ASHLEY: Welcome to Outgrowth: A Slice of Pro Beauty with your hosts Ashley Gregory Hackett.
JAIME: And Jaime Schrabeck. After a long time away, the largest beauty show in the country, Premiere Orlando, took place this past weekend.
ASHLEY: Now that we’ve returned home, we can reflect on how much we needed that community experience. Let’s grow together.
JAIME: Ashley, have you unpacked yet?
ASHLEY: Absolutely not, Jaime. That is, I think I just want the excitement and the experience of our first trip in a very long time to a beauty show to continue.
JAIME: I have not unpacked physically, but I have been doing it mentally and there was a lot to unpack with regard to the quality of the experience and the feeling that we got from being able to spend time together.
ASHLEY: While it was very apparent that I was out of practice traveling and just being around people, I have to say that despite my reservations going into it, I am very thankful that I was able to go to Premiere Orlando, that we were able to see each other again, and do some great work towards the podcast and everything else. And it just reminded me that the beauty community is a community, and sometimes we need to come together to really experience that rush of adrenaline and motivation that you get from being around other professionals in our industry.
JAIME: It doesn’t seem possible that we spent three nights there because it does seem like a rush from the moment that we arrive at a show like this to the moment that we part ways at the airport and go our respective directions home.
ASHLEY: And it was very much go, go, go from the second we got there, but we were able to pack a lot of activity into those three days. And I think that despite the expense and the time away from our businesses and our homes to be able to do this, I think it was the most worthwhile show experience that I’ve had in my career only because I missed it so much, but also coming together. I don’t think, and I don’t want to sound very cheesy here, but I don’t think I can really over explain or oversell just how impactful this was to be amongst other beauty professionals and knowing that what we’ve all been through the past two years has really shaped the future of the industry. But it was almost like putting on like your favorite pair of shoes. It was familiar. It was comfortable. And I really want to impress upon our listeners, if you can get to an in-person experience when you feel safe to do so, it is highly worth your time.
JAIME: Let’s talk about the safety aspect of it, Ashley, because we went into the show knowing that Premiere Orlando would be extra cautious about this whole experience. They had already delayed the show multiple times. It was normally to be held in a June timeframe. It gets shifted to October, which I have to say, I loved the weather. I so appreciated not sweating, and not being rained on in the afternoon, and all of that. But it was what I expected. I have gone to more than one event this year. This will be my second large event, and knowing that while show organizers might have requirements coming into the show that once you’re in there, it’s really up to you to create an experience that meets your standards for safety on an individual level.
ASHLEY: Yeah, I feel the same way. I was very disappointed in the individuals that decided to go to the show and didn’t even bring a mask with them. You know the show can really only do so much to guide people’s personal choices and, unfortunately, being in the state of Florida, they weren’t able to mandate masks, and that was very apparent. And so really all I could control were my own controllables, which was, did I wear a mask? Did I practice social distancing? And yes and yes. I taught a couple of my classes without a mask on because for ease of people being able to hear me, but I definitely socially distanced while I did so and ran it past them ahead of time just to make sure everybody was comfortable with that. It is what it is at this point. I’m not really sure what I would have done to make it different, or better, or change it, and I’m not really sure what the show could have done either.
JAIME: I agree wholeheartedly with what you just said because for as much as I was looking forward to seeing individuals at their exhibit booths or meeting them in classrooms, there was always that sense that I’m going to wear this mask and it has nothing to do with you, or even you personally, I’m just going to wear this mask. So I never felt awkward about it. There are those times though when we were trying to project and neither of us is prone to using a mic when we speak during our classes. We just try to, you know, gear up our voices, and that could be hard to do because we’re a bit out of practice in using our indoor presentation voices for giving these classes, and you have to enunciate that much more when you’re wearing a mask.
ASHLEY: Yeah, and I default to no microphone just because I’m used to teaching in a more intimate setting and having about 50 or 60 people in the room. I did have one class this weekend, however, where it was standing room only, and someone from the back of the crowd was like, can you please put on a microphone? And I thought, oh yeah, of course I can, I can do that. So that way I think it kind of saved having to shout at everybody and it made more sense than when I wasn’t wearing a mask while teaching, but the overarching theme here was that I did request if anybody wanted to come and talk to me after the class, or if I did have close conversations with people, that they put their masks on and everybody was very amenable to that. There was no like pushback or, or at least that I could see. So I think everybody was being very courteous of other people and there wasn’t a lot of attitude around, well, no, I’m not going to do that, or, you know, starting any drama that way. So I don’t know if that was just a symptom of the fact that we were all just so happy to be together again, and learning, and moving our careers forward, or if it was just like fatigue of, all right, fine. I’m not, it’s not even worth the fight.
JAIME: For the most part, everyone was very well behaved. I never saw security at all in terms of hauling anyone away or anyone causing a scene. And you know that’s not been the case at other places, just throughout this whole thing. So I would say that for the most part, people were well behaved .They were still selling alcohol on the show floor. They were still serving food. Really, it didn’t seem that different from other shows, or other even Premiere Orlando shows, other than the fact that it has shifted to back towards where It originally was held in the place of the convention center. And the show floor itself, if I had to approximate, might’ve seemed about 40% of its normal capacity. I don’t know what the exact number is, square footage wise, but I did love the fact that the hair part of it was positioned in a way that it was, there was enough of a space barrier, and then through some infrastructure of the building, some sound barrier, so that where the hair It was on its own and the skincare and the nails on their own was a much quieter place.
ASHLEY: It was great. Yes, it was smaller, but again, I think the goodwill and the thankfulness of just being together and being able to be in front of the brands you want to see with the people you want to be with really extended through that. I don’t think anybody was incredibly disappointed with the size of the show. I think, you know, this year had a big asterisk on it as far as like for show back. But I do think comparatively across other shows of this size, traditionally, it was still bigger and better as far as the number of brands and vendors there, the quality, I guess, of brands and vendors that were there. But then also what I was really excited to see what full classrooms and a large educational offering where even though there wasn’t that standalone education day, as there usually is on the Saturday, everything was condensed down to two days, people were still choosing to come to classes instead of spending the entire time shopping and that made me feel really great.
JAIME: As each class was getting started this weekend, I would ask for how many of you is this your first show? So many hands went up, so many new people to shows and to explain to them that they had made an excellent choice making this their first show and that as much as they may be impressed, that this show is normally even bigger, and it has even more class offerings, and that extra, as you say, education day on Saturday. To get them excited about not only their current experience, but that there’s more to look forward to as next year’s show will come back at its regular scheduled time, which is the first weekend of June.
ASHLEY: Yeah, I couldn’t get over how many people were new to the industry, new to shows and chose this as their first show experience. It was kind of cool to see afterwards as I was getting tagged in posts on Instagram, just reflecting that same sentiment that it was their first show. They couldn’t believe it. They were really excited to come back next year and be more planful as far as how they were going to spend their time. Even though the show was smaller, it definitely was big. And there was a lot of walking. There was a lot of, it was just tiring, right? You know, I’ve been holed up in my house since March of 2020 so being in an airport and you know, staying near the convention center, but still a hike. I could tell that I wasn’t really in show shape and this is kind of part of the reality of like how overwhelming the show can be just based on the toll it takes on you physically. I mean, I think the thing about a show is that you have to have comfortable shoes, and you have to have a plan, and if you didn’t have those two things, it can be quite a daunting experience.
JAIME: I may have over-packed to compensate for the fact that I haven’t traveled as much and even then I forgot my presentation mouse. So, you know, with the best of intentions, and you still may forget something, and that’s okay. You just adapt in the moment. What one moment stands out for you, Ashley, when you think about this past weekend?
ASHLEY: I mean, I don’t want to toot my own horn, but the moment that really made me feel like we’re back, baby, is just looking across a full classroom, full of hair professionals, skincare professionals, and being able to unite around like the common beast that is Instagram. It was just, I, I, and I even said to the room, I’m like, thank you so much for giving me your valuable show time because, you know, I’m a nail professional. I don’t draw the hair crowd. But the fact that we could kind of have this community around maybe a mutual hatred for Instagram right now means a lot. And the fact that I can get this many people to come to a class based on the title and the description, because they don’t necessarily know of me as the educator, was really meaningful. And it really made me feel like, you know what, I’m on the right track. And I was able to walk away from this show feeling incredibly energized, and it was the boost I needed at the exact right time. How about you, Jaime?
JAIME: For me, it’s the moments that I have away from exhibitors and away from the classrooms. If I’m able to connect with a particular individual who I would not have met otherwise if it weren’t for this show bringing people together, those are the moments that really spark my interest. And when I talk about like unpacking after I get home from a show, there’s, there is so much to do and follow up on not just what we promised in our classes to our students, but just following up on these contacts. I think those are the kinds of things that I always appreciate most. And some of those things I can share in the moment and other things are projects that I’m working on that I can’t share right now, but I hope to soon when it’s appropriate. I think those are the things that I most appreciate about going to show like this because that would not have been possible to have, obviously that face-to-face interaction and to make those introductions, some of the very things that we talk about when we talk about the things that we love doing at a show that don’t really cost you any money once you’re there.
ASHLEY: Yeah, I think it was interesting to see, like, yes, it was different. It was smaller. There was mask wearing. There was hand wash stations and hand sanitizer everywhere. But some of the things that you fall back into this old pattern. You know, there were still loud people in the hotel running around, and slamming doors, and it was like, oh, we’re at a hair show. There’s still that same kind of comfortable feeling of like, yes, it’s different, but it we’re back and I didn’t really realize going into this weekend, how much I needed that, how much I needed the community of the beauty community, but also the instant feedback. When you talk into a microphone in your closet every week, it, and you and I have this pretty much one-sided conversation with each other, I can’t really overestimate how much I needed that immediate feedback and to see people responding to things, whether it be positively or negatively. That was what I was missing and being in the classroom is very energizing to both of us. But meeting students who were hungry for knowledge and wanted the right fact-based information, it’s really encouraging, and that’s what keeps me going as an independent educator, and I know the same for you. So I’m thrilled with my experience. I, ten out of ten, would recommend and I’m really looking forward to next June.
JAIME: One last observation I’d like to make, and you hinted at it even during the weekend, and I’d like to leave this topic on this, is that normally we’d see everyone show up for Sunday and Monday would be a day that was less than exciting because the number of attendees would drop. The activity on the show floor goes down and it’s almost like a, I don’t wanna say it’s a throwaway day, but everyone still needs to be there who are exhibiting and educating, but you don’t necessarily get the attendance you’d want. And that wasn’t the case this year. I was so impressed by the number of people who were still there on Monday, and showing up to the classes, and showing up on the show floor, and I’m sure spending their money which thrills the exhibitors. That even in talking to some of the exhibitors, they had a fantastic experience from the perspective of generating revenue, even better than the experience they had back in 2019, which was the last year the show was held.
So that was impressive and I credit everyone for showing up.
ASHLEY: Same. I think one of the most memorable show experiences I’ve had and I know it’ll only get better as we move towards a more normal place or at least a more comfortable place with some of the restrictions that we’ve just been dealing with now so long that they’re second nature. So I’d love to know what our listeners think about attending, whether it be a large show like this, or maybe an educational opportunity in person. How do you feel about it? Do you feel safe? Do you feel like it would be worthwhile? I’d love for everybody to head over to our Instagram and just let us know what you’re thinking about your next in-person beauty industry experience and what you’re looking for from it. It’s a conversation, I think, that will continue, but I’m still kind of riding this high from Premiere Orlando and everything that I want to accomplish now that I’m home.
JAIME: Well, that high will have to power you through a dark winter, Ashley.
ASHLEY: Yes, a very dark winter. All right, well, if you’re enjoying Outgrowth, everybody, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. It really does help put Outgrowth in front of new listeners and you can do that now with just one click. Visit bit.ly/outgrowthpodcast.
JAIME: As always you can follow along and comment on recent episodes on Instagram at @outgrowthpodcast. Well, the plan for this weekend, Ashley, should be finally unpacking.
ASHLEY: Speak for yourself.
JAIME: Well, until we get together again, Ashley.
ASHLEY: Until next time, Jaime. And until next time, everybody, be smart.
JAIME: Be safe.