Creative Head – Salon Smart Event 2018

This weekend the hair industry came together for the 12th Creative Head Magazine – Salon Smart Event, an unmissable event where you are able to network and listen to an amazing 25 guest speakers all in 2 days. Sound amazing?

During the 2 days we heard so many stories from industry experts and I have come away completely inspired. If you have not been to a Salon Smart before you need to add this to your must attend events for next year. There is no other weekend that you can spend with such passionate hairdressers all sharing experiences and all willing to help each other.

I have so much to share with you, settle down this is a big blog…. so here goes!!

Day 1

Sally Montague – Sally Montague Hair Group

Wow! This lady loves a challenge, Sally and her family have taken on huge projects, building a spa retreat, and 3 years into renovating a stately home! Sally shared with us her challenge of finding apprentices. Last year they had no applicants except the unemployable, so action had to be taken. Sally developed a 5 star rating, which involved communicating to both potential  apprentices and their parents/friends on the benefits of the program. The  result were 389 applicants. Sally went on to say “Education sets the standard for our business”. Sally also discloses the cost of the training that they will receive to let them know how much investment she is willing to make into their futures. Sally estimates it costs 9K to train an apprentice! A big investment.


Andrew MulvennaThe Belfast experience 

Andrew shared a very common problem. You are busy busy winning awards but not making any profit. Andrew continued to say that you have to be present with your clients and team. Being aware of your market and bringing the right staff into the business is the first step. Always share success stories with your team and involve them in your vision and journey as they are more likely to stay. Out of the 35 stylists at Andrew’s salon there are only 2 from other salons. His lasts words were that it is never to late to start something new, clients love change, it creates energy. Grow your salon from the ground up!


Carolyn Sweeney and Ken West – Creations/3-6-5 Education

Carolyn and Ken shared their take on client expectations. To grow your business you need to go further than just meeting clients expectations. You need to get stylists to listen to what the customer wants. You may notice some stylists performance levels are dropping off, if you don’t address these issues they will become “flat-liners” this can lead to the “slippery slopers”. Carolyn offered some insight and said “You either love them into the business or love them out”. Loving them out is the kindest way for both parties to move on. Personally I don’t know if ‘loving them out’ is in the HR manual.

Laura Knight – KWS

This section got everyones attention! GDPR (General Data Protection Act) is coming on 25th May. Do you know what it is? If you don’t you need to find out quickly. GDPR replaces the current Data Protection Act (1998). As you can imagine the world has changed since the last legislation, Personal Data is far more detailed.



There are a few must do’s you need to find out about, or get help with;

  • You need to map the personal data your business holds – This is to understand what you have and why you are holding this information. This includes paper i.e. colour records.
  • Your team needs to be educated to understand GDPR and the implications for the business – They need to understand the security procedures in place to protect the data. GDPR allows individuals to be forgotten, and also to see what data you are holding on them.
  • Review your current consent and refresh as needed. GDPR requires data to be held as long as necessary. How many clients details do you have on your system that have not visited you in 6 or 12 months?

Be warned there could be a  2-4% fine of your annual turnover if you breech the Act.

Jennifer Linton and Joanna MacDonald – Linton & Mac

The talent duo have already won 11 awards since opening in 2015. They shared that do everything with love and passion, they have already amassed 6700 clients. The dynamic duo have built core values that they strive to install within the business.




  1.  Create a workplace that is a second home.
  2.  Nourish the team.
  3.  Encourage a collaborative spirit.
  4.  Involve everyone in decision making.
  5.  Always acknowledge a job well done.

Day 2

Simon Tickler – Salon Success

We live in a world of constant change and with brands like Toys R Us closing their doors it must be seen as a warning. I have spend many hours in this store and can’t believe it is closing. This is the new Woolworths effect, no-one is safe in retail. We constantly need to be accessing and looking at our clients buying habits.

Have you asked your clients how they shop? Do your clients see you as a retail shop? We need to be following high street trends and change the way we offer services. The world has changed and you need to be as accessible as your competition.


Larry King Larry King

Larry’s salon journey was a whirlwind, from getting his break in the male grooming world to opening his salon. Larry shared that he has 3 key focus points

Branding – Larry and his wife spent time making sure that their branding brings to life their vision. They brought Larry’s world to life encouraging clients to share their salon experience using #instaenvy #larrysworld

Social Media – Larry stated this is not just a bit on the side, it’s now an integral part of your business.

Love Your Team – Everyone needs to be rewarded and need to feel proud of what they do. Larry says “Invest in this and everyone will be happy”

Happy team = Happy Clients

Sarah Guild – Brandstand Communications


I have to say this was one of my favourite talks. I feel it is very important to understand our clients buying habits. Equally it is important to know what new products are on the market. Sarah advised to seek out the brands that suit your salon and team. The golden age of Indy Products are here. Clients are searching for new beauty gems that are fitting with their lifestyles. Vegan beauty is on the rise as well as wellness which is booming.


How many of you are show-rooming? Show-rooming is when you are recommending products/tools to clients, but not closing the sale. The client then turns to the internet and buys. Fact – the digital age has dramatically impacted the buying habits but only 10% of beauty sales are online, the customer still wants a personal experience.

Trend led approach is still leading with a movement to diversity, Vegan beauty and dry styling. Scalp health is a new trend that is emerging and new salons that are ‘hang outs’ are starting to appear, offering make-up, bar salon services and retail.

Skyler McDonaldSkyler McDonald


The Skyler McDonald salon is a brand new colour specialist salon, they sell expert colour. Skyler spend 3 months training the team to make sure that everyone colours hair in the same way. Skylers vision is that no matter who colours your hair in the salon you will get the same expert results. After your hair colour you have 3 options to dry your hair, pay for professional blow dry, self styling or use the blast dry wall. There are transparent costs and a unique Kaleidoscope colour membership that allows you to be in charge of your colour visits.

I love that someone has brought something new to the industry. Skyler believes change has to come from the heart and challenged the status quo. My favourite quote of hers is “The only thing that can’t be copied is how you make people feel”.

Monica Teodoro – L’Oreal Professional – Tomorrows world

Monica asked us; How well are you doing on social media?

We are spending 2.5 hours a day on social media alone. 71% of people have used a store locator to find a local business. How present are you? Monica urged us to “fish where the fish are”.

Shockingly more people own a smart phone than have a bank account, you could hear the gasps in the audience, but then Monica reveal that more people of a smart phone than a tooth brush. This is truly tomorrows world!

You must emerge yourself in the social media playground, if you don’t play here you will become invisible.

I had  a wonderful weekend with some old friends and made some new! Please feel free to comment, I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.










Love, Jo x



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