At this year’s Data-Driven Salon Summit,  salon and barbershop owners, managers and team members explored the meaning behind their numbers, examined some of the biggest challenges facing the industry and explored some revenue-boosting opportunities. The conference, which was held in Nashville in April 23-24, also hosted the SALON TODAY 200 Celebratory Dinner honoring salon teams for their business success.

In his opening address, Frank Gambuzza, owner of Salon Visage and Gambuzza’s Barbershop discussed the challenging times beauty-based businesses are facing these days and how owners need to refocus on the basics that built their success. He reviewed the three stages of business—survival, success and sustainability—then shared, “Like it or not, we are in the recruiting business, full time.”

Sharing data from Talent Match’s Stefanie Fox, Gambuzza said, “Today’s students are scrutinizing their opportunities very carefully—70% day schedule flexibility is very important; 90% say working on real clients within the first year is very important; and following graduation, 27% plan to rent a suite, but 73% are looking to find a job in a salon.”

Phorest Onboarding Manager Robynn Cyr shared how salons can attract their dream clients both online and offline. “Salons around the world are partnering with local businesses, non-profits, event and committees to find like-minded clients.”She then debuted a new client finder feature that will allow users to build a profile of a dream client based on the behaviors and characteristics of their favorite clients, then build social media ads targeted to prospects in their market that share those same behaviors and characteristics.

Then, in a panel moderated by SALON TODAY’s Stacey Soble, Owners Derek Anthony of D Anthony Studio and Culture Creators, Pete Goldstein of Adam Broderick Salon and Spa and Jen Alvarez of Refined Beauty shared their favorite key performance indicators, how they measure them and how they encourage their teams to grow their own personal numbers around these KPIs.

Easihair Pro’s Lance Courtney shared a number of innovative strategies for helping salons achieve 30% year-over-year growth with fewer employees.

And, Boulevard’s Shanalie Wijesinghe and Jozlyn Miller demonstrated how owners and managers can create and strengthen culture through connection. “Effective communication includes choosing selective words, active listening, your tone and body language, knowing how to get your point across succinctly and also know when to stop talking,” Wijesinghe said.

Miller compared how traditional management used to be intimidating, not open to input and autocratic, while new modern management practices are approachable, collaborative, motivational, transparent and teach from experience.

Imaginal Marketing’s Kayla Morgan shared successful post-apocalypse (aka pandemic) marketing practices, where digital marketing takes center stage. “And salons are implementing digital tools to help their marketing efforts, such as Canva for design, video editing and reel templates; Chat GPT for copywriting for things like blogs; AI to help with customer service and Geo-Fencing to help reach customers with ads within a certain distance of the salon,” she shared.

Representing Ultra Skin Services, Owners China Wong from Salon Spa W and Patrick Thompson of Nurtur Salon shared the fastest-growing salon and spa category—skincare—and how they are witnessing their numbers growing. “In 2022, the global skincare market was valued at $135.83 billion, and it’s expected to grow 4.6% a year until 2030.”

“Consumers want results-driven skincare,” added Wong. “There’s growing awareness of the importance of skincare as part of overall health and wellness, consumer are seeking products that are backed by science and clinical studies and there’s an emphasis on ingredient transparency, scientific research, and clinical testing to ensure products produce real results.”

Strategies’ Michael Yost wrapped up the first day by helping salons increase their average ticket by transforming their thinking. Waling them through a pyramid graphic, Yost explained, “Leaders and their teams create experiences; experiences create actions; actions foster connections; connections define systems; systems foster behaviors and behaviors deliver results.”

On Monday, Data-Driven launched a strong day of education with a powerhouse panel that explored the opportunities of texture and how salons could diversify their talent and services to reach new clients. Moderated by the Professional Beauty Association’s Leslie Perry, the panel featured Neill Corporation’s Edwin Neill, DevaCurl’s Alicia Willams, Aveda’s Renée Gadar, L’Oréal’s Erica Roberson and Ginny Eramo, the owner of Interlocks Salon.

To set the stage, Gadar shared some intriguing stats: “Globally, 65% of people have textured hair; by 2042, the minorities in the United States will make up the majority; black clients spent $1.5 trillion a year on beauty and nine times more on hair and beauty than any other demographic,” she said. “If you’re brand doesn’t have a multicultural strategy, it doesn’t have a growth strategy.”

Next, Zenoti’s Michael Nass fostered a conversation on three KPIs you can’t afford to ignore with Owners AnneMarie Krainich of Ottalaus Salon and Susan Haise of Neroli Salon and Spa. The trio focused on total transactions, retail performance and utilization.

As part of the conversation, Nass shared data from Zenoti. “Return guests deliver more value to salons and spas than new clients,” he said. “They represent a more predictable revenue source, they represent additional revenue opportunities trhgouh add-on services and new services, they offer the potential to refer new guests, and if your books are full with returning guests there are fewer slots that need to be filled with new guests.”

Next, Salon Cadence’s Ronit Enos shared how salons can solidify their staff retention by creating a 90-day onboarding system. “Employees who rated their onboarding experience as highly effective were 18 times more likely to feel highly committed to their organization; 91% of employees who went through an effective onboarding felt strong connectedness at work; and 49% them reported contributing to their team in the first week.”

Sustain Beauty Co.’s Valorie Tate explored environmental sustainability with Owners Amy Roland of A Roland Salon; Leslie Menich of Baddhare Salon and Pam Gordon of Gordon Salon. Each of the owners shared how they embraced sustainability in their businesses and how it helps them attract both talent and clients, and each shared that sustainability is a journey that they are continually improving.

Next, Canvas Me’s Stephanie Melvin explored communication strategies as she showed owners and managers how they can bridge the gap in today’s intergenerational workplace.

Jen LeBlanc representing Salon Rootz and John Palmieri representing the Salon 124 Group talked shared strategies for reprioritizing retail in the salon. “Luckily for salons, more than half of shoppers still prefer in-store shopping because they don’t want to wait for deliveries and they like to see, feel and try an item before buying.”  

To wrap up the Summit, SALON TODAY’s Nicole Johnson hosted three salon owners—Gayle Fulbright from Headlines The Salon, Gaven Smith from Studio Gaven, Stacey Holmes from Steel Blade Men’s Salon and Janet Wyatt from Guys and Dolls Salon—who discussed some of their best practices, including new successful recruiting strategies, offering employees stock options in the company, and retail and business growth strategies.

To round out their education, each attendee got to chose three of the following breakout sessions:

  • Vish’s Joshua Howard and Owner Frank Gambuzza revealed color business data so attendees could compare their own results.
  • The Right Time/LifetimeFitnessAlexandra Yanez and Robbin Julien shared their salon chain’s post-pandemic KPIs and the success factors that they use to coach, grow and scale.
  • Kopse Otte CPAs and Advisors April McDaniel described potential tax code changes and offered herself to professionally answer any tax-related questions.
  • Summit Salon Business Center’s Heather Bagby explored the new world of consumer behavior and how to implement a plan that drives above average results.
  • Meevo’s Melissa Dick shared KPIs worth measuring and how salons can make improvements over time.
  • Empowering You’s Amy Carter dispelled months about salon ownership and helped management focus on creating profits.
  • Hello GorgeousKim Becker shared how salons can make philanthropy a business builder.
  • Jack Winn of Jack Winn Pro took a hard look at inflation, how it’s affecting styliosts and ways to get and stay ahead.
  • And, Inovshop’s Matthew MacLeod and Martin Spritzer explored digital marketing tools that streamline salon business and deliver a strong ROI.

Save the Date: Recently, SALON TODAY announced the location for next year's Data-Driven Salon Summit--Denver on May 5-6, 2024!

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