Future Thinking at ISBN
Keynote speakers, panel discussions and management experts gave ISBN members food for thought on the future of their businesses.
The International Salon/Spa Business Network (ISBN) held its annual Conference at Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, and one of the first highlights was the presentation of ISBN’s Legend Award to Farouk Shami, founder and chairman of Farouk Systems.
“I’ve never thought of myself as a manufacturer,” said Shami when accepting the award. “I am a hairdresser. I was attracted to this profession by the art, the science and, yes, the money— and my commitment has remained to bettering education and the environment in the salon.”
Keynote speaker and social media guru Peter Shankman taught the audience a lesson about customer service. “Your number one goal should be to get your customers so thrilled with you, they go out and do your PR for you.”
At the State of the Industry session, panelists explored industry challenges and opportunities including economic pressure, demand for natural products, appointment stretching, the informed client in the information age and product and environmental safety. “The world is changing and sometimes our industry doesn’t like to embrace change,” said panelist Paula Malloy of JCPenney Salons. “We have to be openminded.”
On the second day of the conference, economist Alan Beaulieu painted a rosy economic forecast for the next several years. “Now is the time you should borrow cash to grow your business,” he advised. “How much should you borrow? So much you can’t sleep at night.”
A governmental affairs panel updated attendees on legislation that could impact the industry, tackling topics such as gainful employment, school funding, tip tax legislation, deregulation, and streamlining state boards. “We need to demonstrate that this is a profession, and there is a career path— many people go on to sales, development, manufacturing, education and beyond,” said Anthony Fragomeni, director of governmental relations with Empire Education Group.
The ISBN Trends panelists examined emerging forces that will shape the future of salon and spa services and product offerings, including the economy, an aging population, increased use of technology, the men’s market, the importance of time, more competition in the beauty channel, and e-commerce.
“The consumer continues to seek value and that will never change,” said panelist Phil Horvath of Ulta.“But the other issue is time—we’re all time starved, the question is will the client of the future go for quick services in a convenient setting?”
In breakout sessions, Eurisko’s Leon Alexander led attendees on an exploration of consumer behavior, and social media guru Serena Ehrlich showed salons how to manage their online reputations.