Welcome to the Salon Owner’s Podcast, Phorest FM Episode 93. Co-hosted by Killian Vigna and Zoé Bélisle-Springer, Phorest FM is a weekly show that puts forth a mix of interviews with industry thought-leaders, salon/spa marketing tips, company insights and information on attending Phorest Academy webinars. Phorest FM is produced every Monday morning for your enjoyment with a cup of coffee on your day off.

Phorest FM Episode 93

This week’s episode discusses everything that’s happened on the Phorest Blog and Phorest FM over the previous 30 days. From the most popular blogs to snippets from previous Phorest FM episodes, announcements in regards to Phorest’s Salon Owners Summit, you’re sure to get all the marketing advice you might have missed.

Popular Blogs of the Month

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Killian Vigna: Welcome to the Phorest FM Podcast, Episode 93. I’m Killian Vigna.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And I’m Zoe Belisle-Springer. This week’s episode is our usual monthly roundup in which we’ll be discussing the best bits of the podcast, the Phorest Blog, and announcing what to expect in December.

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. Winter has crept up on us so fast.

Killian Vigna: I know, yeah. I saw the picture… was it Instagram or WhatsApp that you sent the other day? You’re living in a winter wonderland already!

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I am! Yesterday, it was real feel -25, and about three or four days ago it was close to zero, so it’s like, “What is happening?”

Killian Vigna: And I think it happened over night as well.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. That’s what I mean! But then I was looking at stuff and I was like, “Hey. How many days are left before the Salon Owner’s Summit?” And then I was like, “Oh, that’s 55.” And then I thought, “Hold on, if that’s 55, Christmas is in about 30 days or something.”

Killian Vigna: It’s a month. We’ve got, what, Stephen’s Day this time four weeks? It’s the 26th today, so Christmas is actually yesterday next month.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Okay, yeah, nope. My head’s not there yet. I feel like we’ve been solely concentrating on Black Friday. I’m kind of almost worried about – has everybody prepared their Christmas and holiday campaigns already? Cause that’s gonna creep up real fast.

Killian Vigna: Mm-hmm (affirmative), have you filled those books yet? We’ll show you how in just a bit more of this episode. So let’s kick it off. What were some of this month’s top blog articles?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Well, we did talk about this one quite a bit in one of the last episodes, but Ronan Perceval, our CEO, wrote a blog on how we’re introducing the new Email Marketing Editor. So the complete redesign of it. I remember you were chatting about this on maybe the previous episode, either 91 or 92. So we did a partnership with Unsplash which meant that as a client, as a Phorest client, you now have a searchable library of over half a million free, high-res images. They’re all available to you. You can edit them. You can add filters. You can overlay text, and all of that. We also did a partnership with ProWritingAid which is a professional tool for automatically correcting things such as spelling, grammar, dyslexia-specific grammar mistakes, and even just readability and writing style. So as you write your content, you get tips, recommendations on how to make your message come alive.

Killian Vigna: That’s actually a great one because I was messing around with it the other day, and I don’t have dyslexia, but after writing just a test a paragraph, the whole screen just lit up in colours. It hit me. I was like, “My god, my grammar is shocking.” It was great because it fixed it all up instantly, and it even has kind of like a mini thesaurus, so it’s like if you write in a repeated word, it can give you recommendations to change it to another word. So really, really helpful tool there for writing content.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. And then we also added the whole return-on-investment functionality, so all the seeing how many people have clicked open, booked from your emails. Literally seeing how your campaign performs and how it actually also compares to other similar salons. So then our second popular blog of the month was around failing salons, but more so about five warning signs and fixes for continued success. This was written by Susan Routledge. She’s a multi award-winning salon owner of 30 years. She’s also the founder of the Salon Success Freedom Program and the Beauty Directors Club’s Business Membership. She’s written this blog in a way that you kinda get the symptoms, the causes, and the remedies for five downward trends.

Salons around the world and spas around the world are closing their doors, and often times you’re just hit with that reality when it’s too late to do anything about it, and so this whole blog is around trying to catch it before it’s too late, and she suggests ways to actually fix what’s going wrong. And so the first one that she will highlight… I’m not gonna go through all the symptom causes and remedies, that’s what the blog is there for, but the number one thing is not having any cash reserves. Then she goes on to when you start pushing your leadership. Then another warning sign is when you start needing more and more clients constantly, and then being overstocked, which was very interesting because we recently had Phil Jackson write a blog on how much stock you should hold, and he had this whole formula about the speed of sale percentage. Remember we had a chat about that on one of the podcasts?

And then finally, when you stop sleeping, you have, clearly, something on your mind that’s not turning just quite right. You might be stuck. And just to feel okay with going to ask help. You’re never quite as alone as you think you are. There’s always someone who’s been in your situation or has witnessed it before and can maybe just say the right words to get you unstuck, get you thinking in another way, and so her final thoughts are kind of just around listing what you do well, magnifying your successes, also listing what could be done better and trying to take action upon that. If you don’t know where to start, and even if it is just to get mentorship around that, and just saying, “Listen, I don’t know what to do about this, but this is my issue, and how can I fix it?”

Very interesting blog, anyways. Strongly recommend. It’s about, I’d say, a five minute read. It’s called “Failing Salons: 5 Warning Signs & Fixes For Continued Success.”

Killian Vigna: Cool. And then we have our last blog as well, isn’t it?

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yes. It’s quick tips. So “7 Tips To Increase Profits In Your Salon Or Spa This Winter.” It’s written by a regular guest contributor, Gloria Murray. She’s an award-winning accountant. She’s also been awarded the most innovative business advisor in the UK in the Annual Innovation Awards. She’s the director of Murray Associates Accountants. She has a Facebook group called “Knowing Your Numbers,” so some of you might know her from that. Her main points around increasing your profits this winter… planning your capacity for the run up to Christmas, which makes sense. We were just chatting about that. 30 days up to Christmas. Are you maximising this time as much as you can? Can you speak to your staff maybe working a little more in the run up to Christmas, and then kind of extend their break in January, maybe? Then the second tip, training your staff to sell more products cause it is the best time to get pampers out and gift packages and stuff. I remember last year you were saying, “That’s like one of my best presents. Everything’s there! I don’t have to think about it too much.”

Killian Vigna: And I’ll be doing it again this year!

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. And then special offers, promotions. Trying to figure out if you can’t get all of your clients booked into December, maybe trying to get them booked into January. Something like that. Using the power of gift vouchers was another recommendation, so we’ve chatted about this a lot. Gift vouchers are very, very powerful, and train your staff on them.

I can’t remember the stats. Do you remember any of those stats like someone who spends a $20 gift card will actually spend more than that, like it’s almost two times more or something like that?

Killian Vigna: Yeah, so basically, the thing is if I give you a €25 gift voucher, you’re more than likely going to spend like €30 or €40 in the salon because people don’t want to seem tight and just spend what’s on the card, so they’ll use that as a way of taking a percentage away from the total price, so it’s very good for encouraging more spending than what’s on the card.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Thank you for the clarification. I knew there was something around that.

Killian Vigna: It looked like you were struggling. I may have done a webinar or two on this!

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, I kinda remember that. She also suggests if you’ve been thinking about putting your prices up, maybe actually doing it, and capitalising on the busy season. There’s loads of documentation online even that we’ve put up around how to raise your prices without creating a disgruntled client base, so you can check that out. It’s going to be in the episode’s notes. And then her last two quick tips are planning for January and February. What campaigns can you put in place to keep your columns full? And introducing some special, seasonal services cause that always goes down quite well. It’s like when you’re around Valentine’s Day and you have some specific package for Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day or all these kind of things. Same thing around Christmas or any kind of winter treatments that you can maybe introduce.

Killian Vigna: And just to follow up on this blog, we’ve noticed in the Education Department of all the different Phorest training modules that we offer, products in inventory and text and email marketing were the two most popular and most in demand modules this month because a lot of people, again, are trying to find out how to, I suppose, take full management control of their stock and inventory, and how they can promote more retail for the Christmas. And again, the text and email marketing, with the introduction of our new email editor, people are doing a lot more SMS and email campaigns so they’re getting training there, and then we have the SMS money-back campaign. So from the client side of things with Phorest, we’ve had massive demand for products and inventory and text and email training, so if you are a client listening to this show, sign up for those modules because they are helping a lot of clients at the moment.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, I suppose that kind of wraps it up on the blog side, but we had two very interesting episodes on the podcast this month.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, two very good ones. We’re not gonna go too much into them because we’d be here all day talking about it, but we just have… I suppose, to break it down, the first one we had was episode 91. 91 episodes, that’s insane. I think you’ve actually planned it out that we’re gonna do our 100 on the live one in January for the #SalonSummit. That’s gonna be cool.  This episode was with Katt Philipps, the owner of Grafin Skin & Beauty in Illinois, and that episode was all about getting yourself 12 months in advance. So not even just waking up in the morning and knowing what your appointment book is like tomorrow, next week, next month. It’s what it’s like 12 months in advance. And she does all of this by spending less than $600 a year on marketing, so very interesting one to listen to. And funny enough, there’s only actually two of them in the salon, so it’s not like she’s running this massive salon. Plus, she’s moved into the product space as well, so a lot to learn from Katt there. Without giving too much, here’s a bit more from Katt Philipps herself.

Snippet 1, Katt Philipps: I was really at the risk of losing my best clients because they would call, and I’d tell them I couldn’t get them in for three, four months.

Snippet 2, Katt Philipps: Now, I’m even 60% booked for January of 2020. I just checked this morning.

Snippet 3, Katt Philipps: You just kind of have to put your big girl panties on and just take the leap.

Snippet 4, Katt Philipps: I think my total budget for marketing for the year is less than $600, and most of that’s just in printing for things that go into baskets that I give away at charity events.

Snippet 5, Katt Philipps: When you get one of those clients that are your dream client, lock ’em down. Book them out the whole time because when you’re first starting you take everybody. The ones that you really are in love with and you’re excited to see them again, you’re excited to build a relationship, hopefully a life-long relationship with, then get them on your books so you always have them there.


Killian Vigna: And now our second episode, episode 92, was with Nadine Quinn and Carla McQuillan. It was a little bit closer to home. It was from The Space salon in Dublin, and what this episode was about… it was all about how salon culture drives success. This was a fantastic episode to listen to in terms of just how passionate Nadine and Carla are, not just about their craft, not just about their business, but how passionate they are for their team offering that work-life balance. We talked about culture. They offer things like yoga workshops, art classes, poetry reading. They even do movie nights and self-defence classes. They do a range of that.

Now that’s just kind of like the little fun pieces that we discussed on the show, but they did really drill in to the importance of culture when it comes to recruitment, especially when it comes to being proactive about hiring staff or hiring team members – is what they referred to – because, again, you don’t want to get caught up in the whole last minute rush of, “I need to hire someone now because I’m busy.” It’s creating a stockpile of CVs, and they said they always get to pick from the cream of the crop. But, again, culture… incredibly important in their salon. It’s important for the benefits of them, the benefits of their staff, but also their clients really feel it when they walk into the salon. So here’s a few snippets from Nadine and Carla themselves.

Snippet 1, Nadine Quinn: What happened was when we first initially opened the space, both myself and Carla had been in the industry for so long. We wanted to take all the good and then also anything that we felt could be better and also really bring both their personalities into it.

Snippet 2, Carla McQuillan: These girls are doing so much more than hairdressing. They’re therapists. They do everything. They’re not just doing fantastic hair. There’s so much science in hairdressing. They have to be a business within a business, there’s a million sides to it.

Snippet 3, Nadine Quinn: They believe and embody our message so much that it feels like a family more so than just a place of work. So we get great return on it. It’s not necessarily like a return we can measure, but it’s most certainly there.

Snippet 4, Nadine Quinn: From a meditation point of view, we schedule every staff member in, paid, 15 minutes earlier every morning, and we’ll all meditate for 15 minutes, and that, I think, is the fundamental of our culture.


Killian Vigna: So just following on from the podcast, so they were the two podcasts from November. Again, this is a Phorest product announcement, so you can now actually listen to Phorest FM in your Phorest Salon Software. So, how are we gonna do this? Well, as you know, we’re already on Spotify. We’ve been on Spotify for the last three…

Zoe Belisle-Springer: A few months!

Killian Vigna: …yeah, a few months. We’re trail blazers. We’re one of the first few podcasts on it, but how is it in Phorest? Okay, so for anyone who uses Phorest out there, we have a button on the home screen. It’s called “Contact Support.” If you click that, a little pop-up box will appear, and you’ll see “Help Desk.” You see a load of popular category icons. If you scroll down just a tiny bit, we have two categories. We have “What’s New” and then we have “Phorest FM.” So the “What’s New” category… this is a 30-day rotation, so it’s any new product updates, any new features, and more importantly, any new Phorest FM episodes. So we’ll be releasing every episode each week up onto that “What’s New,” and then as the 30-day cycle finishes, we’ll swap it over and it’ll be the new month.

However, on that “Help Desk” pop-out on the “Contact Support” button in Phorest, you can also go to the Phorest FM category. In that category, we have a snippet of how you can follow Phorest FM, so how you can follow it on Spotify, but then we also have each episode uploaded in monthly folders as well, so you can see all the episodes for September, October, November. Now this is only just brand new into the system, so I think we have backdated as far as September, and they’re all embedded in it, so you can listen to Phorest FM directly in Phorest, or you can just follow us on Spotify now. So that’s pretty much it from me, which means we’re moving into the second half of the show which is the Zoe hour.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Ah, the Zoe hour. Well listen, I don’t have any trade shows or webinar announcements to make, but I will touch upon what’s coming next, I suppose, in terms of big events, and that’s the Salon Owner’s Summit, which is hosted on January 7th in the Convention Center in Dublin, and the theme this year is “Power Up.” So it’s the fifth edition of the Salon Owner’s Summit already. The agenda has recently been released. The lineups for the speakers are all done as well, so how it’s gonna go down is Sunday, January 6th, there will be afternoon and evening activities like organized tours of Dublin, and then the welcome reception at Sam’s Bar on Dawson Street, and then on the actual day of the Summit … it’s a full day. Starts at 8:30, ends, well, late with the after-party, I suppose. In the Convention Center ends around 5:30pm, so you’ll have registration as the very first thing. Tea, coffee, networking, then Ronan, our CEO, will have some welcoming words and introduction to the day, and then, in terms of the main stage speakers, throughout the day you’ll hear from Jo Fairley, Ryan Holiday, Christina Kreitel, Albie X Cortes, and David Barnett. Now on the Salon Owners Summit website we have a link to all the speakers and what they’re talking about, so I’ll link that into the episode’s notes, but you’re bound to have a really, really insane day. The topics this year are just… they’re on point.

Just like last year, we’re gonna have a workshop rotation, so we’re gonna have three workshops. The first one is “Getting To Know You.” It’s presented by Melanie Icke, our very own Head of People & Education. Then we’ll have a workshop on “Interdependent Leadership” presented by Steve Gomez, and finally, we’ll have another workshop on “The Secret To Building a Team Of Elite Performers,” and that’s going to be presented by Heather Yurko, who I personally had the chance to meet in LA just recently. She is just as passionate and bubbly as she was on the podcast. You’re gonna have a great workshop, no doubt. And on the Tuesday, January 8th, we have “Inside Phorest,” so the tour and session at Phorest HQ in Dublin. Spaces are limited for that, though, so if you have tickets for the Salon Owners Summit, get onto Aaron for the details and registration links, they’ll be shared in the coming weeks anyways.

And other than that, it’s bound to be a really exciting day. We’re gonna also host a live podcast episode just like last year. A panel discussion at “Inside Phorest.” There’s gonna be two sessions. There’s usually one in the morning and one in the afternoon. We’re gonna be in the middle. So if you’re attending “Inside Phorest,” either stay back or get a little bit in before and catch us there!

Killian Vigna: Yeah, it was good fun last year. Last year was our first one, and it’s gonna be bigger and better again this year.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Ah, yeah. Always bigger and better, year on year.

Killian Vigna: And who doesn’t love an audience to sit nervously in front of you.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: I think we were probably the most nervous people in the crowd to be honest, in the whole room.

Killian Vigna: Oh, for sure, but it won’t be a bother on us this time.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: No, it’ll be fun this time! So anyways, that’s it for us today. We’re already planning early 2019 episodes, so if you know someone with an interesting story for this podcast, slide into our DMs, and as always, if you have any feedback, feel free to leave us a review on iTunes or on Stitcher. We’re always looking for suggestions on how to improve the show. Have a wonderful week guys. We’ll catch you next Monday.

Killian Vigna: All the best.

Thanks for reading! #LetsGrow

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