For me, the annual SALON TODAY 200 Reception is a bit like a wedding reception. There’s a year’s worth of careful thought, planning and detail that go into this wonderful event which our friends at Neill Corporation and Serious Business graciously plan and host each year. Our team and the SALON TODAY 200 honorees eagerly anticipates it for months, and like a wedding reception, it always flies by in the blink of an eye.
Of course, there’s a very big difference between the ST200 reception and a wedding reception. ST200 owners and their staff members have to earn an invitation to the awards reception by sharing the best business practices and their data and earning a place on the SALON TODAY 200.
In my opinion, this year’s reception was the best one yet. Representatives from 72 salons journeyed to the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans where Serious Business 2013 was held. They eagerly enjoyed meeting one another and posingfor photos with a large banner of the ST200 cover before the awards ceremony started.
Debra Neill Baker welcomed guests and spoke of the special relationship between the SALON TODAY 200 and Serious Business and congratulated the room’s attendees on their hard work and accomplishments. Before introducing the evening's special guest speaker Antony Whitaker, Steve Reiss, publisher of MODERN SALON and SALON TODAY, told attendees that they were raising the bar in the area of salon business and that the industry looked to them as leaders.
Whitaker, an Australian stylist, salon owner, educator and author of Grow and Grow 2, shared his personal journey to success as a young stylist with Vidal Sassoon in London before opening his first salon in Australia. Like many owners Whitaker at first believed the surest path to success was to work harder and longer hours, until a weeks-long case of the hiccups landed him in the hospital. Faced with the fact that he needed to reduce stress in his life, he decided to take a cue from The E-Myth and begin working on his business instead of just in it. “Honestly I didn’t know what that meant at first,” he told the group of owners in the room. “But I set aside a few days to see clients, and I spent the rest of the time starting to work on my business.”
Before handing out the certificates to each honoree, I took a few minutes to talk about the many reasons we launched SALON TODAY. For example, we wanted to created a forum for salon owners to share great business-building ideas with their peers, we wished to launch a competition that recognized and celebrated business success within the industry and we wanted to forge a mechanism to begin gathering data to allow us to establish important benchmarks that salon and spa owners could use to measure their own businesses. I also talked about the fact that we raised the bar on the competition itself this year by adding the planned profitability category and creating scenario-based essay questions.
“We know the process for entering the SALON TODAY 200 isn’t an easy one, but I also don’t think it should be easy,” I told the honorees. “It’s an honor for us to tell your stories. It’s an honor for us to celebrate your success. And, it’s an honor, if even in the smallest way, we push you to raise the bar on your own business.”
CLICK HERE to view an album of all the attendees receiving their certificates.