Retail competition, recruitment and industry reputation named biggest market challenges
The recruitment struggle and the move toward pro brands becoming more retail-focused are the biggest issues plaguing the beauty industry right now, according to Professional Beauty’s first Influencer panel.
On June 25, PB hosted its first of three Influencer Days, with 15 mobile and salon business owners at Cloud23 in Manchester, to discuss key market challenges and what the profession can do to survive them.
All attendees stated that their retail sales were down this year, and said they were struggling to compete with the likes of shopping channels such as QVC. “Customers are getting these professional products from QVC at our cost price,” said one salon owner. “It’s almost as if the brands don’t see training the therapist as beneficial anymore.”
Another influencer said she was considering switching to a smaller brand because her current skincare company had shifted focus since being bought out by a large cosmetic PLC: “Since then, the attention has been on creating a stronger retail structure without the beauty professional in mind,” she said.
With fewer therapists entering and staying in the industry, recruitment and retention was also a talking point, with everyone in the room agreeing it was tough to keep hold of the good ones. Many shared anecdotes of their top therapist leaving because another salon had offered them more money or they wanted to set up on their own.
When asked how they’ve coped with the situation, one owner said she worked with a college on an apprenticeship scheme, another restructured her team so that everyone had a colleague to mentor them – giving staff clearly defined career paths, while one set up her own training school.
All agreed that more knowledgesharing between salons and colleges was needed to address the skills gap, while also improving the reputation of the industry. “Beauty-themed reality TV shows like Spa Wars are fuelling the image that it’s a dumbed down industry,” said one salon pro. “We need to change our image by bringing in high-quality people.”
Beauty brands choosing influencers over celebs
Beauty brands are overwhelmingly prioritising digital influencers over celebrities as their choice of promotional talent.
84% of brands brought influencers on board in 2017, compared to just 33% that worked with film actors, solidifying a huge shift in the way beauty products are marketed in the digital age.
This is according to a report by marketing agency Celebrity Intelligence and media contact database Fashion and Beauty Monitor.
It seems this investment in digital influencers is paying off – every £1 spent on beauty influencers in 2017 got an average return of £8.81, according to the report.
However, 33% of the 385 beauty marketing specialists surveyed said that their top reason for working with influencers is to build brand awareness rather than drive direct sales, with 82% now relying on social media engagement figures as a strong measure of success.
// Lydia Mormen has joined the PB team as editorial assistant of Professional Beauty and its sister titles World Spa & Wellness and Aesthetic Medicine. She joins editor Eve Oxberry, deputy editor Amanda Pauley and assistant editor Georgia Seago, and will be covering the latest news, trends and launches. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
// Beata Aleksandrowicz, co-founder of the Pure Massage Spa Training Method, has launched a two-day masterclass that covers the four pillars of an effective treatment, how to avoid RSI and increasing communication with clients. It combines theory with physical activity.
// Carden Park in Cheshire has begun work on a £10 million spa development, set to open in summer 2019. It will feature a spa garden with hydro pool, hot tubs, fire pits and an outdoor sauna. Indoor facilities will include a snow shower and ice fountain.
// Monika Shine, chief executive of Polish nail brand Semilac, won Beauty Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 at the first English Women’s Awards in Leicester, which celebrated women who make England a great place. Shine was recognised for Semilac’s success in the UK.
// Charity Look Good Feel Better has partnered with Debenhams to train its beauty counter staff to help customers manage the visible side effects of cancer treatment. All those trained will wear a Look Good Feel Better lapel pin so that they are easily identifiable.
European Commission cracks down on sales of fake cosmetics with Piracy Watch-List
The European Commission has outlined plans to launch a Counterfeit and Piracy Watch-List that will name and shame marketplaces that sell fake goods – an issue that has long been a problem for the beauty industry.
The list, due to launch later this year, will identify online and physical marketplaces outside of the EU where counterfeiting and other forms of intellectual property abuse are common, helping to minimise financial losses from smugglers and counterfeiters.
The Commission will also be urging these marketplaces to adopt business models that rely on the licensed distribution of legitimate products, and to work with rights holders and enforcement officials to address infringements.
“The list will identify and describe the most problematic marketplaces – with a special focus on online marketplaces – to encourage their operators and owners, as well as the responsible local authorities and governments, to take the necessary actions and measures to reduce the availability of IPR fringing goods or services,” a statement from the Commission said.
It is also requesting written contributions from stakeholders identifying marketplaces that should be included in the Counterfeit and Piracy Watch-List for 2018. The list will be updated regularly.
Only 13% of population understand benefits of nutritional supplements
87% of Brits admit they don’t understand how vitamins affect the body. The majority of 2,000 UK adults who responded to a survey said they knew “little to nothing” about vitamins in relation to health, despite 37% taking a daily supplement to support their immune system, and 21% to reduce fatigue.
The findings come from research by tea brand Tetley, which is launching a new range of vitamin-infused squashes.
Its research also found that 19% of Brits avoid taking supplements because they don’t like the feeling of taking tablets, and 24% said they were too expensive to take on a daily basis.
Rob Hobson, a registered nutritionist who worked with Tetley on formulating Super Squash, said: “Understanding the benefits associated with certain nutrients can help people to personalise their health. A good example is Vitamin D, which is associated with bone health and immunity.
“65% of people surveyed didn’t realise you cannot get sufficient levels from diet alone… understanding the benefits can help people manage their health concerns.”
// Five-star hotel The Grove in Hertfordshire is spending £300,000 updating its fitness and wellbeing facilities. The hotel’s Sequoia Spa will launch an enhanced VIP membership and new treatment menu with Espa and Natura Bissé, while the gym will be refurbished. Work is due to be completed at the end of August.
// Membership salon concept The Massage Company is launching its second centre in Tunbridge Wells in September, following a £500,000 investment. The 4,000sq ft site will feature 14 treatment rooms, employ 20 to 30 staff and be owned by Taran Bassi. The company’s other centre is based in Camberley, Surrey.
// Entries are now open for the National Hairdressers Federation (NHF) Welsh Awards. Open for beauty businesses, hairdressing salons and barbershops, categories include Beauty Therapist and Make-up Artist of the Year. Winners will be announced at a dinner in Cardiff on November 11.
18Fourteen, a men’s grooming salon in Stanmore, Hertfordshire, has partnered with local tailor Kunal Chauhan to offer his services to the salon’s clients. Chauhan’s business Suit the City will be at the salon on Fridays.
// Danielle Power has joined Sienna X as wax ambassador. Power, who is part of freelance service the Secret Spa’s Elite team, will write blogs for the Sienna X website and represent the brand at events. Her celebrity clients include singer Pixie Lott and reality TV star Binky Felstead.
Augmented reality set to infiltrate pro beauty market
Augmented reality has been tipped as a key consumer beauty trend this year but new advances in technology could see it make its mark in the professional sector too.
Newly launched on the UK market is HiMirror (pictured), a “smart” mirror that analyses the user’s skin, gives tailored skincare advice and allows changes to be monitored over time. The mirror even has up-to-date weather and news functions and lets the user stream music through Spotify.
HiMirror’s manufacturer is pitching the device at salons and spas as well as direct to consumers, in a bid to help clients understand their skin’s needs. The mirror can detect wrinkles, fine lines, dark circles, red spots and enlarged pores.
Meanwhile, US-born app WannaNails lets users virtually try on nail polish shades using their phone’s camera and has already been welcomed by nail pros as a potential tool to help clients pick their shade at the nail desk.
The app detects fingernails and the user’s nail shapes then virtually places the colour.
The launches follow the news that beauty giant L’Oréal, which owns pro brands including Decléor and Carita, will make augmented reality a key part of its research and development this year after purchasing Modiface, a company that specialises in developing beauty applications for AR technology, in March.
Thwaites appoints Gemma Barratt group spa manager and takes on Caudalie
Gemma Barratt has taken the role of group spa treatments manager at Thwaites Hotels’ six spas.
The Thwaites group, formerly known as Shire Hotels, has signed skincare brand Caudalie to replace Espa and Natura Bissé at its six hotel spas: Thorpe Park Hotel & Spa, Leeds; Cottons Hotel & Spa in Knutsford; Aztec Hotel & Spa in Bristol; North Lakes Hotel & Spa, Penrith; and Solent Hotel & Spa, Fareham.
Barratt has been promoted from the role of treatments manager at the Thorpe Park spa (pictured) to oversee all six spas.
The spas’ new menu will feature signature Caudalie treatments such as an advanced, antiageing Premier Cru Facial and Wine Makers Massage, which aims to recreate the ritualistic steps of the wine-making process on the body, helping to activate blood circulation and improve muscle tone.
Beauty salons call for VAT threshold rise for small businesses
UK beauty and hair salons want the VAT threshold increased and more equal treatment between businesses that employ staff and those that use self-employed individuals, according to a survey by trade association the National Hairdressers’ Federation (NHF).
The VAT threshold in the UK is £85,000. Many of the NHF’s members said they want the tax threshold for small businesses raised so that VAT isn’t instantly payable as soon as a trader crosses the threshold.
Others said they felt there was inequality in the system, stating that the earnings of the self-employed would not reach the UK’s current threshold because they trade as individual businesses. Elsewhere in the EU, the VAT threshold averages around £29,000, which is roughly in line with earnings.
Meanwhile, a salon employing staff is treated as one business and will pay VAT on the team’s combined turnover, forcing them to charge clients 20% more than their self-employed competitors.
The Government has pledged not to amend the UK VAT threshold before April 2020, but is collecting views in a “call for evidence”, which suggests things may change in the long term.
Animated films reinforce negative stereotypes of skin conditions
Negative stereotypes around people with skin conditions and disorders are being reinforced by animated films, according to a new study published in the British Journal of Dermatology.
It claimed that skin disorders, blemishes and wrinkles are often used as a “visual shorthand for negative traits”, after analysing characters from the top 50 highest grossing animated films as of January 2017.
76.5% of villainous characters, or those with negative associations, had some form of what the authors called “dermatologic findings”, compared to 25.9% of the characters meant to appear as good.
Previous studies have highlighted the same issue in prominent films of the 20th century, and shown that notorious villains have a statistically significant higher proportion of dermatologic findings compared to heroes.
“Living with skin disease can be distressing for dermatology patients and can adversely affect their wellbeing. The stigma of skin disease could be one factor that adversely affects dermatology patients,” said the report.
// IBX distributor Louella Belle will host a webinar led by Famous Names founder Linda Nordstrom, free to the first 100 customers who purchase an IBX Mini Duo Kit between July 1 and August 15. The webinar will introduce and demo the IBX system.
// Ian Ward has been appointed head of organisational development across HD Brows, Nouveau Beauty Group and KB Pro. Ward will focus on developing culture and values within the companies. He previously worked in organisational development for the NHS for five years.
// Micropigmentation brand Finishing Touches Group has partnered with Brandwood Clinic in Solihull to offer scalp micropigmentation training. The courses will give practitioners an accredited Level 4 qualification issued by OCN (Open College Network). Courses will run in Birmingham and Haywards Heath.
// Hair and beauty supplier Sally Salon Services is extending its support to a new charity this year. The company has donated four palettes of beauty and hair products to Kind Direct, which distributes donated consumer goods to vulnerable people across the UK.
// Confectionary company Ferrero Foodservice has expanded its offering for salons and spas with the launch of tic tac pillow packs. Costing 3.5p each, the packs contain four fresh mint flavoured tic tacs and can be served alongside a drink or left on the pillow. In June, the company launched bite-sized Kinder Buenos.
// Professional Beauty Johannesburg September 2–3, Gallagher Convention Centre, Johannesburg
The largest of the South African Professional Beauty exhibitions. +27 (0)11 781 5970 probeauty.co.za
// Olympia Beauty September 30–October 1, Olympia, London Trade show with competitions. 01959 569867 olympiabeauty.co.uk
// Global Wellness Summit October 6–8, Technogym Cesana, Italy Wellbeing conference for top-level executives in the spa and wellness industry. +1 212 716 1199 globalwellnesssummit.com
// Professional Beauty Ireland October 7–8, RDS, Dublin Irish edition of the Professional Beauty show, featuring live stages. 020 7351 0536 professionalbeauty.ie
// Salon International October 13–15, ExCeL, London The UK’s leading hair expo, with live stages and competitions. 020 7351 0536 salonshow.co.uk
// Independent Hotel Show October 16–17 Olympia, London Event for managers of boutique hotels with over 300 product and service providers. 020 7886 3061 independenthotelshow.co.uk
// Professional Beauty Regional Awards October 21
The Principal Hotel, Manchester Recognising excellence in UK salons and spas regionally. 020 7351 0536 professionalbeauty.co.uk/regionalawards
Nail Harmony branches out into radio
Gelish and All That Jazz distributor Nail Harmony has created a radio station for beauty professionals. Beauty Talk Radio (BTR) will stream 24-hours a day, seven days a week, and is aimed at mobile and salonbased beauty pros, delivering content relevant to the industry, including product news, trends and business tips.
“We wanted to create an extra resource for the industry – a community on the radio like we have on our social media channels for salon owners and mobile techs who feel alone,” Jason Smedley, director of Nail Harmony UK, told Professional Beauty. “They’ll know they’ve got friends listening to the show and can phone in about issues they’re facing.”
As well as playing music and adverts, the show will host discussions with industry experts. “I’ve spoken to other brands who will do a series of show takeovers,” said Smedley. “They will have an expert talking about wider industry issues as well as creating playlists.”
The launch is the brainchild of Jason and his brother Mark Smedley, who has worked in the music and radio industry for 30 years, including for Kiss FM and start-up station MySoulRadio.
Habia launches ambassador scheme to strengthen college relationships
In a bid to widen its network of college connections, the Hair and Beauty Industry Authority (Habia) has launched an ambassador scheme for beauty therapy and hairdressing departments in FE colleges.
The scheme will see Habia in direct contact with ambassadors – who can be nominated by all FE colleges – to provide them with regular industry updates and news.
Habia will also offer lecturer ambassadors a range of benefits such as support to promote the work of their department, VIP tickets to industry events and a discounted subscription to Professional Beauty magazine.
Habia announced the new network at an event in Manchester, sponsored by Professional Beauty, which was attended by more than 50 lecturers and college heads of department.
Professional Beauty managing director Mark Moloney was a guest speaker alongside Suki Kalirai, chair of the institute of apprentices, and Nicola Tuner, senior product development manager at Habia. The organisation plans to run annual ambassador events.
Joan Scott, director of Trafford College, said: “For 30 years Habia has worked closely with colleges and providers. They continue to listen to our challenges and have shown their ongoing commitment by setting up the ambassador network to support colleagues in the education and training sector so we can work together for the benefit of the industry”.