“Luxury Brand” is one of those terms that is used a lot and I know a lot of you strive to become a luxury brand but what exactly does that mean? And, more importantly, how do you create a true luxury brand?
Is it for you?
Do you really want to create a luxury brand or do you just want to be able to charge more because there is a difference.
Like I said before, you can’t JUST charge more and call yourself a luxury brand.
First of all, you have to be on your A game!
I’ve been in business for over 20 years and I have seen things change considerable since I first started Hair Comes the Bride and nowadays with so much oversaturation and competition, you have to be on your A game whether you are in the luxury category or not BUT if you do want to market yourself as a luxury brand, it is imperative that you are on your A+++ game and all of the aspects of your business from your systems, policies, procedures, staff, marketing...everything is running smoothly and successfully from start to finish.
You must be willing to be held to a higher standard.
This goes hand in hand with being on your A game. As a luxury brand, you are dealing with a certain clientele AND you are charging a premium so expectations are going to be much higher for you.
You must be comfortable and familiar with working with a certain type of clientele.
As a luxury brand, you are most likely going to be dealing with a more affluent client who has different needs, wants and expectations than your “average” bride. And, I’m not saying that an affluent client is necessarily going to be harder to deal with, just different.
You need to be in the right area.
Any larger metropolitan area is going to be a good place to create a luxury brand. If you are in a more rural area, it may not be ideal.
You must have a healthy "money" mindset!
We all tend to make up money stories about people or worry that they aren’t going to be willing to pay a premium. If you are in a luxury space, you need to understand that there are a lot of people who are willing to pay more if they are confident that your service is worth it. You need to be comfortable with confidently stating what you charge.
The three KEY Elements for Creating a Luxury Brand
In order to create a successful luxury brand...
You need to provide THE best quality products and services possible!
This is where a lot of people get confused thinking that if they just do great hair and makeup they can charge more AND call themselves a luxury brand. The unfortunate truth is that you need to be doing great hair and makeup to be in business, period. The marketplace is too oversaturated with great stylists for you to be doing anything less. That being said, as a luxury brand, you need to make sure that your work is not only the highest quality but also very consistent AND in line with a style that a luxury client expects.
You also need to make sure that you are using the best and highest quality products available. Many of your high end brides are going to be accustomed to using high end beauty products such as Chanel, Dior or Charlotte Tillbury.
In order to create a successful luxury brand...
You need to provide one-on-one attention, personalized touches and excellent customer service.
I love to go to the spa and there are two places that I typically go. One is a Korean spa that provides amazing body scrubs and massages but there are no frills. An hour massage costs around $60 which where I live in Southern California is very inexpensive. The other spa I go to provides great massages and body scrubs as well but honestly no better than the Korean spa yet, I pay about $160 for an hour massage. The difference is the experience.
At my high end spa, they provide valet parking, lush luxurious robes, cucumber water and snacks, there is a beautiful quiet room where you sit as long as you want, drinking tea, curled up in a lush recliner with a warm blanket. It looks beautiful, it smells beautiful and bottom line, it makes you feel special and indulgent. And that is what a luxury brand is all about...how it makes you feel!
When we were still doing hair and makeup services at Hair Comes the Bride, some of the special touches that we offered were sending the bride a cute tote bag and personalized thank you note when she booked her wedding, having high end beauty products in our bathroom for a bride to take off her makeup if needed for her trial run, offering her and her guests champagne, providing a beauty concierge service, providing airbrush makeup and lashes included in their service at no extra charge, staying for an hour with the bride for touch ups and providing a touch up kit wrapped beautifully in a satin bag included in the cost of her service AND providing a money back guarantee if a bride was not happy with her hair and makeup preview.
We also made sure that all of our stylists maintained a certain look, wearing a uniform and with their hair and makeup in a very neat and groomed manner. Our stylists also had to have a certain style of kit and makeup chair and set their products out in a certain manner.
Finally, we also made sure that we were readily available any time a bride had questions or needed some guidance including giving her an emergency number for after hours.
This all goes back to being really clear on who your ideal client is and what they expect and those expectations are going to be much different and much higher when you are dealing with a luxury clientele and charging a premium.
In order to create a successful luxury brand...
EVERYTHING you do and say must appeal to a high end, luxury client.
Just like you need to be clear on who your ideal client is and what they expect out of their experience with you, you also need to be really clear on what aesthetic is appealing to them. This is true and extremely important no matter who your ideal client is but even more so with a luxury or more affluent clientele.
If you search online for luxury brands, whether it’s cars, hotels, fashion or beauty products, they all have a very similar and very recognizable aesthetic. Typically, they are very clean in their branding with a touch of opulence and high fashion.
This is probably the one element that I see missing most in bridal beauty companies that claim to be a “luxury brand”. They have a high quality of work, they provide personal touches to their bride but their aesthetic does not send a clear message to that ideal affluent clientele. What happens when this is the case is that you have to do a lot of “selling” to book your brides because you are charging a premium and you have to explain why to your potential brides.
When it’s clear in your aesthetic that you are a “luxury brand”, brides know what to expect.
I also want to point out that just like with any other niche, just because you cater to a certain type of bride does not mean that you can’t do other brides. If you are in the luxury category, I am sure that you are not ONLY doing brides that are in the top 1% but everything about your brand and marketing must say "luxury" so that your potential brides aren’t surprised to find out you charge more than the average stylist, they will be expecting to pay a premium.
If you are confused as to how to create a luxury brand aesthetic, search online for high end designers like Chanel, Dior or Gucci for inspiration. You will definitely start to see a trend in the way they present and market their brand.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line in creating a luxury brand besides the three elements is first of all, perception and that’s all your “brand” is whether luxury or not is perception. Everything you do and say is creating a perception in your potential clientele and this perception leads to their expectations.
Every potential client has certain needs and wants and this is going to vary based on the client. It is your job to create an image or a brand that addresses these needs and wants and shows a bride that you will be able to meet her expectations BEFORE she ever contacts you for information. If you can do this successfully, you will find yourself easily attracting AND booking your ideal clients.
BUT, it’s not enough that you create the perception, you also need to be ready and able to follow through.
The WORST thing you can do is to tell someone who you are through your branding and then not follow through on their promises and not be able to meet their expectations.
I also want to point out that how much you can charge is in direct relation to how much someone trusts you. In every transaction there is risk and the risk is typically taken on by the consumer. Especially as a luxury brand, your client is paying a premium because they trust that you will fulfill their needs and wants and meet their expectations. The more trust that someone has that you will be able to do this, the more money they are willing to pay.
I go into this more in my free E-Book "The Secret Formula for Booking More Brides and Charging What You're Worth"
Finally, I wanted to mention that if you are marketing yourself or want to market yourself as a luxury brand, this will typically mean adopting a little bit of a different marketing strategy. Some of the marketing strategies and tactics that work for the “average” bride may not work in a luxury space.
If you have any questions or you are interested in working with me one-on-one to help you create a luxury brand, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please also feel free to reach out and let me know if there are any particular subjects you would like me to cover in my monthly business education.
Thanks so much for joining me and I’ll see you next time.