The southern coast of Portugal was the location for the recent Goldwell HUB Network which inspired, informed and educated
The beautiful Tivoli Carvoeiro resort was the perfect setting to reconnect post-pandemic as the HUB network were welcomed by Kao Salon Division UK’s general manager, Julie Winchester, and the first speaker of the Conference took to the stage.
Growing up in the north of England, Charles Marcus explained how he overcame personal adversity to succeed, “The other kids laughed at me because I was different, but I felt sorry for them because they were all the same. Success is the best revenge and I learnt early on to speak 20 per cent of the time and to listen intently for 80 per cent. Speaking is a sense and listening is an art, and you should never open your mouth unless you can improve the silence – we all need to learn the power of the pause.” He continued, “If people like you, they may listen to you. But if they trust and respect you, they will do business and work with you.”
Salon owner and business mentor, Hellen Ward outlined the difficulties the sector is facing with turnover down, salons closing, profitability reduced and recruitment difficult, but she also gave some great advice.
“Our customers have changed as have our teams’ expectations, costs have increased and there is sensitivity to price. Clients are coming in less frequently and longer hair and balayage is not helping this trend.
But there are positives, and we need to focus on those – we drive footfall to the high street and benefit other retailers, our services are holistic and promote emotional wellbeing, luxury salons provide a sanctuary, people will pay for expertise and customer service, and clients are potentially spending more per visit.
“So what can you do? Cut costs that don’t impede the customer UXP, negotiate your EPOS (card payment) rates and talk to your landlord and utility provider. Do your own consumer research and add new ancillary services (we offered ear piercing in school holidays, and it generated good revenues) and upsell opportunities. Move to online bookings to reduce non-productive staff costs and promote brand gift vouchers as an online revenue stream. Introduce immediate win KPIs for the team - delegate upselling and present occupancy rates to the team so they understand the challenge.”
Most salon owners have had to deal with toxicity at some point and this was an issue that Sophia Hilton addressed. “We have more generations working in teams than ever before and they all need to work together. Having an understanding of each other’s perspective will reduce toxicity and asking everyone to work on just one of their own toxic traits (that they have identified) is a great start. But you need to remember, it all starts with you - you are the pebble in the pond.”
When you are given a less than 10 per cent chance of survival and are left having to learn to breath, walk and talk again, priorities rightly change, and Anthony Bennett has turned adversity into incredible positivity. “I am addicted to progress, and I now pay attention to the small details in my life. This experience also taught me the importance of teamwork, where every single person truly makes a team work. I learnt that when you say no, nothing changes, when you say the word yes, amazing things can happen.”
"If you build empathy and provide solutions, you will close the sale. Targets and goals need to be set consistently and celebrated to keep the team motivated."
The State of the Industry research undertaken by the NHBF was reported on by Chief Executive, Richard Lambert. Although starting to recover and optimistic for the future, the research found that 42 per cent of salons are carrying debt with one in three of these stating it will take two to five years to pay back, and it is hard to recruit new staff. “Lack of development, work/life balance and better prospects were some of the reasons cited for not continuing in the industry,” explained Richard.
“If you build empathy and provide solutions, you will close the sale,” said Penny Etheridge. “Targets and goals need to be set consistently and celebrated to keep the team motivated.”
Celebrating diversity and marketing the not so obvious are the foundations for the success of sustainable fashion house, Vin & Omi as Vin explained, “Collaboration has to be relevant to what you do, and it is hugely important to get that right in order to enhance reach and customer numbers. Client demand for salons that focus on sustainability is not going to go away, you just need to adapt your mindset and try it!”
Founder of Not On The High Street, Holly Tucker inspired the audience from the outset, “Salons are the heartbeat of our community and the future is exciting. Clients are looking for emotionally empathetic experiences and truly value ‘me’ time.
You must be the best in class in customer service – do you offer the best coffee, the nicest cake and reading materials that appeal to all? There are very few brands that we as individuals actually like and as a business leader, you are your brand’s heart – you bring passion that no-one else can bring.”
Combined with dinners, dancing and time to catch up with friends old and new, Goldwell Hub Network was a huge success.