More than 600 salon, spa and barbershop owners kick-started 2023 by attending the Salon Owners Summit hosted by Phorest, a global salon software provider. The two-day event, which was packed with energizing speakers, introspective workshops and fun-filled networking activities was held January 8-9 in the new, state-of-the-art Royal Convention Center in Dublin, Ireland. This year’s event attracted an international salon audience from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom & Ireland, Australia, Germany and Africa.
Curated as a highly inspirational, educational and growth platform, the Phorest Salon Owners summit offers ambitious salon owners and their senior teams members the latest salon software innovation, global consumer and salon insights and peer-to-peer networking to equip and energize them to ignite the year ahead.
Host of the 2023 event, CEO Ronan Perceval says, “Our ambition to move back to an in-person event proved hugely successful with a 25% increase in our customers flying into Dublin. We have a very ambitious and hardworking salon and spa community who work with true grit and determination. Nothing beats the power of the collective, and the opportunities the Salon Owners Summit provides to network, learn and share in-person is very powerful. We continue to engage with our customers and innovate the Phorest product to not only grow salon revenue but to further empower salon owners to thrive in 2023.”
Perceval welcomed the audience to the Summit, by explaining why the conference is and always will be held the first week of January. Twenty years ago, when Perceval was working the front desk of a salon, he returned to the salon after the holidays to find the owner examining the appointment book with a look of fear because there were hardly any appointments in it. “In that moment, 20 years ago, we had our first idea which led to Phorest—we gathered all the phone numbers we had been collecting and sent out a text message promotion,” he says.
As the keynote speaker, Jason Everett from the High Performance Salon Academy kicked things off by comparing and contrasting two leadership models. In the first, the business is organized around the owner’s ideas, and the leader tells employees what to do, takes a specific position and makes assumptions that are obvious. In the second leadership model, the business is organized around everyone’s ideas, there is a big picture vision, everyone is inspired to do more asking and the intention is revealed.
“People can smell bad intentions,” Everett warns. “Your team will not believe in you, if you don’t believe in them.”
Sustain Beauty Co.’s Valorie Tate talked about a number of products and systems that can help salons improve their sustainability, including Scrummi towels, Ecoheads shower heads and the Vish Color Management System. “You can focus on people and the planet and also focus on profits—they aren’t mutually exclusive,” Tate says. “It can be overwhelming, but the best way to start embracing sustainability is to adopt one new idea at a time.”
Janna Ronert, founder of Image Skincare and co-founder of Hush & Hush shared her entrepreneurial story of becoming a number one skincare brand. “Don’t get caught up in titles along the way, they absolutely don’t matter,” she says. “True winners are leaders.”
Sophia Hilton, owner of London’s Not Another Salon addressed workplace toxicity, defining it as “behaviors that make challenges or cause pain in others intentionally or unintentionally.” She says, “It’s easy to dismiss the woke generation, but stop thinking in terms of them versus me—spend less time telling them what to do and more time asking them how you can help them grow.”
On the second day of the conference, Phorest researchers Verna Wall and Rich Cullen shared dozens of salon success stories. They determined that all the best salons are doing the same three things right now, including: 1) Attracting dream clients, 2) Are client obsessed and 3) Are open to Flexibility.
Liz Earle shared her journey of becoming a wellness journalist and building a namesake skincare brand, while she disseminated wellness advice. “Sleep is one of our biggest business assets,” she shares. “Instead of setting an alarm to wake up, set one to remind you to go to bed.”
Self-Development Coach and Author Roxie Nafousi offered her 7-step guide to manifesting. For example, she suggested to the audience that they turn envy into inspiration. “Deny envy and don’t let it encourage you to judge other people,” she says. “Instead, let it show you where you need healing and use it to seek inspiration.”
David Lynch from the Ritz Carlton Leadership Center shared how the hotel brand consistently delivers an elevated consumer experience. “If you do everything on the Ritz-Carlton credo card, you have our secret recipe,” he says. “Our workforce is aligned to this credo, and we cook out of this recipe book every single day.”
A friend’s suicide led Barber Tom Chapman to found the Lions Barber Collective, a group of international barbers who have undergone training to recognize the warning signs of suicide, listen to their clients and connect them to professional help in their communities. “Stylists and barbers listen to their clients an average of 2,000 hours a year,” he says. “We can bridge the gap between the communities we serve and the resources that are available.
Phorest’s Chief Product Officer, Paddy Managhan launched a series of new and exciting product feature innovations specifically designed to boost retail revenues, attract more dream clients to the salon/spa and provide better reporting to business owners when tracking their salon activity and profitability.
Among the mainstage presentations, workshops allowed the audience to dig deeper on particular topics. Jason Everett described Prime Pricing, while Dennis Van Lierop helped owners find the right people for their brand and The Culture Creators talked about the attraction formula for C.U.L.T.U.R.E. Tom Chapman taught attendees how to listen so clients will talk, and Sophia Hilton dug deep into Moment of Truth branding.
The conference included a number of opportunities for the international salon owners to network with one another—from a walking tour of Dublin to afternoon smoothie breaks, and a fun-filled evening of Bingo Loco to the Aftershow Party.
“By 2030, every component of a client’s experience will be enhanced by technology—from how they book to how they pay,” sums up Perceval. “Those who are proactive still have time to use it as a differentiating factor to win clients and set themselves up for the future. Embracing new technology will be the difference between your salon merely existing and truly thriving in 2030.
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