The theme for this year's conference is Re, as in reinvent, rebirth, reimagine. Attendees can...

The theme for this year's conference is Re, as in reinvent, rebirth, reimagine. Attendees can create their own theme using 're.'

Due to the pandemic, Neill’s annual Serious Business conference will be held virtually, January 17-18, 2021.

The event may be virtual, but attendees will still be able to take in the sights and musical offerings of New Orleans with Neill Principal Debra Neill and Serious Business Executive Producer Carol Augusto as they share beignets, gumbo recipes and cocktails from the famous Sazerac bar along with two virtual days of education and inspiration.

“Serious Business attendees are going to feel like they’re in New Orleans,” Augusto says. “Follow along with us on Facebook and Instagram and enjoy NOLA from your own home.”


This year, Serious Business is prompting owners to create their own story as they start the new year by choosing to “Re________ (fill in the blank).”

“Putting a ‘re’ in front of anything turns it into an action: reimagine, rebirth, rework, etc,” Augusto says. “For Debra and I, it’s ‘Reinvent.’ We’ve had to learn how to move from a live event to a virtual platform for Serious Business in 2021. It’s up to each owner to decide what this year is going to mean for their business.”

A diverse lineup of keynote speakers, two business panels and one very special guest keynote make up this year’s two days of education.

Known for a hit podcast that digs deep into current ideas and prominent people in academia and pop culture, this guest keynote is unlike any other Serious Business has ever featured. “Contractually, we actually can’t share who our headliner is in print to the world,” says Augusto. “Luckily, this is the beauty industry we’re working with and word-of-mouth is one of our strengths.”

After delivering his keynote on Sunday, he’ll sit down for a 30-minute interview with Van Michael salons’ owner Van Council, who will cover topics unique to the salon industry.

Attendees will also be treated to bonus 45-minute Q&As with keynote speakers Seth Mattison, Ozan Varol and Dr. Josh Axe—a special perk on the virtual platform.

On day two, an owners panel will hone in on leadership, and be moderated by Salon Today Editor Stacey Soble.

“Right now, leadership is all about communication,” Augusto says. “From weekly updates to monthly state-of-the-unions, owners are leading by communicating the status of their businesses to their teams and safety protocols to their guests.”

This year, attendees will be experiencing Serious Business and New Orleans virtually.

This year, attendees will be experiencing Serious Business and New Orleans virtually. 

A second panel, moderated by Whole Aveda salon owner Tim Belcher, will focus on how to grow transactions to ramp up profit.

Equal parts inspiration and innovation, the Serious Business team promises attendees will walk away with the essential guidance needed for their businesses and self-development to take off in the new year.

“We’ve all been trying to survive in 2020, but in 2021 it's time to thrive,” Augusto says.  “We’re inviting those who want to level up to give themselves the gift of Serious Business.”

Attend Serious Business 2021

In addition to business advice on thriving in a post-pandemic world, Serious Business attendees will learn how to think like a rocket scientist, get a fresh perspective on diversity in the salon, gain a spiritual understanding of simple self care, and much more at this virtual event. 

A chat function will allow attendees to ask questions during panels, and the two days of Serious Business content will remain available 30 days post conference.

And as if that wasn’t enough, “this is our most accessible year yet,” Augusto says. “Tickets start at $100—that’s just $50 a day for our attendees to get the inspiration they need to keep going.”

For more details, and to purchase tickets ($100 for individual ticket; $200 for a team ticket) to Serious Business 2021, visit

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Originally posted on Salon Today