The Salon Owners Podcast: Phorest FM Episode 41 (w/ Lilac Miller)

Welcome to the Salon Owner’s Podcast, Phorest FM Episode 41. Co-hosted by Killian Vigna and Zoé Bélisle-Springer, this show is 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 you can join. Phorest FM is produced every Monday morning for your enjoyment with a cup of coffee on your day off.

Phorest FM Episode 41

“Competition is fierce. Expenses have gone up. All this in the middle of a deep discounting culture!”

This was the premise for the #30Days2Grow salon challenge, and that’s why we decided to take action, together with the industry. The challenge has now come to an end and Killian and Zoe welcome winner of the Share Your Experience contest, Lilac Miller, on the show for a segment that looks back on the effects of the campaign on her salon business.

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Transcript

Killian Vigna: Welcome to the Phorest FM podcast, episode 41. I’m Killian Vigna.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And I’m Zoe Belisle-Springer.

Killian Vigna: Today on the show we touch base with Lilac Miller, owner of Sleeping Beauty, Inverness, and winner of the Phorest Salon Software #30Days2Grow podcast feature, to see how the challenge has impacted her business.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And, as always, we top off the show with our upcoming Phorest Academy webinars.

Killian Vigna: This podcast is produced every Monday morning, for your enjoyment, with a cup of coffee, on your day off. Now, let’s get into the show. Good morning, Zoe. So what we’re doing here is, everyone knows we had the #30Days2Grow challenge.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah. It’s been exactly a month, now.

Killian Vigna: It’s exactly a month, and, because of this, we now want to touch base with Lilac Miller, who actually won this feature segment.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So, yeah, so we had, during the two last weeks of the challenge, we were running a Share Your Experience contest, basically, and there were loads of different prizes that you could win. Lilac Miller actually won this featured podcast, so we decided to see how she got on, how the challenge impacted her business, how it got her staff together, perhaps, favourite challenges, and stuff like that. We actually have her on the line right now. For people who don’t know you, Lilac, can you share a bit of your own background, and how you came about to getting onto the #30Days2Grow challenge?

Lilac Miller: So, I own Sleeping Beauty Salon. We have five locations, at the moment, in Scotland. I’ve been in the industry for over 15 years, and the salons have been going for about 11 years now. The 30-day challenge we heard about through Phorest, and we received the email and things, and we just thought it sounded like something that might be quite good for motivating the team as kind of a bit of a bonding activity that everyone could get involved in.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And, at the time that you got on board with #30Days2Grow, or at least signed up for it, what was it like in your salons? Were you lacking in something in particular? You wanted to, perhaps, improve something in particular?

Lilac Miller: Not really. It’s quite a busy time of year, anyway, over the summer, so we were just concentrating on dealing with all the clients that were coming in, day-to-day, so we found it quite good, because some of those tasks that maybe we did with the challenges, we’d forgotten about, because we’d been dealing with the day-to-day of keeping going and dealing with all the clients coming through the door, so maybe some of the tasks had got forgotten and they were things we only did when we had quiet times, so they more likely tasks that we would have done, probably, during the winter.

Killian Vigna: So I suppose, before the #30Days2Grow, would your staff, or your team, have been heavily involved in the day to day running of the salon, anyway, or was it the #30Days2Grow that you found the first time you would have started sharing challenges, or designating tasks that you would never have shared before?

Lilac Miller: Yes, sometimes we would, like at staff meetings and things like that, we might get everyone a bit more involved, but, probably, on a day-to-day basis, no they probably wouldn’t have thought to get involved with those kind of tasks, so it was a bit of a new experience for some of them.

Killian Vigna: And those staff meetings, would you have staff meetings regularly, or would they be once a week or stuff like that? Because we just want to see how involved staff members are with salon owners, and stuff like that, these days.

Lilac Miller: Okay. Yeah, we have a proper meeting once a month, but we do what we call a huddle every day, so everybody who’s working that day, we do a 10-minute meeting in the morning. We do discuss, say, anything that’s coming up that day that’s a bit unusual, or tasks and goals, or, maybe, this is a new product that we’ve got coming out and a bit of information about that, so we do and try and do that on a daily basis, but it’s quite quick, and sometimes it’s quite repetitive, we’re kind of saying the same things every day, like about targets and things like that. Sometimes it’s good to have something like the #30Days2Grow that was a bit different so that every day it was something completely different, rather than getting too repetitive.

Killian Vigna: I find that great that you’re saying you have the huddles every morning, because our marketing team actually has the exact same, as well. We have a 10 to 15-minute huddle every morning. After the #30Days2Grow, we ended up refreshing our huddle up a little bit more, as well. Say, Zoe was saying she’s got a task, at least someone could identify, “Oh I could actually help you on that task,” and stuff, so it made us more involved, as well, and I suppose that’s kind of what the same was happening with your team.

Lilac Miller: Yeah, definitely, and I think it made some people like a bit more feel like they maybe could put their opinion out there. Maybe some more younger team members, and things, who are less confident, because we’ve been going around in a circle and making everyone contribute. It maybe gave them a bit more of a confidence for the future, as well, that they could put forward their ideas.

Killian Vigna: Other than helping your salon grow, we also wanted to get the team more involved, and that’s why we keep coming back to it, because, like you said, now your team members are more confident to be involved, where before, they would have just thought, I suppose not you necessarily, but some people might feel like they’re just going in and doing a day-to-day job, and it becomes repetitive. Now that you’re setting challenges, and you’re having your morning huddles, people are more open to ideas and more creative now.

Lilac Miller: Definitely, yeah, I’d agree with that.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Did you find it quite hard to do the challenges throughout the time where it was a busy time, because we’ve heard that feedback often, where in July was quite a busy time to do it. Did you find it very hard?

Lilac Miller: Yes and no. I think it some ways it was good it was a busy time, because you had a lot of clients coming through the door that you could then use for it, and I feel like you were doing it in January at a quiet time, it would be harder to have such an impact, because you wouldn’t have as many people to test the procedures on. I feel like you have to make time for those things anyway, really, so it gives you that lesson that you can’t dismiss marketing, and just think, “I’ll do that when I’m quiet,” because you have to be doing it all day, every day, really. I think in some ways I can see that it was harder, especially, because you didn’t get the tasks till 9:00, half nine in the morning, and you were already then set up for the day. I think it was good to do it at a busy time, but, maybe, in our situation, having the challenges the night before would have been better, so we could have thought a little bit more about it, rather than just finding it out in the morning. But I think it was quite good doing it when we had a lot of clients to test it out on.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Oh, great. Okay. Yeah, it is something we’re considering for next year, definitely, having the challenge going out either at night or morning, depending on the salon owner’s preference.

Killian Vigna: I think one of the general feedback was, first off, was to send the challenges out in the evening so that you could actually prepare it, and come in and meet your team in the morning, and come up with the ideas before you’ve set up your salon, but another one was, like you said, you’re already busy in the summer, and, even though marketing can’t stall, it would have been nice to do it, I suppose, at a quieter time of the year. I think, what was it, it ended up being March or something.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: February I think.

Killian Vigna: February is what people were thinking.

Lilac Miller: Yeah.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: So, like in saying that… Would it be something that you would keep on going, and just try and perhaps even just grab your most favourite challenges of those 30 days, and try and keep it going throughout the year, until the next year’s edition, or is it something that you’ll adapt to your salon?

Lilac Miller: Yeah. I think some of them we definitely will, and I know just the general philosophy of like wowing the clients with unexpected gestures and things like that. After it ended, the girls were still trying to do that, just in their day-to-day, and I think that some of the tasks we definitely will continue with a little bit more. I don’t know that we’ll run the whole 30 days again, as like a whole month, and there were some of the challenges that we missed out because we literally do always do those anyway, and we’re quite aware of.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: That’s good.

Lilac Miller: But, yeah, there’s definitely some of them that will continue on a regular basis.

Killian Vigna: You’ve a really nice montage here that you put on the #30Days2Grow Facebook page, and it’s things like offering lemonade, little packagings, your chalkboard, just nice little, I suppose, small ideas-

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Attentions. Small attentions.

Killian Vigna: Attentions that most salon owners would be thinking, “Oh, I’m doing that the whole time,” but, for another busy salon owner, that might just slip their mind. It’s the little things, as well.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Was there-

Lilac Miller: We used it to set up systems, so we have got this box now that we’ve kept in our office of client gifts, and it’s just maybe stuff that we’ve had from suppliers or things that we’ve put into a little package, so like if there’s ever a situation where we want to give a client a little extra gift when they’re in for their treatment, then it’s all ready, so we’ve set up stuff like that to make it easier for us to remember to go out of our way for our clients.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: That’s actually a really good idea. In your opinion, right, throughout the 30 days, was there one particular challenge that caught your client’s attention more than others, or even your staff’s attention more than other challenges? Was there something that stood out in particular?

Lilac Miller: I don’t really know about from the clients’ perspective because they weren’t really aware that we were doing it as like a challenge, they obviously just thought it was us…

Zoe Belisle-Springer: A nice attention.

Lilac Miller: Yeah, yeah, so it’s hard to say because we didn’t really ask them about it. The one when we gave the clients all a note, they probably noticed quite a lot, because we don’t, obviously, always write them a note when they come in. We got little cards and gave them a note, but we felt a bit awkward about doing that, and just putting it on the treatment bed how it was suggested, so we decided, because we’d already decided a product of the month on the first day when we did our display-

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Okay.

Lilac Miller: So what we did was we had enough samples of that product, so we decided to give all of our clients a sample of that product inside their little note card, so then-

Killian Vigna: That’s a great idea.

Lilac Miller: …it felt like more a purpose than writing them a note, so then everyone who was in that day, we gave this sample but in this little card, so I think they remembered that one because it was a bit unusual. Yeah, so things like that, I suppose, people noticed the difference more.

Killian Vigna: I think that one was to dress up your point of sales stand, to repackage your old products, and I think the notes, then, was actually the big one, because, like you were saying, you felt a bit odd writing the notes because you wouldn’t have done it before, but it was just that whole thing of overcoming something new, so your clients wouldn’t have seen it as big, massive challenge for you to do because it’s new, but they would have really thought, “Wow.” And we saw your Facebook posts, and things like that, where people are putting up their own statuses going, “Got a lovely welcome,” and taking pictures of notes and things like that. So, even though you felt like that was a big challenge to do because it was new, to them, it was seamless, basically.

Lilac Miller: Yeah. All of the team really liked that. I think it was the first one about doing the point of sale display, because they decided what the products were that we were going to putting out, and it meant that, that day, they were really focused on selling that one product, and they felt a little bit more connected to it than just as normally saying, “This is a retail product you should be selling,” because they’d chosen it themselves and helped do the display, they felt more intrinsically involved, so I think that’s one of their favorite ones, as well.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Did you find the challenge helped join all your branches together in some sort of way?

Lilac Miller: A little bit. We have a team Facebook page so all of the salons shared what they’d been doing, so I think it, yeah, kind of gave each other ideas, and they shared comments on it and things like that, so, yeah, a little bit.

Killian Vigna: So would each branch would have had free rein of their own challenges, or would still all-

Lilac Miller: Yes. They all did, and some of them, to be honest, did feel like there were days that they couldn’t really do, and they were too busy and things, so they said, “Oh, we’re going to save this one, and do this another time,” so it wasn’t a case that everyone did completely all 30 days at that time, but, if they didn’t and they thought it was a good idea, then they definitely tried to then follow that through at another point.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Would you have any suggestions for us for next year, for instance, of keeping you guys engaged with the challenge?

Lilac Miller: I don’t really know. I guess maybe a slightly more forward warning about the type of task it was going to be. I think, from our perspective, it wasn’t that difficult because there quite a few of them that we could just do once for all of the locations. Things like our Google reviews, and everything like that, is kind of central anyway, so we only had to do it once, and even things like the important dates that were coming up, most of that you don’t need to keep repeating yourself, so it meant we could share it out a bit, and it was maybe a bit easier than for places that were having to try and do, literally, all 30 of them. I think the Phorest features, anyway, are good for things like the birthdays, and that can do it for you anyway, so I suspect a lot of salons using Phorest were already using those features, and that, therefore, they weren’t having to carry out all of the tasks. I don’t know if… I think, from our perspective, at the start, people were maybe a little bit more involved with them, and it kind of tailed off, you know, more towards the end of the 30 days. I don’t know if it’s harder to keep the momentum up for the whole 30 days. I don’t know if it would be better to do it over a shorter period, or spaces in between, I don’t know.

If you’re trying to do every single task-

Zoe Belisle: Yeah, that’s our job, I suppose.

Lilac Miller: I think it may have been harder than what it was for us.

Killian Vigna: So while you had the 30-day challenge, we, essentially, had a 30-day challenge, too, of how to keep you engaged and keep that momentum driving, as well. We actually had over 50% of the people that have done this challenge were non-clients. The Phorest System automates all that, but some clients, like our clients, might not even be aware of it. They know it’s all automated in the background, so it was good that with the challenge, it puts it back into your head that these are things that you need to be doing.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: And it’s good to know that you’re actually using it, as well.

Lilac Miller: I’d presumed that the majority of people doing it had Phorest, so, no, I can see that if you didn’t and you maybe weren’t remembering to do those things, like birthdays, and the missed clients who hadn’t been, and things like the reconnect and stuff, so, yeah, it’s definitely like if you’re not already using those features, it’s a good reminder.

Killian Vigna: Do you have any final points on it? Maybe good points, bad points, points of improvement, or just, even, did you have fun doing it, and stuff like that?

Lilac Miller: No, like I said, everyone really got on board and enjoyed it, and they quite liked the fact that it was videos, as well, you know explaining the tasks, rather than just in writing, it felt a little bit more interactive. I think, maybe, if at the start, we’d been told, you know, like, “At the end of the day, you should submit this to Phorest,” or, you know, something kind of like that, to prove that you’ve done some-

Zoe Belisle-Springer: A kind of a validation.

Killian Vigna: Yeah.

Lilac Miller: Yeah. They may have liked that, some sort of way of someone checking that we’d done it, I guess, but then I can see that for other people, maybe they wouldn’t like that. No, overall, I think it was a really worthwhile thing, and I think it definitely… I think it, actually, did have an impact on our bottom line. I think our retail was definitely better over the period, especially, and, definitely, some of the clients who had not been in for a while, we sent out in the post, actually, cards to them, because they were already using the ReConnect feature, so we decided to go a step beyond that, and some of those cards have already come back with clients that hadn’t been for a year, and have now booked back in and come back, so we definitely had a positive improvement from carrying it out.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: That’s amazing.

Killian Vigna: That’s actually a great idea that you contacted, I suppose, out of reach, or out of touch clients with postcards. Was that your idea? Or was that an idea that came up through your team?

Lilac Miller: We’ve done it in the past, so we’ve done it, but I think it might have been even a couple of years ago. Like I said, because we tend to be busy, we only tend to do these things if we get a quiet time, and I think this prompted us, even though we were busy, that we should still be reaching out to those people, so we would never have done it in the summer before, and it just made us go through like, “Okay, well we’re doing this task, and we can do this, so let’s follow through and do as much as we can,” and yeah, so we got good results from it.

Killian Vigna: Well, Lilac, listen, thanks a million for being on the show, and I’m glad to hear that you guys have benefited out of it, because we’ve most certainly benefited from just listening to you, and even just the small touch points and ideas that you had, and how we could help you throughout the campaign better. Final words, looking forward to seeing you join next year, yeah?

Lilac Miller: Yeah, we’ll definitely try again, do our best.

Killian Vigna: Brilliant.

Lilac Miller: All right, thank you.

Killian Vigna: Have a great day.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Thanks so much, bye bye.

Killian Vigna: So that was Lilac Miller, there, talking about her experience for Sleeping Beauty, Inverness for the #30Days2Grow. Like Lilac said, it wasn’t possible to do all 30 challenges over the 30 days, but that’s not what we want you to do. We don’t want you to do every challenge every single day, repeatedly. The whole idea of it is, basically, to see if there’s challenges there that identify areas in your business that you just wouldn’t have thought about, and, I suppose, how you could work on them, try new experiences-

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Or even just forgot.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, or even just forgot, and, like she said, summer, busy time of the year, so maybe take that challenge and do it a quieter time of the year. So, if you do want to get involved, you can just go onto www.30days2grow.com, and that’s three zero, and a number two, and you can register any time of the year, and get those challenges. So, like we said, the challenges will be sent out to you every evening, so, basically, by email, so that means you can have time to, I suppose, like Lilac was saying, you can have-

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Plan in advance.

Killian Vigna: …time to plan that challenge, and when you go in first thing in the morning, before you open your salon, you get to discuss the challenge with your staff members. So, yeah, get signed up for that, and just do it in your own time, do it throughout the year, and you can rinse and repeat every time.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Yeah, absolutely, and we had a Facebook group open during the month of July, and that’s not closed.

Killian Vigna: Anyone can join. There’s people still requesting to join.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Definitely, and we’re still looking at all the posts coming up and interacting with you guys, so don’t hesitate, if you are starting the challenge only now, that’s totally fine, you can join in onto the Facebook group as we were saying.

Killian Vigna: And we actually have a moderator, so, no matter what time of the year you’re doing it, there will always be someone there to help you and assist you throughout your challenges. It’s also a community, it’s forum, so if you’re stuck on a challenge, or if you want some great ideas, you can always scroll down to when it first started off, what ideas were put in, or you could just tag anyone in it and request help, or, I suppose, challenge each other.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Exactly. So, if we move on to our Phorest Academy webinars.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, so anyone can join this, but, I suppose clients would benefit from this one the best. It’s the second of our Salon Growth series. Like we were saying, every month focuses on one topic. So this month’s focus is the Salon Growth series: Your Highest Converting Strategy, and what we go through in that, is we highlight the benefits of SMS marketing for your salon, we compare and contrast email and SMS marketing, because there is no one that’s better than the other, they both work best together, we identify the five components of a great SMS campaign, analyze what the top salons are doing, and discover why a salon wouldn’t choose SMS marketing. You can attend that webinar through the Facebook events pages. So, yeah, let us know if you’re enjoying the show, who else do you want to hear, what other topics you want us to cover, do you want any other industry experts on the show? Let us know on iTunes some feedback, or just tag us on Twitter or anything like that.

Zoe Belisle-Springer: Exactly. So, hopefully, you have a great week. We’ll catch you next Monday.

Killian Vigna: All the best.

Thanks for reading!

#LetsGrow


Catch up on the previous Phorest FM episode, or check out the next Phorest FM episode!

Podcast transcription by Rev.com