By Julia Erben, Event Director of Beauty Expo Australia and Beauty Expo Melbourne.
The beauty industry is changing. Beauty blogs, websites and social media are making it increasingly important for industry professionals to be seen as the experts and stay at the forefront of trends and industry developments through education, says Julia Erben, Event Director of Beauty Expo Australia and Beauty Expo Melbourne.
The beauty industry is one of the fastest changing landscapes, with consistent innovation in technology, treatments and skincare ingredients. The traditional dynamic between customer and beautician is increasingly disrupted by external forces like the changing media environment, which provides a constant flow of information and expertise to consumers via modern channels like blogs and social media.
Consumers believe they are much more well-informed; yet we know that what they are fed online may not always be correct or comprehensive information. So, they would hopefully trust their therapist or beautician to be their adviser. This is where it is imperative that beauty professionals are aware of the latest product developments and trends. Frequent education and training will ensure your finger is on the pulse and that you continue to be front-of-mind when your clients are considering trialling something new. A lack of awareness and education could lead to a loss of faith in your services and your business, and your clients will turn elsewhere to spend their money.
When it comes to selecting education courses, however, it can be difficult to know where to start and indeed, how useful certain types of education will be to the health of your business, the happiness and fulfilment of your staff and the satisfaction of your customers.
One of the most important things to take into consideration is seeking independently organised education that is free of any potential bias toward product suppliers. While supplier-sponsored courses can be an excellent source of product knowledge, they will inevitably favour a brand and its business objectives, which may or may not be suitable for your own business model.
Instead, find training and education options offered by associations, organisations and trade events, which are comparatively impartial and will take a more holistic approach to education.
Trade conferences or expo events offer an assortment of skilled professionals sharing their expertise on all facets of the beauty industry. Not only will you have the opportunity to attend multiple workshops, seminars and demonstrations that will benefit your professional development, but you’ll also do so efficiently. Spending an extended amount of time out of the salon can lead to a potential loss in revenue and interruptions to your business and your clients. Events are a great solution – rather than spending a day attending a course that may help you with one skill, why not attend an event where you can benefit from intensive education for the same amount of time spent out of the salon?
Additionally, trade events can offer a fantastic source of networking potential. Rub shoulders with prominent industry leaders, learn of industry developments and new products, and fully immerse yourself in a supportive and innovative environment where you can really broaden your professional horizons.
As the beauty industry grows, so does its competitive nature, with more businesses vying for consumers’ increasing discretionary spending. Beauty therapists need to actively target that percentage of disposable income by being fully aware of and retaining their expert advantage.
Instant fixers in the medical beauty space are also putting pressure on salons by introducing competition for consumers’ beauty budgets. Where previously salons were the go-to for treatments, now the onus is also being placed on doctors, nurses and medical clinics to deliver results that consumers are happy with.
While it can be advantageous to retain a medically trained staff member, or collaborate with a doctor to provide these treatments, it’s just as important to be in a position where you can confidently refer your clients to the right place if you’re unable to offer them yourself. You then become the point of contact for ongoing follow-ups and benefit from the repeat business that comes from the initial treatment.
But the ever-growing number of ‘quick fixes’ that modern beauty clientele increasingly seek isn’t just confined to the surgical or clinical realm. There are instant and non-invasive treatments available in the beauty space that can still dramatically enhance the appearance – for instance; semi-permanent brow work, permanent makeup, and tanning. If you and your team are able to provide these services, and provide them well, you will retain repeat business.
Another innovation in the beauty sector is the growing popularity of personal wellbeing. We’ve seen this in the travel space – for instance, wellness spas and beauty services popping up at airport lounges and the prominence of health and wellness holidays – as well as in the offerings being introduced in salons and day spas closer to home which focus more on clients’ health, be it nutritional, therapeutic or a combination of the two.
It’s not surprising, then, that in an ever more fast-paced environment, people are engaging in wellness activities in new, more efficient ways. In some parts of Europe, the development of a new type of immersive waterbed sees clients able to tune out of the everyday, meditate and relax. The beds envelop the user in a ‘bladder’ filled with warm water, emulating the feeling of having a bath, but without actually getting wet. Particularly in high-density population areas, without convenient access to the natural attractions we have in abundance in Australia, people are engaging with their personal wellbeing by having a quick immersive water bed treatment on their lunch-break (without the need to remove their office attire).
While this specific treatment may or may not be as appealing in the Australian context, the ‘quick-fix’ sentiment behind it is something that consumers are increasingly demanding from their beauty regimes.
Education in what is possible, even if you don’t offer it yourself, is absolutely essential for beauty professionals – not only for you, but for the rest of your team, too. Engage your salon with online learning courses or share the insights you gain from attending an education program with all of your employees, and reap the rewards that come with retaining an expert advantage in the beauty industry.