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Boulevard Deploys Brand Journalism to Connect with Salon & Spa Owners

When Boulevard co-founders Matt Danna and Sean Stavropoulos started building their SaaS platform for the beauty and wellness industry, they committed themselves to getting to know their customers’ business inside and out. 

They spent the better part of two years working the front desk at several LA-area salons so they could gain a first-hand understanding of how those businesses operated. They got to know all of their pain points. They studied the complete customer experience. They looked for inefficiencies. All so that when they launched their platform, it was helpful, relevant, and pragmatic. 

They wanted the Boulevard blog to embrace that same mentality. They worked with the Candor team to develop a content strategy that would make sure the Boulevard blog was also a helpful, relevant, pragmatic resource for spa and salon owners, managers, and stylists. 

Embracing a brand journalism approach

Brand journalism is the act of applying the principles of journalism to branded content. In Boulevard’s case, that meant taking a good, hard look at the state of the beauty and wellness industry and providing analysis, insight and advice for those whose livelihoods depend on it. 

Here’s a rundown of the strategy that helped Boulevard’s website go from practically 0 to more than 20,000 unique visitors a month in less than two years. 

Analyzing industry trends

While the roots of the beauty industry can be traced back to 4,000 B.C. — think Ancient Egyptians applying kohl and malachite as eye makeup — the trends driving the industry today are constantly evolving. 

Candor made it a point to keep its finger on the pulse of the industry and report back on the essential trends that readers need to know. For instance, when salons started re-opening during the post-COVID recovery, we covered what beauty professionals need to know about vaccine mandates. We also looked at 6 tech innovations to make a spa healthier in light of the industry’s embrace of more health-conscious customers. And as skin care becomes more specialized, we broke down the differences between aestheticians, estheticians and dermatologists

By reporting on the major trends pushing the industry forward, Boulevard came to be viewed as an essential resource for timely news and analysis. 

Highlighting social justice issues   

Both Matt and Sean — as well as the Boulevard team as a whole — feel strongly in support of social justice issues involving race, gender, personal identity, and more. 

So Candor helped the company report on diversity and inclusion within the industry. For example, we provided an update on the CROWN Act and its efforts to eliminate race-based hair discrimination. We provided a list of 30 LGBTQ+ beauty influencers to follow — one for each day of Pride Month. And we listened to what Asian beauty advocates had to say on how to support the AAPI community within the industry. 

Not only did these types of articles provide important information that was often overlooked by the mainstream media, but it helped Boulevard show what it values when it comes to the most important societal issues of the day. 

Sharing best practices

For most beauty professionals, their job isn’t just a vocation; it’s also an artistic expression, a commitment to serving others, and a craft that they are constantly striving to improve. 

That’s why we frequently reported on best practices that spa/salon owners and stylists alike could immediately implement in order to make them better at their day-to-day jobs. For owners and managers, we covered best practices such as how data can empower staff and create a better workplace, how to improve salon marketing, and even how to hire Gen Z stylists. Meanwhile, for stylists and hands-on work crews, we covered topics ranging from how to serve blind and low-vision clients and how to create an iconic ‘70’s era summer style to how to help clients navigate postpartum hair loss

Sharing these types of best practices played an important role in helping Boulevard establish its authority while simultaneously building a community of like-minded individuals. 

Digging into the data 

Data-driven reporting is an important component to content marketing in any industry, and beauty is no exception. 

Relying on a mix of 1st party, 3rd party, and survey-based data, Candor helped produce reports for Boulevard including “The Perfect Salon: A Data-Drive Guide to Creating the Ideal Client Experience” — a downloadable guide based on a survey of more than 800 beauty service consumers to better understand their behaviors, motivations, and preferences regarding the salon experience. Other data-driven reporting include articles such as “What Is the Average Medical Spa Revenue? See How You Measure Up,” “How Much Do Barber Shop Owners Make in 2022?” and several more.  

This type of data-driven storytelling helps Boulevard’s audience benchmark themselves against the competition while gaining insights that help them run their business better and more efficiently. 

If you're interested in exploring what brand journalism could do for your company, contact Candor today to schedule a free meeting with our experts.