Phorest FM Episode 100: Jo Fairley, Ryan Holiday & Christina Kreitel On Powering Up

To quote Stacey Soble of Salon Today magazine, "approximately 600 salon owners and managers kicked off the New Year with a powerful day of business education at the 2019 Phorest Salon Owners Summit at the Convention Centre in Dublin, Ireland, on January 7." Now in its fifth year, the Salon Owners Summit has become one of the most talked about event in the hair & beauty industry - in Europe and further afield. Tune in for this week's celebratory 100th episode as Killian and Zoe put on their journalistic hats to deliver exclusive interviews and vox pops!


Jo Fairley

Jo Fairley is an entrepreneur best known for creating the Green & Black’s chocolate brand in 1991, which she ran with her husband before it was bought by Cadbury in 2005. The first-ever product to carry the UK Fairtrade Mark, for the past nine years, Green & Black’s has been hailed as the ‘coolest food brand’ in Britain according to the Cool Brands Survey, and is now worth $100 million a year. An award-winning author and journalist, she has written for a wide range of newspapers and magazines from The Times to The Mail on Sunday’s YOU Magazine, and as a ‘Wonder Woman’ business guru for Telegraph Woman Online.

Jo is in demand as a brand consultant, alongside her own ventures which have included an organic bakery, natural food store and a nine-room salon and wellbeing centre in her hometown of Hastings. Most recently, she created and launched The Perfume Society, which works with the fragrance industry seeking to improve individuals’ sense of smell in a pleasurable and engaging way.

Ryan Holiday

Ryan Holiday is a world-renowned marketing powerhouse-turned-motivational-speaker who has attracted fans from every imaginable discipline and is regarded as one of the most influential speakers of his generation. He is the former Director of Marketing at American Apparel where his work in advertising was recognised internationally. Others may know him as a best-selling author whose books have sold over 1.3 million copies and have been translated into over 30 different languages.

When it comes to motivation, Holiday makes listeners take stock of their lives and careers through the timeless lens of an ancient philosophy: stoicism. His book The Daily Stoic distils the ancient wisdom of the stoic philosophers into 366 practical meditations, each meant to enrich and enliven our daily lives—at work, on the field, and in our relationships.

Christina Kreitel

After realising there was a serious lack of branding and social media knowledge in the hair & beauty industry, native of Utah and owner of Intrepid Studio Salons, Christina Kreitel founded her salon in 2017 and used social media to skyrocket to almost 55k engaged followers in as little as 1 year! This led the leading stylist & colourist and Cosmoprof brand ambassador & educator to be featured in some of America’s top beauty magazines such as Modern Salon, American Salon, Behind The Chair, and more! She has taught on all the main stages of North America, travelled internationally, and completed hundreds of private tutoring and classes with stylists and salons across the world.


Killian Vigna: Welcome to the Phorest FM podcast, episode 100. I’m Killian Vigna.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And I’m Zoe Belisle-Springer. We’re kicking the year off in style as we attend the Salon Owners Summit 2019, one of Europe’s most prestigious events in the hair and beauty industry. Live from the Convention Center in Dublin, today’s episode will feature vox pops and exclusive interviews with some of our speakers.

Killian Vigna: So grab yourself a cup of coffee, sit back, relax, enjoy this weekly for all your salon’s business and marketing needs.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Good morning, Killian. I’m excited today, this is fun – back in Dublin.

Killian Vigna: Very excited, yeah, it’s a nice and early start, the speakers are all starting to come in. We’ve just had our first speaker on stage, Jo Fairley, and we’re going to have her on here in a few minutes.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, so looking forward to that, and then afterwards we’ll have, again, more interviews, as we mentioned in the blurb earlier. And we’ll have a few vox pops as well throughout the day. A few of our clients have walked up to us already and are willing to speak up on Phorest FM, so it should be good.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, [inaudible 00:01:06] around last year trying to ask people to be on, and we’ve already had like five or six people go “Can I be on the show?”

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, exactly.

Killian Vigna: So yeah, no, brilliant, really excited. And yeah, here are our interviews.

Jo Fairley's tips on building a beautiful business [01:15]

Killian Vigna: Joining us at the moment, we have Jo Fairley, the founder of Green and Black’s. And you’re talking about today, you’ve actually just come off stage, and what you were talking about was “The Story Of Green And Black’s And How To Build A Beautiful Business.” So Jo, to you, what does building a beautiful business mean?

Jo Fairley: I think it starts with a great product, because when you’ve got that faith in your product, everything kind of flows from there, and it’s really easy to sell it to customers and the press and talent that you might want to join your team. I think; obviously, you’ve got to PR a business which includes traditional PR these days, not just social media, which people rely on. You need to build a great team. But when you have strong values as we’ve had at Green and Black’s, people get kind of magnetised to what you do. And for us, those strong values are the kind of, the extra that keeps us still cool while being very widely available. But they also drive the business forward by bringing the right people on board.

Killian Vigna: Great stuff. And what I really liked about your talk is, so Green and Black’s has been going since ’91, so 27 years. You said you weren’t a businesswoman at the start, you didn’t intend to be a businesswoman. You’re actually a journalist yourself, and it pretty much fell in your lap, or actually, it fell on your husband’s desk, a piece of chocolate.

Jo Fairley: Yeah.

Killian Vigna: So what have you said in your talk today that you, what one piece do you wish you’d heard when you first started out?

Jo Fairley: I think that the thing that I did wrong when I started Green and Black’s was that I chased every single rainbow. Particularly with exports, we ended up exporting all over the world, small quantities, just as much hassle to send half a case, half a pallet to Slovenia, as a container to America. And I think that when you are a startup, you get lots of different opportunities, collaborations, all kinds of directions that you could move on. But actually, you need to prioritise. You need to kind of pick two or three things that you’re gonna do really, really well, rather than chase every single rainbow. Because you’ll just run out of steam.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, I did really like that, and you said you had a friend of yours where they were working like 32 projects, and you said: “You just need to get that red pen out and just mark it down to two.”

Jo Fairley: Exactly.

Killian Vigna: Spreading yourself too thin.

Jo Fairley: Spreading yourself too thin.

Killian Vigna: And another thing you said, then, again, kind of starting on the career as a businesswoman, you had to teach yourself a lot of stuff. So being as this conference today is about Power Up, what one book would you recommend salon owners to read in 2019 to help them power up their business?

Jo Fairley: I honestly think that one of the best books that I’ve ever read about business is Martha Stewart’s ‘The Martha Rules.” It’s particularly good for women, ’cause it understands the different tugs that we have on our time. And you do have to slightly park the fact that Martha went to jail for insider trading. She does acknowledge this in the first paragraph of the book, she wrote it with a kind of tag around her leg, I think. But I’ve given it to lots of women, they’ve found it really, really useful. But you know, all of them, the sort of classic business leaders, the Alan Sugars, the Richard Branson’s, I just wish there were more women out there.

Killian Vigna: We actually have Ryan Holiday in the background, so we should probably mention one of his as well.

Jo Fairley: Why not!

Killian Vigna: “The Obstacle Is the Way,” “Ego is the Enemy.” No, listen, Jo, that’s been amazing, and thanks very much for joining us today. It was a great talk.

Jo Fairley: A great day.

Ryan Holiday on stoicism & overcoming obstacles [04:35]

Killian Vigna: So now we’re joined by Ryan Holiday. Ryan, welcome to Phorest FM. You’re just about to go on stage in the next 20, 30 minutes. Are you looking forward to it?

Ryan Holiday: I am, of course!

Killian Vigna: Well, for anyone that, I suppose for anyone left out there that might not know who Ryan Holiday is, he’s pitched as a world-renowned marketing powerhouse turned motivational speaker. But not just a motivational speaker, quite possibly one of the most influential speakers of his generation, and he’s an author, having written what, you’ve sold 1.3 million books?

Ryan Holiday: Something like that, yeah.

Killian Vigna: That’s what we were just joking about with Jo when she was listing off books, and we were saying “Oh, he’s coming with his books, you’ll have to name them out.” But I suppose what I’m asking here is, can you share with our clients what they can expect to learn from your talk today? ‘Cause I know it’s based on one of those books anyway, isn’t it?

Ryan Holiday: Yeah, we’re gonna talk about my book “The Obstacle Is the Way.” And the premise of “The Obstacle Is the Way” comes from this quote from Marcus Aurelius, the stoic emperor. And he says the impediment to action advances action, so what stands in the way becomes the way. This is sort of the stoic exercise that we don’t control what happens, but we control how we respond . And so that sort of, the essence of the talk is around that idea, which I think lines up pretty well with what an entrepreneur faces on a day-to-day basis. You sort of wake up, all these things go wrong, or all these problems or opportunities or situations have fallen in your lap. And you’ve got to make the most of them, that’s what your business is. And if you don’t, you go out of business, but if you can handle them properly, there’s all sorts of growth that can come from that.

Killian Vigna: And it is a great book, a lot of us in Phorest have listened to it. I’m not just saying this because you’re here, it’s one of those titles that gets passed around a lot. Because like that, everyone, there’s always those times where you feel like you’ve hit a wall.

Ryan Holiday: Sure.

Killian Vigna: And how do you get through it? So it’s a really good book.

Ryan Holiday: Thank you!

Killian Vigna: But a good few of your books are based on what you call a timeless, ancient philosophy, stoicism. Can you explain what stoicism is and why it’s so important to you?

Ryan Holiday: Yeah, I mean, it would be hard to do a better definition of stoicism than that the stoic believes they don’t control the world, but they control how they respond. And there’s sort of some virtues that the stoics hold up, this idea of courage and moderation and wisdom and justice. But the idea is, look, you’re gonna face these situations in life, and philosophy, rather than being this sort of abstract thing that we learned about in school or didn’t pay attention to in school, philosophy’s actually designed to help us in those situations. And that’s why I think someone like Marcus Aurelius is so interesting. Because sure, on the one hand, he’s this sort of philosopher, but on the other hand, he has this day job where he’s the, basically, leader of the entire world, the civilised world at this time.

And so what I love about stoicism, why I think it works for entrepreneurs, why it works for creatives, is that it’s designed for the real world. It’s not “How do we know that we’re not living in a computer simulation?” or some arcane or theoretical question. It’s sort of like “What do you do when you fail? What do you do when someone pisses you off? How do you prevent yourself from getting pissed off?” It’s sort of very practical questions like that.

Killian Vigna: And this is stuff that our audience can, are going to expect to get from you today?

Ryan Holiday: Yeah, I hope so. What I try to do is take those principles of stoicism and then illustrate them with stories from history, oftentimes from other entrepreneurs. ‘Cause I think when you look at the people that we admire, the people that have been really successful, they tend to be people who have controlled their emotions, the people who take the long view of things. People who see the opportunity inside some sort of adversity or difficulty. And so what I’m trying to do is take these sort of stoic principles, and then illustrate them in stories that we can remember, or call upon when we’re in our own version of those situations. Hopefully, much less stressful or dramatic or terrible than a war or a factory burning down, or some sort of major crisis like that. I’m trying to be, I’m hoping that no one has to apply these things at that level, but it is interesting to know that people have historically sort of used these things that way.

Killian Vigna: And how did you find making the transition to stoicism? ‘Cause obviously you’ve done a lot of research, and you’re kind of living it to be more stoic. It doesn’t sound like the easiest thing to just wake up in the morning and go “you know what, this is what I’m going to do.”

Ryan Holiday: Yes. No, I don’t think it was a transition so much as it was something that I got introduced to when I was in college, and I found very interesting, and then it sort of kept popping up in my own entrepreneurial and creative journey. So I think what’s so interesting about stoicism is there’s very little in it that you didn’t also hear from your grandparents . It’s sort of this common-sense, timeless wisdom. But then the difficulty is actually practising it. And you just find yourself in these situations in life where, if you do the thing that you… and maybe you do it the first dozen or 100 times, where you do what instinctually feels right or what emotionally you’re compelled to do in the moment, and then you notice how much worse you made everything, and then if you… I think part of stoicism is sort of stepping back and reflecting.
And you know, what’s so interesting, this quote I told you from Marcus Aurelius, that comes from this diary that he was writing. So he would sit down at the beginning or the end of every day and just sort of reflect on how he was doing. There’s this sort of stepping back and examining yourself from a little bit of a distance. And I think it’s been years of doing that practice that’s helped me get nowhere close to actually being a stoic, but being closer to being one.

Killian Vigna: Well, it is, it’s like a change in mindset. So it does take time to develop, and back in your American Apparel days, when you were head of marketing, you probably weren’t so stoic then. Or were you?

Ryan Holiday: Well, I think in different ways. So it was a chaotic, dysfunctional mess of a company, and so sort of on the day-to-day level, how are you preventing yourself from freaking out, how are you preventing the people around you from freaking out? How are you just keeping a cool head? That’s sort of step one. But then step two, and maybe this is what took a little more time for me, is like “What are we even doing here? Is this something I want to be a part of? What am I actually put here on this planet to do? Do I want to wake up every day and be putting out other people’s fires?” And so I think it’s a process. And you just, that comes, again, from this sort of sitting down and really… I think one of the reasons people wake up one day, and they’re like “This is my life? Why am I doing this?” is because they’re not checking in on a regular basis with what the hell they’re even doing.

Killian Vigna: I suppose one last question I really have is, we’ve mentioned a few of your books. Is there, like you’re guaranteed to have a lot of fans after this, I can tell you that. Are there any projects you’re working on currently that we can look forward to?

Ryan Holiday: Yeah, yeah. So my next book is gonna be a sequel to “The Obstacle Is the Way” and “Ego Is The Enemy.” I sort of see it as part of a trilogy. And I’m really interested in… you know, I feel like the world is sort of getting more and more chaotic, it’s busier and busier, noisier and noisier. And sort of, how does one kind of keep their head in all of that? And how does one stay focused, how does one not despair or get angry? How do you slow everything down so you can focus on what’s really important, whether that’s your business, whether that’s your family, whether that’s your own self-improvement? Whatever it happens to be in a given situation. Or whether it’s just seeing what’s really important in a given situation and not what everyone else is focused on. ‘Cause I think that’s what entrepreneurs really do well, is they see the right opportunity amongst all the possible opportunities out there, and that requires some, I think, clarity and foresight and such. So the next book’s about that. Just wrapping it up now, and it should come out in the fall of 2019.

Killian Vigna: Really looking forward to reading it.

Ryan Holiday: Yeah, thanks.

Killian Vigna: Listen, thanks very much for joining us, and best of luck on your talk.

Ryan Holiday: Of course, thank you.

Branding & Instagram engagement tips with Christina Kreitel [13:13]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So we’re now in the green room, we’re joined by Christina Kreitel, who’s literally just off stage. And I gotta say, I haven’t had this much of a laugh in a really long time. I was cracking up so much.

Christina Kreitel: Really nice. I saw you, and I looked to you for courage.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Did you?

Christina Kreitel: Yes, I did. I was like “Where’s … oh, there she is. ‘Sup, girl!”

Zoe Belisle-Springer: No, but one of my favourite parts, to be honest, was when you mentioned… first of all, your talk was all about creating a personal brand, and one of my favourite parts was when you talked about the trolls and getting your minions to work for you. Let’s kick it off with that. You’re an advocate of actually getting people just a little mad. Everyone?

Christina Kreitel: Just a little bit. Just a little bit. A lot of people go “What’s the formula for going viral?”

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah.

Christina Kreitel: And I said, “Just make people just a little bit mad.” If they’re just a little mad, but not bad mad. Don’t ever post hateful, don’t ever post spiteful, don’t ever post vindictive things. Because people can tell if you’re being hateful. But if it’s things that you know that it’s something you want to have to apologise for… For example, when I showed my pregnant hairstylist video when I was picking up the brush with my toes. I mean, would I ever actually do that? No, disgusting, I would never do that. But the whole point was just to be funny, to just kind of like exaggerate how hard it is to be pregnant when you’re a hairdresser. And so, and I knew that that would make people mad. I knew people would be like “That is against health code, blah, blah, blah.” And maybe they’re asking “Why would you make pregnancy look disgusting?” And I’m like “It is disgusting, okay?” If I’m pregnant and pee my pants when I sneeze, that’s disgusting, okay? And so it was very calculated. And so I knew that that was something that would make people a little mad. Or like the scalp treatment video.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Oh, yeah, yeah.

Christina Kreitel: I knew that when I was doing that when you see the dry skin coming off of her scalp, that some people would be like “Ew, it’s lice. That’s disgusting, why aren’t you wearing gloves?” Things like that. Like I knew that would be something people would troll at. When you have trolls, when you have haters, your followers will always defend you. And when they defend you, then it turns into this little catfight. And I always say “Yes, my minions, go.” They’ll start talking, and they’ll argue.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Oh, yeah, ’cause it boosts your engagement as well.

Christina Kreitel: It does. It does, because it’s not likes that boost engagement, it’s comments. So when you get likes, great job. Gold star, it doesn’t mean anything. When you get comments, that is where the true value in your post is. And so encouraging people to talk and to discuss, and answering back, that’s not just you being kind to them and thanking them for their comment. It’s also boosting your engagement. And so any time I see someone give me a good comment, I will try to make a conversation with them. The more comments, the more views. The more views, the more followers. The more followers, the more potential to make money or have new opportunities.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Well, speaking of that, right after you got off stage, you got loads of people coming to you and giving you hugs and taking selfies.

Christina Kreitel: It made me feel very good.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I’d say so! I mean, it is always nice. But you probably did get a lot of followers from just even this talk.

Christina Kreitel: I did.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: How did it help… but they’re all real followers, all of your followers are real. How did that help build your brand over time?

Christina Kreitel: So in comparison to a lot of other hairdressers, my following, it’s a big following. I’m not gonna try and be humble and pretend that it’s not a great following and that I’m not very grateful for it and that I didn’t work hard for it. But the difference is, I’ve never once bought followers. I’ve never once follow-for-followed. I’ve never once begged people to follow me or done something gimmicky. Every single follower that I have is authentic, and I don’t lose followers because of that. And so because my following is authentic, even if it’s “smaller” than the rest of my team, who are up in the hundreds of thousands of followers, my engagement is, it’s fantastic. So when I say something, more people listen to me with my smaller following than they do with a lot of people with a really big following, because they know I’m not a sell-out, they know that I have integrity, they know that if I am saying something, it’s because I believe in it, and they know that they can trust me.

And we were talking about this earlier, I’ve turned down a lot of opportunities, a lot of really big, high-paid opportunities because those opportunities don’t go with my brand. And if I were to take them, it would tarnish my reputation as somebody who has integrity and who sticks to her guns and who… what am I trying to say, you know everything that I’m saying comes from my heart.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, and then people follow you. You’ve just launched a class in Nashville that you’re gonna do, and it sold out in, you were saying 36 hours.

Christina Kreitel: 36 hours, yeah.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Just mental.

Christina Kreitel: I cried. I did, I was like “Nashville, I’m moving there, you people love me. Forget you, Utah, I’m coming to Nashville.” It was awesome.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, no, it’s been absolutely amazing. I mean, to have you back, well, back for me anyway, on stage, we were chatting in LA, you were on the panel. It’s just… I don’t know, we need to get a full episode out of this.

Christina Kreitel: I’m down.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I think it’s worth it.

Christina Kreitel: I’m down.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: All right. Well, thanks so much for taking the time anyways today, and we’ll catch you soon on another Phorest FM episode!

Christina Kreitel: Okay, bye.

Salon Owners Summit 2019 Vox pop [18:20]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So we’re doing a bit of a vox pop over here at the Summit; the Summit’s just wrapped up now. Jennie, we’ve had you on the show before. So good to see you again.

Jennie Lawson: Yes.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So what did, like what’s your biggest take-away today, or maybe your favourite talk? Anything that struck you, really?

Jennie Lawson: I really loved Heather. Is it Heather?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, Heather Yurko.

Jennie Lawson: Heather from PIP University. I thought she was absolutely incredible.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: What did you like most about it?

Jennie Lawson: I think just the way of engaging the team, and her whole morning and start-of-day kind of system encourages me. Because it’s the kind of thing I’ve put into .. I have it written in my manual, and it’s the one thing we don’t actually implement any more. And we used to, and so it’s a really good reminder that actually just to ground everybody and to have a proper process for it, is the way, is what you really need to do when you’ve got a team.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Same.

Jennie Lawson: Yeah, no, it’s been great. And it was great networking with everyone and seeing familiar faces.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So, headed over to the after-party?

Jennie Lawson: Yes, definitely.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yes, all right.

Jennie Lawson: All right.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Thank you so much.

Jennie Lawson: My pleasure, my darling.

Killian Vigna: So how did you find Salon Summit, was it your first year here?

Summit Attendee 1: No, it’s… well, it’s my first year in this conference center, but the third time I’ve been on the Phorest get-together.

Killian Vigna: Third year, so you’re pretty much a veteran at this stage.

Summit Attendee 1: A veteran, yes.

Killian Vigna: Yes.

Summit Attendee 1: I knew it when it was a very small company.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, yeah. You’re one of the early adopters for us.

Summit Attendee 1: Yes. So there’s certain items on the site that we put in, together we [crosstalk 00:19:59]. We had influence in the tracker, that was ours.

Killian Vigna: The online…

Summit Attendee 1: Performance tracker.

Killian Vigna: Oh, yeah, yeah.

Summit Attendee 1: Yeah. So we use that a lot in staff appraisals and our goal-setting.

Killian Vigna: So just with regards to Salon Owners Summit 2019, who were you looking forward to most, and who, I suppose, you leaving today, who do you think had the biggest impact on you?

Summit Attendee 2: I would say I wasn’t looking forward to anyone. I didn’t know much about David. I would say, Ryan.

Killian Vigna: Ryan Holiday.

Summit Attendee 2: Yeah, he kind of was a big impact. I’m looking forward to reading his book. And Christina.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, Christina was fun.

Summit Attendee 2: Yeah, whether she’s on our level, I don’t know. I’d like to hang out with her.

Summit Attendee 1: Yeah.

Summit Attendee 2: And obviously, David as well. That was good. And because I liked the perks.

Killian Vigna: Yes, yes. [crosstalk 00:20:52]. All opened up for that one.

Summit Attendee 2: Yeah, I really liked his ideas.

Summit Attendee 1: I like the ideas because it’s thinking outside the box, and it’s actually putting an item or, for instance, a holiday, I mean, what a great visual, sort of a picture, for someone to actually come and join you.

Summit Attendee 2: And keeping the team happy, that is…

Summit Attendee 1: Yeah. I suppose it’s a balance, though, because obviously, you want people that are working with you to be able to get those things as well. You don’t want to be upsetting those people.

Summit Attendee 2: Yeah, just the ones who want [crosstalk 00:21:30].

Summit Attendee 1:  If you would drive them to do better.

Summit Attendee 2: Yes.

Summit Attendee 1: And they can get [inaudible 00:21:35].

Killian Vigna: There you go, competition.

Summit Attendee 1:  Yes, I like it. Don’t I?

Killian Vigna: It’s healthy. That’s excellent, lovely, thanks very much, guys.

Summit Attendees 1 & 2: Thank you.

Killian Vigna: I hope you enjoy the rest of the night as well.

Summit Attendee 1: We will need a drink. Thanks!

Killian Vigna: So we have Johnny S. from over in the UK, I’m guessing?

Johnny S.: Yep.

Killian Vigna: Very good, and this is your first year at Phorest’s Summit?

Johnny S.: My first year here, yeah.

Killian Vigna: And how did you find it?

Johnny S.: I loved it. I thought it was really good, I thought it was really good fun. I thought it covered all the difficulties that salon owners and staff are finding in the industry at the moment. So it’s really refreshing, I felt like I got something out of everything.

Killian Vigna: And was there anyone you were looking forward to most when you first looked at the agenda, or you just came with an open mind?

Johnny S.: I was just coming with an open mind, to be honest. So one of my favourite subjects is personality testing, and it’s something that we’re doing in the salon, so it was really nice.

Killian Vigna: DiSC?

Johnny S.: Yes, with Mel. So I loved Mel, thought she was mega. But I loved Heather earlier, so she had a really good impact. I liked all of that. So that will change the way that I start my day now. ‘Cause we do a huddle at the moment, but I will definitely put some stuff into practice that she suggested.

Killian Vigna: Great stuff, and you reckon you’ll be back again next year?

Johnny S.: Yeah, 100%.

Killian Vigna: And you’ll be bringing your team as well?

Johnny S.: Yeah, of course. Yeah.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: How’d you guys enjoy it at all?

Summit Attendee 3: Yeah, it’s been really good.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And same kind of feedback, or did you get like, did you get the same kind of feedback, or…

Summit Attendee 4: Yeah, pretty much. We really enjoyed the same things. We do a lot of the personality training, and like she said, similar to what we do, but I think it would be really good for everyone to have a goal. It’s made me think more about where I want to be, and I’ll set myself a goal now at the beginning of the week.

Killian Vigna: So how did you find it? Did you feel like it was overly aimed at salon owners, or did you feel you got a full bit out of it yourself? Because we’ve noticed more and more salon owners are bringing their team with them to these events.

Summit Attendee 4: No, I think it was really good. So I do a bit of management anyway, but for me, it’s made me think that I can step in a bit more, [inaudible 00:23:34] a little bit like I’m here, but I don’t like to make a decision, such. I think seeing all the different looks and things is definitely gonna help.

Summit Attendee 3: I think these things, these little weekends and times away, and these were what shaped my career when I was a manager, and I worked for somebody else. And you definitely grow, and it’s interesting, even when they said: “Who’s a team leader or a manager?” And the girls didn’t put up their hand, and I was like “You are leaders. You are both leaders, and you’re in power.” And I think it’s about, you know, they’ve already got the answers. This is just like slightly enhanced education, opens your world up. And it gives them the confidence to go back and present that to the rest of the team.

Killian Vigna: But I mean, this is what we want, the whole millennial age, where everyone wants to know that they’re going somewhere with their career and the recognition. So, but you’re bringing your team to these events and offering them further education, that really shows that you’re investing in their careers as well.

Summit Attendee 3: Yeah, that’s the only way that you can grow, is by doing that. But they love the [inaudible 00:24:34] as well, so that helps.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Who wouldn’t, in fairness?

Summit Attendee 3: Yeah.

Killian Vigna: Speaking of which, so you’re going straight to the pub?

Summit Attendee 3: Yeah, we are. Yeah, yeah.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: All right. Well, we’ll see you there.

Killian Vigna: Thanks very much.

Summit Attendee 3 & 4: Thanks, guys.

CEO Ronan Perceval discusses his main takeaways [24:48]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So here we are back in the green room, Killian and myself, and we’re joined by Ronan. Ronan, you just had-

Ronan Perceval: Hi, guys.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Your closing remarks there on stage. How are you feeling?

Ronan Perceval: Well, I’m buzzed up, but I’m also exhausted, ’cause that was the most jam-packed… I don’t know how we managed to get so many people into one day. We jammed a lot of information for people in that, but it was all really good. There’s at least one very good insight from every single speaker, I thought.

Killian Vigna: And this was the first year that we’ve… so this is actually the most speakers we’ve had this year, and still had [crosstalk 00:25:24].

Ronan Perceval: Easily, easily. Yeah, we definitely had last year, at least one speaker less, in terms of all the speakers.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, I think it was three speakers, and then we had four or five of them this year?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Five, five this year.

Ronan Perceval: Five speakers, plus workshops.

Killian Vigna: Yeah.

Ronan Perceval: Exactly, yeah. So eight people in total. So they got to see eight sessions, which is amazing. And there’s lots of great feedback about a lot of them. Yeah, and I was delighted with how it went. We had our biggest crowd, obviously, over 500 people. The venue was brilliant, you know. It’s been great, and tonight we’ve got to go on after this.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And the Convention Center’s still light up in purple.

Ronan Perceval: Exactly, yeah.

Killian Vigna: And it will be for…

Ronan Perceval: Which I can kind of see in the buildings on the other side of the room.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, so there’s gonna be a bit of a [inaudible 00:26:07], because we actually had that picture from last year in the office, and it’s like right as you walk in.

Ronan Perceval: That’s never going to go away. It’s amazing.

Killian Vigna: No, yeah, never.

Ronan Perceval: Never.

Killian Vigna: So any takeaways? What have you walked away from here today now with that’s really sticking with you?

Ronan Perceval: Well, there’s some stuff that I take away personally, and then there would be stuff that I think salon owners would take away. I mean, if we just go through the day, with Jo Fairley, founder of Green and Black’s. But I think there’s a lot of nuggets in there, but the thing that really jumped out was this idea of, if you give stuff away for free, you’ll get that back 1,000% . And I think, often salon owners and any small business owners are afraid to do that. And what she’s saying is basically, offer free treatments or services to all the journalists, local journalists, local radio stations, whatever, in wherever you’re from. And get them in and just get them experiencing your best staff, your best therapies, best stylists, and you’ll get that back 1,000%. And anyone can do that. Doesn’t matter how big a salon you are, you can do that. So that was a good idea.

Killian Vigna: So it’s not just giving free for the sake of giving free, it’s picking your people. So this was coming on the back of like, how do you advertise, how do you market? With no, budget, wasn’t it?

Ronan Perceval: Yeah.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Ronan Perceval: She gave away chocolate, obviously, and that was an easy one, and people were like “How do you… you gave away chocolate, but how do we do that?” But she has her own nine-room health and wellness center, so she is a salon owner too. Do you know what I mean? And so she was like “Well, giving away the treatments.” Just send them a letter, put some chocolate in it, doesn’t have to be your own chocolate, but they’ll eat the chocolate, and then it says, you know, come for a free treatment down in the spa. They’re gonna come down. Do you know what I mean? So yeah, it’s easy.

Killian Vigna: And she was a journalist and editor for the first three years of Green and Black’s, so she knows how journalists work.

Ronan Perceval: I know for a fact that less than 10% of the salon owners in that room were doing that. And they can all do it. You know what I mean, so that’s a big… I think that alone, if you went away with that and tried that, salons are gonna grow their business off the back of that.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And what did you think about Ryan Holiday’s?

Ronan Perceval: Yeah, as I was saying, intro-ing Ryan, I’ve been reading his stuff for a while, and I’ve been journaling every day. So it was more a kind of philosophical, I suppose, session, but the theme was Power Up, so it was all about what can you do, work on yourself. And I think his one was probably the most spot-on for that, in relation to the theme. And the big thing I love about Ryan is; basically, he’s like “Enjoy the obstacles,” the things that most people go “Oh, no, that’s happened.” Or the disasters that happen to everybody, that you actually just need to enjoy those. They are actually the reason you are successful, or you will be successful, or your life is interesting. When you start to go “Oh, that’s why my life is interesting,” your perspective totally changes.  And it’s something that I’ve kind of been working on for a while. And I’m not saying I’m good at it, but it does work. It really works, you know? So…

Killian Vigna: Absolutely, loved that talk. His whole thing was like, being an entrepreneur, being a businessperson, is hard. You’re going to meet obstacles.

Ronan Perceval: Yeah, he’s not trying to lie to you, like it’s easy. Or you know, this idea if you just close your eyes, imagine it, or all that kind of stuff. He really… and it’s hard, but actually, not just hard, enjoy the hardness. Do you know what I mean, I think that’s a huge lesson, actually.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, I loved when you said what are the things that other people aren’t willing to do? And go and do that, because often you’ll actually find something down the way that is going to help you and become a huge advantage, potentially.

Ronan Perceval: Yeah, if it’s hard to do, I don’t know if you remember Connor’s thing?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yes, yes.

Ronan Perceval: If it’s hard to do, no one has to do it, but we will.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Building a moat.

Ronan Perceval: Yeah, yeah, exactly, yeah. So we can pretend we’re stoic philosophers. A very philosophical conversation.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, exactly. Then we had lunch, and following from lunch we had Christina Kreitel.

Ronan Perceval: Christina, yeah, so Christina, she was a firebomb. People came back from lunch, and I was like “Oh, it’s always the graveyard slot.” And she just had everybody dancing out of their seats. She was amazing. Her story was great, like what she’s managed to do. The big thing is to be yourself. Really be yourself. People say be yourself, but they’re not. They’re trying to be “What do people want me to be?” or whatever. And she’s literally just being herself. And the more herself she is, the better her business does. What sort of really top salon charging 300 quid a service is like a Harry Potter fan, and has a Harry Potter toilet? You know, like decked out with all the gear and the music and the Harry Potter… she’s got this amazing business built off the back of that, by being completely whatever. She is herself. I think it’s brilliant. And I think everyone has weird little quirks, and they kind of suppress them down. And I think… so everyone in that room has those things, whatever they are, just let them out and you will attract the right people for you, like the right customers for you. I love that.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And it’s coming back more and more, we’ve seen that notion of attracting and finding your ideal client. It’s just been on the lips of everyone recently, I feel.

Ronan Perceval: Yeah, yeah. What I really took away from it was, regret nothing. She says if you’re gonna put something out there, make sure you believe in that, or you’re never, ever going to regret it because it came back to you, like negative comments on her social media and stuff like that. She says “My following is so pure” that she doesn’t have to say anything. She just, as she says, “Let my minions work away.” So her minions will defend her.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Whenever she gets… yeah.

Killian Vigna: It’s kind of stoical in a way, she’s like, use it to her advantage. I love that like she gets a bad comment, yes, she’s like “Brilliant, that means I’m gonna get more engagement.” And that’s stoicism right there, yeah. So love that.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And off the back of that, then, we had Albie X Cortes jumping onto the stage, and talking about a whole new concept that’s probably very new to the UK, or at least this side of the…

Ronan Perceval: Yeah, it’s ahead of the curve. We wanted to kind of bring something that is definitely… not everything in the US is ahead of Europe. Europe can be ahead of the US in a lot of things in our industry, but in this particular area, in terms of e-commerce and people buying products online, it’s a lot ahead. It’s a much bigger percentage of the US retail industry, generally, is online than over here. But we’re catching up fast, so I think what he did was he was able to show, give people a window into what’s happening. It’s a bit of a bloodbath in the last five years, retail in salons is dying a death, like rapidly. It’s something that… and people are scared out of their minds, and they’re kind of getting out of the industry, you know what I mean, and then there’s people like this guy, Victor Valverde, who’s just embraced it and just gone for it. And he’s doing like twice as much money now than he ever did before.

So again, it kind of goes back to the stoical thing again. Use the challenge to your advantage. This is the challenge, so embrace it, and actually, you’ll suddenly find that maybe you’ve got an even better business than you had before. I think the big thing, anyway, like that’s one brilliant story, but basically, everyone in the industry needs to start doing e-commerce. I think it was like 10 people or 15 people in the room out of 500 put their hand up when he said: “Who’s doing e-commerce?” Everyone needs to be doing e-commerce. And he had a prediction that 50% of you will be doing it next year. I think we need to make sure that that is at least that. Something that, on this podcast, man, we need to do.

Killian Vigna: And Victor was his Amazon case study, which was phenomenal, because most people give out about Amazon, like it is destroying the industry, especially for a lot of salons. And I was telling Albie and another salon owner last night about this conversation, and it was really affecting her. She saw it in the last five years. Victor, Amazon, Amazon, and he hit that obstacle, overcame that obstacle, and now it’s working in his favour. It’s amazing.

Ronan Perceval: Yeah, and it’s grown. And there’s no reason, I think there’s no reason why you guys have people in your store, you’re educating them on the products, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to sell those products online to them. It’s not actually that hard to get up and running, but people are just afraid to do it, you know what I mean? And like, I think you have the advantage, you have that personal relationship. All you have to do is provide the ease of use that Amazon provides as well, which you can do. Just start doing it instead of getting scared about it.

Killian Vigna: Like Albie says, it’s like, there is that worry that there are a lot of brands out there that won’t let salons sell their products online. And as he said, “Well, then cut them, yeah, get to the brands that will.”

Ronan Perceval: There is a bunch of brands that are really ahead on it. They’re smaller, and then of the bigger brands, some are more ahead than others. And if your brand isn’t gonna go with you and protect your business in the future, then you gotta seriously question them. And if enough people question them, they will change as well. Yeah, to me that’s the future, that’s the biggest future thing, I think, out of everything today, was what Albie was talking about. So I hope people… like it was quite late in the day, and people, we’d had a lot of, we’d seen seven people at that point, so… but yeah, so hopefully they got that, ’cause I think that’s something we’re gonna be following up with a lot in Phorest.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And then finally, for the last talk of the day, we had David Barnett, who’s been on the show a few times with us already.

Ronan Perceval: Yeah, he’s awesome.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And we did actually speak about this topic on the show with him, becoming the salon where everyone wants to work. What was your, I suppose…

Ronan Perceval: Yeah, it’s funny, ’cause I’ve done Facebook Lives with him on his own thing, on his own website, and all that, and obviously he’s done some great podcasts with you guys. It’s just that idea. He’s told me that idea loads of times, and then you kind of forget about it, ’cause you get sucked in again. But it’s such a simple idea, but such a good idea. And that’s basically…

Killian Vigna: This is the idea of buying us all cars and paying for our holidays, yeah?

Ronan Perceval: Yeah (laughs)!

Killian Vigna: That’s the bit we all took up.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah.

Ronan Perceval: We do have company cars, but if you want to do those jobs…

Killian Vigna: That’s good.

Ronan Perceval: Yeah. No, I love the… basically, the idea is, instead of trying to market your salon to customers, which everyone else is doing, and everyone else is just saying the same thing to the same customers, market yourselves to the people, like to the stylist or the beauty therapist. So if you’re in a town, and you’re like “How do I get the top five skincare therapists working for me?” That’s basically the question to ask yourself. And that’s actually a lot easier to do than go and, “How do I get 1,000 people in the door?” It’s a lot easier to go “I just need five… how do I advertise to those five people?” You can probably ring them up or find them, go to the salons where they work, meet them after work, and just go “Look, I’m gonna give you this, this, this, and this, come work for me.” And you get the top five therapists to come to you, and I can guarantee you within like six months you’ll have the top salon in wherever you are. It’s such an easy idea.

Killian Vigna: [crosstalk 00:37:14] too.

Ronan Perceval: Yeah, yeah. Of course, it’s such an easy idea. And no one’s doing it. I love the idea, it’s amazing.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I feel like you’ve kind of done that with Phorest. I was like, a lot of people today walked up to me and said “You guys seem to have so much fun working together. It seems to be such a great place to be working at Phorest.” And I was like “You know what, it actually is. And wait till you come to the office tomorrow.” But you know, you get the vibe, like…

Killian Vigna: I couldn’t believe this, when we were out in the pub last night, how many clients ran up and hugged me and said “Killian,” all from last year. I couldn’t imagine any other company where that would happen, and it was amazing. You spent a whole night just chatting to salon owners and their teams as well.

Ronan Perceval: Are they all like listeners to the podcast, or are they there for the show?

Killian Vigna: They were big fans of the podcast, actually, ’cause they stayed for Inside Phorest last year. That is how they recognise us; from the content in the podcast. And then we get chatting to them and start inviting them into beta tests for us and stuff. And just relationships built that you just never imagined. You’re just chatting to them nearly daily at this stage.

Ronan Perceval: Yeah, and it… well, it’s a great feeling, I get a great feeling from seeing them hugging you guys. That makes me feel really good. So anyway.

Killian Vigna: Well, this was pretty [crosstalk 00:38:26].

Zoe Belisle-Springer: We’ll try not to get you teary here.

Ronan Perceval: Like honestly, that makes me happier than them hugging me, honestly. I don’t know why, but it does. Yeah, it’s funny. But they… yeah, the other thing, you were saying something there about being a cool place. Well, not a cool place to work, that’s the wrong word, but being like a fun place to work. Or like that you enjoy working. And I remember when we were starting Phorest, like why would you not want it to be a fun place to work? And actually, if you were a hairdresser or you were a beauty therapist, why would you not want to work somewhere fun? You can work in a bunch of places, right? Why not work somewhere where… like going back to Christina Kreitel, somewhere… if you’re into kind of some of the stuff she’s into, that’s where I want to work. I want to go to the loo every day and listen to Harry Potter music, you know what I mean? That’s, no wonder no one leaves working for her. You know what I mean? She’s gonna attract the people who like that. We’re not gonna get that anywhere else, why would they?

So yeah, that, if you’re gonna work every day in a business for 40 hours a week for 30 years, it’s gotta be enjoyable to work there. Otherwise…

Killian Vigna: Like the people you work with, you see them more than your family or your friends. So they better be people you’re gonna get on with. And we’ve talked on the show about finding your ideal client. It’s the very same for recruitment, it’s finding your ideal person that you’re going to want to spend 40 hours a week with.

Ronan Perceval: Actually, I think you can… this is a bit like last year, though. You can kind of take some of these and build on each other. It’s like take your David saying about attracting those right people, and then you, but attract them that they like you, the way Christina does that. Do you know what I mean? And you kind of build on that. And then use the fact that you’re having things bad happen to you, and turn those to your advantage, you know. This kind of theme is running through all these guys, even though they’re coming from different perspectives. But yeah, it was really good. And David was great at the end, ’cause long day, he was the eighth person on.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: He got everyone…

Ronan Perceval: And he got up, and he got everyone jumping up and down.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, bouncing up and down, breathing, yeah.

Ronan Perceval: Really good, he was great, yeah.

Killian Vigna: A lot of fun clients there as well. He had that connection with them, and he met the people that went up to him at the end of it.

Ronan Perceval: Yeah, he’s fantastic. Yeah, so no, it was great, and we’re looking forward to the after-party. I think we’re bussing a lot more people this time, aren’t we?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I think so, yeah. I think they might have already left, actually. We’re probably the only ones left here.

Killian Vigna: [crosstalk 00:40:47].

Ronan Perceval: [crosstalk 00:40:56].

Killian Vigna: [crosstalk] I’ve got an Acorn water bottle, so I may as well. So moving on, then, any thoughts about next year already?

Ronan Perceval: I think we want to try… yeah, we probably want to try some different things next year. I think what’s happened has been great, but this is like the culmination of five years doing the same thing, but better and better and better each time. So I think you have to freshen up every five, six years. You gotta freshen it up, even if it’s working really well. Freshen it up before it goes stale, right? You know, we could keep doing this for a few more years, and people would love it, I’m sure. And I think we’d love it, but yeah, I think we want to try something a little different next year.

Killian Vigna: Can’t wait to see what Sinead and the guys pull out of the bag. Because she’s doing a phenomenal job. She and Alex and Aaron, and yeah. So yeah, next year it’s definitely gonna be changes.

Ronan Perceval: Yeah, I think Sinead got the biggest clap of the whole night. So fair play, she deserved it.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, absolutely.

Ronan Perceval: Yep.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Right, should we head over to the after-party, then? Yeah?

Killian Vigna: Let’s do it.

Reflections & final words [41:58]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Well, thank you so much, Ronan. It’s been an amazing time today. Myself, I personally really enjoyed being able to sit down at the talks, and you can look forward to a blog post on each of those talks. If you listen to Phorest FM, be coming out this week, and other than that, we have a few other interviews with some of the speakers that you didn’t hear on Phorest FM today. We’re actually gonna get them on a full episode at a later stage in the coming months. So thank you so much for being with all of us today, and we’ll catch you at the live recording at Inside Phorest.

Killian Vigna: All the best. Thank you, guys.

Related links

Jo Fairley On Building A Beautiful Business: Top Insights

Ryan Holiday On Stoïcism & Working Through Obstacles: Top Insights

Christina Kreitel On Building A ‘Personal’ Brand: Top Insights

Albie X Cortes On The Future Of Retail In Salons: Top Insights

David Barnett On Salon Culture & Recruitment: Top Insights

Heather Yurko: Building A Great Salon Team Of Elite Performers

Melanie Icke: ‘Getting To Know You’ Workshop, Using The DiSC Method

Steve Gomez: Interdependent Leadership To Improve Team Culture & Profits

Salon Owners Summit Website


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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