<p>Erik Wahl on stage at the 2019 International SalonSpa Business Network conference.&nbsp;</p>

Erik Wahl on stage at the 2019 International SalonSpa Business Network conference. 

Photo courtesy of

Katie Felix

<p>ISBN President Scott Missad thanks Eric Wahl after announcing plans for the debt payback program.&nbsp;</p>

ISBN President Scott Missad thanks Eric Wahl after announcing plans for the debt payback program. 

Photo courtesy of

Katie Felix

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<p>Erik Wahl on stage at the 2019 International SalonSpa Business Network conference.&nbsp;</p>
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Erik Wahl on stage at the 2019 International SalonSpa Business Network conference. 


Photo courtesy of

Katie Felix

<p>ISBN President Scott Missad thanks Eric Wahl after announcing plans for the debt payback program.&nbsp;</p>
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ISBN President Scott Missad thanks Eric Wahl after announcing plans for the debt payback program. 


Photo courtesy of

Katie Felix

A new program aimed at shifting a major obstacle for those starting out in beauty has been unveiled by the International SalonSpa Business Network, the association for multi-location hair, beauty and barber groups. Talking at the association’s annual conference in Bonita Springs, FL, in May, ISBN president Scott Missad, CEO of Seattle-based Gene Juarez Salons and Spas, announced the creation of a debt payback program, facilitated by ISBN, that members can offer as an additional employee benefit. 

“We are in the middle of a crisis; a crisis in attracting new talent, but also a debt crisis. Our members represent more than 30,000 salons across the US and Canada and they offer the majority of entry level positions for new graduates each year. We believe as an association we should cultivate and support them as these new hairdressers and cosmetologists get started,” says Missad.

“Most of our new recruits come to us with a staggering amount of debt. They can’t focus on the future if they are always looking over their shoulder, so our hope is that by helping them pay back their debt we can free them to focus on becoming successful rather than scrambling to make their monthly payments,” he continues. “And our members can now offer greater benefits that will help attract and retain the best talent while students will see there are employers out there offering both financial security and a rewarding career.”

Research conducted across industries shows that far more employees joining companies with a debt program are likely to stay. They also report being less stressed. But the starkest difference is revealed in the workplace happiness statistics: 96 percent of those offered debt payback programs are happy at work, compared to only 49 percent at companies without.  

The new program offered by ISBN has been designed so members will promote their debt support system under their own brand, while the flexibility ensures they can personalize it to suit their business model, setting their own conditions, bonuses and milestones. The ISBN will cover the cost of the platform maintenance by fundraising within the industry, saving members the hassle and cost of administration.

The fundraising began at conference with a silent auction, sponsored by Reuzel, of four pieces of artwork created by one of the keynote speakers, renowned artist, entrepreneur and creative genius Erik Wahl. The paintings raised more than $15,000 that will be spent entirely on the creation of the ISBN platform.  Wahl opened the conference with a stunning presentation championing the value of and route to sustained creativity within salons, spas and barbershops, while producing three incredible pieces in around two minutes.

“The money raised by the silent auction goes directly to this new program,” said Valorie Tate, ISBN Executive Director. “The program is open to ISBN members and is the first that truly delivers value right to the budding professional, rather than an institution or business. It is flexible enough to be crafted to suit each individual business goals and education programs and by facing the financial crisis head-on, the program is a crucial step in the battle to keep our professionals in beauty as a popular and attractive career.”

Next year’s ISBN Annual Conference will take place at the iconic Hotel del Coronado, on Coronado Island just off San Diego from May 3-5, 2020. The hotel was used in the Marilyn Monroe movie, Some Like it Hot, and is also famed for being haunted. Based on an island off the coast of San Diego, it promises a perfect canvas to an incredible three days, where delegates can watch dolphins from the beach on the secluded island, play golf on its stunning green and connect with colleagues in contemporary meeting spaces.