too, so this doesn’t necessarily need to be an expensive exercise.

JUST FOR FUN!

What are your top 3 favourite useful podcasts?

Ohh so hard to choose but probably my most commonly listened to top 3 are..

  • The Mentor with Mark Boris
  • On purpose with Jay Shetty
  • No Filter with Mia Freedman

If you were stuck on a desert island, what would be your choice of beauty product?

SUNSCREEN!!!  Always, sunscreen. Actually I’m currently loving the new Sunny Skin SPF 50+

Also, Dewy & Lewy Skincare Clever clean sponges and facial cupping kit would help to keep the blood flowing!!

CHECK OUT CARLYS BUSINESS HERE https://www.bellapelle.com.au/