By Jason Greenhalgh, Managing Director of Brisbane Hair and Beauty Expo
There is no doubt that education is one of the most critical ingredients for continued growth and success in any industry. In a world of ever-changing trends and technology, every qualified professional must ensure they are at the cutting edge, simply to ensure survival.
The beauty industry is no different.
Although relatively new to the hair and beauty industry, we have seen first-hand the impact education can have in a short period of time.
Through the introduction of unlimited digital communication, we now have access to an incredible amount of information – some good, some not so good. Online training through the various industry institutions and suppliers has meant that education is now available to everybody.
The tyranny of distance has traditionally been seen as a major obstacle for education across any industry – particularly through our home state of Queensland – with such an expansive population spread. The internet has revolutionised education in this regard. However, the continual challenge for many up-and-coming professionals is to research and identify what is quality education, and what is not.
For example, we have witnessed how social media, blogs and YouTube can turn a beauty professional into an online sensation. Yes, there are plenty of professionals using this platform which can provide improved results; however, at times with limited knowledge of their background it can be difficult to know if they are a credible and qualified resource. It is critical, therefore, that you do your research if using this progressive learning format.
Many beauty professionals are ‘creative’ right-brained people, so it is important to discover what learning formats work best for each individual. Online education is great if you are self-driven and willing to practice on your own. However do not underestimate the value of what you will gain from direct feedback from an experienced instructor in a live scenario.
This is where certified and experienced educational institutions, educators and courses stand out from the crowd, and while online education certainly has its place, in my opinion there are unlimited benefits of face-to-face educational training.
Nothing can replace that ‘in the moment’ environment and focus that can be obtained from an ‘on location’ course, workshop or lecture – similar to what we have on offer at our Brisbane Hair and Beauty Expo Extended Education Program.
With many people travelling from regional areas, interstate, and overseas to attend trade shows, this demonstrates the importance placed on such educational opportunities. Everyone wants and needs to be positioned at the coalface of their industry.
Ultimately, consumer behaviour drives change, and right now the customer’s needs and desires are changing more rapidly than ever due to this unlimited access to information. Additionally, downturns in the economy have created more competition for every dollar in the marketplace, so salon owners (and beauty professionals in general) cannot afford to be complacent. Staying educated is the key to staying competitive and staying one step ahead of the game – if you are not up-to-date on new techniques, products or trends you will fall behind, which will in turn have a detrimental impact on your overall career progression and/or business.
Furthermore, what was fashionable six months ago may not be today. Many of the skills and techniques used six months ago may now be superseded with new methods, which can only be developed through education. Playing it safe can backfire, so learning new skills and techniques by seeking out educational opportunities to fine-tune your craft is a must.
Over time many clients will want change and start asking about new trends. They will be looking to you, the beauty professional, for advice and instruction. If you do not have the right or enough information for your clients, they will look elsewhere which could be very costly for any salon. The lesson from this is to pay attention to trends and capitalize on education or training that teaches the necessary skills to deliver results for your clients.
Many beauty professionals believe that because they have been in the industry for a decade or more and have their own salon that the education journey is over for them. Sorry, but education is probably MORE important than ever for these business owners.
This is not reflected anywhere better than in the technology now available to manage a salon. Only one thing seems to stay the same about technology—the fact it is always changing and constantly evolving. What seemed unimaginable yesterday, is reality today, and outdated tomorrow.
The latest advances including cloud computing, electronic appointment bookings, QR codes, apple technology, group couponing, social media and geo-location games offer a world of possibility for salon businesses. But sorting through all of these and picking what is right for your salon is quite a chore. This is where the salon owner, management and/or employees need to step up otherwise they will again be left behind.
Education also plays a critical role in ensuring health and safety in the salon. The dynamics of industry legislation and regulation mean all professionals need to be educated in the way they interact with their staff and clients. From salon hygiene to equipment certification, waste management to personal hygiene of the staff themselves – all these aspects of running a successful salon need to be continually monitored and modified appropriately through sufficient education.
Finally, perhaps the best way to look at your education is like going to the gym to meet your fitness goals. If you stop working out, you will lose any progress you have made and your health may suffer. Similarly, beauty professionals who do not continue to seek out new opportunities for growth will see their skills decline. You are either moving forward or you are one step behind. Nobody stands still.
Jason is the owner and Managing Director of Major League Marketing & Events. He is also the creator of the Brisbane Hair and Beauty Expo, Brisbane Fitness and Health Expo, and Brisbane Fashion Weekend. He is on the advisory board of the QUT School of Business, a Queensland Councillor for Red Kite and former president of the Australian Marketing Institute.