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Serious Business – New Orleans, January 2018

Why I love to attend Serious BUSINESS every year and why you should consider attending too.

Wow, what an amazing weekend – from Serious BUSINESS 2018, to being in New Orleans and giving Rachel a tour of the city, to the food, to the people watching, seeing old friends, making new friends, learning & growing, and taking time out for a manicure and pedicure…all was awesome! (I always like to “play” a guest whenever I’m away to make sure that we at Lavish Color Salon are delivering the best guest experience). We asked our cabdriver who the craziest people are when they visit New Orleans – of course I thought he would say hairdressers, football fans, or people from Ohio but he didn’t – he said once everyone gets to Bourbon Street everyone is crazy LOL!

So, why do you think over 1,900 of the best salon professionals in the business traveled to New Orleans for SeriousBUSINESS 2018? Well, as far as I can see there are many answers to that question, like the inspiring line up of thought provoking speakers who helped us learn how to keep moving forward while still remaining centered, along with this year’s theme of PIVOT, which is a true necessity in today’s rapidly changing professional environment. I so enjoyed listening to these dynamic speakers and taking in as much as I could to translate into our business and to life in general. And then of course there is the City of New Orleans itself – a vibrant metropolis that offers fantastic culinary delights, parties that never stop and some of the most alluring architecture, including the Roosevelt Waldorf Astoria Hotel, a spectacular southern luxury frozen in time, and the Saenger Theatre, an atmospheric theater in the downtown area, which is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Every time I attend SeriousBUSINESS I think about how many people back home would enjoy this event. I believe it would appeal to our families, our friends, our guests at the salon, our city and religious leaders, and probably most everyone we know, and this year was no different.

Below is my personal ranking order of the speakers I enjoyed the most…

Kim Scott, author of the best-selling business book, Radical Candor, was the first speaker to take the stage. Through her personal examples of working at the Apple University and Google, Scott taught leaders how to communicate to their team members with conversation that is a blend of fierce and compassionate. “You have the moral obligation to tell people when their work is not good enough,” she says. “You must have the emotional courage to challenge people directly, but do it in a compassionate way – It’s not mean, it’s clear.” I have already ordered her book and I am anxious and excited to devour its content!

Barbara De Lacre, general manager of Aveda, rounded out the first day of main stage speakers by encouraging the salon owners, managers and stylists in the audience to realize the unique power they have to deliver exactly what today’s consumers crave. “Today’s consumer recognizes that hairdressers have a skill set, and they believe a visit to the salon is a necessity, not just a moment of pleasure,” she said. According to De Lacre, we as hairdressers need to solicit and listen to feedback from our guests and give every guest a consultation with hair design and color options every time they come in. They want to understand the options and what they cost, how much time they’ll take and what the end result will be. Stylists need to customize their offering in every situation. They already have an emotional connection to their clients, and they are gifted to be able to spend so much one-on-one time with them. “You have all the elements in your DNA to deliver what today’s clients want – experience, consultation and personalization, expertise and connection,” she stressed. The whole time Barbara was on stage I was saying amen sister, this is our daily goal – what we strive to deliver to our guests at Lavish Color Salon.

Tom Bilyeu, Founder of Quest Nutrition. Bilyeu showed us how to hone in into our differences and drive in deeper into our purpose. He had great stories of how he overcame difficult challenges like working on the line between rival gang members in LA. I was like WOW – I only have to deal with a team that truly gets along – a pleasant group with the occasional emotional baggage – who doesn’t have some???? I could not imagine employing and working with people who could potentially shoot each other after work! “What is your goal?” he asked. “Start with your goal and work backwards. Mind the gap between where you are today and where you want to be. Show up and outwork everyone. People will want to connect with you and be inspired. Know what you want and make it a reality.”

Winn Claybaugh, Dean and co-owner of Paul Mitchell Schools, and author of the book, Be Nice or Else, (which, by the way, is one of my favorite books of all time! I read it way before we opened the salon and I have aspired to live by these practices daily), helped us build a culture that prioritizes kindness, passion and acts of service. Claybaugh challenged all of us in the audience, asking if our culture is attractive. “Up to 50 percent of people quit to get away from a bad boss,” he explained. “Leadership is not a position – it’s a mindset, an attitude.” I was literally sitting in my seat thinking yep, that is me. I know that I am guilty of being a bad boss in the past – of letting my priorities get out of whack and focusing on the wrong things, hiring the wrong people that did not fit our culture or personal values, and thinking just because I cared for them and saw potential that they would eventually rise up and recognize it as well. Yes…I have made this mistake many times before I finally realized this is never fair to the team members that DO get it and support our values and culture to the max. Please, please wake me up from my trance if you ever see me going down that path again!

Patrick McIvor expanded on his TEDxtalk, “The Power of Touch.” Beauty is delivered through the vehicle of touch, and hairdressers have a license to touch,” he said. “The difference in having your roots done and getting your hair colored is the experience, and often that comes down to touch.” McIvor went on to explain the four steps in creating a culture of touch.

1) Make a commitment to touch. 2) Ask permission and give touch with authenticity. 3) Look for touch points, including with your team. 4) Increase touch education and experiences. I truly couldn’t agree more with everything Patrick had to say. These are things we take for granted at Lavish, but we promise to get back to basics this year and really focus on the power of touch for our team and our guests.

Robert Cialdini, A Professor of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University, brilliant influence researcher and author, Dr. Cialdini unveiled the six principles of social influence that helps leaders persuade people in a way that makes them feel comfortable with: scarcity, commitment, consistency, liking/rapport, reciprocity and authority. Another gem of Cialdini wisdom is to compliment your team members on the behaviors you want to produce more of – “Give people compliments to live up to such as, “I always appreciate that you are never late.” In addition, “Get your clients to like you by liking them”, he shared. “Find something that you sincerely like about them and say it.” I always convey to our newest staff members the importance of “stepping out of your head” – stop worrying about whether people like you or not – our business doesn’t focus on that – its service centric. We have to deliver the best possible experience to our guests and that’s our focus – making them happy and centering on what we like most about them

Lance Courtney helped us come up with new ways to revamp our front-desk service strategies. He gave us a few golden nuggets that will help us better connect with our guests in person as well as on the phone.

The Retail Doctor, Bob Phibbs showed us how to harness our natural strengths to efficiently recommend the best retail products to all of our guests, focusing on every individual’s needs. He had some fun ideas for how we could get a little more creative with our training. I can’t wait to surprise our team with these.

We were honored and blessed to be chosen as one the Top 200 Salons in North America by Salon Today Magazine for guest retention and referrals. We attended a great party that was sponsored by the Neill Corporation and had the chance to celebrate and accept our award on behalf of all of you! Thank you all for making this possible – receiving this coveted award and having the opportunity to mingle with some of the best salons in the county was a humbling and honorable experience.

We had the best time sharing best practices with some of the most successful people in the beauty industry. I always enjoy getting away and picking up a fresh perspective in both business and life in general. Assessing what works and being honest with my inner self about what doesn’t is always a refreshing way to pivot and get all of my priorities back on track. The general consensus of this beautiful weekend was about the power of touch and connection. We as humans crave human contact and touch – it is truly where we derive our purest joy and happiness. In this crazy world filled with more technology and quick fixes that are virtually impossible to ever totally comprehend or have the knowledge and time to do so, the absolute best solution is to stop, breathe, pivot and did I mention breathe???? Ask yourself: “Am I living to my potential?” “Am I making the world a better place because I’m in it?” “Have I recently connected with the people that are truly important to me?” If I’m being honest with myself I have to admit that I have not been doing that great of a job embracing and connecting with people I love — enough! Since my job is to connect with people and teach them to embrace their true beauty, I really need to step up my game. I am committed to making 2018 a year of connection – the kind of lasting human bonding that comes from the heart and remains forever.

Just for fun, here is a list of some of the yummy restaurants we enjoyed in New Orleans – check them out next time you visit.

Red Fish Grill Salon by Sucre NOLA Restaurant Curio SoBou

Lavishly Yours,

Tracey Watts-Cirino

Rachel enjoying her 1st Beignet at Café Beignet

New Orleans is celebrating their Tricentennial

Tracey and Rachel enjoying the infamous NOLA backdrop

St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans

#LavishColorSalon #SalonProfessionals #TracyWattsCirino #SeriousBusiness #NewOrleans #SalonEducation

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