Byu-ti salon - what marketing tactic “Worked like magic”?

The following is an interview with Natasha Sunshine - pictured below - owner of byu-ti (pronounced beauty) salon in Santa Monica,CA. We talk about online video, email marketing and the tactic that, “Worked like Magic” for her.

1. Introduce yourself


After being a hairstylist for many years (15!) I decided to take some time off and figure out what was next for me. My career included working at two of the top salons in the country in Los Angeles and New York, having a celebrity clientele, working the runway shows every season and being an educator for an international hair care brand.

My time off of nine-months included writing 200 pages of a memoir – Stories From Behind the Chair and being a business tele-coach to 13 hairstylists and salon-owners nation wide. Still, I had lots of time on my hands and began craving getting back in to a full-time swing.

I began thinking hard about a new product that I could bring to my industry when I had a dream about something like a smoothie bar for hair. I dreamt of a store where people could come in and get an analysis from an expert who would custom-blend treatments for the client’s needs.

Byu-ti was born out of this concept.

byu-ti salon

We opened our salon two years ago and launched 19 products along with it. We have a custom-blending station where we perform in-house treatments according to our guest’s needs. We also cut, color, style and have an expert make-up artist on staff.

2. Holiday tactics in a recession

People are cutting back on luxuries, that includes fewer trips to the salon. What holiday tactics have you got planned in light of the recession. Any holiday events or gifts in the salon?

It’s funny because I really did everything the hard way in the beginning. I opened a ten-chair salon with two stylists, including myself and no clients. Because of this, I began running specials right from the get go. I had top talent but we didn’t have any guests. I gave most of my clientele away to co-workers when I left the salon.

The small amount of guests that we did have, received a monthly e-mailer inviting them in for some sort of special. Having worked in high-end salons my whole career, this felt a little cheap in the beginning. However, I had to do whatever it took to get people in the door.

Funny enough, in these times it seems like a really good move because we are not sending out specials out of nowhere. We’ve always been doing it! I’m happy to report that we are currently a staff of 13 with a database of 4000 guests.

From what I’ve read and seen in different industries, people want to see packages. They want to shop in bulk to save, so we’ve created Holiday Packages that make it affordable to be fabulous during the Holiday Season. We call them our “Get Gorgeous at Byu-ti” packages. And yes, we have lots of affordable gifts in the salon already wrapped to make it quick and easy to shop for friends and family

3. Online Video

I loved the byu-ti “Quick and Easy Up Dos” video, and “How To: Soft, Sexy Curls with Hot Rollers“ (approaching 100,000 hits each on YouTube). The soft sale approach was refreshing. Do you plan to do more content marketing using online video?

I agree about the soft sale approach. I guess that’s pretty much how we do things at Byu-ti. Education is the foundation for my company. The staff is very well trained on all the products we use, the latest technologies and techniques.

We often talk about creating quick styling tips on video for our clients and the on-line world at large. We’ve been fortunate that two companies: and have featured a number of educational segments with myself and our other in-salon educator Andi Scarbrough. Keep checking our website as we have more tips and videos coming in the very near future

4. Online Booking

I just received an email from byu-ti. I could click through and make an appointment online. Is this the central goal of your email campaigns, to drive online booking?

Click here to view larger screenshot

Online booking

On-line booking is terrific because it frees up my front desk support to take better care of our guests when they are in the salon. It also keeps the salon more peaceful as the phones are not ringing non-stop. So yes, we are definitely looking to build that segment of the business up

We currently have about 10% of all guests booking on-line. Those that use it really seem to love it. We use a fabulous software called Salon Transcripts. They are Mac friendly which is why we chose them. They continue to exceed our expectations.

5. Email marketing

Do you have a holiday plan in place, or are you going to wing it?! What are your most successful newsletters?


Click here to view full-sized HTML email

byu-ti Email

At this stage, we try everything and see what works. We do have an annual calendar for mailings but leave room for news, changes in the economy or even new talent to adjust accordingly.

The most successful specials are for things that people really need like a color and cut combo package. Another great one is when we opened on Sundays, we did a month of 30% Sunday appointments. That was great for kick starting a new day.

I ask my clients often what they think about the specials and the feedback that I get is that although they may not always use the special of the month, it serves as a reminder to make an appointment, which is just as good.

They also say that even though the special may not be right for their particular needs, they feel like it’s generous of us to run them. One guest told me she feels like she’s getting a deal just by reading them

6. Social Marketing

Are you using social media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube for marketing?

I have an ad on Facebook but I don’t know that it’s brought much business in. Coming back to the soft sell, I may be wrong about this but I don’t want to seem pushy especially when it comes to friendships. I don’t want to be junk mail for my friends and even my guests.

I prefer to market my business in gift bags at events or social gatherings that are person-to-person. I started an entrepreneurial dinner for women and we have one tomorrow. It’s called SOCIALLY WEB and we have an expert on on-line social marketing so I may change my mind when I learn more. I’ll let you know.

7. Missed Anything?

What have I missed?

Sometimes it’s the small changes that can make a big difference for your business. For example, I’ve been using Google Ad Words for over a year now and we get a lot of hits every month.

Someone recommended putting a coupon on our homepage to entice the person searching for a “Santa Monica Salon”. I added a box saying: Mention you found us on-line and get $25 off your first visit.

It worked like magic. We now get 100 new guests a month from on-line searches.

Homepage promo 

Business is about being aware of what’s happening in the market place. Staying open and being willing to change your vision is a crucial piece to staying alive in an ever changing world.

 I plan to interview a series of retailers and businesses about their marketing.  If you want to do an interview just drop me an email or contact me on Twitter @stylecampaign.  


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