To see how far you’ve come, sometimes it’s necessary to look back and study your history. As we were putting the finishing touches on this year’s annual technology issue, I decided it would be a good personal exercise to dive into the SALON TODAY archives and look at our first technology issue.

In November/December 1994, Michele Musgrove, then editor of SALON TODAY and now MODERN SALON Media associate publisher and editorial director, penned the article Up and Running, encouraging salon owners to abandon the paper appointment book and automate their businesses. Then, as we still do today, she compared and contrasted salon-focused computer programs in the very first SALON TODAY Software Guide.

In those days, the profiled software systems bragged about some new, exciting features that have become basic expectations today. Features, such as payroll, appointment booking, tracking client histories and inventory management. There was no online appointment booking because most salons were just getting websites established. There were no companion apps because no one owned a smartphone. And there was no automated appointment confirmations because few clients had email, let alone text messaging.

In fact, at times our software shopping advice even seemed outdated by todays standards:

It was only a few years later that I first became involved with the SALON TODAY team as a freelance writer. I remember when I’d finish a feature story, I’d run to the post office and mail Michele a disc with the story on it, as well as hard copies or slides of any corresponding photography. If some tidbit of information was urgent, I’d fax her.

Taking a look back at some of our covers from those days offers a nostalgic chuckle. In July 1999, we encouraged salons to Plug In with an oversized computer monitor. In July 2000, we profiled 10 Salons on Warp Speed with, an image that was reminiscent of a shiny, silver CD. And, in 2001—my first technology issue as editor—we proclaimed Palm Power with the advent of palm pilots—PDAs or personal digital assistants. Anyone remember those?

In this year’s issue, we stretched—searching for the very newest and futuristic tech-based solutions for helping salons address the same goals of streamlining their operations, creating an enriching client experience and managing and growing their client pool. Our cover story, The New Technology Tools of the Trade, (starting on page 39) profiles selfie stations, deskless reception areas, management apps and the Apple Watch. We even attempt to look ahead at how futuristic technology, such as driverless cars, personal-care robots and medical sensors, will play a role in shaping the salon environment.

I have no doubt, that a decade or two down the road, another SALON TODAY editor will still be reporting on technology and how it’s shaping the salon industry. Most likely, she’ll smile to herself and say, “Wow, remember when salons used to send driverless cars to pick up their clients?”

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