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Inspiration in Abundance at Wella Business Network Live 2019

by akesha / last updated July 12, 2019

Feeling inspired, excited, motivated and aligned with your peers are some of the key components in building a successful business and for the past 22 years Wella Business Network Live has given their partner salons the opportunity to experience this over their two day event. Business Network Live is a great place to listen and learn from some of the brightest minds and inspirational characters in and outside of the hairdressing industry.

This year’s Business Network Live was held at The Belfry Hotel in the Midlands and hundreds of business owners and managers of Wella Professionals partner salons transcended on the resort for the two day event which was hosted by Michael Douglas.

Opening the show, Michael spoke about his year so far as an in demand TV hairdresser and presenter. He harked back to an underwater shoot he did, recalled a TV advert he styled (revealing secrets of the trade to boot) and even looked at online articles where he had been trolled with self-deprecating wit, proving that even stylists at the top of the game aren’t immune to public critique.

22 Years of Inspiration

Michael welcomed on Jerome Toulza, operation director for Wella and then Nick Van Holstein, Coty general manager before the programme of events kicked off with The RT Hon Lord Mark Price, former deputy chairman of the John Lewis Partnership. Lord Price centred his warm and hopeful presentation around work place happiness – a much welcomed subject in hairdressing with the profession being ranked as one of the happiest in the world.

Lord Price has always had retail in the heart, starting his working life travelling with his father as a child helping him with his wholesale business. It was from here that he realised that the relationship was at the epicentre of business and he says, there are few businesses this is more important than in hairdressing.

He spoke of small things that created a big impact that he introduced during his tenure as managing director of Waitrose, such as giving all customers a free cup of tea or coffee. “What’s the first thing you do when you have guest come to your house?” He asked the audience, “You offer them a drink, so I wanted to do that at Waitrose.” A small thing (it costs just 17p per cup) that helps to build brand reputation and happy, loyal customers which, for the most part, means happy employees.

audience at wella business network live

Next up Graeme Codrington took us to 2020 and beyond. While as a futurist he doesn’t predict the future, he invited the audience to imagine what it might look like. He focused his talk around huge changes to our world that are imminent, such as driverless cars, and asked delegates to jot down the industries that will be affected by this.

As the world moves into a more automated existence with artificial intelligence and robotics gaining prominence in our everyday life, Codrington told the audience that the jobs that are at the top of the list to not be replaced are dentists and hairdressers, which received raucous applause from everyone. “The 2020s has the potential to be the most disruptive decade of all time,” said Graeme. He closed his time by asking what tech would be disruptive in hairdressing? Because it’s time to prepare for it.

UK consumers spend 27.2 billion pounds per year on beauty services and products with 6 billion pounds of that from hair services alone.

Millie Kendall’s experience in the industry tops 30 years. She has moved between hair and beauty over the decades launching many businesses and taking positions at top brands such as Aveda, Bumble and bumble and Shu Uemera. Currently co-founder of the British Beauty Council, Millie based her impassioned time on stage around the value of the beauty industry (encompassing hair, makeup and skincare). The beauty industry is “used as a punchbag for industries outside of our industry,” she said and encouraged delegates to value their own industry. An in depth survey conducted by the British Beauty Council, which is available to download for free, showed plainly just how important the industry really is.

UK consumers spend 27.2 billion pounds per year on beauty services and products with 6 billion pounds of that from hair services alone. The tax contributions from the beauty industry pay for the wages of 250,000 nurses and midwives something, Millie says, the beauty industry should be very proud of. The value of beauty is immense and the facts and figures the Millie produced left the audience proud and inspired to work in the business of hair.

A panel of the speakers with the addition of Jerome and Edward Hemmings, global director of Alan D Hairdressing, then gave great insight to the audience on the current state of the industry as Michael fielded questions.

A Rap Break

It’s not often that a freestyle rapper and a psychologist take the stage together but the duo that closed the keynotes portion of day one offered a look at two sides of the mind. Mads Korsgaard and MC Supernatural teamed up the unconventional mix of academia and freestyle rap to show the audience the mechanisms of creative thinking – the foundation of innovation and of course the backbone of the hairdressing world.

Interspersed between MC Supernatural’s rap breaks Mads spoke to the audience about divergent thinking versus convergent thinking – the former conjuring lots of possible answers and the latter narrowing down elements for limited possibilities. Freestyle rappers use divergent thinking to fill their verses with off-the-cuff rhymes and Mads argued that this is the exact way that business minds should work to think more creatively. After another verse from MC Supernatural the first day of the programme was brought to a close with dinner and entertainment.

With a bright and early start for day two delegates dived straight into the action and the exploration of mind with clinical psychologist Dr Tamara Russell.

The audience took pause as Dr Russell encouraged everyone to take part in a 5 minute mindfulness exercise of alternative nostril breathing to awaken each side of their brain. “Attention is the biggest commodity in today’s society,” she said, so it’s important to check in with yourself and ask, ‘what am I doing and why?’

Someone that infuses purpose in everything he does is Rob Forkan, co-founder of Gandys, whom became orphaned in the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami. The disaster killed over 200,000 people and, just 17 at the time, Rob had to fend for his life and look after his younger siblings, getting them all back to safety.

The sheer determination and resilience needed from such a life changing event gave him the courage to tackle whatever life has in store. “Whatever is thrown at me I can handle it because I have handled that,” he said.

cally beaton at wella business network live

Cally Beaton then took the stage with her tales of being different and how it has been a positive throughout her life. In a school of 260 boys, she was the only girl, which is really what kicked off Cally’s intrigued in difference. It’s something she continued to face during her working and personal life, from being the only woman in board meetings for TV companies to raising an autistic son, Cally challenged the audience – “What happens if we really dare to be different?” She asked.

A couple that thrive on being different is Dick Strawbridge and Angel Adoree. The stars of Escape to the Chateau concluded the event with their touching and inspirational journey across the channel sparking encouragement in the audience through their unity of effort. On the closing of the two day programme delegates left the event feeling inspired and uplifted ready to tackle their next chapter in the hairdressing industry.

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