Phorest FM Episode 117: Emma Simmons On Teamwork As A Key Factor For Success In Salon 54’s #30Days2Grow Results

This week on the show, Killian and Zoe discuss the power of teamwork with Emma Simmons, owner of multi-award winning Salon 54 in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, UK. Taking part in the #30Days2Grow salon challenge both in 2018 and 2019, Emma was amazed by this year’s increased results. This episode looks into the team’s accomplishments, figures, success factors and key takeaways.

#30Days2Grow is a fun and unique challenge designed to help salons build team spirit and grow revenue. Every day for 30 days, starting on April 1st, participants were provided with impactful, yet easy-to-execute challenges that helped them put their brand at the forefront of their clients’ minds.


Emma Simmons

A salon owner for 18 years, Emma Simmons has become an expert in growing the perfect team, and her unique leadership skills have resulted in amazing achievements for her and her team members. Her passion for growing her people along with her salon has seen them nominated for “Best Salon Team” in both the Most Wanted and the British Hairdressing Business Awards 2019.


Killian Vigna: Welcome to the Phorest FM podcast, episode 117. I’m Killian Vigna.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And I’m Zoe Belisle-Springer. This week on the show, we’re joined by Emma Simmons, owner of the multi-award-winning Salon 54, in North Yorkshire, to discuss her experience on the #30Days2Grow salon challenge which took place in April.

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. I’m excited about these episodes because I love the amount of feedback that we get. We’ve been doing the #30Days2Grow challenge for the third year now. And when it started, we weren’t 100% sure how it was going to land with the audience and you know, the salon industry and within the space.

If you remember it all started with that salon owners had a hard time raising their prices or feeling comfortable doing that. And it stemmed from the fact that we noticed that there was like a massive discounting culture problem within the industry and we wanted to find a way to tackle that. And I mean, three years later, it’s just grown exponentially. It’s so amazing to see so many people every year take part in the challenge.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, it’s a fantastic initiative. It embodies everything that we’ve been talking about, especially in the last few weeks where we’re talking about bringing communities together because I know this is full of like 30 days of challenges for you and your salon. But the theme is teamwork.

So you’re bringing your team together, but also by having that Facebook group out there, we see salon owners engaging and helping each other by showing what ideas they’re doing. So it’s just creating such a huge community out there. While it’s great for business, it’s great for individuals and teams as well.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Definitely. A few numbers here before we kick it off, this year’s challenge was themed around teamwork. And in total, 1861 individuals took part in the challenge.

Killian Vigna: Wow. I remember when we started this, we were wondering if we’ll even 500 people doing this.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yes, I remember that too. Yes. 

Introducing Emma Simmons [02:17]

Killian Vigna: And that’s only three years ago. So look, we’ve explained what #30Days2Grow is, you’ve recited off some numbers there. Now, I think the best thing to do here is inviting our guest today, Emma. Emma, welcome to the show. So happy to hear how you got on with your team!

Emma Simmons: Hi, guys. Nice to meet you!

Zoe Belisle-Springer: It’s nice to meet you too.

Emma Simmons: Unusual doing this, I’ve not done this before, so…

Killian Vigna: No, we were just chatting before, and you said you do Facebook Lives anyway. And that means standing up in front of the camera, which is something I definitely couldn’t do. So this is going to be grand for you, not a bother.

Emma Simmons: That’s one of the reasons why I started doing the Facebook Lives was because I had a bit of a phobia of going on camera and speaking in front of people, public speaking and things. So I set myself a challenge and just by about day 15 it was a lot easier. So, it’s not that hard if you try.

Killian Vigna: You just have to jump straight in. Myself and Zoe were like that when we first came up with the show, and a lot of people that listen to this will have heard this before that when it was first said that we were going to host it, we were like, “No way.” The two of us were really quiet, and now you can’t stop us talking. So it’s just kind of habit, you have to get into it.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So Emma, before we jump into the actual feedback of the campaign, I suppose we could kick it off with a bit about your background and maybe some insights into Salon 54. How long it’s been around for? What are you guys all about?

Killian Vigna: Your sales pitch!

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, exactly!

Emma Simmons: Yes, so I am 40 this year, but I always wanted to be a hairdresser for as long as I can remember. And I was told at about seven years old, not to be a hairdresser there was no money in it. So then I decided, “Okay, I’ll be a salon owner.”

So I always wanted to be a salon owner that did hair, and I managed to achieve that when I was 21. I opened the salon, and I was a hairdresser primarily. I did not know how to run a salon. And so we had lots of ups and downs along the way. And I’ve had to really learn the role of the salon owner or a business owner. I’m still learning now, which is great doing things like the #30Days2Grow because, you know, 17 years of owning the salon and I still find new hurdles every day, so I’m always learning.

And along the way we’ve had to overcome lots of hurdles like we flooded one time, the whole of North Yorkshire flooded. We were closed for three months, so we had to rebuild the whole salon again. And then just as we got it rebuilt, there was a big recession. And so, we managed to come through the other side of the recession. And you know, it was just like plodding along with work and work and work.

But more recently, recent years have seen like the high street, you know, economically things are changing. And so like socially, things are changing. So, instead of us just sitting there and clients coming into us, we’re having to actively seek out clients and make sure that we’re getting ourselves out there and getting ourselves noticed and trying to sort of set ourselves ahead of, or different to, or just give us some sort of USP really.

And so, we’ve created a team culture in the salon, that everybody… We have a really good team. No one is ever even sick. And when I say I don’t have any sick days called in, I mean like I’ve just paid for one of the girls to go on a zookeeper for a day experience as a treat because she’s not had a single stay off sick for five years. I think it’s just because we’ve built on the team and getting the right members of the team and getting them all with the same values and the same… You know, getting that culture in there. And so we’re very much sort of like one big family in the salon.

And more recently, we’ve focused on sort of increasing colour stats and things like that and sort of all helping one another, backing one another up to increase different sort of KPIs and things. So there is a big team culture in the salon. And we’re in a tiny little market town also. There are not many clients to go around all the salons that are in our market town. So the girls have to really work well together to sort of set themselves apart.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: That sounds brilliant. So Salon 54 has been established… That was the first salon you started. That was like, 17 years ago?

Emma Simmons: Yeah, yeah.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Wow!

Emma Simmons: Standing the test of time.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, and overcame flooding and a recession.

Emma Simmons: Yeah.

Killian Vigna: What I loved where you started there was that you wanted to be a stylist and someone told you not to be because there’s no money in it. So what did you do? You decided to be an owner. That attitude, especially when you’re saying you were seven years old. That’s just brilliant.

Emma Simmons: I think that’s one of the things that makes me determined to keep going and get through things like flooding and recessions and things like that. Because I think a lot of hairdressers are if they’re told they can’t do something, then they prove everybody wrong, and they go and find another way of achieving something. I think it’s in our blood.

Killian Vigna: That’s a great attitude. How do I get an attitude like that?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Build resilience! Love it.

Taking on the #30Days2Grow salon challenge [07:35]

Killian Vigna: So, Emma, is this your first year doing the challenge?

Emma Simmons: No, this is our second year. We did it last year, but I didn’t sort of delve into it quite as much. And I didn’t involve the team as much. I did get some of the team last year to help me in some of the tasks and obviously the ones that I needed the team to solve like push the sales and things that. Then, I did sort of let them get involved in that. But this year was more sort of like teamwork and getting everybody involved in it.

And I wanted to do it again this year because just dipping my toe in last year, we got some great results. And we’ve had Christmas, then we’ll come to January, February, and March is just starting to build back up again. And it was just the right time. I saw it come up on Facebook and thought, “Great, that was fab last year; you kept me motivated.” And then I saw that it was going to be much more team orientated so I thought, “Well if this can motivate the team as well, it’s just come at the right time after sort of Christmas.”And then obviously, April is the start of our financial year for us in the salon. So it was great, we can get the team on board at the beginning of the year and start as a means go on. So it came at a really good time, to motivate us and obviously the results last year, made me want to do it again this year and so pushing further into it.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. So, would you say it was easy enough to get them on board with the idea? To get them convinced to join you in the challenge?

Emma Simmons: Yeah, they love the creativity, and their passion is hair, but we’ve always, more recently as well over the past few years, we’ve always been quite honest with our team. So they know exactly what our incomings our outgoings and everything. They know the struggles that we have as salon owners, as business owners. And so they’re very much, we do keep them updated with everything, but they’re starting to now come up with…

If we’ve got an obstacle or if we’ve got something that needs to change or we need to self-improve on anything, they’re coming up with ideas and things now and start coming to us. They say, “Oh. I had to think last night and what do you think about introducing this?” Or, “I saw this promotion somewhere, and I thought we could incorporate it into the salon in this way…” Or, so I think it helps to let them have input as well into the salon. It helps to sort of keep that team culture going.

So yeah, when I said, “Oh, do you fancy doing this, girls?” Straight away, they were like, “Yeah.” And I think having the group, the Facebook group as well, means that we’re all connected outside of work in our own time. And they wouldn’t be contributing in there if they didn’t enjoy each other’s company or weren’t passionate about seeing the salon go forward and grow. So, yeah. Anything like that, they’re so quick to jump on it: a new challenge and things.

Killian Vigna: It’s amazing to see that they’re now coming to you with ideas where you said last year the involvement would have been more kind of, you saw the tasks and you kind of came up with what you wanted to do, and then they went and implemented it for you, but now this year it’s pretty much completely flipped and shared responsibility, but also, again, they’re approaching you. And especially outside of work hours. That’s amazing!

Emma Simmons: Yeah, I think that’s the thing. It’s like if you’ve got something that they’re interested in, so… It used to be stuff like, you’d have your one-to-ones, and it’d be like, “All right, so you retail this and rebooking is that. And what have you booked?” Now they’re all really interested in looking at their columns as their own little businesses.

Killian Vigna: Yeah.

Emma Simmons: And so they want to sort of grow their column as if they were growing their own little business. So they’re all very much sort of eager to learn, more than just the skill of hairdressing, they want to learn how to improve themselves, how to improve all their KPIs like rebooking figures, retail figures, and things so. It’s certainly a little bit different than doing your [inaudible 00:11:39] every week, isn’t it? There’s excitement.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Teamwork as the key factor for success [11:43]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: It sounds like you’ve got a team of leaders there. How did you find the challenges overall since it was your second year doing it? Any feedback on that?

Emma Simmons: Yeah, I think we did enjoy them and I found them a little bit easier to implement because, I’ve seen it and done it before, so I knew the former that was going to come so I found it easier because I was able to able to organise with them and say to the girls right out, “Who’s up for this? Let’s do this challenge. We’ll all do it.” Because I had in place the Facebook Group and so we could connect outside of salon hours, and we planned things a little bit more. So as soon as I got the email coming in, I went through, sort of put my ideas, my thoughts in, let them have a say on it.

So when we came in, in the morning, everybody was having coffee in the staff room, and they were all briefed, and they all knew what was going to be happening and what the task was for that day or… And those that had time, if it was down to… One of the tasks was the display in the retail area. So the girls that were free shut out and said, “Oh, we’ll go get some plants.” So they got lots of plants and things like that just to sort of make a bit of a feature with the product.

They all sat in the morning and discussed which product it was going to be. And then the girls that were free dealt with organising the display. So, it was quite good because they were all delegated in different jobs and tasks to each other as well. It’s quite easy to do with the team on board.

Killian Vigna: And how big is your team? Do you mind?

Emma Simmons: I have seven stylists and one junior and me and my husband, but my husband is front of house and market manager, and I’m obviously cutting hair.

Killian Vigna: Yeah. So, it’s a big change as opposed on the floor that you see now.

Emma Simmons: Yeah, yeah, we’ve seen a lot of the girls taking ownership. It’s really nice because we do little mini, I want to say one-to-one, but it’s not one-to-one, it’s more like a motivational meeting every week. And so, sitting down every week, we’re finding there’s a little bit more content, there’s a bit more excitement there.

It’s not just, “Oh, how did you do in your retail? Oh, that’s good. Try a bit harder next time.” It was, they’re a bit more passionate, and they’re like, “Oh, I think I could do this. And that really worked when we did that task, and I wonder if I could implement it somehow…” So, yeah. It’s going really good. It’s made a big difference in how the girls are working and thinking on a daily basis. That’s one of the things.

Killian Vigna: So have you noticed then… Since doing the challenges, or even while doing the challenges, that there were say particular skills that some of your team displayed and not only kind of displayed a good skillset towards, but have now started doing more often now?

Emma Simmons: Yeah, definitely. Because I’ve always been in charge of social media and things, it was getting hard to get them to remember to take photographs of their work and things like that. So now we have seen who is the best photographer in the salon and so they’re taking everybody’s pictures. That’s much easier for me because I’ve got content there to post upon Instagram and things like that.

And one of the girls that was helping me with the Lives and things and did the tutorial video with me, she really enjoyed it and because some of them shy away from us all going on camera, but she really enjoyed it, so she now wants to solve… Do a little bit more with that stuff like promoting through social media marketing with me. So that’s something that’s making it a bit easier for me because instead of having to do it all myself and yeah… I think it’s really helped with actually, one of our lowest retailers who was consistently very, very low… We were always trying to give her a kick up the bum. She…

Last week her retail was 33%, and she has come from about 2%. So obviously, we were saying for years, “You can do it, you can do it.” She just wasn’t, but for some reason, she took on… Really took everything on board and really sort of threw herself into it and she did 33% last week. The week before she’d done 29%. So it’s not like just a few, one week… She’s consistently up there as one of the top retailers now.

Killian Vigna: Is this just an attitude change or was there literally a kick up the bum?

Emma Simmons: I think it might be an attitude change because they’re maybe sort of… I’ll tell her a little bit more input into things and maybe feeling a little bit more valued as an employee because they are able to… We always do try and coach them. “Oh, have you got ideas? Come and tell us.”

But, I think because this was a daily thing and it was going to them in the group or in the morning in the staff room and saying, “Right. What do you guys think? Have you got any ideas? Alicia, what’re your ideas? Shannon, what’re your ideas? Who wants to do this? Who thinks that’s a good idea?” And they had more input in it, so I think it was just they feel more valued and like their opinion counts.

And so, instead of thinking, “Oh, I can’t do that. I can’t achieve that.” Actually, let’s see if we can. We’ve got to do this task the one day. And then at the end of that day when, “Oh my God. I achieved that.” So then the next day, they went onto the next task, but they still were implementing yesterday’s task. 

Do you see what I mean? When it came to like retailing or… We did the… “What? Where? And why?” With the retail and obviously on that day, they saw results. So then the next day they continued. The next day they continued. So it just kind of created better habits.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, a ripple effect. Yeah. That’s awesome.

Salon 54’s feedback on the #30Days2Grow daily tasks [17:34]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Did you notice any… Or maybe even get feedback from your team… Were there any challenges or tasks that came up as, I suppose, a favourite?

Emma Simmons: For me, for both of us really, we discussed this and then getting the testimonials was really nice. For me, it was great insight because I was able to see those that came to me and said, “Whoa, I asked every lady today to give me a review and here are all the reviews that have come in on the Facebook with my name on them.” Sort of thing or, “This lady’s actually taken the time and written it down for you and into a… And put it in an envelope.” I can see the ones that are getting lots of reviews or testimonials coming in very easily and so I thought, “Well, yeah. They’re doing something right.”

And then reading through them was little things in the testimonials that I thought, “Wow, that’s a really nice touch that they stylist has obviously taken it upon themselves to added that little touch into that kind of experience without being told to do it.” So, that was really good because it means that I can sort of help monitor the standards and make sure that every kind of experience is as good as it can be, but also that the girls for us going that little extra mile. I could see that, which ordinarily I would know unless I was working next to them, but the girls like that as well because they said it was really nice getting the feedback from the clients and kind of quite motivational for them and sort of a boost of confidence.

Maybe they felt a bit pushy doing some sales or I know some of them were very uncomfortable asking for rebooking, but when they’d get a testimony about saying, “Oh, it’s great that she’s planning ahead for me.” So then they were seeing it in a different way. Well, actually I’m not forcing her to have another appointment, I’m planning the future for this lady. Do you know what I mean? So, yeah. I think that was the favourite for both stylists and for me as a salon owner as well.

Killian Vigna: It’s like anything. When it’s new, and you’ve never done it before, it feels awkward at first trying to do it. And it does feel weird, and it feels forced, but the more you do it, the easier it gets. It’s like what you were saying about doing the Facebook Lives earlier, and we were saying about the podcast. It’s awkward at first, but then when you start hearing the feedback it does get easier, and it does become a habit. You develop, and you see yourself developing from that then.

Emma Simmons: Yeah, definitely.

Killian Vigna: So, on the flip side then, what are… Well, not so much the flip side. I don’t know, because maybe you did enjoy this too, but were there any challenges that you found required a substantial amount of time or resources to complete?

Emma Simmons: No, I think they were all sort of fairly easy to put together. I think the only thing that probably took a little bit more organising was when we came in to do the one with the tutorial. We did that as a Live, so we did a Live tutorial, so we had to plan when was going to be the best time to go online where people would be free and sat with their phones in their hands, scrolling through Facebook and things.

And we had to kind of find somebody to stand and film, somebody to sit and do the tutorial, the one that was sitting and doing the tutorial didn’t want to speak, so it was like, “Find another one that’s free at the same time to talk us through what was happening.”

So it was kind of like getting a little bit of a team together to do the tutorial all at the same time where they weren’t rushed and where it was a time that would suit people that were… Gain an audience basically. So, I think that was probably the most testing one, but as I say, they were all pretty easy to implement and put together.

Killian Vigna: What was the response to the Facebook Lives, especially after the first time trying it?

Emma Simmons: We got loads of people from the tutorial saying, “Oh my God, can you do a blow-dry one? Can you do…” Because we just did like quick curls in ten minutes one morning and we had someone send us a photo in saying, “Oh, look at my hair. I did it this morning!”

Zoe Belisle-Springer: That’s so crazy!

Emma Simmons: And following it and we had lots of clients asking us to do other tutorials, and yeah, we had lots of people… A good response in the summer of people saying, “Oh, I saw you on the last Live. Yeah, I’ve been watching waiting to see when you’d come on again.” And things like that so, I think video, going on Lives or even if you don’t want to do it Live, if you want to record it and then put it out there, I think video seems to be the way to go with social media at the moment.

People want to see what’s going on behind the brand. Who you are. And I think this was really good for getting that out there; with the #30Days2Grow, with all the tasks and everything. It was about letting people see your team and who they are and what they like doing and what they’re like in the staff room and things like that. I think that’s what… It’s like fly on the wall stuff, isn’t it? People like watching that. People like to watch reality TV.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Very true, very true.

Killian Vigna: Kind of hit the nail on the head there.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: When we were chatting offline there, you also mentioned that the challenge of the competition got loads of good results as well.

Emma Simmons: Well, when it came to the one where it was a clear giveaway or some sort of competition, I thought, “Well, we are focusing on the team here. So what can we do rather than just give products away? Let’s do something that involves the team.” So, instead of giving away one thing, we kind of gave away eight things. And it was just a little product.

I think it was a product that we’d been given free from one of the suppliers. And so we were able to give one away each day, but we did a picture of each team member, and at the side of that we had a picture of each team member’s dog, and you had to match the stylist. So each day it was a different stylist day, and then the clients had to put which dog they thought belonged to that stylist and that had loads of response to it. Just like, it was unbelievable.

It was quite difficult to keep up with all the people that entered ’cause everybody was like, “I think it’s this one! I think it’s this one!” So I would say that we were having maybe each day, we were having to, because then we would put into a… Putting it all into a hat and drawing them out live, so people were… Because we were doing it every day as well. People were tuning in ready because they knew that we came online usually around about sort of nine-ish when all the sorts had finished on TV.

So they were tuning in live, “Oh, I’ve been waiting for this! I want to know if I’ve got it right.” They would get excited just to see which stylist owned which dog. So, yeah. We got really good responses. We had maybe 60, 70 entrants each day on that.

So and people were sharing it and all the comments and everything. It really pushes your social media up there. And so, after that, we did another one… Because we thought… Everyone really went mad about that, so we did one with the team and the baby pictures.

So, I don’t know what we’re going to do next. I don’t know where it’s going to go from there. We’ve had the pooches, and we’ve had the baby pictures, I don’t know where we’re going to go from there, but it seemed everyone just wanted to know about the team and what they were like at home, what they were like when they were little, what dogs they own, but yeah, it was a really, really good response from that.

Killian Vigna: That’s amazing! I hope you keep that going. You’re really turning your salon into quite the little reality show of its own.

Emma Simmons: My husband actually said, “Oh, can we put cameras in… “ But I don’t know where the law stands on that, because not everybody wants to be filmed. He’s like, “Yeah, but, it would be really interesting.” And I was like, “Yeah, but many clients maybe wouldn’t want to sit there with tin foil in their hair getting their highlights done while they’re on camera for everybody.”

Killian Vigna: Maybe there’s a bit of a line, but you can always with the blur the faces nowadays.

Emma Simmons: There used to be a program that was on TV that was like that a few years ago. And I think the ratings were really high on that as well, just because people want to see what goes on, don’t they? Behind closed doors. So, yeah.

Killian Vigna: Start your very own little YouTube channel.

Emma Simmons: Yeah!

Killian Vigna: There you go. You’ll be snapped up by one of the television broadcasters.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And here’s an idea for the next challenge perhaps! Maybe match up with the star signs.

Emma Simmons: Oh, that’s a good idea! Yeah. I’m going to write that one down actually!

How #30Days2Grow affected Salon 54’s business figures [26:16]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Just popped up into my mind there. So, we’ve obviously touched upon loads of different challenges, loads of positive feedback from your team on those challenges as well. Have you noticed any changes in terms of figures in your business?

Emma Simmons: Yeah, well, obviously with the rebooking, I think during that month we went up six and a half percent just that month alone. Just from, I think it was only a couple of tasks in there with the rebooking, but because the girls were really focusing on it all and not just doing it for 24 hours and then onto the next task.

They were implementing it each task, every day, and so we saw an increase in the rebooking on that month alone with six and a half percent, but the retail as well. Obviously, I said before that one of the lowest retailers is now selling at sort of 29, 33%.

One of our youngest team members, she has for the last six weeks, she’s been the highest retailer, and she’s only a junior stylist. She’s only been in the salon for a year. So she really… I think the younger ones took to it a lot more because they were forming new habits. They didn’t really have many bad habits to try and break. They weren’t sort of in that zone where they’re just sort of complacent so… The young ones took to it really well, and they’re just soaring with it. So I think now for the salon, the retail at the moment after April is at about 28%.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: That’s amazing.

Emma Simmons: The last sort of three, four weeks, I’ve been monitoring it, and we’re about 28% which we weren’t poor at relating, but we were just sort of average. I think we were normally around 12%. I wasn’t mourning about the retail before, but now I’m like, I have this little whiteboard and stuff for them, and I put on there what the salon’s doing as a total and what each person’s done each week, and I always put a little comment at the side of each one. Like some of them, I used to put like, “Oh, well done! Try and do a little bit more and some aftercare next time.” Or, “Keep going; keep keeping at it.”

And now it’s just like, “Wow!” Amazing. Fabulous. Oh, my God!” They’re just so… I can’t fault any of them on it really. They’ve all taken to that really well. So, yeah. That’s the biggest change that we’ve seen, but I think just the staff themselves have been more motivated and sort of wanting to come to us with, come forth with their ideas and things like that.

And for me forward planning because it got me into the habit of thinking about tomorrow. What’s in tomorrow? What task have I got to do? How can I improve things? How can we upsell? If there’s one thing I can do to increase tomorrow and putting a plan in place instead of just running into the salon at 9:00, getting to lunchtime saying, “Oh, I meant to put that offer on, and then I didn’t.” It just gets you into the habit of getting things organised and forward planning with things.

Killian Vigna: I think what I’ve really enjoyed listening to you talk about today was how involved your team are, but how they have now taken ownership, taken it upon themselves to start coming to you. And like you said, even with your Facebook group after hours, coming to you with ideas. That’s what I’ve really enjoyed hearing today. Now, I’m not a salon owner, so I know… There’s probably other salon owners out there going, but the retail figures Killian! The retail! I think and Zoe, you can probably agree, I think that’s amazing feedback on that.

Thoughts for 2020’s #30Days2Grow campaign [30:08]

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Definitely, yeah. A hundred percent. And I think that was the… Probably the strongest point that was lacking in the previous years where we didn’t actually put that focus on making it a teamwork thing, and I think it’s super important going forward. Obviously, you’ve done it two years in a row now. The first year, dipping your toes into it and this year, getting into it fully. What would you hope to see happening next year? Would you take part again? And if so, would there be something in particular that you’d like to see I suppose maybe improved on or added to the challenge?

Emma Simmons: Yeah, well, I was thinking about this. It’s really a continuation of bringing the team together because that’s really what’s driven the results this year is having the whole team on board and focused on it and doing it together. On your own you can achieve so little, but together you can achieve so much more.

And so that continuation and focusing on a salon team and having everybody involved and motivated and not just the salon owner, but also the team members are great, but I think it would be really nice to sort of, get a focus on customer care and to delight clients and going above and beyond the client’s expectations and that way if you incorporate that in the team as well.

It opens up the team’s eyes as to why that’s so important, not just to do good hair cuts, hair colours, and things like that, but just making the client feel extra special and getting the team to really thoroughly understand why we crack the whip so much on client experience and customer care and customer service and things like that because I think that’s one of the most important things. I think that’s why clients come back to a salon is because… Not just that they go away looking good, but they leave feeling good, and I think to continue with the team, and to incorporate going above and beyond with customer care and getting the team to understand the importance that would be really good.

Killian Vigna: It’s turning your satisfied customers into your loyal clients. It’s actually…

Emma Simmons: Yeah.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I was just thinking about that. So last week we had a speaker and author Jay Williams on the show. He was speaking about satisfied clients versus loyal clients and the difference, why it mattered. And yeah, I was thinking, it is, after all, developing those so to speak soft skills. That personality and that caring for your customers that is going to bring those people back.

Emma Simmons: Yeah.

Killian Vigna: So, I bet you’re going to go away now and do all of that research for us. That clears challenges for us, and we’re just going to put Phorest over it and take it (laughs).

Emma Simmons: I don’t mind; I don’t mind. I’ve got loads of ideas. Well, the team’s got loads of ideas.

Killian Vigna: Well, we’d love to hear them. You can share them all with us. Emma, it’s been amazing having you on the show, and the feedback has been brilliant to hear. I’m so glad it worked out really well for you, and I’ve also… I’d like to see how it keeps going for you say six weeks down the line. Two months, three months. I really hope you guys kind of stick with this and keep it going because it sounds like its done wonders throughout the month of April.

Emma Simmons: Yeah, we will. We’ll definitely… I was discussing with my husband, and I was like, We need to just keep the ball rolling with it and not become complacent because in that short space of time you see so much increase in different areas within the salon. And just the atmosphere in the salon as well.

Everyone’s motivated; everyone’s on a high. We’re starting the financial year off on a high, and so I’m just hoping that those financials keep growing and growing, but so does the teamwork and the team ethic, and everything. So it just means that we can get more at the end of the day. It’s not just about the salon achieving more financially, but if we’re doing more financially, then we can treat them more. Like we took them out for a day to the races, and we did a BHA shoot and things like that. So it just works all around if we can keep the ball rolling with it.

Killian Vigna: You can send your staff to another zookeeper night.

Emma Simmons: Yeah.

Killian Vigna: But the beauty of this course is, even though it was in the month of April, if you find next quarter that there is a bit of a low on your team, just run the campaign again.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I mean, yeah. They are always there up and live on the website, and obviously, the Facebook group stays open. So hopefully we’ll keep seeing feedback from how you guys are doing at the salon and yeah. Thank you so much for taking the time again today. It’s been an absolute pleasure.

Emma Simmons: Thank you for having us. It’s been lovely!

Inside Phorest: reflections, upcoming events & final words [34:48]

Killian Vigna: So that was Emma Simmons from Salon 54 sharing her salon’s results and feedback from #30Days2Grow. I have to say, I think there were some phenomenal results there. Don’t you agree?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Oh, definitely. The rebooking figures, the retail figures, learning about your staff. All of that is just so amazing that it happens in such little time as 30 days, right? And I think it’s great for anyone who’s looking to take part in the challenge, either this year at some point, and being supported with the Facebook group or even just to take part in next year’s edition which will probably also be in April. So, yeah, definitely great insights there.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, I mean, Emma joined last year. This is her second year. She joined last year, didn’t know what to expect. This year, she had a bit of an idea of what to expect and then managed to get her team more involved. She saw some true results and now she’s already shared what we should be doing next year because she’s been through the mill twice, her team have been through it. They’ve seen the impact it can have, and now they’ve been able to identify other areas in their business that they want to improve and think everyone else could work on too which is really good.

So, kind of, I suppose not really on tone, but kind of on tone with the whole learning and moving forward, we are delighted to announce the early access launch of Phorest Academy! Phorest Academy is essentially your one-stop education shop for all Phorest clients.

So anyone who has done training with Phorest would remember having to either come, if you’re in Ireland, up in house here to do a full day’s training session. Or for everyone else to do online training sessions with a live instructor.

Now we’re bringing training to you which essentially means you can access online self-taught courses anywhere you want on your tablet, on your smartphone, on your laptop, and you do it all in your own time. So what can you expect from Phorest Academy? You can expect interactive online and on-demand training, learning on the go with our Phorest Academy app, a library of regularly added and updated courses, some interactive Phorest systems, so if you have a new hire who might not be too confident in using your Phorest system, you can enrol them in these courses, and they can use demo systems and put tasks into practice. And finally, last but not least, you can also get Phorest Academy certified now.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, sounds deadly! I mean, you guys must be chuffed really.

Killian Vigna: Well, it’s something that everyone here at the education department has been working hard on for the last year, so we’re finally kind of getting it out there. Like we said, it’s the early access, and we’re dying to have some clients start going through and giving some feedback. We’ve had some really positive feedback at the moment. So if you do want to enrol in the academy and start getting your certificates or if you want to start training your new staff up on it, just email and all you have to say is Phorest Academy or training. That’s all you need to say!

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Killian, I want training!

Killian Vigna: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Anything education-related, we’ll get you up and running on it.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yup. So, anyone who’s looking to get set up for Phorest Academy training, it’s Get in touch. And to follow suit with that, we have another learning opportunity for you and another free one. It’s new and exclusive; it’s a six-week sale and management and leadership course hosted by hair and beauty business strategist Valerie Delforge.

Most of you would know her from her contributions to the blog, and this course is essentially… Well, first of all, it’s open to everyone. You don’t need to have software to participate, and you don’t need to be a Phorest client. So all you need is to commit to a six-week course. And how it works is that each week you’ll be receiving an hour-long presentation that you can watch in your own time.

You’ll also receive a workbook. These will all be sent out by email to you; one every week for six weeks. Think about this course as a practical step-by-step game plan to review what you’re currently doing in the salon or spa, identify things that can be improved on, and then take action. So in terms of the weekly breakdown of things, lesson one is how to manage your staff. Lesson two is managing your salon’s operations successfully. Lesson three is how to motivate your salon team. Four, salon HR recruitment and training. Lesson five will be talking about how to handle difficult staff. And lesson six, we’re going beyond management. We’re tackling how to become an exception salon leader.

So from a time involvement perspective, you’re looking at an hour video per week to watch, and as much time as you can dedicate to the workbooks each week. As always, you get out what you put in.

So for the enrolment, like I said, anyone with a laptop and an internet connection can sign up. The entire course is hosted online. Each week starting the day of your enrolment, you’ll receive a new email containing both the lessons, presentation, and the workbook. So we’ll put the link to register in the show’s notes, but if you want more information, we have a blog up on the Phorest blog, so at you can find more information there or even reach out to us on social media, and we can help you out, give you the link to sign up.

And before we sign off this week, a quick reminder about the Salon Mentorship Hub, which is a place for you to connect with coaches and consultants from the industry who are willing to help you get unstuck on a particular topic.

All you have to do is choose whom you’d like to connect with and on what topic and then you can book yourself in for a date and the time that suits you for a free 15 to 30-minute consultation. New coaches and consultants join the Hub regularly, so make sure you bookmark the website, and you can also follow Phorest Salon Software on social media to stay updated. The link to the Salon Mentorship Hub website is also going to be in this episode’s shows notes so you can click there or alternatively head over to and you’ll get direct access to the Salon Mentorship Hub. And well, that’s all we’ve got for this week guys.

So 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 our monthly roundup.

Killian Vigna: All the best.

Related links

Salon 54, Website

Register today and take the #30Days2Grow Salon Challenge in your own time

Register for the 6-Week Salon Management Course hosted by Business Strategist Valerie Delforge

Book a free 15-30 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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