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  • SKINtuition: 15 Ways to Build a Championship Team

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    A good job is hard to find, but every business owner or spa manager knows a good employee is even harder to keep. Great business leaders have many characteristics, but one thread that weaves among the best is their ability to foster culture and talent so staff (and clients alike) look forward to coming to work.

    In the spa world, owners are often also operators that still personally service clients in addition to managing a team, and this creates a challenge. By 7 p.m., energy is depleted to “empty husk” level, and there’s no patience for staff squabbles, training needs or a clogged dermabrasion machine.

    Contrary to belief, a fat paycheck is not the sole root to motivation. To build a championship team it takes effort, creativity and most of all, praise. If you are feeling a bit of a “husk” yourself and recognize that staff morale needs a boost, give a few of these a try.

    1. Be transparent about the numbers.

    Ensure you have ongoing open communication about the business, the good and the bad. Share these in monthly and weekly meetings. It helps the team understand spending, the meaning behind tasks and encourages ownership, accountability and commitment.

    2. Set goals and targets.

    Champions need goals with clear expectations for results to be achieved. Everyone needs to know their daily, weekly and monthly goals, and attention needs to be given to this on a daily basis. There’s nothing worse than an individual missing a goal by a leg wax or sale of one cleanser. As a manager or owner, it is your duty to help them reach these goals, which starts with them knowing what they are.

    3. Recognize a job well done.

    Have “shout outs” at team meetings, and compliment a team member when you witness outstanding customer service, teamwork and/or skilled performance. Start a public recognition program like employee of the month, share on your social media pages and physically hang a picture of the team member in your business for clients to celebrate them too.

    4. Encourage attendance to education.

    New modalities and ingredients get introduced into our industry daily along with skin scientific discoveries. Support your staff and encourage their progress and achievements. Get them to share new skills or relevant information with your other team members on their return. Champions aren’t created without training.

    5. Support new ideas.

    When staff members voice an idea or a solution to a problem they believe is for the betterment of the business, it shows that they care. Supporting new ideas and giving an individual the chance to ‘run with it’ is motivating, whether or not it works out in the end.

    6. Empower decision making.

    The salon or spa should not crumble if you are gone for a day or week. If you have trained and empowered your staff to make decisions, let them take full ownership, let go of the reigns and let them roll.

    7. Don’t let boredom sneak in.

    Keep it fun with planned outings and group activities. Host a best smoothie recipe taste-off, book an early spin class or arrange a group hike and picnic. Have someone suggest a team building activity quarterly.

    8. Give together and grow together.

    Have one day per quarter where you all volunteer for your chosen non-profit, be it a cut-a-thon, complimentary skin treatments and makeovers for a woman’s shelter. Giving feels good and goes a long way to boost empathy and team spirit.

    9. Hear from them.

    Have a different person each week run the meeting to break up the monotony. Have different team members update about different areas of the business like new client acquisition, social media engagement, retail figures and new products.

    10. Write to say thanks.

    Send a handwritten note or card for a job well done be it for client retention, delicate handling of a customer compliant or achieving a retail target for the first time.

    11. Treat them.

    Chocolate and good coffee are always a winner. Purchase a small surprise unique gift for an outstanding team member. Bring in homemade treats, or let them organize a potluck.

    12. Help them to prioritize.

    Learn to recognize burn-out and make sure your team knows it is part of the teamwork culture to ask for help.

    13. Celebrate.

    Celebrate important markers, be it team birthdays, hitting targets together, work anniversaries or milestones.

    14. Challenge.

    Whether it’s to spearhead a new project, social media campaign, new service promotion or event, give them the responsibility and guidelines to run with it.

    15. Encourage friendly competition.

    A competitive environment is a productive environment. Champs love to participate in competitions or challenges for increased camaraderie.

    This article was originally published in SkinInc.com.

  • SKINtuition: 5 Ways To Get People Buzzing About Your Biz

    Buzz or word-of-mouth marketing is best described as “people talking about you.” Has a friend recently recommended a new hip restaurant, a unique store, cool website or insist you watch a certain Netflix show? Has a business connection suggested a new money saving app? That’s buzz.

    Buzz can happen organically, and creating buzz for your business is not hard. It takes a bit of creativity, willingness to fail and above all confidence. Here are five simple ideas to push up the buzz o’ meter.

    1. Stand Out

    Do something that will get you noticed. Examples could include a new advanced treatment, big event or giving back to the community. If you do what every other spa does, you’re not worth talking about.

    2. Share Your Story

    Storytelling is gold. If your entered into skin care as a life-long dream after losing your job, getting divorced or finally getting your kids out of the nest, share this. Being honest and transparent is refreshing, and people love a real success story (especially the press), so don’t be afraid to share your truth or even your failures for that matter. It’s fascinating and people want to connect with and support small business.

    3. Look After Your Loyalists

    Loyal clients are the ones who will buzz about you to their friends and family in person and via social, so it’s in your best interest to treat them like royalty. It goes way beyond your treatments and services—you should have stellar customer service support, build exceptional relationships and go above and beyond expectations. Your top clients give you the majority of your business, it’s part of the 80/20 rule. So dial up how you acknowledge and reward them. The occasional “surprise and delight” unexpected note, gift or complimentary service goes down as a treat too.

    4. Be Your Own Ambassador of Buzz

    If you’re not ready to jump in and chat about your craft, then who else? Instead of focusing on what you do and how you do it, talk to people about why you do it. When you talk about the why, your authentic passion will come through; this is much more fascinating and galvanizing for someone to hear.

    Think of it as your own 30 second “elevator pitch” you need to be able to get this down and it is the cheapest and easiest most important form of buzz marketing. Share away at networking events, startup meetups, co-working spaces, industry get-together’s, backyard BBQs and even in the dog park.

    5. Dig Deep Into Social

    Research says that 63% of consumers who search for local businesses online are more likely to use businesses with information on social media sites. Facebook alone is now a mini website, and your social platforms are likely to be more up to date than your business website.

    When you consider that 93% of buying decisions are also influenced by social media, it is a no brainer. No social presence equals no visibility and no business. So post, Pin, engage, Tweet, Instagram, Snapchat away, but keep it professional, educational, positive, a bit quirky and fun if you want to convert those followers to service dollars.

    This article was originally published in SkinInc.com.

  • SKINtuition: 8 Fast and Slow Retail Strategies

    Dermalogica retail shopper

    As spa owners or managers, we need to make retail a focus instead of an afterthought, and our approach to retail and service should be both fast and slow. Sounds confusing? Let me explain.

    First, some good news. Although the idea of omni-retail (or multichannel retailing) might be overwhelming for small business owners, the good news is people are buying plenty of products. According to the NPD group, $16 billion was spent in 2015 by U.S consumers on prestige skin and beauty products and a staggering $21.7 billion in the mass channel. That’s a lot of lotion and lipstick. So, how can we make some better retail gains in the professional industry?

    When shoppers leisurely hanging out and enjoy themselves with in-store services, storytelling with less inventory, having customers take a seat to try products or even having a library or art installation, sales can increase by as much as 40%. Customers not only leave with three products on average, but a future service booking with a skin therapist and a much stronger understanding of their skin needs.

    So what more can you do to secure your sales? What best practices should you be replicating in your retail area? Here are eight fast and slow ideas to get your slice of that $16-billion-dollar pie.

    1. Add Experiences

    Investigate new ways to “power-up” the client experience through complimentary face mappings, self-serving or guided product bars, and in-store skin lesson mini events.

    2. Create Mini Services

    During quieter times, offer “on-demand” 10-minute services that don’t require a booking and are complimentary when a number of products or a core service is purchased.

    3. Remove Clutter

    Remove clutter and any inventory that either muddles your message, you don’t wholeheartedly believe in or can’t adequately differentiate from other product offerings.

    4. Design a story

    Have a weekly “story” in your retail area with curated product picks on your feature table that tell the backstory. Clients or customers should see something unique or different every visit. Use great visuals to spark inspiration.

    5. Amplify your theme

    Feature one-time-only treatments that tie into new product launches to amplify the central theme or story.

    6. Personalized marketing

    Personal­ization reigns. Make sure your outreach and promotions are customized as are your recommendations—not just to your customer’s exact skin needs but their desires, habits, lifestyle and preferences. Banish cookie cutter everything and replace with custom-made designed.

    7. Be real

    Whenever you speak, tell the real stories behind the product without needless fluff.

    8. Don’t forget about neighbors

    Focus on your neighbors and local community—how can you come together and support each other and the community as a whole?

    Remember, that you must convert your service clients to retail clients. If you are not, then you are not only doing them a disservice, but someone else who’s less qualified than you is wiping the pie crumbs away after eating your slice.

    This article was originally published in SkinInc.com.

  • SKINtuition: 6 Ways to Stand Out in the Age of Impatience

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    Looking back, industry trends in 2015 heralded some fascinating consumer behavior. Clients took advantage of new booking apps that deliver an at-home massage within one hour, but then endured long and multiple color appointments to accomplish that perfect ombre fade. Who would have expected #multimasking to have a major moment on Instagram, or that lash extensions would creep north and we’d be microblading in bushier brows? We tried to be more mindful, especially as we consumed copious amounts of kale. I’d love to know who the PR team is behind kale because they deserve an award for 2015’s most popular cabbage. Consumer trends can be overwhelming, but they are worth extra attention. The trick is to decipher what’s going to stick, what’s a fad and what is just plain bonkers.

    One trend that seems to be here to stay is the need for instant gratific­ation. Thanks to our hyper-connectivity and a tolerance for waiting that has dropped to zero, restless impatience is driving industry trends and will impact your business in 2016.

    This “Amazon-ification” level of expectation has surpassed virtual reality and seeped into every corner of our lives. Waiting 48 hours for an online order seems like an eternity, so same-day delivery is becoming the norm. Smartphone apps not only eliminate waiting for a cab, but human interaction: apps can bypass flirting by suggesting a date and securing a table at the toughest reservation in town. Teenagers don’t watch TV; they stream their favorite shows and movies on their tablet or laptop in seconds.

    Experts caution that all this instant gratification comes at a price; it’s made us terribly impatient. The new anxiety, wasting a single moment not getting exactly what you want. A study from the University of Massassa­chusettes Amherst says we now abandon videos if they take longer than two seconds to load. Today’s consumer is so restless that we’d rather be literally shocked than have nothing to do. University of Virginia scientists found that participants preferred to administer electric shocks to themselves rather than being left alone with their own thoughts for 6 to 15 minutes. We literally crave stimulation!

    If you are still operating your business like you did even two years ago, you need to “think quicker.” Here are six to-dos to help satisfy restless, impatient clients.

    1. Mobile Booking
    Make appointment booking painless by providing a quick online or even better mobile app option.

    2. Improve Software
    Ensure that check-in and check-out is efficient. Invest in computerized software that keeps client information on file for fewer lines and faster service.

    3. Develop Micro Services
    Consider offering “no appointment necessary” for micro services under 30 minutes.

    4. Engage During Waits
    Identify ways to engage clients while they wait. Can they give themselves a mini treatment at your product pool or skin bar, or make their own bath salts at your salt bar? Perhaps they get a “texters thumb” massage while watching video tutorials on how to treat their delicate eye area. Get creative!

    5. Text Confirmation
    Confirm appointments via text or a messaging app. Don’t leave a voicemail asking for a call back to confirm the appointment.

    6. Make Products Pronto
    Ensure that you have comprehensive client profiles set up in your system so you can quickly deliver or mail that emergency travel product or cleanser when they run out. Even better, track their purchases and anticipate what products they need replenished. The client who drives, parks and comes in for a single product is diminishing, but this kind of forward-thinking customer service can help grow your clientele and your retail business.

    This article was originally published in SkinInc.com.

  • #TopicsonTrend with Annet King

    annet croppedKeep an ear to the ground with an eye toward the future—that’s my motto. We live in a world in constant motion; goods, capital and labor are traveling globally at a faster pace than ever and moving in novel patterns. Not to mention that pop culture and consumer trends are quite fascinating to me. So I took the liberty of researching trends like multi-masquingmanscaping, cannabusiness, sound therapy, fast shopping vs. slow shopping, even 3D bioprinting of skin (I can go all day with this!) to understand how they can affect the future of our business.

    In order to successfully navigate the ever-changing world of consumer perceptions, it helps to understand the landscape. If you don’t know where you stand, it’s difficult to get to where you want to be. Technology has rapidly changed how we behave, shop and interact FOREVER yet many skin centers, salons and spas continue to operate in the same manner.

    To stay relevant, profitable and successful we have to continuously adapt our business around the needs, wants and desires of the consumer. We need to think differently and act fast to seize every opportunity to attract new clients, increase services, boost retail revenues and secure loyalty. It’s time to open your eyes, act fast and make sure you don’t get left behind!

    Get started by watching my webinar #TopicsonTrend, courtesy of American Spa, to discover the most important trends that impact our industry and what you can do to ensure your business stays relevant.

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  • SKINtuition: 5 Tips to Make Resolutions Stick

    annet croppedEmbarking on a new year means many of us will declare goals for 2016 (#Goals2016). Whether it is getting more financially, mentally or physically fit, starting or getting out of a business or relationship, or transforming ourselves entirely like Khloe K., resolutions are a great way to press the metaphorical “reset” button. However, research shows that only about 8% of us are successful in achieving resolutions. Reasons vary, but I think three may resonate with many of us.

    The past. When we are making that list, it is hard to not reflect on what we didn’t achieve the prior year. This can leave us feeling pretty lousy about ourselves, and that is not the best mindset for making positive changes.

    Guilt. Other “stuff” tends to get in the way of spending time on our goals, such as guilt about not giving enough time to our kids, our partner, our employees or our dog.

    Overachi­eving. Too many goals on the list can be overwhelming and paralyzing, not catalyzing.

    checklistSome good news—those who write down their resolutions are ten times more likely to achieve them. Find a partner to help you, and the odds go up again. So grab a pen and a pal, and try these tips to ensure 2016 fulfills your expectations.

    1. List Achievements and Fears First.

    Don’t begin with your 2016 to-do list. Rather, start out by listing the times in 2015 when you were superbly awesome. Include what you achieved, when you had to overcome fear and tried or learned something new. Print it, record it, pin it and every time you’re feeling less than confident or getting off track, read it out loud. Now that you are sufficiently pumped, take an honest look and make a list of what you fear and why. Is the fear rational? What is your plan to overcome it?

    2. Pick One Goal, Not Five.

    It is better to pick one specific, measurable goal that is broken into daily tasks or steps. This gives you a better chance of conserving enough self-control to succeed. For example, if your goal is to get regular exercise, your specific goal could be to go to the gym three times a week to workout for an hour or walk the dog every morning at 7a.m. for 30 minutes. Running a marathon, finding a mate and learning a new language while writing a memoir is a tad unachievable for most of us.

    3. Commit to You Time.

    The old cliché “take care of yourself first or you will have nothing left to give others” is not only true, but something that is very close to home in our industry. We are not the best at self-care as we spend our entire working day and sometimes home life caring for others. When you practice self-care in whatever form works for you (receiving professional help, meditation, massage, hiking a hill or weeding your succulents), you will have more time and love to give to those around you and energy towards achieving your goals.

    4. Hang Up the Cape.

    Many of us aspire to be a superhero and feel the pressure to compete and juggle it all, whether it is gaining a CrossFit bod, baking muffins for the kids, being a super thoughtful partner/​friend or moving up the corporate ladder. You simply can’t do it all at once; you’ll burn out and get overwhelmed. When you overextend yourself, you build up an energy debt, and have none leftover for your goals.

    5. No Shame Game.

    Don’t beat yourself up when you miss a workout, indulge in a latte or skip a class. It does not help. There’s even research to support this fact. Feeling shame increases stress and leads to worse outcomes. For example, fat shaming leads to more donut eating. So while it’s tough to say no to a Cronut or Krispy Kreme, eating a box shouldn’t be on anyone’s goal list.

    This article was originally published in SkinInc.com.

  • The Genius of Local

    annet croppedThere’s a popular saying that raising a child, “Takes a village,” but that same phrase can also provide a smart template for shaping a business. That is not to say that it takes a village to run a salon or spa, though sometimes I’m sure it feels that way. Creating deep ties within a local community—or village—is the best way to set your spa up for success.

    Channel Your Roots

    As a small business owner or professional skin therapist, you might compete against bigger chain establishments or online “flash” sales from local competitors. These competitors might have muscle in the marketplace, but they cannot offer your personal touch or the knowledge and relationships you have cultivated over the years.

    Consider this: when the dust cleared after the recession, it was the neighborhood spa who knew every client’s name that remained standing. It wasn’t the multi-door medi-spa with the laser hair removal specials and fancy ad campaigns. Humans are social creatures by nature. Connecting with your community should be a key approach in building your business.

    People want local, personal flavor, especially if they need to commute a distance for work every day. Focus your marketing campaigns to a 3-5 mile radius to resonate with this “locavore” mentality.

    Wyle Cop in Shrewsbury, EnglandSupport Your Neighbors

    People want to feel connected, and consumers respond with loyalty to merchants and vendors who care about what is happening in the community.

    Smart businesses are attuned to this. Catch that wave and be part of it! Get to know, and be supportive to your business neighbors, even if you don’t share the same key target market. Owners, their employees and families are all potential clients for you.

    Support each other’s social media pages—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more. Not only will your following grow, but you will be building relationships and be more tuned in with the local conversation.

    Join your neighbors and welcome in wanderers by opening your doors late on the “first Friday” of each month. Hold joint events with the yoga studio up the road and feature fresh-pressed juices from the spot next door.

    Tie in to Local Services

    Network via merchants associations and the Chamber of Commerce, and tie your philanthropy into the local services versus branches of huge national companies. Show your support by involving your business in ways that benefit local schools, libraries, women’s shelters, public works and utilities, fire and police departments, animal shelters and more. These organizations are the heartbeat of any local village.

    I live in sprawling Los Angeles, the city that was built on the single-occupancy automobile and the freeway. Personally, I try really hard to always use local service providers like my veterinarian, dry cleaner, hairstylist and electrician. I try not to shop or eat outside of my community, especially on weekends.

    This way, I can ride my bicycle, be more eco-friendly, and also do my part to support small business—after all, selfishly, I don’t want them to go away!

    Share Your Appreciation

    Don’t shy away from telling your clients how much you appreciate them and how much you need their support. Emphasize that you need them to buy their products from you directly, versus going online to a faceless source. People will be happy to support you!

    Proof of this in Los Angeles, New York, and probably your town, is the anti-Walmart proliferation of farmer’s markets for regionally grown edibles, indie coffee shops, or open air stalls offering assorted local wares.

    To quote another popular phrase, “No man is an island!” Make a concentrated effort to become embedded in the fabric of your community, and the locals will thank you.

    This article was originally published in Skin Inc. Magazine

  • Follow Your SKINtuition with Annet King

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    Are you’re looking for a little push in the right direction in your career, and don’t know where to start? Leave it to our director of global education Annet King to get you moving onward and upward!

    All you have to do is read her monthly column SKINtuition, as seen in Skin Inc. Magazine, to learn expert tips and business advice for all professionals in skin therapy.

    So regardless if you’re a skin care pro out on your own or the proud owner of a skin center, take a moment to check out the latest entries to help take your career and your business to the next level of success.

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    Eat That Procrastination Frog for Better Business

    Sleep Deprivation and Skin

    3 Tools of the Trade Every Skin Pro Needs

    5 Ways to Beat Client Boredom

    Merchandising Secrets You Need to Know (BTW, they can boost retail by 35%)

    Culture or Vulture 

  • SPF and Aging

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    A good SPF product is a skin care essential, but clients often struggle with finding the right formula. Here is how to help clients choose the perfect SPF products for their skin at every age.

    20’s: Since oil production is still high, skin may be breakout prone. Clients need a daily SPF formula that does not clog pores or contribute to comedones; and fragrance, color, Isopropyl Myristate, Lanolin and Mineral Oil should all be avoided. Suggest a lightweight SPF that helps combat and treat breakout prone skin and soak up excess oil, and add an eye treatment with SPF to your clients’ regimens to prevent future ultraviolet (UV) damage like crow’s feet.

    30’s: Recommend a tinted moisturizer! Multi benefit, 3-in-1 products with a wash of color, hydration and built-in broad spectrum SPF are ideal. Another option is to customize your clients’ moisturizers by mixing in a SPF booster. Look for the latest Oleosome technology that also acts as an emulsifier and allows for a higher concentration of sunscreen ingredients without the irritation.

    40’s: Signs of aging and hyperpigmentation are more evident in your 40s, so SPF30 or higher will best address firmness, elasticity and age-related triggers like reactive oxygen species (ROS). Clients can layer an age-fighting skin primer with peptides, Pearl Powder and SPF30 to help combat harmful rays while smoothing lines.

    50’s and up: Skin is significantly drier and more sensitive in your 50s, so a chemical SPF might not be an option. Suggest an ultra-sensitive SPF30 that has physical sunscreen ingredients like Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide, as well as built-in calming complexes to soothe skin. If your clients’ skin is very dry, recommend an appropriate moisturizer under which they can layer SPF.

    This article was originally published on ModernSalon.com

  • Beauty Sleep – Myth or Truth?

    This topic has always been one of some debate, from a personal perspective it was just one of the many ploys that my mother used to coax me to go to bed when I was a wee one! Today we know more about what actually happens to us when we sleep and the consequences of not getting enough quality shut eye. From credible research that links sleep deprivation to obesity to the abundance of apps that measure how many times we roll over, sleep is a hot topic and big business… Here’s what we know about sleep and the skin, and what happens when you don’t get enough!

    It’s Day Job

    In the daytime, the skin is very active fighting off potential invaders like bacteria and viruses while also neutralizing unstable molecules that cause havoc on cells. These are generated by UV, chemical exposure, smoke, stress, unhealthy diets and pollution. Just another reason why sunscreen is a must and preferably one with built in antioxidant technology. It’s not only you that has to work during the day: your skin has a long list of job responsibilities, too.

    The Night Shift

    At night the skin switches to clean up and repair mode while you rest, new skin cells replace damaged cells and rejuvenation takes place. In fact, cell regeneration increases by double at night and production of collagen also escalates. To help enhance this process, use or prescribe specialized overnight products, specifically those with microencapsulated Retinol and designer peptides that work on repairing skin. As the skin is clean and not in defense mode, it’s more readily able to absorb these helpful ingredients. Most people do best with about 7 hours sleep. Well rested skin looks exactly that — well rested, good tone, plump, fresh, hydrated and bright.

    Burning the Candle

    On the flip side, lack of sleep can be detrimental to both the skin and body. The body uses sleep time for internal housekeeping – processing nutrients, detoxifying, renewing and recharging. If your body is chronically starved for sleep, the effects will eventually become visibly and physically noticeable. Signs like slow healing breakouts or telltale dark circles and puffiness under the eyes are going to give you away, you’ll feel tired and look tired.

    Long Term? Think Zombie Skin!

    Something every party girl needs to know is that when you build up ‘sleep debt’ over time, this has long-term consequences. The aging process will be accelerated and the immune system will be impaired, which means you’ll be more susceptible to skin infections, cold sores maybe even skin cancer. For the body as a whole there are chronic effects like serious health issues, metabolic problems, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and depression.

    Top Tips For Some Quality Shut Eye

    Ready to change those sleeping habits? Here’s some helpful tips to get you on your way to rest and relaxation:

    •  No caffeinated beverages, tea or coffee after 4 pm (also no sugar at least 2 hours before bed).

    •  Working out after work or doing yoga also really helps not just for the body but for switching off the brain from work.

    •  No phones or bright LED lights next to the bed, or in the room for that matter. Try to black out your room as much as possible or try a sleep masque.

    •  Taking a bath with a blend of relaxing essential oils — the heat from the water soothes muscles, the aromas through you breathing them in will help you to unwind. The best essential oils for sleep are Lavender, Chamomile, Sandalwood, Ylang ylang and Rose.