The hour has finally arrived at the Dublin Royal Convention Centre. After a morning of mingling, conference go-ers jostle their lanyards and fresh tote bags, finish up their last bites of breakfast and eagerly stream into the auditorium to find their seats. The murmur of the crowd swells into cheers and applause as Ronan Perceval, CEO of Phorest Salon Software takes to the stage. The music fades as he greets the crowd of nearly 600 hair and beauty professionals and business owners from around the globe.
“Hello Dublin! Thank you so much for coming,” he begins, beaming at them all. And with that, the Salon Owner’s Summit 2023 begins.
After three tumultuous years for the hair and beauty industry, the Summit is back.
The room is alive with the joy of reunion. Phoresters and attendees have already spent the morning hugging, shaking hands and taking selfies together. Nearly 100 Phorest employees wait in the wings backstage and throughout the venue’s halls. Some will soon take the stage themselves, while plenty of others will provide the support to keep the two-day conference running smoothly.
Behind Ronan, six large white letters, each over a meter tall, span the stage, spelling the word “IGNITE,” the theme for this year’s event.
“People always ask me,” Ronan goes on, “Why the hell do you do the Summit in January?” It’s an understandable question, as Dublin is not exactly known for its pleasant January weather. However, Ronan is happy to elaborate on the significance. The timing of the Summit relates back to the origin of Phorest—a story some in the crowd already know well, while others are hearing for the first time.
Over 20 years ago, Ronan was working his first job in the industry as a salon receptionist in Dublin. After a busy Christmas rush, the salon team returned in January to find their appointment book was essentially empty. At first, they didn’t know what to do and the owner soon became seriously worried about their bottom line. Having previously experimented with appointment reminder text messages, Ronan and the owner devised a plan to try something similar but different.
They decided they would send out an SMS message to all the clients in the salon’s database with a promotion: everyone who booked an appointment in January would receive a free set of travel-sized salon products. As this was 2002, no one had seen this technology from their local salon before. People were intrigued. From the day the SMS “campaign” went out, the phones in the salon hardly stopped ringing. They filled up their books for January and February. Seeing the results, Ronan began laying the groundwork for Phorest Salon Software and the cutting-edge salon marketing tools Phorest offers today.
“The beginning of January, 20 years ago–that’s when the idea for Phorest was ignited,” Ronan says.
“What I have learned is that it is when things are that hardest that your best ideas come. That’s when you really get to learn what you are made of,” he tells the audience as many heads gently nod in agreement. In the spring of 2020, Salon owners around the world faced the ultimate test. “I don’t think this industry has ever faced what it did in March 2020, and you’ve all come through,” Ronan says as he gestures out to the crowd.
“And when you’ve gone through tough times, and you’ve looked inside yourself and you’ve survived, you then know, and everything single one of you in this room knows, that when your back is up against the wall, you are going to make it… I know you guys have all the raw ingredients to build a great business, but you guys know it too now. And that’s what’s amazing.”
The start of the year is the best time to reflect on everything that has gone before and think about what ideas you want to implement in your business in the year ahead. This is what the Salon Owners Summit is all about.
Over the two days, attendees received talks and workshops from industry leaders and speakers from around the world.
- Jason Everett on Leadership and Motivating Your Team and Prime Pricing
- Culture Curators Derek Anthony & Jill Ruone on The Attraction Formula: C.U.L.T.U.R.E
- Dennis Van Lierop on Recruiting Gen-Z and How to Find the Right People for Your Salon
- Valorie Tate on Sustainability in the Industry
- Janna Ronert on The Journey to Becoming #1
- Sophia Hilton on Workplace Toxicity and Branding & MOT
- Verna Wall & Rich Cullen, from Phorest, on Success Stories from the Salon Floor
- Tom Chapman on The Story of Lion’s Barbers Collective and 4 Steps to Opening Conversations about Mental Health.
- Liz Earle MBE on Building a Brand
Attendees also got exclusive first looks at the new Phorest feature releases for 2023 and the opportunity to ask Phorest staff any questions they had about their software in person. As Ronan put it, “we are all here to help you get more out of Phorest.”
Feeling the Salon Owners Summit FOMO?
Want to make sure you’re in the room to hear all the insightful talks next year? Pre-order your tickets for the Phorest Salon Summit 2024.