February 2012

Steve Sleeper

Beauty Insider| by Steve Sleeper


Staying Ahead of the Educational Beauty Curve

From social media to the latest cutting techniques, the world in which we live in and how we perform our craft is constantly changing.

All too often, however, we can become complacent and tend to believe that we know it all. With that constant rate of change comes the need to realize that to keep growing and increasing our earning potential, accessing continuing education is critical.

So where do you go to get education? How much do you need? And on what subjects?

The beauty of these questions is that it is up to you, but there are many resources to help guide you. Ask yourself, where do I want my career to go? What am I interested in learning? What are the trends I'm seeing in beauty and how do I help to create them?

Thankfully, our industry has many opportunities to access the array of education available. The Professional Beauty Association (PBA) is a driving force in educational opportunities.

One of the latest developments in continuing education is online and on-demand education. From webinars to learning manuals on various subjects, online and on-demand education makes it available when it is convenient for you.

Having directed many educational classes, I know stylists, in particular, often cannot participate in an online, live discussion because they are on the floor with clients. However, through on-demand education, stylists, front desk managers, owners, and others can access education when it fits their schedules.

PBA has recently expanded its online and on-demand education web-portal, BeautyU (probeauty.org/BeautyU). New classes are being added regularly, as well as opportunities from first-rate industry partners. In particular, PBA has recently partnered with Milady, a provider of leading beauty and wellness solutions to help support beauty professionals in personal career development and overall business success for more than 80 years.

BeautyU is just one example of where to access continuing education. Various media outlets, manufacturers, and distributors also offer live events and online classes as well as in-salon/spa education. Check out what your distributor has to offer. Most distributors host classes on everything from how to increase retail sales and advanced coloring trends to using social media to attract new clients.

Many salons have also developed "in-house" educational classes with senior and junior members taking turns presenting new ideas on various topics. Often held once a week or every other week, salon teams will meet for thirty minutes to an hour and discuss everything from trends to brainstorming ideas on how to better ask for referrals. Learning alongside your peers can often make the overall experience more enjoyable as well.

The other main area for education is industry trade shows. Industry trade events have come a long way in offering education. While many exhibitors offer great classes and hands-on learning, the shows themselves typically bring in a wide array of first-rate talent.

While watching a platform artist and his/her team is just one example of education at a show, make sure to check what else the show has to offer. At a recent ISSE Long Beach show for example, renowned hair team, The Teals, presented a class entitled, "7 Steps to Outstanding Customer Service." Another class from Milady, "Six Steps to Six Figures" taught stylists how they could earn upwards of $100,000 a year. Even though these types of educational opportunities are more focused on the business side of things, having knowledge in all matters of the beauty industry is critical for success.

Going forward in 2012, please use the following suggestions to start an educational plan for yourself and your salon:

Learning keeps things fresh and exciting. I'm personally committed to providing great educational experiences through PBA's BeautyU web portal as well as at PBA's many trade events. I hope you will join me and many others across our industry in our commitment to fostering an industry where ongoing education is held in high importance and regard.

Jessi Marshall is Director of Industry Programs & Education for the Professional Beauty Association (PBA). A lifelong member of the beauty industry, Marshall fosters technology along with top educators to create educational experiences that are relevant and help advance the careers of beauty professionals. For more information visit www.probeauty.org