A Social Experience: Attending Idealogue

When I received the invite to attend Idealogue on behalf of Industrie, I wasn’t certain what to expect as an attendee. I knew it was going to be good because it was being hosted by hosted by Luxury Brand Partners (LBP) and American Salon and I kept hearing how great LBP’s Front Row event was. But Idealogue sounded…different. I knew I had to check it and all those industry rockstars slated to speak underneath the same room. Speakers included:

Gary Vaynerchuk, Gordon Miller, Riawna Capri and Nikki Lee, Alexis Thurston, KL Christoffersen, Randy Taylor and Gerard Scarpaci, Frankie Greek, Harry (Bee) Bernstein, Pope The Barber, Mark Bustos, Nina Kovner, Beca Alexander, Patricia Nikole, Matt Beck, Cassandra McGlaughlin, Philip Ring, Jenny Strebe, Carlos Ramos, Ricardo Santiago, Andrew Kozak, Shelley Gregory and Larisa Love.

Idealogue was like a catalog of our industries greatest hits and American Salon created a playlist and just let it rock. It was a breath of fresh air going into this knowing there wasn’t going to be a single presentation about hair; we were all there to have real conversations, with real people, doing real things. The information we attendees received was paramount, and I am truly grateful to have been able to experience this amazing two-day event with the movers and shakers in our industry.

Here’s why:

It was a plethora of real, useable knowledge.

The magic in those two days was so elevating and inspiring; it’s as though all who attended leveled up. The set up was very intimate and lax, and the event ran smoothly and was not overdone. No stone went unturned, and that impressed me, and the speakers and their content were priceless.

This entire event was centered on social media, and not the social media you’re probably used to—drama, puppies, and celebrity gossip. The overarching message attendees received attending Idealogue is that social media is here and it’s changing our industry as we speak. If you do not adapt, then you and your business will get left behind. The commonality between all of the speakers and guests at Idealogue was they had all used their social media platform for building their brands.

I have been trying to figure out how I could share my experience with you. I’m most certain all who were present walked away from Idealogue with a new take on this industry and the direction it is headed in. The content was rich and nutritious. Keynote Speaker Gary Vaynerchuk and his refreshing wit and candor are what set the tone for the two days. For those of you who aren’t familiar with “Gary Vee” (aka the Pied Piper), he is a serial entrepreneur, CEO, author, public speaker and Internet personality (thank you Google lol).

At the beginning of his presentation, Gary Vee spoke on how phones are the beginning of us all becoming robots, and when you think about it, he makes a valid point. He also said that television is becoming the radio and our phones are the central station to our lives. Social Media, or as Gary called it, “the current state of the internet,” is our future. The leaps and bounds we’ve made with technology have truly changed the way we operate as a society. One of his most memorable quotes and one that has stuck with me long after Idealogue is this:

“Technology doesn’t change us; it exposes us.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

Nina Kovner from PassionSquared was another standout presenter for me, and frankly, she’s my kind of lady. I could totally relate to her personal and professional journey. Sometimes you have to risk it all like Nina has in her life, and taking that kind of risk is what the majority of us entrepreneurs have done at one point or another in our lives. The only person to see your dream is you; it belongs to no one else. It is your vision, and that’s why it was given to you. She spoke of how manifestation has power; again you have to speak it, see, breathe it, and live it. Your dreams and goals have to become a part of your DNA.

Nina spoke candidly on how Gary has inspired her and two things he taught her—the importance of relationships and how caring is a commodity. It’s what makes the world go around, not just our industry, but our entire world.

Imagine if we started building stronger and more meaningful relationships and genuinely caring about what we do, and also about someone else’s well-being. Now imagine how far we’d get. That’s caring being a commodity. I feel like we are a bit out of practice. The world needs a little more empathy, understanding, and a whole lot of healing. Caring can be hard to do, especially if you aren’t genuine about it. That is why it is so important whatever you do in life that it comes from a real place. The universe will pay you back for it in ways you probably never could imagine. I do believe caring is a commodity as a business owner and that is something I hold dear. The care my clients receive as soon as they enter my establishment is genuine. It can be something as simple as “Hello” and eye contact from your whole team when clients arrive. The experience you create for your clients is the level of care they have received from you. So let me ask you this, how do you care?

Here are a few tips I received from Nina’s presentation:

  • Be present, show up.
  • Be respectful.
  • Learn how to build relationships.
  • Sometimes life is about risking it all and following a dream only you can see.

And speaking of tips, Randy and Gerard from Hairbrained made a huge impression on me as well, and I’d like to share with you some quick takeaways and things I’ve been practicing myself since Idealogue:

  • Make sure your intent is clear!
  • Attention is a precious resource, don’t waste it.
  • Day trading attention: gaining attention gains value, the value is for them not you.
  • On social media, make sure you “create” and post your original content on your page.
  • On social media, make sure you “curate” and browse and find articles/posts/images that fit your greater purpose and who your audience is or will be and share those.
  • On social media, make sure you “engage” by liking, commenting, and following other pages.

Alexis Thurston, Vice President of Pulp Riot color line, Butterfly Circus, Butterfly Loft Salon, and Ubungalows Luxury Salon Suites, was another speaker who left a lasting impression on me. She is a woman in this industry that reinvented herself after years of doing the same type of clientele. Either she was going to get left behind or embrace all of the social media changes that were on the rise. She chose to be a rockstar and build a new clientele utilizing social media. Some of what she did to achieve this was:

  • Free work.
  • Got beauty school students in her chair.
  • Found people that needed their hair fixed.

She taught Idealogue attendees that these small steps are easy for anyone to do and they are simple steps you can take to update your clientele if you find that it needs a little reinventing. It’s also a nice reminder that we as an industry should always be trying to find ways to reinvent ourselves. Her presentation also taught me:

  • That if you don’t keep up, you will get left behind.
  • What you post online is what you will attract in the salon.
  • If you want more color clients, post photos of color clients.
  • If you want short haircut clients, then by golly post shorthair clients.
  • You want to put out on social what you want to receive in the salon.

I also had the pleasure of learning about the EmpowHERment Project, presented by LBP’s Lyndsey Bardnell, Vice President, Strategic Projects and Industry Development

If 85% of the beauty industry is women, why aren’t more women on top and holding high positions in the industry? Promoting, supporting, and giving equal recognition to women both behind and outside of the chair is what this movement is all about. We learned a little about the project, and I nominated two of my personal mentors, Michelle O’Connor and Dilek Onur-Taylor for the project on their amazing accomplishments, and I’m thrilled they were highlighted on @empowherment.project!

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I learned from Riawna Capri and Nikki Lee, Celebrity stylists and co–founders of NineZeroOne Salon, The Beauty Coach and BCTV, a subscription education service. For example, if you use your social media for clients then be sure to have a number or email so clients can connect with you. Also, if your page is private make it public. Having a private page as a professional is not going to get you exposure. Your audience won’t be able to engage with you because they need permission. That can be a significant deterrent. Make sure your username is simple, no Rumpelstiltskin please. Also, when you post photos be sure they are clear, have no shadows, are clean with no background mess. Designate an area in the salon for your client selfies. If you can go outside, that is the best lighting. Only post what you love to do, because that is what you will attract.

Two of my favorite Riawna Capri quotes/moments were:

“Although having a social media following is amazing if it doesn’t transition into you gaining new paying clients in your chair, then what is the point? To put it bluntly.”

“Followers don’t get you paid, clients do!” Drops mic…

Idealogue was truly a gem to attend, and it’s the type of event we should, as an industry, see more of. I, as a hairdresser, a salon owner, and as a member of the beauty industry, gained so much perspective, my cup runneth over with all of the gifts I received. It was like Christmas; we were all little drummer boys, and we had nothing to give but our personal gifts. To me, these are the best gifts because you keep them forever. They inspire, they change, shape and mold people.

Giving away your gifts is what it’s all about because as much as you give is as much, if not more, you will receive. Idealogue is the gift that keeps giving because each person that braved the stage to share a part of their journey has touched more lives than just the ones who were in attendance. I am certain those salon owners brought back Idealogue’s message to their teams, their families, themselves. Idealogue showed me that I am where I am supposed to be in this industry, surrounded by givers and elevators. The people who look at tomorrow as another day to do it again, but with the lessons learned from the mistakes of yesterday.

To see more pics and highlights from Idealogue, come visit (and even follow me!) on Instagram @rdbeautystudio