Two of leading Professional Products Division Brands, L’Oréal Professionnel and Redken chose to do something a little bit controversial and for the first time bring together partners from both brands for a Business Summit amidst the beauty of Byron Bay.
What’s not to love about business and Byron Bay? The obscure combination made for an elevated level of connection among brands, friends, industry partners and leaders in influence with an open mind.
While often separated due to brand disparity and cultural differences, we all quickly learned that the language of love in hair is universal and one that transcends brands and puts the power on people – the bread and butter of our beloved industry.
Elements of Byron Bay played host to a unique collective of hairdressers – all 180 guests who filled basically the entire venue – overrun by a boisterous bunch of hairdressers, the tranquil resort locale as the only beachside resort in Byron Bay may still be recovering from the elevated expectations and demands of such a unique industry. But in the culture of Business for two of the industry’s top brands, that’s what it’s all about.
“We’ve done things a little bit differently this year and hope you enjoy this unique opportunity to network and share a cocktail with other like-minded business owners you may not have met before,” said National Sales Director, Lara Woolley. Lara greeted guests with her usual comedic nature and charm – who doesn’t love a Lara joke? But most importantly it was her understanding of the room’s penchant for business that really set the tone for a remarkable few days.
L’Oréal Professionnel clients were forgiven for thinking what the hell just happened when Redken salons stood up after General Manager Erwin Santos and Marketing manager, Jess Materna hit the stage kicking off the usual Redken ritual of clapping and the tribe-like moves. We may just see a bit of diffusion when it comes to brand rituals from now on.
There’s no denying that consumer behaviour is shifting constantly and the aim of the Business Summit, despite bringing together brands and allowing a better cross-cultural experience was to help salons better compete for share of voice in an increasingly competitive and fragmented market, all while opening their minds to new brand and partnership possibilities.
Commercial Director of PPD Olga Zanetti spoke of the continued opportunity with services and strengthening the bond between client, despite services being down by 1.7 per cent, overall spend up 1.2 per cent with an expectation to be even higher by the end of this calendar year.
Olga also made special note of the statistic that 36 per cent of consumers rely on digital influence and the younger age bracket represents huge potential with 18-34 year old’s spending $1000 a year more on hair services than the previous year – there’s no doubting that expectations are high and we need to market ourselves to millennials.
“Yes consumers are visiting less frequently but the good news is spend is on the rise with an average of 4 per cent more per visit than the same time last year,” Olga said.
It’s no surprise that L’Oréal group brands have great access to consumer research data from organisations such as WGSN and Mintel that give invaluable insight into how factors like shifting economic power, technology, population change, environmental shifts, changing values and overall trends affect salon visits and this time around both Redken and L’Oréal Professionnel salons were put at the forefront.
Not only was this summit, retreat, conference – networking event or all of the above in an idyllic location it was assembled with great moments like a dinner at The Farm – organic food served like nowhere else, guest speakers and the usual drinking opportunities, but it was more like an ecosystem in hair with partners such as Sustainable Salons and Phorest Software set up outside the conference room to further boost the growth opportunities, while adding a bit of fun through competitions and wider industry engagement to the usual conference agenda.
Byron Bay took all of us on a bit of a journey adding some heart to the business – a forever mission at L’Oréal PPD brands to celebrate their salon partners but this time with speakers such as Kamal Sarma kick-starting our spiritual journey and a crystal session that taught us how to harness the power of crystals in our everyday life.
As the founder of Rezilium, Kamal has quite a journey from monk, to venture capitalist to consultant and leading ambassador for organisation, R U OKAY. While many speakers get up and want you to believe something, Kamal was more about provoking thoughts and making sure we are not letting the most important things in life go.
“I’m not looking for belief I’m looking for you to try it on,” Kamal forced guests to truly ask themselves, “Are we thriving?” With 56 per cent of us not getting enough sleep, the answer is basically no.
“62 per cent of people don’t get enough exercise and a lot of people are just depleted and not depressed but unfortunately it feels very similar,” Kamal said.
In Kamal’s mind, there are three levels of work – ‘Me’, ‘We’ and ‘Family’ and a lot of the time we are not living we are existing, we are not thriving we are surviving. His company Rezilium takes successful people from one S curve to the next S curve, “What you did in the past doesn’t work anymore and bad shit does happen to good people.”
Kamal pulled at the heartstrings and its important to note that Oprah noticed his first book and it became a best seller – he knows all too well that our mind and subconscious stress can be our biggest downfall.
The thing is, most of us don’t really understand how stressed we are. Kamal lost a daughter to cancer and believes the effects of stress on lowering the immune system and their link to cancer cells is completely underrated. “We are not designed for this level of stress. A lot of people live off their energy credit cards and it comes back to bite us with interest.”
It made sense to then move into a session with Aiyana energy and Crystal expert Daniela Schmutz, “Energy is moved with energy – crystals can help reduce stress and take your energy to a new level,” she said.
Daniela even gave some tips on how crystals can be used to activate product sales and emanate a better client service philosophy through a connected attitude to the salon.
“If we just activate the mind from fear we are not manifesting our desires,” Daniela said.
Bringing a salon owner into the guest speaker fold them came the next priority to offer guests that familiarity every salon owner goes from fa multi-salon business owner – Tom Donato from Xiang. What’s not to love about Tom’s wit and wise words when it comes to be one of the most humble multi-salon owners in the country.
Tom greeted guests with a re-interpretation of the Lion King video trailer that reinforced how we are all part of a delicate ecosystem in business that must be understood and nurtured for best results.
He taught some of his tried and tested tricks on how to actively manage salon culture, how to change the culture in the salon if something isn’t working and how to eliminate those ‘scars’ in business – just like what is personified in The Lion King when one character controls the entire energy of the community.
“I get so tired of salon owners sitting around a dinner table constantly complaining about their staff. If I don’t respect my team members how can they respect me as a boss?.” Tom said.
“It’s really important to understand how your staff perceive your business to ensure that everyone is on board with your salon culture, but feel part of it no matter what their role is.”
Tom explained that often what stands between the salon that everyone wants to work for and those that people don’t is the culture and a mindset that comes from the owner down. Effortlessly turning everyday salon problems into opportunities to make positive change and not just act by example bur think by example according to Tom is the proven recipe top true leadership and salon success.
“If it costs you $300 for a ticket for all of your young staff members to attend Colour Trophy then do it – show them how much more there is the industry and don’t worry about the cost,” Tom said.
Keeping the influential industry ambassador and salon owner involvement a priority alive Sylvia Stewart and Erwin Santos hosted an industry Insight panel where pertinent topics such as attracting the young generation, staff retention, team culture and creating an artistic pathway for new talents were at the forefront of discussion.
Following on from taking a close look at their individual leadership roles in their salons it was then time for Phil Nosworthy to bring it all together with the ultimate mindset fitness in Convergeance.
“Our skill I nothing without substance. Most salons tend to be skilful am I right? What sets you apart are the ego’s and checking yourself at the door,” Phil said.
“If we were defined by what we know we would be a demi god, but it’s what we do that defines us – we have all heard about being a healthy person but it doesn’t mean we do it,” Phil said.
Phil asked everyone to write down one thing that they know to do that they aren’t currently doing and how important it is to action skill through substance, knowledge through application, intention through action and identity through application.
“The size of the gap between intention and action, is the size of the dysfunction in our lives,” Phil said.
“In the business of life we forget about who we are going to be – identity is who I see myself to be and reputation is how others see us, do they match?”
While the main objective of each of the speakers was really to focus on the heart and soul of the industry, it was also important to take air time out with the Millennials and Gen Z and how they play a role both in salon businesses as clients and staff. This generation spends and average of 10.6 hours per day engaging with online content, so air time so to speak is their speciality.
Fran Dreighton is the strategy leader at Junkee media – Australia’s leading Youth Marketing Agency, so there was no better way to address this top spending current and future spending client than with Junkee’s countless hours of research and expertise.
“Generation Z represent 4.4 million people in Australia and have a combined spending power of $600 million and Junkee has a mission to know youth better and navigate change and disruption in the industry,” Fran said.
From Snapchat to Tik Tok as mediums where this generation ‘live’, Fran took as back a bit before we went forward to when in 1969 the average house price in Sydney was just 39,000 but interestingly despite the stigma that is placed on Gen Z and millennials, they are less prone to partying than some of our older generations, are more passionate about the environment (52 per cent are more conservative than rebellious and 58 per cent are going out less than last year).
“Above everything else, environment is the number one thing they give a shit about, so how does your salon business align to this? Good is the new cool and they give a shit. Being ethical is the new beauty,” Fran said.
Pureology Marketing Manager Jessica Materna gave a presentation on the incredible opportunities with Pureology for all salons, considering consumers’ response to ethical beauty and how a brand like Pureology can better position salons for both retail and in-salon service growth but in terms of the messages (philanthropy included) we send potential customers about what we do. The powerful L’Oréal Professional Products Division #dontriskit campaign was then given some air time to engage all salons with the powerful message the brand is sending to consumers to encourage them to buy only authentic products from salons.
The final morning of conference was all about breaking out into brand families and retreating back into the Redken and L’Oréal Professionnel families to hear about key innovations and trends for 2020 before finishing off with some magic with Josh Norbido – a man who looks at magic the same way as selling.
So in the aim of authenticity, the culture of connection and the business of being better I’d say combining forces pretty much nailed it. Whop did we learn from? Not only the speakers, we’ve all got something to learn from each other so it’s about time our industry united brands to do just that. 180, why not aim for 360 next year because we all know to improve, sometimes we just need to turns things on its head.
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