ASHLEY: Welcome to Outgrowth: A Slice of Pro Beauty with your hosts Ashley Gregory Hackett.
JAIME: And Jaime Schrabeck. The summer has arrived and not a moment too soon as we’re expecting that the demand for beauty services will be greater than ever.
ASHLEY: While we all crave normalcy, we know that things aren’t quite back to normal yet, the transition should be acknowledged and we have a lot to say on the subject. Let’s grow together.
JAIME: Ashley, the days are longer and I’m so excited that when I get home at night, there’s still daylight.
ASHLEY: And I have taken after you and I’m starting my days a little bit earlier than I normally would. I think partly because the days are longer and I’m finding that I’m much more productive in the summer than I am during the cold Chicago winters.
JAIME: You know, talking about the productivity, getting up earlier is something that I’ve been doing for some time, and it does make a difference in my mood, and what I can get accomplished during the day.
ASHLEY: And I think this is the natural progression of things, and how our bodies work, and the circadian rhythm of things. And I’m sure a lot of our listeners are noticing that their clients are starting to be a little bit more active, whether it be planning vacations, or going to all of the weddings that were postponed. I think we’re going to see a big uptick in bookings, and scheduling things, and it might be the first time in about 15, 18 months that people are starting to make plans.
JAIME: That being said, even how we plan our own days around how we want to be productive, we only need to make available those hours we want to actually work with clients.
ASHLEY: That’s very true. And I think after the year we’ve had, it’s difficult to create a boundary there, especially since a lot of us are still building back from whatever financial ramifications the coronavirus has created or the tolls that it’s taken on our business. But I do also think that we’ve gained quite a bit of perspective and I think there’s a cost benefit analysis happening of, do I want to be in the salon seven days a week? Do I want to be there five days a week? Do I want to just have a couple of hours and see my longtime clients? There’s a lot of that kind of conversation happening and I actually really encourage it.
JAIME: That’s so important. I’m glad you brought that up because we do choose how to spend our time and who we choose to spend it with because we do get to choose our clients. And when we do so and rebuild our schedules with higher prices, because our costs have gone up, and prioritizing those clients who most appreciate us, however you want to measure that, there will be that building back phase where you might be working fewer hours because you have fewer clients, but because you may have chosen not to work as many hours.
ASHLEY: I’m seeing a lot of conversation around raising prices, which is something that I I’m glad you also mentioned because there’s this inevitable struggle of how do I communicate it to my clients and how do I help them understand that while the service itself might not be changing, my costs as the provider to provide it has. And whether it’s PPE or any of the things we talked about in our pricing for safety episode, it seems as though there’s this eternal struggle of how can I justify to my clients that my prices need to go up. But I also think a lot of that conversation should be how do I justify that to myself? It gets into this whole conversation of what we deserve and spending with our clients wallets. And I know this isn’t a topic we necessarily planned to cover, but I know that when I see this conversation, I inevitably see you jumping in to participate and talk about how you would recommend those price increases be communicated. So if you could just give like a couple examples of what you would do, I think it would be really helpful to our listeners.
JAIME: I like to keep it really simple. Clients want to know what the impact is of whatever it is that you’re doing. So I just start with the phrase “effective” and then insert the date here. The prices will be, and then you could list whichever services are being adjusted with the new price and keep it really simple. Don’t explain it. Don’t defend it. I feel the same way when clients approach me about their plans when they plan to take a vacation. I don’t need to hear about all the planning. It’s more about like, okay, so how is this impacting your schedule at the salon? Because that’s what I really care about if that’s what they’re building up to, that they have to change an appointment.
JAIME: Yeah, so just get to the bottom line, right away.
ASHLEY: Okay. Yeah, I love that advice only because it seems like we get really caught up as beauty professionals in the, well, should I post a sign, and how far in advance, and what kind of verbiage should I use? And I think a lot of it is just anticipation of a difficult conversation or that client who’s going to say, I’ve been with you since you were in school. I’m not going to pay a different price or whatever. And I think some of that stuff can be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. But also part of transitioning back to normalcy is having these conversations with clients, and getting pushback on pricing, and all of the things we were experiencing before, like cancellations at the last minute and no call, no shows. I don’t want to be so pie in the sky, Pollyanna optimistic that I would think after the perspective we’ve gained as a world about all the people we’ve lost and what things are really worth to us. I don’t think a beauty service necessarily figures into that equation. And so I, I think if you’re prepared for everything to go really smoothly or for clients to just say, sure. Yeah, your prices are going up. Great, I’m just happy to be here. I don’t know if that’s necessarily that realistic.
JAIME: It is when clients show gratitude, right? You’re grateful for your clients. Your clients are grateful for you. It’s this mutually beneficial relationship. And even in terms of supply and demand, if you are available fewer hours because your schedule is more restricted, that by definition makes your time more valuable.
ASHLEY: Agreed, and we also need to be people. We need to go on trips and take some downtime. It’s been a very stressful year and I for one am going to empower myself to be more structured with my time and what I will do and what I won’t do as far as what my availability is. And also the fact that working from home, not working in my beauty business since March of 2020, means that the boundaries have sort of bled between what is work and what is home because those spaces are one in the same and working from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM every day is not something I want to do going forward. So restructuring some of that, taking the leisure time, allowing myself to take an hour in the middle of the day to have lunch, and just decompress, and not be fully connected to my phone, and my social, and my email is something I’m just going to do for my own mental health. And I hope that our listeners understand that they’re afforded what I think a lot of us think of as a luxury, which is time off, downtime, time to just mess around, and not be productive, and doing that without the guilt I think that comes associated with that a lot of times as well.
JAIME: We hear a lot about self care, but that means different things to different people. And I think what you’re describing, I’m coming to the middle along this continuum from the opposite end which, the point I’m coming from, where I was very structured, and had my schedule set out a year in advance with clients, and I’m looking to become more flexible. I’m not going to hesitate if there’s something important that comes up, I’m going to pick up the phone or shoot an email to a client and say, would it be possible to reschedule this appointment? When in the past I would not have done that.
ASHLEY: Right. Well, and your schedule is changing. I mean, you’ve got travel coming up for the first time in a very long time. And I’m interested to hear how preparation for that is going because I personally just left town, and just getting things together to do that was really difficult, and took way too long.
JAIME: You’re right. I have some travel coming up. In fact, the date that this episode drops will be on Monday and that’ll be the last day of the in-person IBS Las Vegas show. And it’s like I don’t remember how to pack. It’s ridiculous. I think I’m going to end up overpacking because I’m so concerned that I’m going to forget something. It used to be so natural just to put things together and be ready to go, but not having packed to get on a plane in such a long time, it’s been a challenge.
ASHLEY: Well, and I default to overpacking. You know me. I always have the most full suitcase possible cause I like to have options, especially for shows. So if you’re going to default overpacking and I’m going to over-over-pack, we are in trouble. But I’m really excited to hear how the first in-person show that you’re going to be educating at, how it goes, what the mood of the attendees is. Are they eager? Are they a little bit shell shocked? What’s going to be the topic of conversation? Remind me again, what classes you’re doing at this show.
JAIME: One of the classes I will be teaching will be on salon safety having to do with what’s compliant and what’s best practices, and we’re doing excellent if we’re doing both. And then the second class will be your salon, your rules. So I’m thrilled to not only be teaching two different classes, but teaching two different classes that don’t require me to take any extra equipment. I don’t need to bring any supplies with me. I don’t need to demonstrate any technique. So I’m easing back into shows doing two business classes.
ASHLEY: And two subjects that I think personally are going to resonate with many beauty professionals, no matter their discipline. We joked earlier in the year that our classes are going to be sexy now because they’re, you know, salon safety is not something that you would pound down the door to get into in normal times, right? But another way to just illustrate that things aren’t normal yet is the fact that this is going to be, I think, probably your highest attended salon safety class in a long time just because I think everybody wants to have a level set and figure out, okay, what’s the baseline, right? Cause we know what our state boards require or we should know. And it makes sense to me that somebody would want to know what other states are doing, or what best practices exist, or ways to be more efficient. So I’m really looking forward to your breakdown of how that class went, and what the questions are, and the general attitude and feeling of all of the attendees. So looking forward to your post-mortem on IBS Las Vegas next week or beyond.
JAIME: And if it makes sense to us that it would be a more popular subject, I’m not getting my hopes up.
ASHLEY: Yeah. Okay. Now that I say that, I understand that maybe people will be hungry for the things that inspire them creatively just because they haven’t been able to do very much, or as much as they would normally, again, that word normally. I don’t know. I, maybe I’m more hopeful than I’m giving our industry credit for.
JAIME: Ashley, how many times in the last week have you said to yourself, have we learned nothing through this entire pandemic?
ASHLEY: No, you’re right. I, and far be it from me to be the optimistic one of the two of us, I just think that, especially seeing as though something that really surprised me was when you did a social post about the show, and the fact that you were going to be there, and the fact that they are not doing in-person registration. You must pre-register for this show. It makes sense to me now that I think about it, but it was very surprising when, when you mentioned that.
JAIME: I’m so glad you brought that up because the way it was worded was no on-site registration, which then basic question to me, like, well, does that mean I could be off in a corner, like logging in and doing it digitally? Like I don’t know what that means exactly. And I only recently saw it on one of the last emails, and it was sort of buried, and I just thought, wow. Because for an individual who wants to decide that morning whether or not to attend the show because they happen to be in the area, they may be out of luck. I mean, that sounds to me like you would have had to plan in advance to participate.
ASHLEY: People planned in advance to attend, but that might not be something that just because it’s been that way forever, that you could just walk up and purchase a ticket.
ASHLEY: I don’t think they would expect. I’m thinking about the Vegas show in the past and how large it was, especially the skincare component, and the classrooms, and I will not miss the line for that Starbucks in the convention center, the longest line ever. I am going to miss going to the show though. I think that it’s a great way to kind of get dunked back into reality, which is to be at a convention center, be with the attendees, be in a classroom, be trying to set up my projector, and doing all of that stuff. I’m really looking forward to October when we can be together in Orlando. And I’m a little bit jealous that you’re going to be at a show well before that.
JAIME: Don’t be jealous until after the experience.
ASHLEY: That’s true.
JAIME: And, and I get back to you. I did just receive this morning an email that has a QR code that needs to be scanned in order to get my badge. So that is different. And also they’re doing a happy hour where I get a complimentary cocktail. I mean, if that isn’t generous and makes the whole trip worthwhile, I don’t know what it is.
ASHLEY: That’s Vegas, baby. The other part of returning to normalcy that I’m seeing, I don’t know if it’s just an internal struggle that I’m having, but it’s creating social content on a more regular schedule and trying to be more front and center than I have been. I’ve been allowing myself the excuse of, well, you know, I don’t have a lot of content that I can create. I’m not on set right now, but you know, the world didn’t stop turning as far as my coaching business and all of those sorts of things. So structuring my time, and just pre-planning, and practicing what I preach as far as that goes is really going to help in the short term. And then I think it’ll just be like riding a bike and getting back into it. But I know a lot of salon professionals are having to purchase new retail because things got a little musty and dusty on the shelves and needing to deal with supply chain issues as I know, a lot of the distributors are. So it’s going to be interesting to see what the next few months hold in the unique challenges we’re each going to face based on our situation.
JAIME: I think it’s just more work, or it seems like more work because if it was just part of your routine before because you had this flow of clients and it was easy to capture some photos or video of your finished work, you may have fewer of those clients that you’re seeing. You might have higher standards for what you’re posting.
ASHLEY: And you may be making that really phenomenal transition from social into email marketing just because it’s more likely to be seen and it’s less of a grindhouse of content creation. You know, you can hit many, many more people with an email than you can a singular Instagram post, but that’s something that we’ve been discussing with our Insiders as well and how we can really best get our biggest bang for our buck, so to speak, as far as time spent too on marketing. Because there are some clients we’re going to have to replace and I know that that is really kind of the hardest part of our job for some of us.
JAIME: Well, and when we replace clients, do we replace them one for one, or do we replace two clients with one much better client? Because what we’re expecting of clients has changed.
ASHLEY: Definitely, and it is a great time too to pare down what’s available on your service menu. I think that hopefully the past 15 months has given people some perspective on what they actually really need and are going to give you some leeway if you start eliminating things from your menu that just aren’t profitable anymore, or you’d have to charge well beyond what people would be willing to pay in order to make those feasible. So I’m interested in what our listeners have to say about this and what they’re experiencing. And I know we always encourage our listeners to connect with us on Instagram, or to send us an email, or leave us a review, but I would really love to actually hear from our listeners on a more regular basis. And I’m seeing comments, especially based on the commentary and I’m going to use quote, unquote discussion here around our vaccine episode, and the extreme reactions we were getting from people in comment sections, knowing full well they hadn’t listened to the episode, accusing us of pushing an agenda, what have you.
JAIME: I’m not even sure they read the title of the episode.
ASHLEY: I know. It’s so, I knew that that was going to be a hot button issue. It’s kind of part of the reason why we did the episode because we knew there was so much emotion around that subject that if we were to just ask someone, what is the law? What are you allowed to do and not allowed to do in the name of the law? Even coming from that completely objective place, it was still a huge issue.
JAIME: Looking back over our episodes, and the content, and the experts, I’m proud of the body of work that we’ve produced, and I will stand behind everything that we put out, and not make excuses for, oh, that was appropriate at the moment. Well, no, it’s still appropriate because again, I have asked myself rhetorically this week, have we learned nothing through this pandemic? Maybe what we’ve learned is that some people still aren’t willing to invest the time, aren’t willing to let go of their preconceived notions, and hear a different perspective, even if that perspective is coming from a real lawyer.
ASHLEY: And we’re all in an echo chamber of the things that we agree with. It’s uncomfy, right, to be challenged in what you think, and the facts that you’ve been given. It’s not something a lot of people want to do. I mean, nobody wants to sign up to click play on an episode where they’re going to be lectured to and I completely understand that. Obviously, we strive to do something a little different than preach at people. Whether we’re successful in that, that’s up to the listener. But I find a lot of the content being created for beauty professionals is very business focused, which is great because it’s something that we all need. But last week’s episode not withstanding, there’s really only so much you can learn about Instagram before you’ve learned it all. And maybe our episodes are the equivalent of our unsexy classes at shows, but it’s information that you’ll need at some point. So if you’re here and it’s your first time listening, it’s an episode unlike any other we’ve done, I think, except for maybe our very first or second episode where we just didn’t really have a specific topic we wanted to cover. We just wanted to talk about what’s going on in our lives, what’s going on in the industry, and I mean I need to know what’s going on with SB 803. Do you have an update? When is it going to move to the assembly? Like I want to know all of that stuff, but I also want to know how things go in Vegas, and what people are talking about, and what is Alicia’s salon like? So there’s just so many topics to cover, but also I think it’s okay for us to just be people and share our feelings without having to do it under the structure of a specific topic.
JAIME: Your equating our podcast to unsexy classes is a very high compliment. I think that’s exactly what we have aimed to achieve. We’ve just brought on accomplices in the form of experts to do that very thing which is bringing information to people whether they think they need it or not.
ASHLEY: True, and we got into that a little bit in our consider the source episode, but since we’re independent, we don’t necessarily have any interests to project or protect other than our own. It’s been an interesting ride since the end of February, 2020. I’m really feeling like we’re in flux and transition right now, even though we have been for a really long time. It seems like things are on a razor’s edge with mask mandates changing, fully reopened status is happening. It just seems like this is the actual fulcrum on which this whole thing tips and this is a very formative time in our industry as far as what the direction is going to be moving forward. And I would want to be armed with the right fact-based information just to make the most informed decision for my business and myself moving forward.
JAIME: Speaking of a transition, I’ll never forget because it was the first day of the great reopening of California and we had to turn away our first client who refused to put on the mask that she had looped around her ears.
ASHLEY: Oh no.
JAIME: So, again, not a long-term client, but keeping our boundaries intact and enforcing our policies is not something where everyone feels comfortable taking a stand, but we try to be upfront with everyone and that same sort of attitude that we take in presenting information here as no nonsense, I’d like to think that we’re enabling and empowering beauty pros to take that sort of no-nonsense approach into their own businesses and assert themselves.
ASHLEY: Yeah, even knowing that if maybe beauty professionals in your area think differently, or stores in your mall, or whatever that might be that coming through your headphones right now, you do have two allies in fighting the good fight and making sure that you and your business are protected with good information and solidarity. And just knowing that it’s tough. It is tough out there. It is a transition, right? It’s a transition from difficult to hopefully easier. It’s a transition from closed to open, and it’s something that I’m not sure a lot of us have really fully processed yet what we all went through, and how difficult it was, and how much we should be patting ourselves on the back really for just getting through it. It sounds like that’s a pretty low standard or bar to clear, but listen, not everybody did. And I think you should just congratulate yourself for being here, and give yourself a little grace, and go easy on yourself because it is still going to be difficult. And this transition from whatever to whatever is just that we need to acknowledge it. And we definitely talked about that in our episode about grief. Like this is, it will come at you in waves, right? We are all grieving. We’re grieving the year we lost, the time we lost, the celebrations we should have had, the people we lost, and I think if we just keep that mindset, and maybe even go back and re-listen to that episode, it’ll help us process some of our feelings too as we move through this.
JAIME: Life’s too short to focus on what doesn’t work. Let’s focus on what works. Let’s focus on the people we want to work with and shed as much of the other stuff that we possibly can.
ASHLEY: Yes, I agree. Spring cleaning, summer cleaning.
JAIME: Ashley, I’m looking forward to connecting with you after the show and having that discussion about what it was like, who I saw, if I was even able to recognize individuals with their masks on, how many people were actually there, what the exhibitors were showing, how they may be doing things differently in terms of demonstrating products or having testers, all the different things that we think of as being part of a normal trade show. And then, again, feeling like this is what trade shows might look like for the near future and maybe longterm. We don’t know how much of what we’re doing now we’ll still be doing a year from now.
ASHLEY: That is very true. I can’t wait to hear your breakdown of everything about the show, and maybe we’ll make that an episode in the very near future, so we can talk about and compare and contrast what the experience was like. And just looking forward to easing through this transition with you and the rest of the industry and I hope that everybody is being smart and being safe as we always say. So if you would like to connect with us, as always, you could do so on Instagram at @outgrowthpodcast and I highly recommend that you do so
JAIME: If you’re enjoying Outgrowth, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts with one click. Just visit bit.ly/outgrowthpodcast.
ASHLEY: Perfect. Well, until next week and after Vegas, Jaime, be smart.
JAIME: And I’ll go there talking all about being safe.
ASHLEY: Perfect. Until next week, everybody, bye.