Phorest FM Episode 131: August Monthly Round-Up

Did you miss an episode this month? Catch up on everything that's happened in August with Killian and Zoe's round-up. On the agenda: new Phorest FM transcripts, Phorest Academy's full rollout to US-based clients, upcoming webinars and events you can join as well as snippets from previous interviews with Ashley Toliver-Williams, Tamara Shaw and Seán O'Sullivan.


Killian Vigna: Welcome to the Phorest FM podcast, episode 131. I’m Killian Vigna.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And I’m Zoe Belisle-Springer. It’s that time of the month again where you can catch up on anything you’ve missed recently. We’ll be discussing some of the latest Phorest FM episodes, product updates, webinars, events coming up soon and everything else in between.

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. End of August. This is mad and loads of new stuff coming up.

Killian Vigna: Oh, stop. End of August. I was just putting in my holidays because I’m only starting to take holidays now… And I’ve realized that I’ve got so much time off for holidays in between that it’s going to be Christmas in no time.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Look at you. You’ll be off. I won’t see you for the Phorest FM podcast in months.

Killian Vigna: Yeah. I’m going to be gone for ages sporadically. But yeah, I think less about that because I’m going through our doc here and we have a lot to talk about today.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: We do!

Introducing the Phorest FM new website section and transcripts

Killian Vigna: I know you’re itching to talk about one thing in particular so will we go for it?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, sure. I don’t know if you guys noticed, but got a whole new rebrand. So, the website looks stunning. And with this-

Killian Vigna: It looks amazing, yeah.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: … now officially comes our Phorest FM transcripts, which I’ve been working on for ages at this stage. So, we’ve had a version of these before, but this time around, you can navigate them in a much easier way. You can see timecodes and sectioned-off parts of the transcript. So, if you’re looking for something in particular in the episode, you don’t have to go through 10,000 words (that’s about what 40 minutes of an episode is). It’s really great. It now also has a dedicated section on the website.

It also allows you guys to subscribe to our new Phorest podcast newsletter. So, you know the way that you’d have the Phorest blog newsletter, you’d have this one now for the podcast, which will in time include additional downloadable content and also anything related to the Phorest blog podcast as well. So, to check this all out, you can head over to Really excited about this. If you have any feedback also, just let us know as always.

Killian Vigna: As always, just like the end of the show.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yes.

Phorest Academy’s rollout to the United States

Killian Vigna: Okay. And then to go from one announcement there, people are probably familiar with the end of the show where we talk about kind of upcoming webinars, events, new launches. You’ve probably heard of Phorest Academy a few times. Well, I’m delighted to announce now that the education department has finally rolled Phorest Academy out to all of our clients in the United States. So, this one-stop education shop that we’re always talking about, the online self-taught training courses, it’s all live for everyone in the U.S. So, it’s accessible through emails you would have received over the last week or two.

It’s only available to our U.S. clients at the moment. The reason being is because we’re working on localizing the content. So, I’ve got a list of courses that we will announce at the end of this episode of all the courses you can expect there. But we’re working on localizing those for the rest of our regions, so clients in Germany, Australia, Ireland, the U.K., things like those. And it’s a much bigger client base. So, you can expect to see that full rollout over the next few months. So, yeah, that’s all there.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Listen, patience is a virtue is what they say.

Killian Vigna: I could probably sit here and talk about it forever, but I think I’m going to park the bus and move on. But just before I do, if you aren’t a U.S. client and are interested in getting access to Phorest Academy, just email us at, and we’ll get an account set up for you so you can get exclusive, sneak-peek access.

Salon memberships rollout in the United States

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So, that’s really exciting. And as usual, our monthly roundup includes a section on our product updates. And last month, we had Enda Glacken from the product team talking about branded apps, the salon-branded apps, that we’re rolling out anytime soon at this stage. This month, we are talking about salon memberships.

Killian Vigna: Yeah. Salon memberships. So, this is a new feature that we’ve released. And for anyone aware of our tagline here at Phorest, it’s essentially our mission to help you get your clients back more often, spending more and generating referrals. Well, what better way to do this than now enabling memberships in Phorest? Because think about it, a successful membership program is designed to help your business scale, all the while strengthening the relationship between you and your client. Essentially, to put it bluntly, basically, it’s helping you retain your clients by creating membership packages.

If we bring it back to a gym, think of a gym. I pay my gym X amount of money every single month. And I go in avail of the class, the equipment, stuff like that, but the bill is monthly-recurring.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. And memberships help retain clients. You’re not going to cheat on your gym if you have a membership. You’re not going to cheat on your salon if you have a membership, right?

Killian Vigna: I love that, yeah. Because it’s so true, I’m already paying my gym a monthly membership, so I’m not going to go to another gym down the road and spend the same amount or possibly more money. I would have to go through the hassle of cancelling my membership, which everyone knows does not happen. You end up paying for something for years and probably not availing of it. But it’s different in the salons.

This is something that has been requested of us a lot. The idea here is that you can create a membership with a benefit of the subscription. So, say your membership is worth $99 a month. We call that the bronze subscription or the bronze plan. I go in; I pay $99. That means then I could have a value of benefits say up to $149. So, even though the memberships only cost me $99 a month, I can avail of services or treatments up to 149.

But on top of that then, I can also receive optional service discounts. So, if I use up my full value of benefit, which we’re saying is $149, I can receive a discount on other services then that are included in that package. And I can also receive discounts on products as well. So, you’re not just kind of paying the 99 and having the value of the 149. There are other features and other benefits to incorporate memberships.And this works perfectly or goes really… what is it? Hand in hand with the Phorest Pay device. Now, both of these features are only available in the U.S. at the moment. But what the Phorest Pay device does is it allows salon owners to store their client’s credit cards on the system, obviously with their permission. They have to present their card to be able to store their details. But one thing we’re noticing is you know the way less and less people carry cash?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Oh my God, I never have cash.

Killian Vigna: Yeah.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Never, ever.

Killian Vigna: Now, less and less people are even carrying their cards around because they have them on your phone or you don’t think of your purse, or you don’t think of your wallet. You’re running out the door. So, with the salon having those billing details or the credit card details already saved on their system, I can now go in and redeem services or treatments and not have to present my card. They’ll automatically bill.

And the reason that works perfectly with memberships is that your recurring billing is now automated. So, by having Phorest Pay and storing my card details, now my bill will roll over each month, and I don’t have to come in and pay monthly.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And even more than that, if you look at the self-care aspect of it… Everybody’s talking about self-care and mental health and taking the time to take care of your mind, your body, your soul, everything, right?

Killian Vigna: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Memberships allow you to do that as a client. You go in, and you can treat yourself without thinking, “Right, well, I don’t know about this month, if I have the budget for it.” If you have that membership, clearly you have the budget for it because you’re paying for it every month. So, therefore you’re just availing of this time to relax and take care of yourself and be pampered and feel good when you come out.

Killian Vigna: Absolutely. And to come at it from another angle, you can now budget and say, “Right, that’s $100 every month coming out of my account.” Now, I’m not sitting there trying to work out, “Right, I have to get my hair done, I have to get my nails done, I have to get my lashes done.” And you’re trying to calculate all these expenses that you have and each month that’s going to fluctuate. So, it could cost you more this month on treatments and less the next month.

With the hundred dollars a month, you can essentially count that as being gone from your budget. So now, you can budget better. But from the salon owner’s perspective, people who use memberships spend more money in the salon because, as we said at the start, you’ve got your $99 is what it costs you. You can avail up to 149. But because I’m not going in and physically paying for my services or products, I think I have more money and knowing like I’m not going to leave the salon… It’s the upsell. I’m not going to leave that salon having not paid for anything. So, I’ll probably buy a bottle of shampoo, or I’ll probably buy some small products here and there. But knowing I have discounts on those additional products and services, they’re going to seem like even cheaper alternatives again for me. So-

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. It’s a value-add.

Killian Vigna: It’s kind of a win-win. It’s great for your client’s perspective. But from a business point of view, knowing that you have X amount of money coming through your doors on the first day of the month, now you can genuinely forecast how much you’re going to receive that month.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: It’s funny, you say that. We’re going to talk about this later on in the show, but at the Salon Owners Summit 2020, we are going to have a workshop on salon memberships hosted by Phil Jackson, and that’s precisely what it’s titled, “Ditch the First-of-the-Month Anxiety.”

Killian Vigna: That’s perfect. Me and Phil, we’re just in sync. For you, as clients there, that do want to find out more or want to start using that, there’s a course on Phorest Pay, and there’s a course on Phorest Memberships available in Phorest Academy. So, search your emails for Phorest Academy or email to get set up with those courses. But once you log in, they’ll all be there. Again, we’ll give you a run-down of what the courses are at the end of this show. But I think it’s probably time to move on to the next stage though, is it?

Throwback to some of the latest Phorest FM episodes

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. So, the past Phorest FM episodes that we’ve had this month, it started with The Salon Owners Summit Roadshow. On this episode, we had Sinead Carroll from the PR and events team. And we also had Ashley Toliver-Williams, who is a salon owner, co-founder of Fuse Republic and Eufora International business team chairman. She’s also a speaker at the Salon Owners Summit Roadshow — its second instalment. We’re really excited.

This episode was discussing the details around this instalment. It’s taking place in Philadelphia. We’ll be talking about this in the show later. But we also had Ashley to talk about her topic, which was “Go For Broke: How to Eradicate Average, Set Your Team on Fire and Hit Industry-Defined Targets.” So, she had some really interesting stuff to say. We’re going to play a few snippets here, not around the details, more about Ashley’s topic. And we’ll get back to you with the details around the Roadshow towards the end of this episode.

Ashley Toliver-Williams: What we find across this industry is that there are so many people who are good with good. They’re good in this sort of stalemate place. And a lot of times, we don’t even realize that we’re in a stalemate place. We just are where we are. Go for broke is about going all-in because really, at the end of the day, the option of going broke in this industry is such a big, great reality, with 7 out of 10 businesses operating unprofitably anyway. If we just stay in that space of good, we’re at high, high risk of not being good anyway.

You constantly have to be in a mindset to move forward and make something bigger happen for yourself even if you don’t necessarily know how to do it yet. So, the biggest thing that I hope people take away is the responsibility, the commitment and the opportunity that’s available for them in this industry if they start looking at themselves in a different way because we’re always waiting for someone else to see us differently. But the first thing that we got to do is see ourselves differently.

Killian Vigna: The episode after that then was episode 129 with Tamara Shaw, who is Beaute Industry’s founding director and community creator on the “7 Steps of Highly Effective Salon and Spa Customer Journeys”. This is interesting because not only was it a list but I think what I found hard to believe is just how many steps are involved before you even getting a treatment. And yet, listening to Tamara, every single one of them is essential. Couldn’t agree with her any more. There’s not a single step there that you would leave out. The actual treatment itself is only step five, which I just found so hard to believe, but yeah, I mean, look, listen. Here’s Tamara on one of those steps as well.

Tamara Shaw: The diagnosis is where you, as a therapist, get to use all of your time that you have studied and show off a little bit to your client and show them “this is what I’ve discovered during the cleanse. And now, based on what you’ve told me in the consultation, it makes so much sense that ABC is your concern.” Then here is the little magic moment where we actually talk about the product recommendation, without mentioning names or prices because that’s too salesy in our nice, fluffy self-treatment rooms. And we also mention that we’re not Harry Potter with a magic wand, fixing their skin or their hair in one treatment. We’re actually going to need to get them on a treatment plan. And then we be quiet.

Sometimes, in the consultation, we give away too much information. And it’s intangible to the client because we haven’t touched the skin, we haven’t seen the skin or the hair without anything on it. So, when you do it after the cleanse, it just gives more reality to the recommendation.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And then coming in with our last episode of the month in August, well before the monthly roundup obviously, was episode 130. And we were talking about staff targets with Seán O’Sullivan from your very team actually, the education team in Phorest.

Killian Vigna: Yeah. He’s the education manager here. And I mean, look, who doesn’t love a good staff target, right?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah.

Killian Vigna: It’s something we deal with a lot in Phorest. I have targets. You have targets. It’s kind of the driving force behind any successful business, any successful team. If you don’t have targets, what is your motive? What’s your day-to-day motivation in your job?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And Sean was saying on the episode how if you don’t have targets in your business, those are the teams that tend to be way less motivated over time.

Killian Vigna: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And one thing I enjoyed was… I assumed that he would have turned around and said: “Commission is a big driving force behind motivating your team to achieve their targets or excel in their targets, or even actually if you have A-player staff… If you’ve A-player staff, what encourages them to help the C-player staff, so the underperformers?” And it didn’t come down to cash rewards.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: No, it didn’t. It was all experience, yeah.

Killian Vigna: I was so surprised at that.

Seán O’Sullivan: As a business owner or business manager, I want my staff to be performing to targets because it makes it more profitable; it makes the business flow better. So, to keep it very, very simple if you’re paying someone $10 an hour, you want them to be getting at least $40 an hour in revenue so that you know they’re making money for you. And why it would be four times whatever they’re earning? It’s so you have a quarter of that is going towards your wages; a quarter of that is going towards your cost of goods; a quarter of that is your overheads, and the last quarter then is for anything miscellaneous, and so you have profit for yourself.

What type of rewards you give does depend a lot on culture. I think it’s much better to give experiences as an award for targets. So, if you give someone money, the likelihood of them remembering what they’ve done with that money is quite small. If you’re giving them the chance to go to a restaurant with their loved one or a friend or go to the cinema or the theatre, whatever it might be, they’ll have good memories of that experience, and they’re going to tie that back into work. So, it’s creating positive experiences tied to your workplace, which I think is far more powerful than giving someone just money as a reward.

Inside Phorest: reflections, upcoming events & final words

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So, we’re already at the Inside Phorest segment part of the show. We have quite a few things to cover in here too so bear with us. First, coming up: events. We have The Salon Owners Summit Roadshow like we were saying just earlier today. It’s coming up real fast, on October 21st. In about… that’s what? Like two months away?

The aim of it is really simple. We’re out to host an event with education, networking and festivities that brings salon owners and managers together with the greatest minds of the industry. The Roadshow stems from The Salon Owners summit flagship event in Dublin, which is in its sixth year now already. The Roadshow, we’re only at our second instalment. And this is taking place in the U.S. — this time around in October, in Philadelphia. So, what you’re in for is a full day of business, brand and personal growth in the stunning surrounds of The Lucy on Broad Street.

We’ve been talking about it on social media quite a bit recently because there’s only one week left to avail of the early bird code. This will allow you to get 15% off your ticket price, but you have to buy your ticket before August 31st. So, you have about a week left. What you’re in for is a full day of business, brand and personal growth in the stunning surrounds of The Lucy on Broad Street. If you’ve been following us on social media, you’ll probably be aware of the lineup already. So, we have Ashley Toliver-Williams, like we were mentioning earlier, with Go For Broke as a topic; Olivia Smalley — her topic is all about social media; then we have Jay Williams on value-based leadership; Rachel Ringwood, who we’ve had on the show not too long ago actually, and she’ll be talking about safeguarding your passion, so all about that mental, physical, spiritual health; and then finally, we have Josh Hafetz. He’ll be talking about The Science of Motivation: What to Do When You are Running Out Carrots.
And on the topic of Salon Owners Summit, we also have the flagship event in Dublin, which you can also request a callback for early bird tickets. There are loads to do around it, including a full day of tech, our Inside Phorest day. So, currently announced, we have Stephanie Fox Jackson as a main stage speaker and Phil Jackson as a workshop presenter. Stephanie will be tackling the generation gap and salon teamwork, while Phil will be deep-diving into salon memberships like I was mentioning just earlier. It’s a theme today.

Killian Vigna: Absolutely. And now, moving onto the topic of webinars. You probably noticed we’ve broken up this a little bit here, kind of the second half Inside Phorest segment because sometimes it feels like Zoe’s going to pass out with the amount that she has to talk about at the end. We’re just going to let her take a sip of water.

At the moment, I’m going to jump in with the client webinars. So, the first one we have is the Phorest Academy webinar, Top Five Challenges. Essentially, moving to a new system usually involves change. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. But you need to ask yourself why did you want to swap software in the first place? It comes to change management. When you move to any system, there’s going to be stuff that doesn’t work just like your last system or you might have to change your business processes around a little bit. Essentially, change is good, but there’s no denying it can be overwhelming when a lot is happening too soon, which is the purpose of this webinar. By the end of the Top Five Challenges webinar, you’ll overcome common challenges that salon owners can experience when moving to Phorest.

This webinar is for U.S. salons who signed up to Phorest in 2019. Now, the reason for this is because there are going to be plenty more of these webinars taking place. We’re just going to do it region-by-region for now and keep the groups nice and small so that they can be focused because it’s kind of like a Q&A session. But we do have the Top Five Challenges, as we said. So, this webinar takes place on Wednesday the 28th at 12:30 PM EST or 9:30 AM PST. Anyone able to attend that webinar will have received an email already last week, and there’ll be a link in there to sign up. If not, check your emails. It’ll be from Helen Devenney at Phorest as well.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And then another webinar that we have, this time open to both clients and non-clients, is David Barnett’s World-Class Three-Step Salon Retail Technique. If you’ve taken part in #SalonRetailWeek, you’ll have heard of this technique before — same if you’ve had listened to episode 52 of this podcast. David Barnett, of the High Performance Stylist, actually said on that episode, “95% of clients coming through the door would much, much rather buy from a professional who’s given them great advice on exactly what they use and why they’re using it and when to use it.” And if you have that conversation, they’re going to buy from you every single time.

If you’re interested, the link to sign up, as usual, can be found in this episode’s notes. It’s free, it’s an hour-long, and you’re going to come out mind-blown. I remember being on that episode and just thinking, “Wow, we need to do so much more around this. This is amazing. Everybody needs to know this.”

Killian Vigna: And now, moving onto the Phorest Academy courses. I know what you’re thinking. You’ve been waiting for this for ages. I’ve talked about it for the end of episodes for weeks now, and I’ve talked about it at the start of this episode, and you’re probably screaming, “What are the courses, Killian?” We’ve seven courses. We have Getting Started With Phorest series. So, that’s like your introduction course. We’ve Complete Products and Inventory series. We’ve got the Phorest Pay Device course; the Phorest Go App series; the Grow Your Business series; Phorest TreatCard course; and a Phorest Memberships course.

Now, you’re probably wondering why I’m saying “series” at the end of those because we know that not everyone in the salon will need to know A to Z of Phorest system. Some people will only use it for booking in clients, checking them out, paying through a client. Other people may only do the end of day cash up. Essentially, what I’m getting at here is there are only some parts of courses that each of your staff members will be required to do. So, not everyone needs to sit down and do a full hour-long course.

If I was to give you the example of the Get Started With Phorest series, that has seven micro-courses in it. You’ve got the Landscape of the Screen. You’ve got Booking Appointments, Editing Appointment, Processing Payments, and so on. I’m not going to go through the whole list because I think maybe check out Phorest Academy and see from there. But each of those bite-sized courses is only about five minutes in length. So, you can go in, say you want to know how to manage your salon’s inventory. You’ll jump into the Products and Inventory Series, and you’ll do the five-minute Manage Your Salon’s Inventory course, or you could do the Inventory Count on Phorest Go course. It’s a lot of stuff like that. Then we have the Phorest Pay, which is a little bit longer, Phorest TreatCards and Phorest Memberships, that went live about two, three weeks ago. And then the most recent one is the brand new Phorest salon branded app. And we have a course sitting in your Phorest Academy for you to go and check out there now.

Bear in mind, while this is available to all of our U.S. clients at the moment, if you are interested in signing up to the Phorest Academy and you want that sneak peek, email and we can get your salon, and your team set up on this so you can check out the content too.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And finally, the last bit before we wrap up the show today: the Salon Mentorship Hub. As usual, you know this already, it’s a place to connect. So, whatever you’re struggling within the salon, from customer service to social media, to finance, whatever it is, we have teamed up with industry coaches and consultants. So, if you head over to and you want someone to help you see your challenge from a different perspective, you can book yourself in for a free 15 to 30-minute consultation on a topic of your choosing. It’s free. You don’t need to be a Phorest client to avail with this opportunity. You don’t even need to have software. We’re really just trying to help you out and help you grow your business.

And 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, send us an email at or leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. 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

Watch back David Barnett’s three-step salon retail technique webinar

Request a callback for tickets to the Salon Owners Summit 2020, the Flagship event in Dublin, Ireland

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