‘Successful people do things that unsuccessful people don’t.’ Pretty simple yet outstanding opening words from one of the world’s most influential human beings. John Paul De Joria, one half of one of the US’ leading professional haircare brands, a philanthropist at heart and, overall, a man who simply does what he says he’s going to do – much like the product and people he represents.
Every year, The Gathering symbolizes so much more than a conglomerate of over 3000 stylists and business owners ‘gathering’ for insight into upcoming Paul Mitchell innovations, the latest cutting and/or colour technique, update on social media, systems and team management.
We’ve said it before but it truly looks, feels and lingers as a well-oiled movement, geared to not only make the salon a better (more productive and subsequently profitable place), but the world in general. It’s a flow-on effect – John Paul and his team consider not just the future of hair and the salon environment, but society – politics, the climate – just as it should be. We’re all in this together, and as we were reassured at the morning of day one’s Business Revolution session, the hairdressing industry is perhaps in the strongest position of all, in particular those part of the Paul Mitchell family. The future is bright indeed for the (not just) black and white bottled clan that kicked off way back in 1980 despite what some may consider some of toughest economic times to date.
“In the US, Europe, South America and other parts of the world, the dollar is stronger than it was a decade ago. The economy is adjusting and it happens every 10 – 15 years, and everyone always comes out of it,” said John Paul, speaking as a ‘business owner and citizen.’
“So what lessons do we learn from this? During economic hardship, do we hold back on advertising as business people? Do we hold back on hiring people as business people or expanding our business until things get a little bit easier?” he asked.
John Paul travelled back to when it all began. In 1980 he and Paul Mitchell the man chose not to wait until things got a little bit easier, electing rather to invest their entire worth at the time ($700 US) into a humble black and white bottle with a kickass formulation. Knocking door-to-door, plenty of rejection, infrequent success.
“At the time, inflation was 12.5 per cent, interest rates – if you could get a loan – were 17 per cent, and that was IF you could get a loan. Unemployment was 10.5 per cent and you had to wait in line to buy gasoline. But should that have stopped someone from doing anything if they truly believed what they were doing was right?”
John Paul encouraged people to take pen to paper, the old fashioned way, and write forthcoming ideas down.
“Every single night or morning, take that piece of paper out and read those ideas and when they become part of your life, throw the piece of paper away, but don’t throw it away until every single thing there becomes part of your life,” said John Paul.
“That’s how you get things done.”
Revolution: A radical and pervasive change in society and in the social structure, especially one made suddenly. There’s no denying we’re no longer facing but in the scores of a revolution – the depths of change. Perhaps since the era of cavemen never has ‘survival of the fittest’ rung so true. Booth-rental, Instagram stars, diversion, online product purchasing, it’s a real and for some scary truth – but not for the global Paul Mitchell family, they’re ready and armed, set to embrace the new generation (Z); they’re ready to thrive. And there’s no telling what they’re capable of – success is just the start.
“You’re going to see change, we have to embrace it, that’s obvious. One thing that will never change is the emotional connection with our guests, that’s something that technology can’t and will never change, and that’s why we believe so strongly in professional recommendation,” said US VP of Sales and Marketing Jason Yates.
“The way people buy products might change, they’re after convenience, but people buy through people and people buy through emotion. Stylists have a powerful connection with their guests – you put your hands on people and change their lives – how is that ever going to change?”
Powerful, but something we as an industry collective are well aware of. More mystifying perhaps is the new generation of consumers – Gen Z – how do we capture them and bring them into the salon for services, how to we direct their purchase decisions?
Jason proceeded with some sought after statistics. While they currently sit at 24 per cent, By 2020 Generation Z will account for 40 per cent of all consumers.
80 per cent of teens agree with the statement ‘My favourite brand is a brand my parents love as much as I do,’ and 75 per cent of teens carry cash – an average of $34.00. They shop with their own wallet as well as their parents and for Paul Mitchell this spells ‘new potential revenue for services and take home.’
Enter NEON – the Paul Mitchell sku targeted at 15 – 25 year old girls and their mothers. Bright, fun affordable luxury for ‘Style that Stands Out.’
“Paul Mitchell is no longer ‘just’ the black and white company. No salon or consumer audience is created equally so we continue to create and provide a plethora of systems to capture as much market share as possible. Paul Mitchell is one of the first to target this generation seriously,” said Jason.
As always, there beats a philanthropic heart at the core of NEON. As Jason points out and as has become sadly apparent across global news headlines, teen-bullying is a concern of 50 per cent of teens and 100 per cent of parents, so NEON is supporting a string of hand-selected anti-bullying organizations and acting amongst schools and communities to curb the concern.
Paul Mitchell are serious about the business of colour and each year, month, week are working to innovate existing formulations and break ground with new ones. At The Gathering 2016 it was all about a big welcome to POP XG and The Demi. ‘POP’ is all about the continuous craze for splashes of brights – from 16 to 65, light feathering to all-over, all-out blocking, the move towards bright ‘occasion’ colour refuses to slow, and POP XG is designed to keep you apace with the (semi-permanent) power of paint. On the opposite scale, The Demi is a perfect fusion of shine, condition and coverage – 27 shades and long lasting, customization is unlimited and ready for 4 – 6 weeks wear.
“We want to make your clients chemically dependent on Paul Mitchell. The colour bar has the power to make clients loyal for up to 7 years,” says Paul Mitchell Vice President of Education, the great Stephanie Kocielski.
“POP XG is for ages 2 – 92, it’s for the young at heart. Every guest can get an upgrade, it’s about self-expression and a direct dialogue. 13 shades electrifying clients making them feel vibrant, youthful and part of the next generation,” Steph continued.
“Colour is one of the most expressive things in the world hairdressers have to use and make people dependent on the professional environment – ‘treat it or trim it!’”
92 year olds stepping to the colour bar ready for bright applications from green to pink, an entire line dedicated to men (MITCH) – the once un-groomable creatures who now challenge women for bathroom time. And how spectacular that these movements from mature women to modern men – the quest for youth – are all societal shifts ready to be taken by the professional salon, systemized and maximized for productivity and, as always the focus, the bottom line.
“The Universe is different from 30 years ago,” said the man with the hat and endless insight, the peerlessly profound, Paul Mitchell Global Artistic Director, Robert Cromeans.
“Wearing hats might be fun as Robert Cromeans but it doesn’t mean Jesus looks down on me, smiles and makes my salon successful.”
So passionate for the success of the salon, Robert Cromeans is the brains and emotion behind many an intrinsic Paul Mitchell concept and initiative – from the Wash House to top-Paul Mitchell global salon awards – Robert curated an impressive lineup of business speakers and real-salon success spokespeople for the afternoon ahead.
“My favourite thing is not keeping secrets. Hairdressers are shit at keeping secrets – telephone? ‘Tella-hairdresser!’ So we’ve asked people to come up here and tell their salon-success stories.”
Van Michael of Van Michael Salons (US) stepped to the stage set to inspire with impressive figures (8.5 million annual profit) and straight forward advice on achieving equal dollars in your salon.
Then there was the opening show, black-tie ball and closing extravaganza – but you’ll have to wait until the launch of INSTYLE SEP OCT for the full report!
For more information visit paulmitchellaus.com.au