Awaken, Sleeping Beauty
If you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed that now more than ever before, our beloved beauty industry has become very attractive to many outside entities, industries and individuals. Take the pharmaceutical industry for example, for over a decade now we’ve seen such hybrids like, “cosmeceuticals” which are cosmetics that claim to have medicinal properties, especially anti-aging ones. This all reminds me of the olé-school cartoon, “Sylvester and Tweety” where the very hungry cat Sylvester tried countless attempts to devise schemes to devour the irresistible and adorable canary bird Tweety. Now, if the beauty industry is Tweety, then who is Sylvester? Sylvester is every entity, industry and individual attempting to disrupt our traditional protocols (beauty school, licensure, continuing education) such as; Government, Amazon, and YouTube to name a few. I felt compelled to inform those whose radars may not be tuned into this frequency.
Now disruption is nothing new, it’s all around us. Uber and Lyft disrupted the taxi industry, Airbnb disrupted the hotel industry, and Netflix disrupted the movie distribution industry. The way I see it, one of two things happen when disruption occurs. The disrupted industries either die (video stores) or steps its game up and compete (hotel and movie industries). After all competition is the American way. How does all this impact the beauty professional and our beloved industry? Let’s Examine.
In recent years (circa 2012) the subject of deregulating industries such as cosmetology has become a hot topic in Washington and many state governments. It seems the popular opinion supporting this idea is too many “barriers” slowing down or preventing the “American Dream”. Some lawmakers and academics believe that regulations negatively impact the economy by preventing would-be workers from easily entering a chosen field, thus improving the economy. I believe these opinions are deeply steeped in ignorance of the knowledge needed to be at least proficient in our industry like, thermodynamics, trichology and chemistry. (Link to Washington Post article)
The tech giant founded by Jeff Bezos on July 5, 1994, is the largest internet-based retailer in the world by total sales and market capitalization, (Wikipedia). Unless you are void of all human and technological contact, you have to see the implications of Amazon’s disruption on our industry. Many salon owners as well as operators enjoy the substantial revenues that retailing professional beauty products yields. Imagine how your personal economy would be impacted if you could no longer enjoy this privilege. As this Goliath gobbles up retailers around the world and makes no apologies for it.
This is my personal favorite! As a 32 year professional stylist, salon owner, and licensed cosmetology teacher, I have to tell you as I watched the crops of unlicensed wannabe beauty pros do tutorials and gain notoriety as beauty “influencers”, I must admit I was underwhelmed, to put it mildly. However, being the insightful activist I am, this disruption in the marketplace provoked me to action! As it should all who care about preserving the integrity of our industry and not only want to be successful but significant, by raising the bar for your own practice and that of your salon.
Tips for raising the bar!
- Get Excited – Be innovative, nothing excites a creative mind and spirit more than learning cool new techniques that can be immediately applied to our practice and translated to increased sales and revenues.
- Get Involved – Join a trade association near you like, Cosmetologists Chicago whose chief objective is to create initiatives that bring top education and training to you, like the America’s Beauty Show, First Monday’s classes, and The Next Gen, for our raising young stars.
- Get Connected – Don’t be an island! Reach out to other salons and stylists and create fun events that energize staff and cross-promote each other’s brands. It is the spirit of collaboration that creates community and sustainability, not only competition. Appreciate don’t hate!
- Get Committed – Commit to excellence. This sounds cliché but believe me this means committing to being the best at everything a salon professional is, including but not limited to: Sharpening your skills constantly, using professional terminology ALL of the time (talk the talk), being prepared (lacking nothing) and on time for every client, present yourself in a fashion forward way, always keep it clean both your environment and your conversation, lastly, attitude really does determine your altitude. Stay focused and positive.
Today disruption is a part of the world we live in. We acknowledge this fact and welcome healthy competition as we redefine many of our traditions and encourage new comers to become innovators to keep our industry strong. Technology is leading the pack in innovation and I’m jumping on its back excited about the future of synthetic biology, and 3D Printing. We are all on a journey to excellence which we aspire to daily. Just remember, Tweety always out smarts Sylvester, wink.
Your Friend in Beauty,