Since the Covid-19 pandemic swept the nation in March, Sally Beauty, like the rest of the industry, has seen the consumer shift to beauty discovery and services at home versus in stores or in salons.
For the better part of the year, the retailer has been in search of online DIY experts to serve as its SallyCrew, a group a of stylists and influencers who will serve as ambassadors for the company. On Tuesday, Sally Beauty revealed its four-person crew made up of Asea Gilmore, a textured hair and nails expert from Fort Worth, Texas with 36,000 Instagram followers; Emily Boulin, a hair color stylist and educator from Baltimore, Maryland with 13,700 Instagram followers; Zenita Collie, a textured hair expert from Coconut Creek, Florida with 53,300 Instagram followers; and Charity LeBlanc, an at-home hair colorist from Clearwater, Florida with 915,000 Instagram followers. The foursome was selected out of 1,000-plus applicants who included Sally Beauty employees and those outside of the company. All four women selected ended up being not affiliated with Sally Beauty.
“More and more, people are leaning into DIY, at-home beauty and self-care. We recognized the importance of this and knew we needed to meet our consumers’ needs by offering educational resources that complement the professional-quality products we are known for. Our goal is to empower our customers, not just with products, but with the expertise they need to confidently achieve pro-quality, beautiful results at home,” said Carolyne Guss, Sally Beauty group vp of marketing.
Guss said the partnership will include a year-long contract with Sally Beauty, as well as access to exclusive products and events, spokesperson opportunities, and features on Sally Beauty’s social channels and in marketing materials. Sally Beauty would not disclose the details of the financial commitment, beyond saying SallyCrew members are receiving a base salary from the retailer and have additional earning potential through affiliate sales.
While other beauty companies, such as Sephora with its Sephora Squad and E.l.f. with Beautyscape, have relied on incubating influencers pre-Covid-19, this is Sally Beauty’s first foray into developing in-house talent. But Guss emphasized that these four ambassadors “are not just beauty influencers.” They’re experts in the categories of hair color, textured hair and nails, because this is where the company has seen more customers experimenting at home.
“The SallyCrew is made up of moms, professional stylists, at-home gurus and women that love beauty. They built their individual followings by giving real advice, sharing authentic stories and creating content that makes beauty accessible,” she said.
SallyCrew’s first task will be developing the company’s new education initiative, DIY University by Sally Beauty. The program is centered around educational content for the at-home DIYer. “Our goal is to go beyond the typical ‘get the look’ content that we see, and instead inspire, educate and empower beauty enthusiasts. We’ll do that by providing access to real-life, practical tools to elevate their at-home beauty, grooming and self-care routines,” said Guss. This content will be shared across Sally Beauty’s digital and social platforms, as well as in stores. A new podcast will launch this month to correspond to the educational series.
Sally Beauty releases fourth-quarter results later this week, on November 12. In the third quarter, reported in July, the company saw consolidated net sales decline by 27.7% to $705.3 million, compared to the prior year. The company said the negative impact was driven by coronavirus-related store closures, as well as a smaller store base with 27 fewer stores compared to the prior year and unfavorable impacts from foreign currency translation. But there were highlights. For example, e-commerce sales grew 278% year-over-year to $137 million. Guss said tech initiatives like ColorView, where customers can test products before they buy, have been a key pillar of this digital success.
“2020 has been quite a year for all retailers, and we are no exception. In Q3, during the height of the pandemic, Sally Beauty Holdings saw e-commerce sales grow,” she said. “This told us that DIY is a priority for consumers as our day-to-day lives quickly changed. We are leveraging technology and digital platforms in big ways, and this is just the beginning.”