Phorest FM Episode 106: February Monthly Round-Up

Did you miss an episode this month? Catch up on everything that’s happened in February with Killian and Zoe’s round-up. Expect an exciting announcement by Chris Brennan about Phorest’s channel on YouTube, discussions around the most popular articles published recently and snippets from Phorest FM episodes 103, 104 and 105!


Chris Brennan

Christopher Brennan is a salon marketing specialist, award-winning filmmaker, commercial director, videographer, host of the Salon Owners Summit 2016, presenter at The Salon Owners Summit 2017 and expert speaker, with presentations around the world at events such as The Salon Digital Summit, Professional Beauty, Salon International & Salon North.

For the past 6 years, Christopher has dedicated his time and energy to helping salon owners and managers put the plans into place to hit their salon targets through a variety of diverse campaigns, such as #30Days2Grow and the award-winning #SalonRetailWeek, that have helped salons all around the world grow their average bill and generate referrals.

Christopher is also a steady contributor to publications such as American Salon, Professional Beauty, HJI, Salon Today, Nails Mag, Modern Salon, GetFunnelCake, Spiderworking and the host of webinars for hair and beauty organisations such as the NHF, BABTAC and the IHF.


Killian Vigna: Welcome to the Phorest FM podcast, episode 106. I’m Killian Vigna.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And I’m Zoe Belisle-Springer. This week’s episode is our usual monthly roundup. We’ll be discussing Phorest’s new video series on YouTube, some of the best bits from the blog, this podcast and we’ll wrap up the show with what you can expect this coming March.

Killian Vigna: So grab yourself a cup of coffee, sit back, relax and join us weekly for all your salon’s business and marketing needs. Good morning, Zoe!

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Good morning, Killian.

Killian Vigna: So monthly roundup. These episodes are insane. They just seem to pop around so fast.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I know. Yeah. I mean, last week we were just talking about SMS rebooking with Ronan and Nuala. I just feel like we’re already, what, eight episodes into the year, which just seems crazy?

Killian Vigna: Yeah. The end of February. So it’s the second month down. We’re pretty much a month off the first quarter of 2019, it’s just crazy. So yeah, going to cover some good stuff, as usual, our blogs and our podcasts, but really interested to find out a bit more about this YouTube series that we have going on.

Introducing Chris Brennan [01:14]

Killian Vigna: So we do have a guest on the show to talk about that. It’s kind of… it’s going to be all about learning and stuff like that, isn’t it?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. So I mean we are all about… like in Phorest for anyone listening, we are all about developing skills. Whether it be people from the industry or even within the company. And so, this video series is all about getting you to become more successful, I suppose. But I’m not going to talk about it too much because I can’t actually sell it as well as our guest today on the show. Chris Brennan from the marketing team. We’ve had Chris on the show before. Welcome, welcome back!

Killian Vigna: Welcome, Chris!

Chris Brennan: Let’s grow Zoe, let’s grow Killian!

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I’m great! How are you?

Chris Brennan: I’m good. Thanks for having me!

Killian Vigna: It’s funny, I was just chatting to Chris last week because Chris is actually based in Germany. So when he was over for the awards, sorry, not last week, two weeks ago, we used to have Chris on so regular that it was now cases like, “When am I on again?” So took him up on that opportunity over a drink, and here you are.

Chris Brennan: Yeah. I thought we were just celebrating like your 100th episode and now you guys say you’re on 106. So I’m like, “I agree! How did that happen, like that’s so fast?”

Killian Vigna: No time for hanging around. We just get straight into it, record them every day!

Chris Brennan: Amazing.

Phorest's YouTube “Salon Success Plan” series [02:26]

Killian Vigna: So, Chris, you were chatting a little bit about it, kind of over drinks there recently, but for our audience, what is the Salon Success Plan?

Chris Brennan: So basically, we’ve started to revamp our new YouTube channel. We call it Phorest Studios. We’ve been looking into getting specific content designed for it to really help out salon owners, clients, and people really help grow their business. Obviously, as usual, the best ideas actually come from chatting to the salon owners.

So at the Salon Owners Summit, we were chatting with some of the participants and the guests. Somebody was saying how that when they do training with Phorest, it’s great, but at the one time they get a lot of information, and they believe there might be things in the system that they’re not aware of that they would just love to learn in more bite-sized training modules.

And so, right then and there I’m like, “Well, that’s a new series that I can do.” We basically came up with the Phorest Salon Software Success Plan, which is a new series on YouTube that is designed to give you one simple, yet highly impactful tip that can really grow your business using Phorest Salon Software.

It’s amazing how many tiny little things are on the system that people just don’t know about. So by just breaking it down into one per episode, one per show, it can really help, because a lot of times I think people would go to training and they get a list of things to do. Fantastic. This is more about what can you do today and this week, just one little thing that could make a big difference for you?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So how long are we looking at for these videos? Are we looking at one say one feature and you go in-depth for it for maybe 10 15 minutes, or is it more like a really small bite-size, two, three-minute video?

Chris Brennan: Well, understanding that our audience is completely busy all the time, it’s important for us to make sure that these are more bite-sized. Instead of looking at like an entire section, we’re jumping into one specific feature.

So the opening episode is on one report that you should start the entire series off with. Print off this one report, and it will really help you out, and then we’ll continue from there. The second episode is on one simple tool that we’ve just released that’s going to help you guys hit your targets. So it’s really simple things like this.

Episode two is about the client Rebooking SMS feature. So many people don’t know that this exists, but all you have to do is go to the appointment reminder section, go up, press a button, and it’s going to send off a reminder for that client to rebook their appointment, when they prefer it.

It’s an amazing feature, but when you talk to clients, they go, “I didn’t know that existed.” Things that on the system such as Client ReConnect as well, things that… these amazing reports. Even myself, since I’m on the marketing team, I don’t actually use the system too much myself, so I’ll be chatting to somebody from the dev team or from support, and I get really surprised when I find out what this system can really do. I’m like, “This can do that?” “Yeah.” “Do people know this?” “We think so.” Well, I’ve got a whole list of tools that we can actually use.

Killian Vigna: But it’s so true though because one of the biggest piece of feedback when we had the Inside Phorest, where clients from the Salon Owners Summit 2019 come into Phorest for the talks. The biggest feedback was they don’t know half of the features that are actually on the system because there are so many features, and we’re actually focusing … I can’t stop laughing. So basically, we have to web cameras here, and Chris is in a little room that has a sensor light. So every 15 minutes, he just goes pitch black and you see him waving his arms around.

So just a side note, back on track. It is so true. There’s so many features that it’s kind of hard to know everything in the product. So we’re actually doing a big focus internally as well and making sure all Phorest staff members are completely up-to-date with everything on the Phorest system.
Every time there is a new feature, or there’s a feature update, we also get education around that too. So it’s really good to see these videos come together. Do you have any kind of catalogue of them at the moment? You said you’ve done the first episode, you’re working on the second one. Do you have a list of features you’re already going to be working on? Do you know how long you’re going to be doing these for, or is it a case of, let’s start and work from there?

Chris Brennan: I have a list of 20 so far, which will keep us quite busy for the next few months. The idea is to create a playlist on YouTube so you can check out the first episode and it’ll automatically link to the second and the third, and such.

Now going forward, when we start building a nice library of these, we can actually turn them into something else, which I have an idea for, which is basically creating a form that you can sign up to, and you can get one of these videos every week.

So basically, if you’re new to Phorest and you don’t want to take on all of these projects, all of these ideas in one week, it could be your Monday or your Tuesday email. So every single week you’re going to get one email telling you what you can do this week with the system that can really help you.

I’ve just launched it, so there’s no real purpose of creating this workflow yet. But once I have a few more videos created, then that’s really going to help. The best thing they can do so far is to visit the Phorest Salon Software channel on YouTube. Then you can find that on the playlists.

Killian Vigna: It actually makes your learning a bit more tangible as well, because you’re saying you’ve got 20 videos. If I had access to those 20 videos, I could just go in and watch the video for what I want to learn about now. So usually, like any company you sign up with… When you do to training, it’s training A to Z, but what I want is why I signed up for the product in the first place.

So say you signed up for Phorest because of the Online Reputation feature. That’s what I want to be trained on first because that’s why I signed up. So now I can see right here is all the different learning paths, but here’s where I want to start my journey. So yeah, a really good idea!

Chris Brennan: Thank you.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: For anyone listening and curious to watch these videos, we’ll have the link in the show’s notes. So don’t worry about trying to find that on YouTube. We’ll make it easy for you!

Killian Vigna: Because that’s what I was going to say next, how do we access it?

Chris Brennan: Yeah. So well, if you follow that link in the show notes or if you just go to YouTube and find our channel, the best thing you can do is subscribe to the channel so that when these new videos go out, YouTube notifies you of this.

So it wouldn’t be a case where you have to keep trying to find us every time and looking for the new episodes. We release two episodes a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays. These are on a variety of different topics, and that will include the Salon Software Success Plan. I definitely recommend you subscribe to the channel, and away we go.

Killian Vigna: Great stuff.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Well, thank you so much, Chris.

Killian Vigna: Cheers, Chris! And best of luck with the videos! Can’t wait to see the rest of them coming out.

Chris Brennan: Absolutely. Thank you so much, guys!

Killian Vigna: So that was Chris Brennan, our Video Content Producer here at Phorest, talking about his new series, the Salon Success Plan. You know what? To get everyone really psyched for it, Zoe’s just going to play a little segment of his video for you here.

Snippet, Chris Brennan: The industry average for a healthy client retention rate is 58%. That means that if you can drive 58% of your client list back into your salon regularly, then your business is on the right track.  We can even break it down further to 30% for new clients, and 68% for returning clients. So today’s tip is, to generate the client retention report on your Phorest Software.

Connecting with industry coaches & consultants: the Salon Mentorship Hub [09:57]

Killian Vigna: So Zoe, I’m going pass this one off to you because this is your baby at the moment. Mentorship Hub. Give it to us!

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. So the Mentorship Hub. It’s a place to connect. It’s something that we started about a month ago. We’ve teamed up with a lot of mentors and industry coaches, so people from the US, the UK, Ireland, Australia, and we keep adding more and more mentors and coaches on this Hub.

Essentially the premise of this whole thing is that you can get a free 15 to 30-minute consultation with one of these mentors or coaches, based on a topic that you need help with or feel a bit stuck in.

So the link is going to be in the show’s notes. We’ve already talked about the Mentorship Hub quite a bit, so I won’t go into too much detail around it. But if you need any more information, you can go onto the website for the Mentorship Hub, or you can just type it up in Google, and it’d pop up “Phorest Mentorship Hub.”

And yeah, avail of your free 15 to 30-minute consultation! For anyone wondering, you do not have to be a Phorest client to be able to avail of this opportunity. So go onto the website, you can flick through ‘Mentors’ or ‘Topics’, book your free consultation, and let us know how it went! If you have any recommendations for mentors or industry coaches that you know, drop us a message because the goal is to help you guys get unstuck.

Review of some the latest Phorest Blog articles [11:12]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Which leads us into our blogs, because it is still one of the main sections of this episode.

Killian Vigna: Where would we be without them? Where would you be without them actually because they’re your blogs? I’m just looking at the first one we have here. It’s from a lovely lady that we have done a podcast with before, Katt Philipps. In her biopic, I suppose, for this blog you’ll see that she’s appeared on CNN, BBC, Forbes Magazine and right beside that we have Phorest FM. So she’s really hitting the big, big leagues there like.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, right. No, but she’s such a lovely lady like you said. So Katt Philipps, for anyone listening is a licensed esthetician. She’s a master makeup artist. She’s a beauty business coach, and also the owner of Gräfin Skin and Beauty, and She’s based in the US, and on episode 91, she was talking about being booked out 12 months in advance. This all came through mentorship actually, which is kind of funny because we just were talking about Mentorship Hub.

Killian Vigna: But do you know what the funny thing was? So this is a lady that’s booked out every single day for 12 months in advance, and she was so incredibly relaxed, so chilled like I could not get over this.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: From my perspective, I mean, if I knew exactly what my schedule would be looking like for the next 12 months, I’d say I’d be pretty relaxed. Because like she was saying, she had so much more time to focus on developing new opportunities and working with charities, and such. This is actually what her blog is all about, working with charities and making charity your business culture.

Killian Vigna: Cool. I suppose yeah, without getting side-tracked, what does the blog entail?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: She discusses a few main points. So whether you should give to one or many charities, and she gives benefits and pitfalls for both. If you give to one charity, you’re going to get a clearer marketing focus, but your customers can become blinder to the cause after time. If you give to many charities, then you’ve got an opportunity for fresh marketing every time, but you run the risk of confusing clients.

Then she discusses how will you involve your staff? How will charity involvement motivate sales? So she talks about donating per purchase. So you can think about this. One of the two examples that come to mind to me is all those businesses that if you buy a product, they’ll plant to a tree. Or I actually have… my mother gave me socks for Christmas one year, and it was a company who if you buy one pair of socks, they’ll donate another pair to a homeless person. So it’s just that kind of stuff, like how will you motivate sales through giving to a charity?

Killian Vigna: But I suppose there also has to be a link between what the service is and the charity. Like you were saying, socks; socks for the homeless. Tree, like a tree for life.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, of course. She discusses… and I’ll get back to that because that’s a brilliant point, but she discusses then what the difference between supporting local versus national charities is? And she touches upon how will you actually promote your initiatives.

So is it going to be through email blasts, in-salon signage, staff education? She just raises a lot of questions for you to start thinking about how you can get involved in giving back to your community.

The one thing that she says, which you’ve just hinted at is, Choose a cause that aligns with your business values. If you believe in what you are supporting, everything else will fall into place.

Killian Vigna: For the record, I didn’t know it said that in a blog. Me and Katt just have the same mindset, you know?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. Then I suppose; finally, she tops it all off with three easy and unique ways to incorporate charity into your culture, which we’ll let you discover by reading the article because we can’t give you everything here.

Killian Vigna: So what brings us on then to the next one? The next one is Making Tax Digital. This one’s actually by… Oh, it’s two articles.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: It is two articles. Yeah. I put them together because they’re part one and part two. The first one is, Making Tax Digital: Important Information for Salons and Spas. That one’s written by Gloria Murray. She’s an award-winning accountant. She’s based in the UK, and Making Tax Digital is an initiative that will be affecting UK businesses.
So it just made sense for us to get her perspective on it. And so, the main point there is that there are new rules that are going to be introduced by the UK government, which is essentially under the term Making Tax Digital.

In a nutshell, what it means is that UK-based businesses with a turnover exceeding £85,000 over 12 months, which I suppose most salons would fall into, will have to keep VAT records in a digital format and do VAT returns using software from April this year, onwards.

So there’s a lot of things to consider here. A lot of things that businesses need to prepare for. A second article, which is a kind of a follow-up from Gloria’s blog, is Making Tax Digital for UK Salons: Helping You Prepare, and that one tackles more of what can Phorest do?

If you’re a Phorest client, how can we help you prepare for this initiative? Because obviously you will be needing some of the reports from your software, and all that and how can you get your information over to your accountant and to the HMRC.

Killian Vigna: Yeah. I think there are two blogs that you should definitely go and check out yourself just because they’re such important blogs that us skimming it, or summarising it just isn’t going to give you enough information on those topics.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, I totally agree with that. Towards the end of the episode, we actually have an announcement around a webinar on this. So I’ll give you more information on that if you are based in the UK and want to attend this webinar.

Throwback to some of the latest Phorest FM episodes [16:43]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: But I suppose this brings us on to our podcast section.

Killian Vigna: Okay. Yeah. So we have three podcasts this week… This week, wow! That would I be amazing if we did three in a week… this month! So the first one was with Phil Jackson, on using Facebook Messenger to drive conversations with salon clients.

This is the second time we’ve had Phil Jackson on the show. The first time he was on was to talk about email marketing, because he actually wrote a book called The Hairy Book of Email. He’s an award-winning salon owner himself, so he’s been doing a lot of testing with Facebook Messager recently, particularly for salons. So, creating those chatbots that you’ll see on Facebook Messenger, or if you’re reaching out to a business, it’s not usually a live person on the end of it.

He was talking about the best ways to create those and gave some good examples of recipes. He was also promoting his new educational program, Salon Spark, which is done in conjunction with Phorest. So that has been sold out, and here are some snippets about Facebook Messenger recipes you can use, but also what his educational program entailed.

Phil Jackson: “I think what’s happening in a much more subtle way is we’ve now got a generation of people who are spending money in our businesses, and they’ve leapfrogged a whole batch of technology. They’re people that have never particularly used email, and they’re people that have never particularly used SMS even, and they’ve gone straight into these instant response conversations.

As their spending power increases, I think this is going to become much more important. I think it’s about time the salon industry bucked up their ideas a little bit and caught up, because ultimately what we’re talking about of course is conversations, and that’s something that we do really well.

There’s a bit of a mindset shift that we need around this method of communication, in fact, about lots of our communication. There’s plenty that can be done on the automation side, but it’s got to start with the conversation.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Then on episode 104, we had a regular contributor on the show, Sinead Carroll from Phorest. Phorest’s Events and PR Team.

Killian Vigna: Introducing Sinead is like introducing Troy McClure from The Simpsons. You may recognise her from such episodes as she’s been on so many Phorest FM episodes now, which is great because it just goes to show how many events we’re actually hosting. So this episode, she was promoting the Salon Owners Summit Roadshow, kicking off in Chicago!

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yes, Chicago in April. Then we also had Jay Williams, one of the announced speakers, joining us on the show, as well as Sinead. Without saying too much out of this episode actually, we’ll play a few clips here.

Sinead Carroll: “Just to calm any fears, the Dublin flagship will always be in Dublin. That’s not going to change. The idea is that it’s kind of like a more condensed version of the flagship event. These Roadshow events will be a little bit smaller. So there will be about 200-250 attendees at them.”

Jay Williams: “I believe everybody wants something to show for their time spent. They want to leave some mark. When I look at our industry, really second to none, having the ability to leave their mark with people. Trust is the new currency in the world in which we operate off of. I believe businesses need to spend far more time building trust and far less time pushing products and services.

Killian Vigna: All I heard in that episode is just how much everyone wants me to go to America.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Oh yeah! You got an official invitation and then me and Sinead were meant to figure out the financials.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, but then they left! Yeah, thanks again Jay for inviting me. Someone’s listening.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. Then I suppose our last episode that aired before this current episode was 105. It was taking the awkwardness out of asking clients to rebook.

Killian Vigna: You know, that whole like when you’re at the point of sale and you’ve already tried to upsell products with your client; now you’re meeting them at the till? Then on top of all the sales spiels that you’ve been given, now you’ve to turn around and go, “So when would you like to book back in again? Would you like to book back in for the next appointment? Next three appointments.”

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Next 12 months?

Killian Vigna: Ronan… Yeah, next 12 months! Yeah. Yeah, that took me a second there to realise, shout out to Katt there. So yeah, this episode is with Ronan Perceval and Nuala Maguire, to talk about another way of getting clients to rebook back in without that awkward moment.

Nuala Maguire: “If your client is walking out the door after their appointment. If they already have an appointment booked in and they’re leaving. So if they are rebooked, six months down the line you’ve got a 70% chance that they’re still going to be a client with you.”

Ronan Perceval: “But if you don’t have that booking rebooked before they leave, it drops from 70% to 35%, Then the other stats, so what we’ve done with the rebooking is…”

Nuala Maguire: It’s now three times more likely that someone’s going to rebook if you send them this kind of predicted time text, because we’re doing it based on an individual’s booking cycle, rather than just anyone the next day if they don’t have an appointment, sending that to them. It means you’re actually sending less SMS but getting a better return on what you are sending. If we can take all the data that we have in there now and use that to leverage it even higher, so we can get that retention rate right up.”

Ronan Perceval: “If we can help make salons even more money off it than we’re making now, that would be amazing, and it’d be a great feeling, great results.”

Inside Phorest: reflections, upcoming events & final words [22:12]

Killian Vigna: Cool. So that’s essentially our monthly roundup done. Before moving into the second part of the show, which is some upcoming masterclasses and events, and the Roadshow. Zoe, give it away!

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Absolutely. Making Tax Digital; I mentioned this earlier. We have a salon masterclass with Gloria Murray scheduled for Monday, March 4th at 11:00 AM GMT. This is going to affect UK businesses. So if you’re based in anywhere else than the UK, you don’t need to tune into this, it’s not going to affect your business.

But if you are based in the UK, then you probably, definitely should save your spot on this webinar. So in this hour-long masterclass, you’ll be given the full breakdown of what this government initiative is all about, how it affects your salon, and most importantly what you need to do to be prepared in time for this coming April.

Next up, we have… well, a reminder here. I’ve been chatting about this on the last few episodes, the Thrive Sessions. So Phorest is a proud sponsor of the Thrive Sessions. This year, it’s taking place in Seattle on March 24th and 25th at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center.

I won’t get into too many details, if you want to sign up or get more information on the two-day workshop – it’s an intensive workshop guys – on pricing, details around that, you can head over to, but what I will mention though is that on both those days over lunchtime – you will be provided with a light lunch, don’t worry, and an Instagram e-book – I will be giving a workshop called Lights, Camera, Post: Basic Photography Skills for a Standout Portfolio. So I’ll be talking about, understanding light, understanding composition, and discussing features that we ourselves in Phorest have built to help you build your presence, your engagement, and such on Instagram. So if you want to sign up, like I said, Then the final thing that I have on the list for today is the Salon Owners Summit Roadshow, and because we mentioned this as an episode earlier, I won’t go into too much detail.

Killian Vigna: There’s a lot of speakers to announce here, yeah.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, but what I will say is that it’s taking place on Monday, April 15th. The conference is from 9:30 to 5:30 PM, and then there’s a drinks and a networking reception. It’s taking place at the Dalcy in Chicago and the announced speakers at the moment are Scott Buchanan, Stephanie Jackson, Jay Williams, Neil Ducoff, Marlo Boyle and Heather Yurko. If you want more information on this event, you can head over to

Well, that’s all we got for this week guys! As always, if you want to share your thoughts on this episode or have any suggestions, please send us an email at or leave us a review on iTunes. We genuinely love feedback and are always looking for ways to improve the show. Otherwise, have a wonderful week and we’ll catch you next Monday.

Killian Vigna: All the best.

Related links

This episode was edited and mixed by Audio Z: Great music makes great moments. Montreal’s cutting-edge post-production studio for creative minds looking to have their vision professionally produced and mixed. Tune in every Monday for a mix of interviews with industry thought-leaders, roundups of our most recent salon owners marketing tips & tricks, all the latest in and around Phorest and what upcoming webinars or events you can join.

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