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Memo Exclusive: An Interview with Paul Dykstra, CEO, America's Beauty Show

Anne Moratto | January 25, 2018 | 8:19 AM
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Matrix onstage at ABS
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A must-attend on the professional beauty calendar, America’s Beauty Show (ABS) by Cosmetologists Chicago, held every year in Chicago, is moving to a new exhibit hall at the McCormick Place North in Chicago on April 28-30, 2018. Paul Dykstra, CEO, started with Cosmetologists Chicago/America’s Beauty Show in 1986 and took over full management leadership in 1997. We asked him to give us a look at what to expect come April.

  MS: Can you give us a brief snapshot history of America’s Beauty Show?

PD: The first Midwest Trade Show and Exposition was held in downtown Chicago, April 23-25, 1924. There were 25-30 booths sold to such firms as Frederics, I. Leon, Gibbs, and Zotos. No admission fee was charged for Chicago and Illinois Hairdressers Association (CIHA) members to visit the trade exhibits and learn. Today Cosmetologists Chicago members still receive free admission to America’s Beauty Show. We’ve grown from 10,000 attendees in 1925 to an expected 80,000 salon and spa professional attendees in 2018!

 MS: This year, the show is moving to a new venue—where and why?

PD: We’re just moving across the street at the sprawling McCormick Place campus in downtown Chicago to the more expansive North Exhibit Hall. We simply outgrew our former space. We have also moved our dates to April 28-30 and have had positive feedback from all our exhibitors about these later dates. Plus, there’s a brand-new Marriott Marquis on the McCormick Place campus that everyone will love.

 MS: What are some advantages to this new location?

PD: For starters, there are barely any columns within the 700,000+ square foot North Hall, offering exhibitors unobstructed views. Plus, the new location does not have a giant food pod in the middle of the exhibit floor. It’s easy to get to McCormick Place by way of public transportation, and Chicago is easily accessible by air, train or car plus parking is easy. With the later dates of this year’s show, we encourage exhibitors and attendees to make Chicago their spring break destination and enjoy everything the city offers in addition to our great America’s Beauty Show.

 MS: Share some of what we can expect at this year’s ABS.

PD: We will again present two extravagant ABS Runways—The CosmoProf Main Stage and the The SalonCentric Theater will both offer non-stop education.

Other highlights include ColorFest18 and the all-new The Barber Effect, an opportunity to learn about the ever-growing men’s grooming market. These events are in addition to CE education in all areas of hairdressing, color, barbering, makeup, business, nails, and skincare.

 International Nail Technicians Association (INTA) will launch an exclusive educational track, with guidance on the Certified Nail Professional program while CIDESCO USA and American Association of Esthetics (AAE) offer introduction to both the CIDESCO Diplomate and skin-care/body-care only certifications.

 Plus, we expect to provide Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault training to at least 10,000 salon professionals at ABS to meet Illinois requirements for license renewal.

Finally, The Beauty Changes Lives Experience on Sunday, April 29th at the Art Institute of Chicago again will be the signature philanthropic event at America’s Beauty Show.

 MS: How do you continue to keep ABS relevant and meaningful to the beauty community?

PD: We listen! America’s Beauty Show is the engine that runs Cosmetologists Chicago, a not-for-profit association with more than 15,000 professional and student members. We are led by best-in-class salon owners and professionals on our CC Board of Directors. We also listen to our industry partners and attendees and implement according to their needs. This is why we constantly evolve ABS to support all segments of the professional beauty industry.

Originally posted on Modern Salon.

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