From left to right, the Salon Today 200 Panel at Premiere, featuring Jamison Shaw Codner of...
From left to right, the Salon Today 200 Panel at Premiere, featuring Jamison Shaw Codner of Jamison Shaw Hairdressers; Frank Gambuzza of Salon Visage; moderator Stacey Soble of Salon Today; Coral Pleas of Cutting Loose Salons; Jeff South of Intrigue Salon; and Tim Timmons of Gloss Salon and Spa.

At Premiere Orlando’s 2016 By Invitation Only event, which was for the owners of leading salons the day before the beauty show debuted at Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center, five Salon Today 200 honorees offered an inside look at their businesses, while the audience also got a virtual tour into the 20 2016 Salons of the Year.

The afternoon kicked off with the popular Secrets of the Salon Today 200 panel, where five owners each shared a business practice where they feel they’ve developed an edge.

Jamison Shaw Codner, the manager of Jamison Shaw Hairdressers in Atlanta, Georgia, and the manager of marketing, education and operations for Sunlights Balayage, offered the audience insight into the Millennial mindset. “For a young stylist, the paycheck pays the rent, they are looking for a salon to be their growth incubator. Set easy-to-understand goals and reward and recognize their achievements along the way,” Codner advised.

Jeff South, founder of Intrigue Salon in Atlanta, Georgia, shared the value of forging a beauty community with his Club Intrigue open education events. “It’s about relationships and collaboration, we’re bringing hairdressers together and creating something bigger than each of us through shared interests, shared ownership and shared value,” he said.

Coral Pleas, owner of Cutting Loose Salons in Sarasota, Florida, took the audience on a tour of her successful marketing ventures, from her weekly makeovers on a local morning television show to the tube dube statuettes that were commissioned for the outside of each of her locations. “Our success also  comes down to the associations we choose to affiliate with,” she said. “You are who you hang out with, and we’re allergic to average.”

Next, Tim Timmons, owner of Gloss Salon and Spa in Atlanta, gave the audience a look at how philanthropy shaped the trajectory of his success when he teamed up with Nick Arrojo for a makeover competition and met a courageous rape survivor. “With awareness comes responsibility, and now we volunteer to help women in a local shelter look their best, organize career fairs, and provide Christmas gifts to the children,” he shared. “Now we’re part of something bigger, and it’s pushed our innovation and built our brand.”

To wrap up the session, Frank Gambuzza from Salon Visage in Knoxville, Tennessee, shared how a personal financial fiasco with an embezzling employee encouraged him to figure out how to run his business by the numbers. “Through forced bottom-line accounting, we plan our profitability each year and manage strictly through our budget,” he said.

Although Kimberly de Freitas, owner of 8, the winner of Salons of the Year 2016, couldn’t make it to the By Invitation Only event, her mentor Maggie DiFalco of Maggie’s Salon in Pembroke Pines accepted the award on her behalf. De Freitas (left) was able to meet up with Editor Stacey Soble on the show floor later that weekend, where she got her first look at the June cover featuring her beautiful salon.

Next, Salon Today’s Editor Stacey Soble showed the audience the interiors from the 20 finalists from the 2016 Salons of the Year, before awarding the owners of each with their certificates. She then revealed that Michael & Michael in Chicago; NAAVA Salon and Spa in Austin, Texas; and Don Angelos Aveda Lifestyle Salon in Bay City, Michigan were the 1st, 2nd and 3rd runners up, and 8 owned by Kimberly de Freitas in Willemstad, Curacao, was the grand-prize winner.

“It was a year where sleek, chic and sophisticated interiors provided the perfect backdrop for the artistry that goes on in each of these locations,” Soble shared. “Our judges fell in love with 8 because it was designed so every service comes with an unforgettable view of the Caribbean.”

To round out the successful day of learning, Jeff Kober, a former leader of Walt Disney World Resort’s Disney Institute, shared the company’s successful strategies in developing a culture of service excellence. From Disney’s Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique to its new Pirate League, he showed how the entertainment company builds on all five senses to brand a unique experience. “Good is not enough—great is everything,” he said. “To create great customer service, you have to have an engaged workforce—people who are passionate about everything they do.”

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