Phorest Salon Owners Summit 2023

by | 13 Jan 2023

Facing salon owners from around the world, Ronan Perceval, chief executive of Phorest Salon Software, was marking a very special anniversary at the 2023 Salon Owners Summit in Dublin – it was the first summit since 2020.

Addressing the packed Dublin Royal Convention Centre, Ronan knows that January is a quieter month for hairdressers and a perfect opportunity to take stock. “That’s why we have this summit now,” he beamed. “The first week of January is the best time to reflect on what’s gone on before and to think of the things you want to implement.”

Under the summit’s theme of “ignite”, salon owners were welcomed to discover their own light-bulb moments, with sessions spanning salon sustainability, leadership and culture success, battling workplace toxicity, and more. Beauty industry big-hitters Liz Earle MBE and Image Skincare founder and chief executive Janna Ronert also spoke. Here are the highlights… 

Phorest Salon Owners Summit: Leading for success OR failure

Jill Ruone and Derek Anthony from business mentors Culture Curators talked workplace culture and becoming a better leader – where ignoring team needs can be disastrous.

Jill shared a personal tale of how poor workplace culture meant she lost her salon from under her as her stylists planned a group walkout. “I thought what we did worked,” she said. “So, let’s just stick to it – then it stopped working because we stopped evolving.”

So focused was Jill on hitting her financial targets that she would come into work with her head down instead of building relationships with staff. “I was not the leader my team deserved, my business imploded, everything rises and falls on leadership.”

Jill and Derek said leaders need to let go, which means scaling back on control and empowering staff to lead, as you’ll get more buy in from them and more time back for yourself. Without handing over the reins somewhat, they concluded, your business won’t grow.

Sustainability advice you can relate to

For owners looking to upscale their salon’s green goals, Sustain Beauty Co’s Valorie Tate offered real advice in a non-judgemental atmosphere. She asked salon owners to look deeper into their processes, and question how sustainable they really are.

For example, with customers also becoming more hygiene conscious since Covid, we will likely see more cotton towels thrown out before their time. Instead, Valorie advised salon owners to try single-use biodegradable options, which also saves on washing labour. Speaking to your utility provider about alternative energy options and implementing better salon tools, such as eco shower heads, were other suggestions.

Battling workplace toxicity as the boss

Sophia Hilton, founder of Not Another Salon, brought some home truths about how bosses can perpetuate toxic workplace behaviour.

One way to combat it is learning not to engage in gossip about colleagues, even if something is causing irritation. “Take a breath before speaking to the internal team,” she said. “Emotional control, even in privacy, is important.”

Running a team herself, Sophia knows how short–on–time salon owners are but advises that if a stylist comes to you with a problem, don’t be tempted to solve it quickly just to get them back on the floor. “Sometimes they’re not looking for someone to give them the answer, they might just want to be heard in that moment.”

Another one is considering your impact on team morale when you’re not feeling your best. “Imagine yourself like a pebble in a pond; you walk through that door every morning and you drop the pebble in the pond. The way you walk, the way you smile, or don’t smile, they feel that energy and that’s what goes down.”


All images by Bryan Brophy.


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