6 Tips to Make the Most of Slow Season for Your Beauty Business

6 Tips to Make the Most of Slow Season for Your Beauty Business
Learn how three Square beauty sellers are making the most of slow season. Take away tips, explore their Square setups, and identify your own slow season business strategies.
by Square Jun 26, 2024 — 6 min read
6 Tips to Make the Most of Slow Season for Your Beauty Business

Seasonality plays a huge role in the pace and offerings of every beauty business. Whether you run a hair salon, nail salon, skincare studio, spa, or tattoo parlor, the changing of the seasons brings forth new challenges and opportunities.

While the holiday season often brings a boom in bookings, January and February usually bring on a stint of traditionally slower times as customers settle in for the winter and rein in their spending. Late summer is also typically associated with a slowdown: free time is reserved for vacations, back-to-school tasks, and fun in the sun, meaning clients have less time to spend on self-care.

But slower times for bookings don’t have to be a negative. There are plenty of ways to plan in advance to get clients on the books during slower seasons, free up space to deepen focus, uplevel parts of your business, and optimize strategies for all the seasons to come.

Ahead, the Square team of Ambassadors weighs in with their top tips for slow season, from how to make the most of slower times of year to strategies for taking your beauty business to the next level.

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Winter is the slowest time for Urban Nail Box, but we don’t see that as a bad thing. We dive into booking trends and launch marketing campaigns that capture interest. ”

Rachel Dang owner of Urban Nail Box

1. Leverage trend reports to craft engaging seasonal marketing campaigns.

Rachel Dang, owner of Urban Nail Box in Seattle, Washington, has mastered the art of crafting and sending seasonal newsletters via email. 

“My goal is for our marketing to never feel like marketing,” says Dang. “We start by digging into our reporting to understand which services clients naturally gravitate towards during different seasons. Then we write a seasonal newsletter that highlights those trends, while giving loyal clients a peek behind the scenes at Urban Nail Box and our latest updates.”

“Our winter newsletter typically focuses on the importance of self-care, even in colder months when pedicures aren’t as popular,” said Dang. “We have over 15,000 email contacts, and our last newsletter received a 64% open rate and over $40K in attributable sales.”

2. Spruce up your physical space.

For Urban Nail Box, slow seasons aren’t viewed as a bad thing. Analytics and trend reports help Dang and her team predict when slower months are ahead, and they use this head start to get a leg up on planning and improve the business. “Every few years, we modernize our interior design and equipment to keep things fresh for clients,” Dang said.

In 2019, Dang and the team accepted a small business loan1 offer with Square to refresh the studio and upgrade equipment — including their sound system and computer monitors for the front desk — upgrades they could not have afforded without quick access to capital. “A beautiful and relaxing vibe at the studio is one of the reasons we see a high (75%) repeat client rate,” said Dang. “We believe it’s important to keep things feeling interesting, modern, and streamlined.”

Slow booking months are a great time to make other updates and optimizations you’ve been thinking about, including revisiting your product lines and policies, financial planning and goal setting for the months ahead, or launching new revenue streams. “The next goal on my list is to launch our own product line, including merch, polish, and other nail-care and self-care items,” Dang said.

Explore Urban Nail Box’s Square setup:

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Beauty is one of the fastest-moving industries. Slow booking seasons are an opportunity to revisit operations, perfect skills, and introduce new revenue drivers. ”

René de la Garza founder and owner of Brow Down Studio

3. Level up your team with trainings and certifications.

The beauty industry has a reputation for moving quickly when it comes to new tech, trends, and client expectations. According to René de la Garza, founder and owner of Brow Down Studio in LA, it’s important to always stay one step ahead. Brow Down experiences its slowest months during September, October, and post-holiday, and often focuses on launching new, seasonally relevant services during those periods to generate excitement.

“For instance,” said de la Garza, “right now my team is learning about airbrush brows, where we apply stencils and use an airbrush to tint. We really want to perfect this offering during the summer and have a big fall launch. We’re always planning at least one season in advance for what’s going to be the hottest trend.” 

4. Lock in revenue opportunities with rebooking, packages, and gift cards.

Square offers several ways to help lock in revenue ahead of slower months, from online and physical gift cards to packages, which allow clients to pay upfront for a predetermined number of services. The Brow Down team also finds that providing a highly personalized experience in person improves rebooking rates.

“Brows are such an intimate and high-trust service,” said de la Garza. “No two sets of brows are the same. This is something we really lean into by offering personalized consultations. We have a collaborative design session with each client before we perform any services, and in that consultation we also build in how often they should come back based on their goals.”

“I encourage my team to take detailed notes in Square about each client and get them rebooked then and there, then reference their goals in the next session to continue bringing a hyper-personalized approach,” said de la Garza. “If rebooking doesn’t happen on the spot, we use automated appointment reminders in Square to remind clients when it’s time to come back and see us.”

Explore Brow Down Studio’s Square setup:

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During slow seasons, it’s just as important to invest in your own self-care as it is to invest in growing your business.”

Nikki Ally Rae founder, owner, and stylist at Be You Hair

5. Launch a new revenue stream.

Slower times present the perfect opportunity to launch new revenue streams. While providing the best service remains the top priority, clients are looking for product recommendations to keep up with their treatments at home. According to the 2024 Square Client Loyalty report, businesses that sell both services and products see 57% more in annual sales compared to those that just sell services. Using Square Payroll alongside Square Appointments, you can easily keep track of product sale commissions by employee and automatically attach them to employees’ pay. You can even sell retail products online using Square Online.

Nikki Ally Rae, founder, owner, and stylist at Be You Hair, launched her own line of hair extensions to bring clients the added convenience of purchasing high-quality products at a fair price directly from the stylist they trust. She took out a Square business loan to get her product line off the ground, saying, “It’s hard out here getting a loan, but with Square it’s preapproved with a one-time fee, no interest, and the loan pays itself off automatically with a percentage of your sales, so you really don’t feel it.”

6. Set your budget on autopilot for peace of mind.

Slow season is also a time to get intentional and prioritize personal and professional growth. “January is when I focus on goal-setting,” said Rae. “I dig into my reports on Square and assess performance, make a mood board, and even burn candles.” 

For Rae, self-care is an important aspect of owning a business, and part of that is knowing she has funds set aside for a rainy day. “During slower periods, I travel. I do things for me. I catch up on admin work and make sure my own cup is full so I feel invigorated to pour into my business.”

Rae leverages Square Savings2 to automatically set aside a percentage of her sales into a high-yield business savings account. “I have three folders in my Square Savings account,” said Rae, “a debt-free folder that goes to paying off bills, a home down-payment folder that goes towards my future dream home and other personal goals, and a rainy day folder for times like the slow season.”

No matter what slow season looks like for your business, rethinking this period with new tools and strategies can help set your business up for success year-round. Learn more about Square for Beauty or connect with other Square sellers in the beauty industry by joining the Square Seller Community Beauty and Wellness group.  

1Square Loans are issued by Square Financial Services, Inc. Actual fee depends upon payment card processing history, loan amount, and other eligibility factors. A minimum payment of 1/18th of the initial loan balance is required every 60 days and full loan repayment is required within 18 months. Loan eligibility is not guaranteed. All loans are subject to credit approval.

2Savings accounts are provided by Square Financial Services, Inc. Member FDIC.

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