Opening Up to New Brands

Sheena Payer’s favorite brand fell into her hands on one of her most hectic days as a hairstylist. With one client under the dryer, one in her chair, and another waiting, in walks her sales representative. For a few weeks, her sales representative had come in talking about a new product that had just hit the market. As busy as she was, Payer was reluctant to try a new product.


“I kept on saying I don’t have time, I don’t have time, but luckily my sales rep was really persistent,” she explains.

Walking into a hairstylists’ worst nightmare, her sales representative came up with a plan; she recommended shampooing her highlight client and applying the deep conditioning treatment by this new brand. This would give Payer time to catch up, while keeping her clients happy.

“At this point, it was late at night, and I thought, ‘Okay, I’m just going to do it,’” Payer stated with a smile spread across her face.

As Payer was blow-drying her client’s hair, she was pleasantly surprised and so was her client. Her hair had a shine and a feel unlike before, and neither Payer nor her client could stop touching it. Her client was curious as to what Payer had put in her hair to get such amazing results, but Payer wasn’t exactly sure—in fact, she had thrown the sachet away. Promising her client to investigate this new brand, Payer called her sales representative the next morning.

“What is this stuff?” she asked.

It was a product from a new company called GKhair, and they had more amazing products to offer than just the deep conditioner. Finally, Payer felt ready to listen. Her sales representative came in and talked to her more about it—and that was her turning point.

She immediately switched all of her styling products to GKhair products, and the reaction from her clients spoke for the brand itself. Her product sales were at an all-time high, and her customers were amazed with the products—and hungry for more.

Sheena Payer began testing GKhair products before they hit the market, including color.

Looking back, Payer admits she was scared the first time she used GKhair color on a client: “She was a really long-time client of mine, and I didn’t want to tell her I was testing a new product out on her. Sometimes when you tell people something is different, they will look for the difference. I wanted a blind audience—to see what their true reactions were to the color. This client liked to be a white-blonde, which can be hard to achieve. About three weeks after I colored her, she called me up and said, ‘Hey, I want to ask you a question. I don’t want it to be weird, but did you do something different to my hair?’ I asked why, and she said, ‘Because my color didn’t fade. Like, I actually have a grow-out line. I was just wondering if you changed something?’ So, I came clean and told her I had used a product that wasn’t even out on the market yet and they’re still testing it—hopefully I could get more of her color.”

“We reached the end of her tube, and I was like, ‘This is it.’ My client was like, ‘I can’t go back, I can’t go back.’ I actually did have to use another color on her, and she was really disappointed. She could really see the difference in her hair. At that point, I knew GKhair color was onto something amazing.”

“Once I switched over to color, my color client retention was really high. Their color was lasting longer, their hair was shinier; it was healthier. Altogether, I think it was a really good decision,” Payer said.

Payer’s relationship with GKhair didn’t stop with being a customer; for a long time, she did a lot of GKhair’s international education. She launched color in the United States, and in other countries as well.

When asked why building a relationship with a brand is important, Payer responded: “The more you know and the more connected you are with a brand, the more you feel a part of what they’re doing. It’s culture, basically. I think that that molds and shapes who you are and what you do behind the chair. I truly believe in the brand, and my clients do as well. When my clients use another brand, they can tell the difference. You also feel a connection—and not only that—through the educational aspect of it, you learn so much. Going to different areas and doing hair is something that is really, unbelievable. I always say this to people: when you go and you teach a class somewhere, you always take away something too. You’re there to teach, but a lot of the time you end up learning something in the process of that. It’s really amazing.”