Success by Association
Most associations simply require you sign up and pay your dues. But the best ones, like Intercoiffure, require that you prove yourself. If telling the most successful salon owners in the U.S. and Canada about your business goals and showing them your artistic work scares you, don’t let it! You’ll be missing out on the latest trends, impeccable work, stunning stage presentations, real help growing your business and a slew of like-minded friends.
Like most busy salon owners, joining an association wasn’t a priority for me. Early in my career, I was a stylist and an educator with no aspirations to own a salon. Once I opened one (Gwen Mireille Salon and Spa in Raynham, MA), I thought that Intercoiffure was just for those whose businesses produced $1 million or more a year. Plus, seeing clients, growing the business and having a personal life took most of my time. Then I met Shari and Matthew Phillips, extremely successful owners of a salon in Connecticut, who also happened to be Intercoiffure members. Well, the requirements to join weren’t what I thought they were, and once I attended Intercoiffure’s Fall 2017 Atelier as their guest, I was blown away. Why was I trying to build a business on my own, when thousands of my peers were meeting twice a year and sharing everything that worked—and everything that didn’t?
As soon as I got home, I checked out the membership requirements, so I wouldn’t have to miss another show. In a nutshell, fill out a form, prep for an interview, and create a short video on your business philosophy. (Get a friend to shoot it on a smartphone.) The hardest part for me: Creating a digital portfolio when I’d never even had a hard-copy book. Of course, you can bring in a binder with photos of your work, but a digital version makes life easy going forward once you have it. The promised 20-minutes to get everything up on the free Pathbrite website took me about 14 hours—did I mention I’m not exactly computer friendly? But once I did it, I felt a thrill of accomplishment.
Naturally, during my interview, the Wi-Fi in the room went out, my video stopped dead and I felt the sweat rolling down my back. Good thing I wasn’t the only one this had happened to and the interview panel was kind. A week later, I received my letter of acceptance.
Now, it’s all about success by association. At the 2018 Spring Atelier, I discovered ways to make my salon more eco-friendly, learned what works and what doesn’t when promoting your business on Facebook, got the inside scoop on how NAHA judging works and took a hands-on cutting class with Hairbrained’s Gerard Scarpaci, where I learned the Japanese method of hair thinning, which leaves it so much more tailored. It was two days of spectacular information, shared by the best of the best. I left feeling inspired and grateful to have had the opportunity to attend another outstanding Intercoiffure event and to learn and grow.
Often, we start our own business to do it our way and forget that exploring everyone else’s way and adapting what we like is so much smarter. Since joining Intercoiffure, I can look forward to being a part of the most elite and forward-thinking organization in our industry and to enjoying some of the best education, networking opportunities and new-found friends in the business.
- Brenda Amaral