photo by Carly Cristello

photo by Carly Cristello

When Joey Wesolowski of Pyure Salon in Boynton Beach, Florida entered a referral contest through The Salon People, Pyure’s distributor, he didn’t realize his own potential.

The contest, which involved 50 of The Salon People’s top salons, encouraged stylists to get the most referrals possible in the last quarter of 2015. At the end of the contest, one winner would receive $1,000 and free Aveda education for all of 2016. (The referral system used is eligible for reimbursement through Aveda’s Concept Benefits Program.)

Wesolowski, who had participated in referral contests before in his salon, decided to give this larger competition a shot. And before he knew it, Pyure front desk staffers, his SDP and his salon owner were taking notice of his impressive numbers.

In the past, Pyure owner Luca Boccia used 80-90 new guests as a benchmark for what his stylists were capable of achieving in referrals in a year. But not anymore. Wesolowski blew that benchmark out of the water.


When the contest first started, Wesolowski was a little skeptical about his chances of winning.

“I’m a poker player,” he says. “And in poker tournaments, they usually pay out the top 10 percent. So with this being a winner-takes-all competition, I knew it was more of a long shot.”

He was also apprehensive because of the scope of the competition. The field of competitors was much broader than what he was used to—50 salons in Florida rather than just his own salon. He figured it would be next to impossible to win, so he kept expectations low.

Then his front desk person, who was helping track the referrals, alerted him that he was bringing in a lot of new guests. And when his SDP stopped by the salon, she also noticed his amazing results and encouraged him.

Pyure Salon owner, Luca Boccia.

Pyure Salon owner, Luca Boccia.

Boccia noticed Wesolowski doing well and would motivate him by saying, “You’re only four away or two ahead. He stuck to his guns and handed out referral cards without even thinking about it—it was like brushing his teeth,” he added.

“Once I realized I was in the hunt, I decided to step it up,” Wesolowski says. “That initial lead was a shock. But I just kept consistently handing out cards to every person in my chair.

In hindsight, I’m realizing consistency really helps. So if I make it a habit and do it 100 percent of the time, I have zero-percent chance of forgetting.”


Wesolowski was demonstrating every day what Boccia tries to teach his team.

We want them to make it such a habit that they never think about it—it’s just part of the job. Marketing is part of what they do. You can’t grow if you don’t market.

While consistency was key, Wesolowski tapped into other techniques as well.

“Around the end of the year, I picked up some hours, which helped my availability for new clients,” he says. “I gave every person three cards when they left and I genuinely connected with each person in my chair. I tried to find a commonality with them, and I’m always positive and in a good mood.”

Wesolowski maintains giving good energy to people and treating their service more like an experience was also critical to his success.

“I do a strong consultation and make the person feel good. They want to share their experience with other people—just like when you go out to a great restaurant.”

However, many stylists are consistent and upbeat. There was still one more attribute that gave Wesolowski an edge.

“I was not afraid to ask,” he says. “I asked them to write an online review. I asked them to send their friends in if they enjoyed their service. I let them know about the competition. I told them to just leave the referral cards at the gym if they didn’t have any friends to refer.”

Once he was a serious contender in the contest, some of Wesolowski’s regular guests went above and beyond to make sure they referred new guests. They’ve even followed up with him in the new year to see how the contest went.

In the three-month period, Wesolowski passed out 479 cards and received 69 of them back, a 15-percent rate of referral.

“Before, we celebrated 80-90 referrals in a year,” Boccia says. “Now, we just saw almost 70 in three months. I’m looking at February and he has 12 that have come back already.”


Post-competition, Wesolowski’s confidence has soared, motivating him to continue marketing himself every day.

It’s a big honor,” he says. “Once you get success in something like that, you continue to do it. Seeing the results—more people in my chair—makes me want to continue to grow.

While the $1,000 and free education were a great prize, Wesolowski’s real reward was 69 new guests.

“In 2014, Joey produced $60,000,” Boccia says. “In 2015, he produced $91,000. You multiply 69 new guests coming in times the ticket price, and that’s a lot of revenue. But you don’t grow $31,000 in a year by sitting idle,” he says.

These numbers only reflect the 69 new guests Wesolowski recruited. What about the guests those 69 refer? Word-of-mouth marketing yields unlimited potential new revenue, and Wesolowski has only scratched the surface of everything he can accomplish.


For more information on the contest’s referral cards, contact Imaginal Marketing.