Salon owners and managers gathered in Atlanta in May 20-22 to compare data notes, share best practices and discover new growth opportunities at the second annual Data-Driven Salon Summit, co-hosted by SALON TODAY and ZeeZor. Emcee Extraordinaire Scott Buchanan from Scott J. Salons in New York, kept the event’s sessions moving smoothly and the attendees connected to relevant data points.
Keynote speaker Professor Benn Konsynski, professor of information systems and operations management at Emory University, kicked off the first day by explaining how data is leveling the playing for small businesses, allowing them to small business owners to compete like never before.
“We are in the time of magic—a time of opportunity—things that were very expensive just a few years ago are much more relevant and realistic today,” Konsynski says. “With real-time data, business leaders can have a digital twin which helps them be present in their business locations, even when they are remote.”
Next, Salon Today’s Stacey Soble and ZeeZor’s Chris Nedza set the stage by revealing some salon business benchmarks from the Salon Today 200 and ZeeZor’s database, helping owners and managers see how their businesses stacked up against salons across the country.
The Greenroom Salon’s Saul Waizer led a discussion including Ginger Bay Salon’s Michelle Steinmann, NY Jungle’s Basil Konstantinidis and Modern Salon and Spa’s Paige Harris on how to mine data from the salon’s POS system to better manage.
“We’re now using data to try and do some forward coaching, instead of just focusing on the past,” Harris says.
After donning superhero capes, Scott J’s Scott Buchanan moderated the Manager Match-Up Panel, including Van Michael’s Van Council and Susan Dykstra, Salon Visage’s Monty Howard, and Gadabout’s Frank Westerbeke and Megan Jasper. They explored what’s behind their long-term owner-manager relationships, including how they divvy up the responsibilities, tackle corporate communications and set up motivating compensation structures for managers.
“The best strategy for finding a perfect manager is to hire your weaknesses,” Council says.
“Look for people who understand your culture, love who you are and are willing to share it with others,” Westerbeke adds.
After a networking lunch, Neatbeat’s Heather Yurko led an interactive panel on salon culture which included Blo’s Bryan Nunes, Salon 124’s Brian Perdue and Lunatic Fringe’s Jenner Feroah and Shalene Smith.
“Generally, the culture lessons I’ve learned are the ones that have cost me a lot of money,” Nunes shared. “I’ve learned to ask ‘what’ questions, not ‘why’ questions. For example, I’ve stopped asking habitually late employees, ‘Why were you late?’ Now, I hold them accountable by asking, ‘What needs to happen for you to be here on time.’”
“We have a 24-hour rule,” Feroah adds. “If there’s a situation in the salon, we address it within 24 hours and I’m not afraid to let a staffer know, ‘This isn’t me getting on you, this is our culture.’”
The last panel of Day One tackled the three Rs—Retention, Recruitment and Rental. Beauty First Salons’ Pat Neville led the discussion with Canvas Salon and Skin Bar’s Stefanie Jackson, Oliver’s Hair Salon’s Oliver Steinnagel and Design 1 Salon Spa’s Graham Walt.
“When it comes to rental, the grass is always greener,” Jackson said. “You have to counter that by showing your team what the commission path will look like and what they need to do to make the kind of money they want to make.”
Cutting Loose Salon’s Taelor Pleas wrapped up Day One of Data-Driven Salon by inviting Scott Buchanan, Salon Intrigue’s Jeff South and Salon Red’s Jessica Soler to share their Ah-Ha moments, before turning over the stage for some awards. Clayton Nedza presenting Salon Spa W’s China Wong with the Zee Award for achieving consistent 18% growth year-over-year for the past 13 years.
Salon Today’s Stacey Soble followed up by showcasing the design trends from the 2018 Salons of the Year competition and presenting certificates to the winning salons.
On the second Data-Driven day, Relationship Guru Dr. David Andersen took the audience’s energy level up a few notches with a rousing presentation on the “Power of Self-Talk.”
“You have earn the right to lead by earning your team’s respect,” he says. “Then you can create a professional confidence in your people by showing them when they are doing something well, teaching them and encouraging them.”
Next, Gene Juarez President Scott Missad shared his strategies for maximizing staff performance, including sharing the key data points and explaining how staff members are rewarded based on the metrics. “When it comes to owning a salon, people are our products—unless it’s actionable by humans, data is worthless,” Missad explained.
When it comes to the team, data can provide fact-based decision making, Missad continued. “Behavior always follows expectation. Use data to set your expectations and never waver—at Gene Juarez everything we expect gets measured,” he said.
At Gene Juarez, all KPIs are built around the customer. For each service provider, the company calculates what they call the Demand Rate, which factors in occupancy, request rate, number of clients per occupied hour and number of products sold per client. Staff members who score high in Demand Rate are rewarded with preferential booking, schedule flexibility as well as raises, promotions and other bonuses. “I can’t make people happy, but I can create opportunity,” concluded Missad.
Modern Salon Media’s Steve Reiss joined Missad on stage to reveal the results of a retail study sponsored by ISBN, the International SalonSpa Business Network.
“One of the eye-opening results of the study showed that all clients believe they are loyal to their salon, but loyalty means something different to clients of differing ages,” Reiss pointed out. “Clients under 35 are a salon’s best opportunity for retail sales because their view of loyalty means purchasing retail at their salon of choice as well as services, while clients over 35 tend to view loyalty as being tied more strictly to the services they enjoy at a salon.”
Throughout Day 2, attendees were able to design their own Data-Driven experience by choosing among a wide range of breakout topics designed to reveal game-changing opportunities for salon growth. Breakouts included the “What Men Want” panel moderated by Steve Reiss and including Art + Science’s Paul Wilson, Parker Barber’s Garrison Neill and V’s Barbershops’ Emily Hutcheson-Brown; “Blueprinting Success: Ensuring Consistency in a Multi-Unit Salon” hosted by ISBN’s Valorie Reavis and including Chatters’ Chatters’ Barb Sim; Mario Tricoci’s Larry Silvestri and EvelineCharles’ Eveline Charles and Lina Heath; “Designing your Data Gameplan” with Clayton Nedza and Team ZeeZor; “Going Green” moderated by Green Circle Salons’ Shane Price and including Nuovo’s Terry McKee, Suki’s Bill Moreland and Gene Juarez’s Scott Missad; “HAIR+ Hair Loss and Extensions” featuring moderator Karen Gordon from J. Gordon Designs with panelists Master Design Salon’s Sheila Wilson; Maggie the Salon’s Maggie DiFalco and Steve Reiss; “Marketing as a Game-Changer” with Interlock’s Ginny Eramo and Amy Pirro; “Understanding the Challenges of Today’s Salon Owners” which was tailored for manufacturers and distributors by The Beauty Agent’s Bonnie Bonadeo and featured Salon Intrigue’s Jeff South, Dyer and Posta Salon’s Stephen Posta and Bob Steele Salons’ Amanda Hair.
Back on the main stage, Stacey Soble moderated a final panel session on “Getting the Most Out of your Coach or Consultant” featuring Kopsa + Otte’s April McDaniel, CPA; Eurisko’s Leon Alexander, Ph.D., Inspiring Champion’s Lauren Gartland; Strategies’ Michael Yost; and The Connection’s Coach Bonnie Bonadeo.
In between the activities on stage, attendees had plenty of time to explore the business growth opportunities available through various service, product, technology and coaching vendors who sponsored the event, including Phorest Salon Software, SureTint Technologies, KAO Salon Division, Level Loyalty Rewards, Minerva, Smarter Lifestyle Network, REF, Aveda, Ergo, Keune Hair Cosmetics, Millennium Systems International, Mindbody, Presence AI, PROSE, Rosy Salon Software, SalonBiz, SalonClouds, Salon Professional Eduction Company, Textel, Tippy, Vish, Cosmetologists Chicago, Geen Circle Salons, Intercoiffue, International SalonSpa Business Network, Professional Beauty Association, The Connection Coach Bonnie Bonadeo, Strategies, Inspiring Champions, Eurisko Design, and Kopsa Otte CPAs.
Attendees to the 2018 Data-Driven Salon Summit found the event bookended by a host of enticing social and educational opportunities. For example, Atlanta-based Keune invited attendees arriving on Saturday to the Keune Advanced Academy in Buckhead to “The Collection,” a showcase of eight looks inspired by fashion on and off the runway. After the final DDS presentation, SureTint hosted a special presentation, “How Data Can Drive Your Color Business,” featuring Gadabout’s Frank Westerbeke. On Monday evening, furniture companynMinerva bused DDS attendees to their showroom in nearby Monroe, Georgia, where their parking lot transformed itself in a fun feast for the eyes with artistic circus performers and a bevy of food trucks. The following morning the Smarter Lifestyle Network hosted a traditional Southern breakfast featuring a technology discussion with Pat Parenty; and Kopsa Otte CPA’s April McDaniel and Christina Larson-Andelt walked attendees through the complexity of the new tax laws.
“Choose technologies that serve you and help you connect with the client,” Pat Parenty advised in his session. “That doesn’t mean you have to worry about always having the latest and greatest because it’s impossible to stay on top of it, but choose to work with companies who are bringing tech solutions that work best for you.”
Plans are already in the works for Data-Driven Salon Summit 2019 at the Crowne Plaza at the Atlanta Perimeter. Mark your calendars for May 19-21, 2019!