Hundreds of owners and managers from multi-location salon companies gathered at the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando, Florida, May 7-9 for the 2017 annual conference of the International SalonSpa Business Network. With the overall theme of “Building the Experience,” this year’s conference was packed full of experiences designed to encourage optimal networking among attendees.
Upon arrival, about half of the attendees competed in a golf tournament, while the other half boarded kayaks and followed some of the resort’s wilderness experts on a two-hour eco-tour down Shingle Creek. After getting cleaned up, attendees broke into teams for the ISBN Happy Hour Challenge, sponsored by Redken, Matrix, Revlon Professional, American Crew, CND, Obliphica Professional, John Paul Mitchell Systems, SuperSalon, Green Circle Salons and Ecoheads. In scavenger-hunt fashion, the teams covered the hotel grounds, participating in challenges and enjoying custom cocktails at each station.
On Monday morning, President Rhoda Olsen of Great Clips, officially welcomed attendees, encouraging them to build on the two previous years’ themes of ‘Humanology’ and ‘The Multi-Generational Workplace’ to build successful mulit-unti operations. “At this conference, there are three different areas to explore experience,” Olsen told attendees. “You can build your experience as leaders, you can learn how to effect experiences with your team members, and you will learn how to build client experiences.”
Olsen then welcomed Sarah Quinlan, senior vice president and group head of marketing insights for Mastercard, to the stage. In her role, Quinlan leverages the data from the credit card company to advise people about economic trends based on consumer spending patterns. Quinlan reported that consumer spending remains strong and steady, that women are responsible for 75% of purchases and have a strong influence over the remaining 25%, and that cosmetics continue to outperform other discretionary retail categories. “The windfall of steep gas declines boosted growth in salons in 2016,” Quinlan says.
Quinlan also suggested that the way to reach new Millennial clients just may be through their Boomer moms, who tend to continue to help out on big-ticket beauty services. “Market to me for me, but market to me for my daughter,” she says.
ISBN also welcomed the Experience Expert Jim Gilmore, who co-authored the book The Experience Economy to the stage. Gilmore walked the audience through the evolution of the U.S. economy from commodities to goods, then services and finally experiences. “An experience is different than a service because it’s staged over time and it creates a memory,” Gilmore says. “The more time customers spend with you in your salon or store, the more money they will spend with you.”
In an activity-based breakout session, Gilmore continued his lessons by helping attendees hone their observation skills. He walked them through how to observe the world through different lenses, including binoculars, magnifying glasses, bifocals, microscopes and rose-colored glasses. “All innovation begins with observation,” he stressed.
In addition to the powerful keynote, attendees got to choose from a dozen breakout sessions from a myriad of topics including leadership, retention strategies, quick service trends, marketing strategies, Gen Z, social media, opportunities in hair loss, and first impression tactics. To round out the ISBN experience, attendees had plenty of time on the show floor to meet one on one with dozens of vendors and they participated in Mastermind roundtable sessions where they shared their own experience with different best management practices.
On the main stage, Olsen also presented Paul Finkelstein, retired chairman of the board and CEO of Regis Corporation, with the 2017 Legend Award. “I am very proud to receive the 2017 Legend Award and look forward to visiting with dear friends and Regis associates at this conference,” Finkelstein said. “I’m thrilled that my wife Jean, brothers Neil and Richare, and sons Michael and Brad, are able to celebrate here with us.”