PhorestFM: Live From The Salon Owners Summit 2024 With Nina Tulio

Nina Tulio — industry-leading salon mentor — joins podcast host Alex Bélisle-Springer on the day before her keynote at the Salon Owners Summit 2024, which was all about the highs and lows of her career and the five steps leaders need to take to move from a fearful mindset to a confident mindset.


Nina Tulio

Nina Tulio is an industry-leading salon business mentor, speaker, and educator helping salon owners and stylists around the world grow their businesses while growing themselves. She is also the Business Education Ambassador and TikTok Ambassador with Oligo Professionnel.

With 26 years of experience in the industry, Nina has served in all facets of the business: 20 years as a hairstylist, 8 years as a chain salon executive, and 11 years as a successful commission salon owner. In 2016, she decided to sell her salon to fulfil her dream of creating her own consulting agency. This business was created simply to help owners and stylists grow not only their business but also their confidence. Combining her deep passion and care for people and her love for the industry, Nina has made it her mission to uplift the beauty industry and empower anyone who is a part of it.


Rich Cullen: Thank you very much! Hello everyone again. We’re nearly there. My name is Rich, I am a Product Designer at Phorest or, last night, Chief Conga Line Instructor Guy.

Verna Wall: Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for joining us. My name is Verna, and I work in research. You may recognize this person. This is Paddy Monaghan, our CPO, getting his nose waxed at our Christmas party.

Rich Cullen: Yeah, a big round of applause for Paddy. Also, at this point, I’d like to remind you. If you like anything in the slides, feel free to take your phone out and record anything for social media; totally fine. Yeah, it’s worth spending some time on this, but actually… It’s around about… here, when we think Paddy immediately regretted getting his nostrils waxed in front of the entire team at Phorest.

Live From: The Salon Owners Summit 2024 [01:36]

Alex Bélisle-Springer: Coming to you from Dublin, Ireland, with exclusive PhorestFM Live From… content. I’m Alex Bélisle-Springer, and I want to thank you for tuning in for this bonus episode brought to you by the PhorestFM podcast powered by Phorest Salon Software.

On our Live From… episodes, you can expect coverage from the salon industry events we attend, where business owners like you can network with the best of the best and gain actionable insights. We’ll be sharing attendee vox pops, interviewing industry professionals and coaches, getting to know them better and getting their takes on industry-related topics. Subscribe to the PhorestFM newsletter to know where we’ll be next and when you can expect these bonus episodes. Visit the show notes or to hit that subscribe button.

This time around, we’ll be airing four PhorestFM Live From… bonus episodes with exclusive vox pops and interviews from the Salon Owners Summit 2024, the global event for growth-driven salon owners or, as the Phorest community knows it, how top salon owners start the year off right. The Salon Owners Summit is Phorest’s very own two-day conference, full of education, inspirational speakers, product updates and workshops. Born with the salon owner in mind, it’s been designed to give owners in attendance the tools to tackle the year ahead and offer plenty of networking opportunities.

At the event to talk about leadership and bursting onto the 2024 Salon Owners Summit stage as day two’s first keynote speaker, Nina Tulio got the early morning crowd energized and engaged. A US-based hairstylist and salon owner turned business coach, Nina is passionate about all things leadership and has a wealth of experience in the industry. In this episode, I catch up with her the day before her main stage.

Disclaimer, apologies [03:13]

Alex Bélisle-Springer: Now… Dear PhorestFM listeners, I want to extend our sincere apologies for the audio quality in the following interview segment. Due to unforeseen technical issues combined with the background audio environment from recording this episode directly from the Salon Owners Summit, the audio does not meet our usual standards.

Coming from a sound tech background myself, I understand the importance of clear audio for an enjoyable listening experience, and although I do find it quite ironic that in the segment with Nina, we speak about our struggle with, but intentions to let go of the standards of perfectionism we hold ourselves to, I do sincerely regret the challenge this may pose for you as a listener.

The transcript is available in the show notes if you feel like you need it to follow along, and the interview is approximately 10 minutes long. Please bear with us as we work to improve our Live From… recording setup to ensure this doesn’t happen in future episodes of this kind. Your patience and understanding mean a lot to us, and me particularly. 

So, thank you for your continued support. Sincerely, Alex.

Introducing Nina Tulio [04:11]

Alex Bélisle-Springer: Hi Nina, thank you so much for joining me.

Nina Tulio: I am pumped to be here with you. It’s been years!

Alex Bélisle-Springer: I know, years! I think it was like the start of COVID literally…

Nina Tulio: Four years? Four years.

Alex Bélisle-Springer: Yeah.

Nina Tulio: It’s wild.

Alex Bélisle-Springer: Are you excited about your talk tomorrow?

Nina Tulio: I am beyond excited. I’ve been doing some IGs… Like when I say that I have been counting down the days. I have legit been counting down the days.

Alex Bélisle-Springer: Oh my god, stop!

Nina Tulio: I am so freaking pumped to be here. I’ve been enjoying Dublin.

Alex Bélisle-Springer: It was your first time here, right?

Nina Tulio: First time in Dublin. I’m living my best life here, and I’m not a good traveller. I’m very anxious, I feel like I’m just okay getting on planes… I’m just working through some things. It’s my first time ever in Europe, and I am here for it.

Alex Bélisle-Springer: Amazing.

Nina Tulio: Absolutely here for it, and I’m pumped for tomorrow! I’m starting to get a little belly nerve.

Alex Bélisle-Springer: Well, you’re not alone!

Nina Tulio: Right, you’re going after me! So, we’ll have belly nerves together.

Alex Bélisle-Springer: Exactly, yeah.

Belly nerves and podcasts [05:12]

Alex Bélisle-Springer: Well, speaking of belly nerves, did you have any when you launched your brand-new podcast? How’s that going? You were just telling me about it off-air.

Nina Tulio: Yeah, you know what? I didn’t have any nerves with that. So I already have my podcast with J, “No Stylist Left Behind.” So, I wanted to create a podcast that is my brand, which is “Make That Money.” Everything’s money-driven, price-driven. And I wanted to create these 15-minute bangers, all about money, all about taxes, all about pricing.

And I just get on, and I wasn’t nervous about that, I guess, because it was just stuff that I’ve been talking about and although, wait, no. Before it did launch, like that morning of, or the night before, I was like something crept in. Like.. what if they don’t like it, and I was like, I can’t, I don’t have time for this. Like I can’t put my mind in that space. I just… I speak from truth, and I share what is true to me and what I’m super passionate about in the most authentic way I can, and you know, if it hits, it hits, and people love it, and if it’s not a match for someone, that’s okay too. So I quickly… I got there and I left!

Alex Bélisle-Springer: Nice! Yeah, it’s the worst when you’re like stuck in that anxiety, kind of like, imposter syndrome moment, not a good space to be in. But it happens, and it happens to everyone.

Nina Tulio: Happens to everyone.

Reflecting on standout moments in 2023 [06:42]

Alex Bélisle-Springer: Yeah. So, how have things been with you? With everything you’ve been doing in the past year like any, like standout moments in 2023 for you?

Nina Tulio: Oh my gosh! I mean, well, this is going to be a standout moment for 2024. First of all! Yeah, in 2023, I’ve had so many amazing moments and opportunities. I just feel so blessed and grateful that I’ve had to do what I absolutely love with people that I absolutely love. So I get to travel, spend time with people, watch their faces when they have these aha moments, and they’re like, “That makes sense.” I love watching that. I get to see people have real raw moments when they cry. 

Alex Bélisle-Springer: Yeah.

Nina Tulio: And it feels like they may be struggling a little bit. It’s just incredible. And you know, there’s been so many moments. I mean… I was on tour with Oligo this year. I worked with Oligo Professionnel. So you know, you went on a tour, and those were just some magical moments, just meeting all those people… and Masters of Balayage. Yeah, that was a really kick-ass moment in Nashville, and I was really nervous for that one.

Alex Bélisle-Springer: Yeah, why?

Nina Tulio: You know, Ryan and I are friends.

Alex Bélisle-Springer: Yeah.

Nina Tulio: And just the second year I was back, and you know, with that comes a little pressure. Like, “Oh, they asked me to come back! I’ve got to deliver.” But it was so fun, and the energy was so vibrant, and I just… I’m really, really focusing on being more present. So, I feel like my moments in 2023 are so much more powerful because I was actually present for them. A lot of times for me, it’s like, “Okay, what do I do next, where do I go next, what do I do?” And I think too much in the future, which causes a lot of anxiety. 

Alex Bélisle-Springer: Yeah. 

Nina Tulio: And I’m really focused coming into 2024. I’m going to be super present in the moment as we’re sitting here talking and enjoying every moment, and that’s why I think I’ve been really enjoying my time here in Dublin. 

Alex Bélisle-Springer: Amazing! Amazing, I love that! Well, if I may share… I relate to that so much; I can absolutely live in the future. For me, this year, I was like, you know what, I want to let go of trying to achieve that perfect result. 

Nina Tulio: It’s really hard. I feel like I’m like that, too, like I want everything I do to be right. I don’t know if you can relate, but if something goes wrong or isn’t perfect, I get mad at myself.

Alex Bélisle-Springer: Yes. 

Nina Tulio: And I’m learning to let go of that, too. The message is what matters, and if it’s a little… You know it has a comma where it’s not supposed to be, or you miss a letter; the message still has impact. So I’d love that you brought that up for you. Good for you; I’m gonna keep that in my back pocket. 

Letting go [09:34]

Alex Bélisle-Springer: Nice (laughs)! So, what are you leaving in 2023, then? What’s an out for you? 

Nina Tulio: You know what, 2023 was a really tough year for me, honestly. 

Alex Bélisle-Springer: Same!

Nina Tulio: For you too? I think a lot of people have had a really tough personal 2023. A lot of family stuff, and more in particular, with my mom. So I have… Listen, I’ve been in therapy. I’ve been gearing up for this. You know what I mean?

So, I want to leave in 2023… You know, we have the people-pleasing behind the chair. Well, there was a lot of people-pleasing with the mom, and I really find… Oh, I’m going to get emotional.

I feel like I — finally — can stand by myself and not worry about what she says (…) because I don’t know in my soul who I am and what my intentions are. And so I’m letting go of all that noise— “This didn’t happen… and you didn’t do… she didn’t call…” I am not there to do anything that’s not pleasing to me. I really have just gone there. I dropped that bag.

That was a heavy thing. I dropped that, and I’m just standing strong on that because I think in our industry, too, we go so far for our clients, families and friends, and it’s just heavy. And you know what, at the end of the day, we are the ones who feel it the strongest, and I am tired of carrying that bag.

Money stories [11:34]

Alex Bélisle-Springer: Amazing! Good for you. I’m really happy for you. And thank you so much for sharing.

Well, listen, I’m curious to hear more about the money story that you were talking about earlier. Right, it’s something that you care a lot about. What is something… What is the main message that you want people to remember as they move through 2024 when it comes to money? 

Nina Tulio: Well, I think the thing with money is, you know… and I come from a space where we didn’t have money. And I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my salon business with it, and it was probably… I would say probably one of the darkest times in my business was when I wound up $90K in debt as a salon owner. And I’m so passionate about it because there is always light at the tunnel’s end.

So, I think my message of why I love talking about money and sharing it —because it’s not comfortable for most people. It’s very comfortable for me because I’m comfortable with myself. I want to share those messages and the mistakes that I’ve made.

I want people to understand that A to Z is never one way; it’s not perfect, and even if you find yourself in a challenging time with money, there’s always a way out of it. It may not fit your timeline. For me, it took me five years to get out of the debt that I created. And I think the one thing that I want people to understand is, if you’re struggling with money, if you’re struggling with finances, if you’re in, down and out —and I’ve been down and out— the first thing that you have to do is take accountability.

When I started to take accountability for the things that I did in my business… Because it was my fault, I couldn’t blame anybody. I made the choices. That’s when things started to change within myself and my business. So I think there’s always light at the end of the tunnel, you know, and those challenging down moments, they’re not forever. They will pass.

You’ve got to be flexible with the timeline.

I would have loved to have recovered from it in a year!

Alex Bélisle-Springer: Yeah, wouldn’t that have been nice!

Nina Tulio: It’s like I’ve been in so much debt, and it also caused a problem with my credit. It took seven years to get out of that. But this was going back to the recession of 2009/2010 when all this happened.

And give yourself a break, some grace. You don’t have to have all the answers. You’re not… We’re not finance managers, we’re not accountants, we’re not CPAs. Ask for help. And please know that you can always reach out to someone like me. You don’t have to do it alone. And you always will find your way. You don’t have to sit in that space too long.

The one thing I like about hairstylists and salon owners is we are resilient. 

Alex Bélisle-Springer: Oh yeah!

Nina Tulio: We are resilient! If COVID taught us anything, it taught us that.

Alex Bélisle-Springer: Yes.

Nina Tulio: I think… Be easy on yourself, too. Just know that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and you got me! You can always reach out to me; I live on Instagram! Please reach out. 

Alex Bélisle-Springer: Amazing (laughs)! Well, speaking of which, do you want to plug your handle for people to reach out?

Nina Tulio: Of course! It’s just my name, so @NinaTulio!

Alex Bélisle-Springer: Perfect, Nina. Thank you so much for catching up with me. It’s been so nice to hang out in person after all this time, and I know we’ll get to do this again soon.

Nina Tulio: Can’t wait!

Alex Bélisle-Springer: Same!

Nina & Alex, simultaneously: Thank you so much! (laughs)

Get your tickets for the next Salon Owners Summit [14:45]

Alex Bélisle-Springer: With change, we get so nervous that we’re going to fail that fear creeps in, Nina Tulio explained on stage. And fear keeps us stuck. If you truly want success, you must have a willingness to shake up what you’re used to. One step in the right direction is to ensure that your goal or the need for change is more important than the fear you may feel. To quote her, “If you don’t put a why behind the goals you’re setting, they don’t mean anything.”

Check out Nina’s solo and co-hosted podcasts with the links provided in the show notes, and head over to the Phorest blog to check out the full write-up on Nina Tulio’s keynote.

If you’re feeling the Salon Owners Summit FOMO and want to make sure you’re in the room to hear insightful talks like hers next year, get your tickets for the next Salon Owners Summit today. And, last but not least, for one last time, hear from our attendees on a few vox pops.

Vox pops from the Salon Owners Summit 2024 [15:38]

Gemma Kilbane: I’m Gemma Caban, and I’m from Hair by Gemma Kilbane, so I work for myself.

Alex Bélisle-Springer: So I’ve been asking everyone a little fun question to lighten the mood and have them, you know, get ready for Bingo Loco. What would you say is your number one party trick?

Gemma Kilbane: Singing musicals!

Alex Bélisle-Springer: Stop, for real?

Gemma Kilbane: Yes!

Alex Bélisle-Springer: We need a specific! Which one? Which is your favourite one?

Gemma Kilbane: It has to be Annie.

Barry Stephens: I’m Barry Stephens. I’m the CEO for the Fellowship for British Hairdressing. My party trick… Can’t dance, won’t dance, leaves early! …I’m going now!

Sylvie McDermott: Hi, I’m Sylvie. I’m COO here at Phorest. My party trick is the fact that I actually never leave the party, but don’t put that on the podcast!

Barry Stephens: Taxi!

Final words and ways to support the podcast [16:37]

Thanks for listening to this bonus Live From… episode brought to you by PhorestFM, powered by Phorest Salon Software. For the links and resources mentioned throughout the episode, visit the show notes or scroll down below, and if you’ve enjoyed this content, please consider sharing it on social media and leaving a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. It really makes a difference. For anything else, email us at Together, We Grow.


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