Australian Hairdressing Council CEO Sandy Chong put her years of running successful salons to good use by delivering a thought-provoking common sense approach to what it takes to have a successful salon culture where everyone is happy and works in synergy. Teaming up with sought after entrepreneur and speaker, Justin Herald – it was an afternoon of unforgettable insight, writes Cameron Pine.


Justin Herald and Sandy Chong

The driving force behind the Suki salon culture, Sandy Chong and the Suki team has won five Hair Expo Excellence in Marketing Awards as well additional Hair Expo Awards including 2007 and 2008 Salon Team of the Year.

The unassuming Justin Herald has been a highly successful business speaker since taking his company from a $50 start up to a $37 million per year enterprise. Justin has created Attitude Inc, a clothing brand that has become an international licensing success, and a motivational success story. Recognized as one of the 50 most influential leaders of the next generation of Australia, Justin was awarded the Future Leaders Award.

Justin is the force behind ‘Customer Culture,’ a customer service and sales training company, with demand all over the country for his insight into retaining customers and growing revenue. He is also the author of 8 international best-selling books and personally mentors over 100 business owners each year.


Sandy Chong presenting on stage

“We’ve had so much great feedback to how much our members and non-members have taken away from the seminar, especially on the AHC Sharing ideas and growing Facebook page. Our aim was to inspire salon owners and hairdressers to create their own reality – it’s their headspace that affects how productive they are– we really wanted the audience to address their thinking,” said Sandy.

“It also helped salon business owners to really understand their culture and everyone who attends realizes how accountable and responsible they are for the salon culture as well,” she said.
Sandy’s aim with the seminars was to unite the industry on the important aspects of team and community and also to enable guests to better understand the effect they have on everyone around them and how they create their own improved reality.

“It’s about how you deal with negativity that makes a difference and putting strategies in place to live above the negativity of others around you. We all live amongst people who are in negativity and it’s about how we handle that,” Sandy said.


Justin talked in detail about the real opportunity of customers and the importance of not judging clients before understanding or building a relationship with them. He also urged the audience to stop making excuses about price. “Building business is all about relationship – if a customer loves you and your personality and how you take care of them they will buy from you,” Justin said.

“A lot of the problem with business these days is that people are planning too far out, rather than having a results-driven plan that helps the customer. I have a one day goal and I’m a big believer in business or organic growth,” he said.

Justin also emphasized the importance of having a business mentor and that they are different to a coach – “You should find someone smarter than you,” he said. “You might be the face of your business but your receptionist is the first person a lot of your customers see.”

The audience was also given an insight into what customers like and dislike about the salon experience with an exclusive video Q&A.

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