A Wealth of Relationships
We dined at a fabulous Italian restaurant within a stone’s throw of the Convention Center. They brought along with them Luigi Caruso from Pittsburg, who is the personal barber and hair stylist to many celebrities, including Tony Bennett. The conversation was as delicious as the food, and we all enjoyed Luigi’s lively recap of his remarkable career that spanned decades and continues today.
On Sunday, the show was in full force. One of the first people I ran into was Howard Britt, the executive director of Premiere. Howard and I graduated from the same high school in Dayton, Ohio, so every time I see him at an event, I feel like I’m seeing my long, lost brother. Then I ran smack dab into a true business brother, John Maly of Mirabella Cosmetics. I love him and the whole Maly family—they’re lovely, first-class human beings.
Most of my day was focused my own class. The Professional Beauty Association (PBA) had hired me to present its “Business of Beauty Report: The Client Experience.” This report of data, collected from salon professionals and clients, exposes many of the myths that our industry has believed for years, including: “I’m an artist, not a salesman.” I did my best to dramatically present the information, as I demonstrated the client’s life “the morning after” her salon appointment and what she goes through to reproduce her look.
In the audience was John Steinberg, who I wrote about a few blogs ago. John’s a 50-year hairdressing veteran from Toronto who’s very hip and cool. Marianne Dougherty, the editor of BTC magazine was there, and so was my dear friend from Savannah, Sandy Evenson, who told me all about a friend of hers who can read your body and tell you what foods to eat and which ones to avoid. (Roxanne Kateles-Smith www.foodwisdommrx.com)
Later in the day, sitting with Bill and Pam Peplow was a definite highlight…..Peppy and I had worked together at REDKEN for three decades, and the moment we sat down, it was 1975 again. We laughed as we recalled events and people we loved along the way. Now he’s with John Paul Mitchell Systems, and he continues to light the way for salon professionals with his unique brand of personal inspiration. As Michael Jackson once said of James Brown, “He taught us everything we know but he hasn’t taught us everything he knows.” That’s Peppy!
Monday, Gordon Miller, the former executive director of NCA, cornered me for a flip video promoting the PBA Symposium, which he intended to upload to Facebook. Then Martin Parsons caught me in the lobby of the hotel and walked with me to the convention center, so we could catch up on our lives, travels, work and family. During the show, I was so proud of the REDKEN and PureOlogy demonstrations! On the main stage, I saw Robert Cromeans and company in their element, followed by a classy presentation by Martin. His long-hair magic and even his model’s gowns took my breath away.
Kerry Cannon, the former publisher of American Salon magazine, was there with his [email protected] mobile directory to the show; it was great to see him in his element promoting his latest mobile inventions. Steve Reiss, the publisher of Modern Salon Media shared a moment with me, during which I drank in some of his fresh new views. Michael O’Rourke, who I first met in South Africa decades ago, was at his booth, sharing, educating and inspiring.
Everywhere I walked, every time I turned around, I ran into friends. Beth and Emmit Hickey…Joanne Powers…Lois and Chuck Rupar…the entire L’Oreal/REDKEN/Matrix/PureOlogy team. Then, John Heffner, president of Colomer, NA and Creative Nail Design, pulled some strings to organize a personal “Shellac” appointment for me in the company’s VIP room. Shellac uses magnificent new technology in a nail polish that takes hardly any time at all to apply or dry.
All I could think was, “There’s so much talent in the world, and they’re all my friends!”
Driving away from Orlando, I found myself revisiting my wealth. Neither my wallet nor my bank account was filled to the max, but I felt like the richest woman in the world. All of these people and thousands more had made a vast investment in my life, and I had made one in theirs. And now, the returns are so high that if at any point, as my dad would say, “the bottom drops out,” I know I could call on any one of them, and they would provide a safe harbor, a place of escape, a helping hand. Now that’s rich!
Deepak Chopra’s newest book emphasizes: “It’s no longer about consumption, it’s about relationships.” Chopra is spot-on, and that’s my Simply Living Better message for today.
Relationships are the new hedge funds. Only investing in them is safer. Whether it’s in your salon or home, at church or a sporting event, the people you meet who share their stories, wisdom and kindness are blue-chips in whom you can take stock. Best yet, you’ll find you never lose your principal. In fact, your returns are directly proportional to it.