Sam Villa Guest Blog: Why Trade Shows are Great for Business

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Have you been to a hair or beauty show yet this year? Perhaps you see them as “an excuse for a day out” or even “a complete waste of time.” Not true! Like most things in life, the more you put into trade show visits, the more you’ll get out of them. A day spent away from your business costs money, especially if you take some of your team. Yes, it can be a fun day, but it’s still business, so you need to make sure you are getting a high ROI, if you are, it can translate to increased profits.

Allow me to clarify that I am a HUGE supporter of online learning too, as there are advantages and disadvantage to both learning in a classroom and online. Digital education can certainly build any skill set, yet hands-on learning can commit the information. As a hairdresser, I suggest you invest in both.

People around the world are taking their education out of school into homes, libraries, internet cafes and workplaces, where they can decide what they want to learn, when they want to learn and how they want to learn. These new learning niches use technology to enable people of all ages to pursue learning on their own terms, and that is a beautiful thing.

We’re going through the Information Revolution or the Knowledge Revolution, and it’s fueled by personal computers, video games, the Internet and cell phones, which have changed the way we produce, consume, communicate and think.

A lot of people have asked me how I achieved my success and what inspired me? My answer is simple: it was education that inspired me to be where I am today. I was the easiest ticket sale for any sales consultant who entered the salon selling a ticket to an educational event. I was an education junkie. There was something about hair shows; I always walked away learning something I could apply behind the chair, as I always enjoyed challenging myself. Education has been the fuel that has kept me inspired and enthused for this industry.

What I really enjoyed was the face-to-face instruction at live educational classes, because at any given time I could ask a question and work through any gray areas until I truly understood the material. When I’m watching YouTube, I can’t ask a question and get an immediate although it’s great for some tips and tricks, more in-depth techniques are hard to absorb from a video. So many educators at live events have touched my heart and guided my hands, YouTube can guide my hands, yet cannot touch my heart. I find it difficult for computers to facilitate an interactive classroom, improve hands-on skills or enrich the life of a hairdresser.

Another thing I always enjoyed at trade shows is the face-to-face interaction with other attendees as the networking was less complicated. I liked the sense of comradery and community.

The changes sparked by the Knowledge Revolution are neither all good nor all bad. There are many benefits to the education technology affords, as learners can pursue topics of interest and their own pace and time, it’s cost effective and allows stylists to take responsibility for their own education.

Let’s face it, the bread and butter of our industry is education, and live education must change to stay relevant in the wake of the Knowledge Revolution. Live interactive demos with artists and attendees. Look & Learns that inspire thought and motivate a different approace. Live theatrical presentations that edutain!

My friends, stay one step ahead of your competition by attending hair shows to ensure you keep abreast of the latest industry trends, equipment, products and business innovations. Get out from behind the computer once in a while to watch demonstrations, test new product and ask all the questions you want.  Be an active part of the revolution, not a spectator behind a screen!

As a teacher, I must never cease to learn. As hairdressers, we must never cease to learn. So, see you at a live trade show my friends, and make sure to come say, h” to me. You will always have a friend at Sam Villa!

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