“Bigger than Beauty” was the theme for the second edition of the Business Leaders Summit at the Sydney International Spa & Beauty Expo, held on the weekend, Sarah Bowing writes.

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Hosted again by the engaging Amanda Stevens and described as “an inspiring combination of unparalleled networking, outstanding learning experiences and indulgent hospitality”, the all-day event – punctuated by a degustation champagne lunch – featured a cross-section of industry experts who encouraged the audience to be bigger than beauty.

Amanda opened with the sobering statistic that 3000 retailers closed their doors in 2012 but lifted the mood when she added that 2014 was expected to see the single largest increase in consumer spending since the GFC. She observed there were two types of people in the industry: beauty people in business and business people in beauty – and that the latter group would maximise the potential of the “bigger than beauty” mantra.

The first speaker was John Wolske from Zappos (USA), self-styled cultural evangelist, who delivered happiness, Zappos-style, by stressing the importance of company culture in driving people, products and profits forward. The service experience was at the core of John’s talk and very much on-target with an audience of personal care service providers.

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Industry veteran, Ricky Allen, connected with many in her “Stop Selling and Start Helping” presentation, urging all beauty practitioners to develop a multi-faceted approach in order to foster loyalty and create clients who are also brand ambassadors.

Beauty blogger Nikki Parkinson from Styling You explained the power of online tools in uniting the web-based world and the actual person that compels the right people to listen to your story and purchase what you have to offer. With over 11,000 Facebook fans, Nikki has a proven track record of beauty business success.

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Peter Baines rounded out an enlightening and very enjoyable day recounting his incredible experience in Bali and explained why the greatest moments that matter are not those we experience alone but those we have the privilege of sharing. Peter chaired the interactive round table workshop at the conclusion of the day, aided by a luscious afternoon tea that saw attendees walk away with specific steps and strategies ready to be implemented into their businesses.

For more information on the 2013 Business Leaders Summit visit http://www.internationalbeautyexpo.com.au/