For a third year in a row, Qnity partnered with SALON TODAY to host the 2 to 10 Emerging Leaders Competition, helping salon leaders, 35 and younger, work together on a business-building mission.
In its first year, the Salon of Tomorrow competition asked the teams to design novel salon concepts that would shape the future of the beauty industry. Last year’s emerging leaders were tasked with the Culture Quest challenge—to create blueprints for the kind of salon culture they desired and outline steps for the salon’s leadership to cultivate it.
This year’s InstaStrong challenge invited the teams to select either a new or existing service category and design a marketing campaign that embraced both social media and traditional tools to drive measurable sales growth. The teams were assigned an imaginary budget of $5,000 for their campaign. At this spring’s 2 to 10 conference, the 10 emerging leaders were divided into two groups and assigned to one of the coach/mentors—Kimberly Morgan of Bob Steele Salons in Atlanta or James Griffith of the James Griffith Salon in Venice, Florida.
Across different salons, states and time zones, the team members worked together on their concepts, with each participating in a presentation to the competition’s judges in late July. Denise Deering, a six-figure colorist at Juut SalonSpa in Palo Alto and SALON TODAY’s Stacey Soble served as judges, while Qnity’s Tom Kuhn guided the teams in their presentations and served as tie-breaker. The presentations were judged on four categories—Originality, Feasibility, Teamwork and Presentation.
Team Shine On
The first team to present was Shine On, who took on the hair color gloss service and rebranded it to the Shine Service to better convey the service’s benefit to interested clients. The team laid out a plan to increase hair color service sales, convert noncolor clients to color, increase the frequency of color services and establish best-in-market branding through marketing.
“Gloss is language that is old and vague,” said Amber Lynn Maxwell of Ihloff Salons and Spas. “By removing the words ‘hair color’ from the service title, we remove client objections. A Shine Treatment can be used on any client and serves as a gateway to other color services.”
The marketing campaign included a Shine On in-salon event, a plan to leverage Instagram microinfluencers to share their personal stories and before-and-after images of the service, posted videos of the shine treatment process and personalized direct-mail and email campaigns to salon clients. Plans for in-salon marketing components included in-salon digital screens and station talkers and scripts for the front desk or call center.
The team ended on a quote from designer Marc Jacobs: “Shine is My Favorite Color.”
Choosing to adopt a growing service category that many salons shy away from, Team Evolve focused their marketing campaign on hair extensions. Their campaign tackled the common myths clients had about extensions, such as extensions take a full day to put in, they’re only for people wanting long hair, they’re too expensive and they are high maintenance.
To help debunk those myths, Team Evolve developed a clever campaign where the salon’s clients would be handed an envelope with one of the myths inside and during her service, her stylist would ask what myth she had, which would then fuel an enlightening conversation about extensions. The stylist then hands the client an iPad with a two-minute video that shows a client transformation through extensions. At check out, the client would be invited to the salon’s upcoming interactive event about extensions.
The campaign would leverage social media to support invitations to the live event, as well as to debunk the misconceptions about hair extensions. This team also chose to launch an influencer program, picking specific influencers who spoke to the myths. For example, a college student who wants longer, fuller hair but doesn’t think she can afford the upkeep, an on-the-go mom who has the funds but doesn’t believe she has the time and a hip Gen Xer who doesn’t realize extensions can be used for thickness and volume. The three influencers would be given complimentary extension services, then asked to post about their experiences as part of the #EvolveYourHair campaign. Each post would include information about the live event.
“The main event would have multiple levels of interaction with the emphasis on booking extension services,” says Jon Rizo of Gila Rut. “Three experience tables would have live extensions demonstrations, while door gifts would present guests with a promotional card for their first extensions service. Staff would be on hand to book upcoming services.”
While both teams organized very strong presentations that wove together social and traditional marketing tools, as well as an influencer program and a live event, the judges believed Team Evolve had an edge because they put quite a bit of detail into their budget and planning.
“Although Team Evolve captured first place this year, the big winners really are the salons these team members hail from—the solid marketing campaigns from this year’s competition are easily actionable, and members of both teams talked about how they’ll be helping implement something similar in their own businesses,” Kuhn says.
The 2018 2 to 10 Emerging Leader Teams
Captain: Jon Rizo, Gila Rut in San Diego, California
Susannah Bolich, J. Con Salon Spa, St. Petersburg, Florida
Paige Harris, Modern Salon and Spa, Charlotte, North Carolina
Camille Loiacono, Drew James Salon Spa, Hollywood Florida
Conlin Loiacono, Drew James Salon Spa, Hollywood, Florida.
Mentor/Coach: Kimberly Morgan, Bob Steele Salons, Atlanta, Georgia
Team Shine On
Captain: Amber Lynn Maxwell, Ihloff Salons and Spas, Tulsa ,Oklahoma
Garrison Neill, Paris Parker, Hammond, Louisiana
Jill Hawkins, Nurtur, Columbus, Ohio
Nichole Brewer, Signature Salon, Macon, Georgia
Rachel Bunn, Signature Salon, Macon, Georgia
Mentor/Coach: James Griffith, James Griffith Salon, Venice, Florida