Phorest FM Episode 113: Live from the #SalonSummit Roadshow, Building Sustainable Businesses

Known as one of the most prestigious and talked about events in the hair & beauty industry for bringing salon owners and their teams together with the greatest minds in the world in business, customer service, marketing and management, the Salon Owners Summit recently left its home in Dublin for a first Roadshow stop in the United States.

Straight from the Dalcy at Aba in downtown Chicago, this week’s episode gives you a taste of what it was like to be there on the day. On the agenda: discussions with your co-hosts Killian and Zoe, an interview with salon owner and speaker Stefanie Jackson, vox pops and a few more surprises!


Stefanie Jackson

Stefanie Fox Jackson is a motivational speaker and generational leadership expert who has spent 15 years building teams and educating leaders on the changes in today’s workforce.

Stefanie is the founder of Canvas Salon and Skin Bar, a 5 times recipient of the Top 200 Salons in America award for its work culture and customer satisfaction. She is also the founder of Salon Colab™, where she collaborates with salons to assist in growing their leaders and developing strong teams. Stefanie thrives on collaboration and is a passionate and curious leader.

Stefanie is a board member for the National Association of Women Business Owners, where she leads a committee that facilitates mastermind experiences. She also gives her time as a mentor with the Young Entrepreneurs Academy helping kids 18 and younger start businesses. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband, two young sons, and giant dog.


Killian Vigna: Welcome to the Phorest FM podcast, episode 113. I’m Killian Vigna.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And I’m Zoe Belisle-Springer. This week, all of our focus is on the Salon Owner Summit’s first ever US stop, the Roadshow, and it’s taking place at The Dalcy, downtown Chicago. Expect an exclusive interview with one of our speakers, Stephanie Jackson, some vox pops, and maybe a few more surprises.

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

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Good morning, Killian.

The Salon Owners Summit Roadshow, live from Chicago [0:42]

Killian Vigna: So, we finally had it. I remember this was nine episodes ago I’m pretty sure… when we first announced the Phorest Salon Owners Summit 2019 Roadshow. We had Sinead Carroll, and we had Jay Williams on the show to talk about it. But you’re there now, and I believe, it’s actually been just as eventful trying to get to Chicago, as it has been so far.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: It has, yeah, absolutely! And, before I get into that, actually, Jay says hi, he was wondering where you were, and if you had gotten a ticket. But, yeah, so, he says hello!

Killian Vigna: Did you tell him that my flight got delayed, as well? It never took off. There was no flight.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I’ll relay the message, yeah, don’t worry. But, yes, very eventful getting to Chicago. A lot of flights were cancelled, Mother Nature had a bit of a fit. So… One of the stories, actually, was Scott Buchanan, one of our speakers, and then, Will, our brand ambassador, both their flights got cancelled.

They got rebooked, managed to find a flight going to Detroit. Will picked up Scott from the airport in Detroit and drove up to the Summit in Chicago. Was about a four, five-hour drive.

From my side of things, I suppose, I flew out of Montreal on Sunday morning, I was supposed to be there at noon or something. My flight took off, I went over to Toronto, had my layover there, my flight from Toronto to Chicago took off, we circled around Chicago, and then about an hour after circling, because we couldn’t land, there was too much traffic, our captain just announced, “Well, we can’t land, there’s a bit of an issue with weather at the moment, so, uh, we’re going to fly you back to Toronto, and we’ll be there in an hour, and you can chat with customer service when we get there.” And this poor kid in the row in front of me starts crying, you know, tears streaming down his face, and he goes, “They can’t do that! They can’t do that!” He was clearly going back home to Chicago, right. “We’ll have nowhere to live!” and the poor dad is just, like, “You’re going to be fine, kid, it’s fine”, and even the hostess was just, like, “It’s okay, you’ll get home. Maybe a little later, but you’ll get home safe, it’s fine.”

Killian Vigna: Absolute mayhem. A few of the Phorest staff gone over there, their flights were delayed. One of the guys actually put it perfectly. The reason that all the flights were delayed was because it was the start of the season finale of Game of Thrones. “Winter is coming.” It was the exact same date.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: That’s that, yeah, I suppose. I didn’t even realise that. I’m probably one of the 1% of people who’ve never, ever watched a single episode of Game of Thrones.

Killian Vigna: Well, I’m going to nip it in the bud here; otherwise this episode is just going to turn into a Game of Thrones, because it’s just so exciting at the moment, so much to talk about. But, moving on, anyway, how has today gone?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Today is going absolutely great; people are super excited. It’s obviously the first time the Salon Owners Summit comes over to the U.S., so it’s exciting for both attendees, and every single Phorest staff present in Chicago, obviously, and Sinead is buzzing around the place making sure everything goes well, as per usual, as she does. And we also have some of our recent integrated partners here, at The Dalcy, so we have Vish, who provides salons with technology that reduces hair colour waste, and optimises colour usage, and we also have Tippy, who provide a tipping platform built specifically for the beauty industry. And they reduce processing fees for salon owners, and they also increase tips for service professionals. So it’s great to have these guys here on-board with us, especially that they’ve integrated with Phorest.

There’s a good buzz going around, to be honest. We’ve got the guys from Modern Salon here as well, and a lot of Aveda Salons, and we’ve got the guys from Strategies as well. Neil Ducoff is speaking, so he brought some of his crew along with him.

Yeah, it’s going well so far. It’s exciting!

Killian Vigna: So what sort of numbers are we looking at there today?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Well, obviously, as per expected, with the Mother Nature issue, there were a few flights that were cancelled, so we’re probably looking at, you know, 100, 125 people at the event.

Killian Vigna: That’s still a pretty great attendance, considering it’s our first Roadshow, and our first real push into America like that, as well.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. No, it’s absolutely great!

Killian Vigna: So, has the Mother Nature incident had any knock-on effects with the speakers, or with the show itself, or everything running smoothly?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I mean, everything is running really smoothly. The agenda’s been kind of moved around, shifted things around, but everybody is going really smoothly with it, and it’s going great so far. So, we’ve had Marlo Boyle speak already, Jay Williams speak. It’s actually really cool at this event, I know at the Summit in Dublin we didn’t have this, but they had live polls going around, so they were serving the audience, and Jay used it in a way that he was like, “Right, you’re going to choose which topic I’m talking about today, so here are these three options. Either I talk about trust is the new currency, or I talk about this other subject, or if you’ve seen me speak already, Jay doesn’t speak, and he gets off  the stage right now”.

So, yeah, he got… The most votes were for “Trust Is The New Currency,” so he went ahead with that. But, yeah, everything’s going really smoothly.

Killian Vigna: I mean, look, we’re going to take a shake-up of speakers any day over any cancellations.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Oh, yeah, 100%. Yeah.

Killian Vigna: At least everyone is still going ahead as planned. But, that Jay Williams interaction one, that actually sounds really cool, kind of reminds me of when they did the interactive show on Netflix, you kind of pick the talk. Interesting to see more talks like that.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: It’s going to be great. Most talks would have at least one question surveying the audience.

Killian Vigna: Great stuff, great stuff. And, knowing you, you’ve probably been flying around with a camera and a recorder. Do we have any vox pops at the moment?

Vox pops #1 [06:34]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, absolutely. You guessed right. I have been buzzing around the place with my camera. The images, I can’t wait to share them all with everyone. But we did also get a few vox pops. We have chatted with Natalie Whalen, Lisa, Olivia, and Benny. We’ll play these two now, and two later on.

Attendee 1: “I loved hearing Ann Bray speak. I think that was really inspirational. And I think it’s just really cool to see where she’s come from, and how far she’s gone. I think that’s [inaudible 00:07:05] my favourite [inaudible 00:07:06] so far. Just the perseverance of it all, you know? I think that that was … Just to keep going. Even if you fail, in the end, if you keep trying, that’s what makes you successful.”

Attendee 2: “I really loved Jay, and, actually, all of them have been amazing. An interesting concept, I feel like, was the team… What Neil was talking about, the team structure… And, what did you guys feel like, was the…”

Attendee 3: “I mean, Ann’s story, her-“

Attendee 2: “[crosstalk 00:07:40] the passion.”

Attendee 3: “-passion, and just her story, was amazing. Everything that Jay said was huge.”

Attendee 2: “That’s really great.”

Attendee 4: “Stefanie reminded me that the Internet came in ’91, and all these other things, because I forgot about it.”

Attendee 2: “But just how much changes, and how much we have to evolve, is just so important.”

Introducing Stefanie Fox Jackson [08:00]

Killian Vigna: So there are some vox pops, and not only are you running around getting vox pops, we’re just about to be joined by a guest whom we’ve actually had on the show before, some of you may recognise her from episode 78. We have Stefanie Jackson, the owner of Canvas Salon and SkinBar, and the founder of SalonColab, a community of salon leaders. So, welcome back to the show, Stefanie!

Stefanie Fox Jackson: Thank you! Thanks for having me again, guys.

Killian Vigna: Of course, of course. You’ve only just hopped off the stage. Last time we were chatting to you, we were talking about, kind of, understanding what Millennials are looking for in their work. Today, you’re talking about the future of work, is that right?

Stefanie Fox Jackson: It is right, yeah! And really specific to those Millennials, and then also Gen-Z, because they are entering the workforce right now.

Killian Vigna: So, how did your talk go? Or, well, how do you think it went?

Stefanie Fox Jackson: I think it went phenomenal. I feel like the energy in the room for all the speakers has been great, and this place is beautiful, so I think that always helps everybody have a great time when the aesthetic… We’re beauty people, right? So when we’re in a space that feels beautiful, it just makes everything flow.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: 100%. So, I wanted to expand on something you did mention in your talk. And you were running a poll with the attendees, asking, what caused them the most stress? Was it recruiting new staff, or retaining staff for the long-term? And the results from that poll were quite surprising.

Stefanie Fox Jackson: They were surprising. So, 64% of people felt it was recruiting staff, and I wasn’t surprised that, actually, it took the lead, but I was surprised by the gap. So, 64% felt like it was recruiting, and 36% felt like the stress came from keeping staff.

What’s really interesting is, the other question that I had asked, brought forth that they feel that the biggest disrupter are, actually, the suites? And so I thought that was a little bit in contrast, right? The stress they’re feeling right now is around finding staff, but they actually feel like what’s most disruptive in our industry, is the suite model? Which would speak to them losing staff, and not being able to retain them?

I think that the real, crucial point of a salon being successful, is keeping staff, right? If you cannot keep staff, then you’re going to lose clients, and you’re going to lose the money you invested in education. You just go down, down, down.

I know that it’s a stressor, but the fact that that percentage of people said, no, what’s more stressful right now is finding staff, just shows you how much our industry is changing, and that, actually; I shared this in my talk… We actually have a shortage of people entering the industry, just purely by the number of births that happened, if you go back and look between the last 18-25 years, so that’s one thing. But, also, we have a shortage of people coming into the industry as well, specifically for cosmetology. I mean, if you talk to any salon school owner, they are going to tell you, the intake of students going into aestheology is up, and cosmetology is way down.

So we’ve got these two interesting things happening. One, we can’t really control, one, we’re like, “Well, what’s going on with the beauty industry that’s making less people enrol”? And then you have salons growing, right? Consumers are coming, and we don’t have the staff. So, I understand, the stress of that is enormous.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: What would be your first thoughts around why people aren’t going into the beauty industry as much as they would have before?

Stefanie Fox Jackson: That’s a great question, and I honestly don’t know that I have the answer. I’ve thought a lot about it. I was speaking to some Wella executives yesterday, about their initiative to really understand what’s going on, and how do we help attract people to the beauty industry. And, I think, that one component is, the perception that you can’t really be financially successful. And I think that we have to help dispel that myth.

And the unfortunate thing is, myths and those beliefs come out of some truths, and so, what have we done as an industry to make people think that they can’t make enough money in this industry, that it’s a viable career? And I think the salons that are showing up and creating that reality, those are the ones that are really going to struggle and they’re really going to die off, because people that do come to our industry want to make really good money, which means that everything has to be on point, right? The marketing has to be attracting the right clients, and the marketing for recruitment has to be strong. They’ve got to have killer leadership to keep staff. We just have to change the way people perceive the industry so that they think it’s a great career option.

And I’m sure you guys have seen there is a large push in general for conversations around technical trades, that we don’t have to go into college and accumulate all of this debt. So, again it’s kind of an opposing force, you think, why aren’t people coming into the beauty industry with all this talk around how much college costs. But I really think it’s related to the perception of money, personally.

I wonder too, with what’s happening with the advancement of the suite options… I mean I talk to consumers all the time in my own business who don’t always recognise that those are independence, you know as a consumer, they see this suite space that- or these individuals booth you work out of, and they don’t always really understand that these are people working independently. I think that, I know in my market, so I live in the hub of the salon [inaudible 00:13:17] which are one of the suite models which kind of took the US by storm, in terms of that model and really hurt a lot of big salons by, really, recruiting their staff.

But those suite models, because they’re not necessarily recognised as being independent in the consumer’s eyes, then when they start to get a bad rap, which some of them do because they don’t really always continue their education. You know they don’t do all the things that they have to do in salons. It’s those, the generations coming workforce right now, it’s their parents that are experiencing those suite models, you know.

I wonder if there’s ever conversation around the integrity of the industry and the perception of its skill level or talents or lack of professionalism. I’m reaching a little bit there, but it’s coming from conversations I’ve had with consumers in my business where they really think, what the heck is going on in those booths? And they don’t realise that it’s just an independent person working. They think it’s the industry; they think it’s a salon.

Killian Vigna: You wouldn’t, though, as a consumer going in, you would just assume that they were employed by that salon.

Stefanie Fox Jackson: Yeah, exactly.

Killian Vigna: Like I wouldn’t have a clue if I walked into a barbershop and if they were booth renters or not.

Stefanie Fox Jackson: Yeah, I remember when I worked for Aveda on the West Coast, and we were, you know, scouting new business. The way that I was taught to kind of help identify if it was rental or not was to pay attention to how many credit card machines existed in the business. And you would never know that as a consumer, but if you are looking at the number of credit card machines or if people are working out of manual books, which thankfully doesn’t happen as much anymore, because there’s a lot more technology available for independence, but yeah if there is a lot of credit card processing, it’s probably a booth rental.

Killian Vigna: That’s actually not a bad way, or if they’ve got their own business cards just sitting in front of you.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So listen, thank you so much for joining us on the show today, what’s next for you in terms of, like, say, the coming next six months?

Stefanie Fox Jackson: So what’s next… I am going to be speaking at the Data Driven Salon Summit. And I’m really excited about that show, I know I’ve done a lot of events already this year, but I, as I share it on stage today, am really a data junkie, like I am a nerd for what the numbers say. And I have been doing a ton of research this last year I worked with 5,000 service providers that live in that millennial and Gen Z bucket, and I’ve uncovered a lot of their beliefs and their truths around recruitment and retention. And so that’s really what that Summit is going to be hearing, the people in the audience there are going to get the numbers, like what are they saying.

So I’m really excited to share that, that’s not information that I’ve shared really at all yet in any of the presentations I’ve given to date this year. So that’s what’s up next, and just looking forward to what else comes my way.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Well, really excited about that, we’re going to be at Data Driven as well, so looking forward to seeing you there.

Stefanie Fox Jackson: Looking forward to it!

Killian Vigna: Hopefully goes well, yeah!

Post-lunch mindfulness segment [16:02]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So we’re after lunch, and you know that feeling going back into a room, you have to listen to so many other talks, you want to concentrate, but you’re still kind of digesting and it’s really hard to manage both at the same time. Well, Marlo Boyle, who spoke this morning, she had her talk, “Ten Minutes Of Wellness,” she’s just off stage now, and she did an amazing session with everyone in the audience, getting everyone to move around. So anyone listening right now, I hope you’re in a space and an area that you can do what she’s telling everyone to do in the audience, because we’re going to play a segment of what she just had people do at the Salon Owners Summit Roadshow, so I suppose without further ado, let’s play it.

[Marlo Boyle mindfulness audio snippet with crowd chatter]

Killian Vigna: That’s gas!

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, I love how you did it at the same time!

Killian Vigna: Yeah, well, you sent me over the video and you were like “watch this” and she got everyone to stand up and do the whole tapping away to the rhythm and I was like, I could feel my feet kind of tapping, and I was like, you know what, it’d be good to just kind of wake up and I couldn’t stop smiling through the whole thing. Even though I’m in the studio here, and there’s absolutely no one here watching me or anything. It was just; I was just laughing to myself tapping away, but then yeah, I really got into it, and then there was a nice kind of calm and soothing bit at the end, but I definitely feel a bit more reinvigorated.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, a 100% and like I said, before we played this, I just feel like it’s something like, you know, taking care of ourselves and realising how our body feels in the moment is not something we do enough.

Killian Vigna: Yeah.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Do a bit of mindfulness, whatever that means to you, it could be tapping away or it could be, you know, even a short yoga sequence or anything really. It just helps release that tension, and I think it’s really important that we do that more often now, because we’re always on the go and doing so many things and just never taking time to take care of our own bodies, which drive us every day, literally.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, absolutely, like I feel ready to take the day on again.

Vox pops #2 [20:20]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So what’s next on this episode, a few more vox pops for you from the Salon Owners Summit and after that we’re going to jump into the second half of the show. So we’ll catch you right after these snippets.

Attendee 5: “I think, if you want to see your business exponentially grow and not only what you’re doing creatively in your space, but also profit and client engagement, this is an absolutely wonderful platform to really get inspired and then find the tools to help your business be customised within the Phorest umbrella. I think it would be really… It’s helped my business grow so much in the one year that I’ve had it, and so I would recommend it to anybody, and I’ve already done that!”

Attendee 6: “Phorest represents what’s great about the industry. They’re in it for everybody, it’s a great team atmosphere.”

Attendee 7: “It’s fun to watch everybody look at the speakers, listen to the speakers, and see that they all connect, it’s like- you know, you’re in a room full of all these different Salon owners and different areas, and everyone’s somehow connected. You know with the same mission for the industry, you know, to better it, and you know it’s whether everyone’s on Phorest, whether they’re on another POS or whether they’re, you know, commission-based salons, whatever it might be, everyone has the same objective, which is to kind of better the industry and better the staff, and obviously better their businesses and it’s cool to see that, and you get that vibe when you’re here.”

Inside Phorest: reflections, upcoming events & final words [21:46]

Killian Vigna: So Zoe, are you still on the clock, or are you finishing up, what’s your plans now, where are you going after the show?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I think it’s time to put the recording gear away, the camera stuff away, and just chat with every salon owner. That’s kind of the plan for the night, and we have the two… our two musicians from the Salon Owners Summit in Dublin at the after-party, they’re playing tonight as well, at this after-party networking reception, so looking forward for that.

And before we sign off, I just want to reiterate that if you’re struggling with anything, you know, retail, staff management, any topic in the salon, we have the Salon Mentorship Hub that’s available and up and running for you. So we’ve teamed up with coaches and consultants we trust, and they’re happy to work with you to get unstuck on those topics. All you have to do is head over to to book your 15 to 30 minute free consultation with any of the consultants on the website. Currently, that means Valerie Delforge, Susan Routledge, Daniel Boucher, Richard McCabe, Phil Jackson, Jennifer Swaine, Gloria Murray, David and Nicole Barnett, Stefania Rossi, Katie Lowndes, and Susie K. Brooks.

So again, that link is I’ll also put it in the shows notes. But yeah, if you’re struggling on any topic, you know, just hit one of those guys up and follow the instructions you’ll get through your emails and well, I suppose that’s all we’ve got for this week guys.

I’m going to leave you on a special note, but 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 for the weekly roundup.

Killian Vigna: All the best!

Related links

Salon Owners Summit: The Roadshow

Book a free 15 to 30-minute consultation on The Salon Mentorship Hub


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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