On Friday, luxury hair-care brand Moroccanoil opened its first salon academy in Manhattan to train new hair stylists, as well as encourage existing stylists, salon owners and managers to compete with e-commerce.
Moroccanoil maintains a wholesale channel with over 400 salons, plus it has wholesale partners including Sephora and Amazon. Its aim is to shift attention back to the salon community after expanding its retail partners, and also bolster salons’ retail and merchandising businesses, according to Carmen Tal, Moroccanoil co-founder. Moroccanoil declined to provide any financial data.
The 8,500-square-foot facility, located in the Midtown neighborhood of New York City, offers 40 in-person classes across styling and business topics such as sales and management. The academy also includes a content studio that can be used by stylists and by Moroccanoil to produce social media photos and brand collaborations. Developing in-house content studios to speed up production schedules or facilitate new relationships has been a critical strategy for brands like Morphe, Ipsy and even Condé Nast. Academy students also have access to build their professional portfolios.
“As consumers buy more online, we want to make sure we support the professional industry,” said Tal.
The business curriculum includes five courses on how to develop long-term relationships with clients and how to soft-sell and up-sell products. Each class holds up to 50 people and will be held three times a year, with prices ranging from $400 and $800. Twice a year, the academy will hold a three-day intensive certification course, which covers hiring, managerial skills and merchandising, for $1,000. And three times a year, there will be a two-day course on social media offered for $800. Classes are not required by salon partners of Moroccanoil, and are geared toward entry-level stylists and veterans in need of continued education.
According to the market research group Ibis World, hair salons represented a $46 billion business in 2018, with product sales making up 9.5% of industry revenue. Product sales can account for up to 25% of a salon’s business, according to industry sources. With retailers like Ulta increasing their hair-care assortment and Amazon introducing a professionals-only storefront, in June 2018, sales are siphoned away from salons.
Moroccanoil does not own salons, but it relaunched its professional website, Moroccanoilprofessionals.com, in January. It includes descriptions of products, a video library, a lookbook and the ability to register online for the academy. Moroccanoil plans to bring its academy online for stylists and salons outside of New York City through webinars and online training at an undetermined time.
“Salons have an uphill battle, so we want to teach them how to fight back against Amazon and other online retailers,” said Robert Ham, Moroccanoil vp of education. “They have to learn to think like they are an online website.”
Ham also expects the academy to host consumer-facing events, such as a blowout boot camp, but did not have a specific timeline.