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Sola sessions nashville featured image

The 11th Sola Sessions took place in Nashville on September 16th, where 300 Sola professionals gathered for a day of inspiration and education from top educators in the beauty industry and their Sola community.

Kim Bennett, our event emcee and the first Sola stylist, kicked off the day with a beautiful message of what Sola means to her, which extended throughout the rest of the event. It was all about cultivating a community that focused on "Support, Opportunity, Love, Aspire.”

We took that message to heart, and wanted to help support you with opportunities to spread love and aspire for more - whether you were with us at the Sola Sessions or not! Here are some of our top takeaways and favorite moments from the Nashville Sola Sessions! 

1. Geno Stampora Taught Us To See Our Greatness

Geno Stampora (@genostampora), keynote speaker, set the stage with the perfect mix of humor and optimism. Geno emphasized the importance of dialogue and connection. “If you can connect with customers, you'll be busy forever."

“I see greatness in every one of you," he shared. "What could you be if you became aware of your potential?"

He shared 5 tips to increase your greatness behind the chair:

  1. Don't go on cruise control. Talk to your clients about how much you enjoy them being there.
  2. Highlight some of the different things you could offer them versus what they are already getting done.
  3. Use great products when they are in your chair and then tell them why they need them after they leave your salon.
  4. Remind your clients how grateful you are for their business.
  5. Thank your clients for coming to you and tell them that you're looking forward to meeting their friends and neighbors (aka ask for referrals).

“The key to change is you have to be willing to create new thinking. You have to be receptive."

2. The Magic of Numbers with Michael Cole 💯

Michael Cole (@michaelcolesummit) got us all thinking. Michael is the founder and president of Salon Development Corporation, an international company specializing in salon business training. He taught us how to use social media to make more money behind the chair and shared real examples of Solaprenuers (or social media “jedis” as he calls them) to demonstrate how they are using social media to skyrocket their business. 

A few tips he shared:

  • Take more pictures and ask your clients to repost them on their Instagram. He noted how special clients will feel when they see their face on your social media page, and the impact it makes on spreading the word to their friends and family about your business. 
  • Michael showed us how to use his digital calculator to calculate ways to reach your business goals based on your current income, number of days in the salon and rent. Check out Michael's calculator here!

Before he left the stage, he left us with this #truthbomb... "Courage is the willingness to never allow fear to get in the way of taking action.” 💪

3. We Learned How To Tell Our Brand Story

Jennie Wolff, VP of Marketing & Education, taught us the importance of sharing your brand story. Her biggest lesson was "Marketing = Storytelling," and reminded us, “No one is more uniquely qualified to tell your story than you.” So how do you tell your story? She broke it down into three steps. 

Step 1: Know Your Story

  1. Who are you and how did you get here?
  2. What problem do you solve, and for who?
  3. What is the experience you provide in your studio?
  4. How will people feel when they leave your salon?
  5. What do you want to be known for in your Sola community?
  6. What is your brand promise?

Once you answer those questions, try to boil your brand down into one all-encompassing statement.

Step 2: Tell Your Story

Be where your customers are and be discoverable! Customers are gathering information about you from Google, your Sola webpage, Instagram, Facebook, Yelp, your online booking site and so much more! When they discover you online, everything they see and read about you contributes to telling your brand story.  Share your story on all these platforms to get them from the web and into your chair. 

Step 3: Get Other People To Tell Your Story

Start with one client; Make them love their experience in your salon, and then get them to tell 10 friends! 

50% of customers are willing to tell your story for you. Give them referral cards. Post on Instagram. Use Yelp. And when they do, don't forget to thank them! 

Another group of people who want to tell your story is us - the Sola team! Tag us in your posts and stories on Instagram so we can share and help and tell your story. Lean into Sola - use Sola Pro, read the Sola Blog, and watch our free webinars. Sola provides so many free tools and resources we've built just for you to help you grow your business.

4. Words of Wisdom From The Faces of Sola Panel

The Faces of Sola Panel featured four of our current and past Faces of Sola who shared their experiences, tips and advice on a range of topics - from social media marketing to creating a work/life balance to learning how to kill it in retail. The panel, moderated by Jennie Wolff, consisted of Kim Bennett (@kimi_kisses), Joey Figueiredo (@stylistjoey), Kelsey Morris (@kelseymorris18) and JayR Mallari (@jaymallari).

The panel was so special because beauty pros watching were able to hear from other real beauty professionals just like them who have faced similar challenges, fears, hurdles and roadblocks and get advice on how to overcome them and thrive. We are so grateful to these four #SolaBosses for sharing their incredible knowledge! It was hard to pick our top takeaways - but here are a few of our faves! 

Q: What are some tips for growing your business? 

JayR: “Social media. Use it to it's full potential. Feature not just your work but also your brand and your lifestyle. People will be attracted to you if they are attracted to your lifestyle."

Q: What are some of your retail tips?

Kim: “Partner with a brand that you love, and offer a range of price points that match the income level of your clients. Ask questions to help guide their decisions. Be the expert. Your salon is an education center, it’s not just a chair.”

Joey: “Believe in the product. Keep it simple.” He shared one of his secrets to retail success is tapping into the client's senses, by “giving my clients the bottle after I use it. Put it right in front of their face on the counter instead of back on the shelf.”

Q: How do you track your numbers, and what are the best ways to keep track of financials?

Kelsey: "SolaGenius has changed the game completely. I run reports daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly." Kelsey also noted that SolaGenius has helped her spend less time working on her books and managing her appointments. "You have to give yourself the tools to stay balanced."

Before they left the stage, the panel shared some final inspiring thoughts we just couldn't leave you without! 

Joey: “Learn from your community and other stylists. Educate yourselves with the community.”

JayR: “The energy you have here -- capitalize on that and bring it home to your Sola. I had to learn what these people did to be successful. Be the light. You all can be the Faces of your Sola.”

Kelsey: “Believe in yourself and be brave, be bold, and step out of your comfort zone.”

Kim: “Our culture is so big, so bright, and so beautiful... and that is because of all of you.”

5. Texturizing Techniques with Naeemah LaFond

Amika's Global Ambassador, Naeemah LaFond (@naeemahlafond), joined us all the way from Brooklyn to give us the low down (and updos) on all things Amika. Where some product lines focus on color, “Amika is all about styling,” she explained. There's no one who understands texture quite like Naeemah (just look at that hair 😍), so she spent her time on the stage showing us the various ways to use Amika products to create beautiful updos. She showed how to add texture to three different hair types: short hair (for an updo look), long hair (for an "undone wave" look), and finally curly hair (for a "cool" updo look with tighter curls). Her tips? Use fingers and hairdryers for a "naturally undone" look, use fabric from a fabric store instead of a hairtye, and make sure hairpins and bobby pins are never visible. 

Check out Naeemah's final looks! 

6. Sam Daly Colored Our World 🎨

Sam Daly (@bottleblonde76) is a b3 artist, and her goal for the Sola Sessions was to demonstrate how to do vivids using the "bubble technique." Sam immediately connected with the attendees when talking about her own salon, stating, “That space is everything to us. It’s your life, it's your livelihood, it's where you create your dreams.” 

Her first step for doing vivids on any client is consultation. “I will not put someone on my books without a consultation,” she explained. “In that consultation what I’m looking for is - Will b3 give me that safety net to push a little further and give the client what they are looking for?" Sam stressed the importance of educating clients on their hair type and know what is possible without damaging their hair. She then proceeded to finish up the bubble technique on her model to create the vivid of a client's dreams. 

7. Matt Swinney Made Us Hear our Theme Song

Matt Swinney (@matt.swinney) joined L’ANZA 16 years ago. His desire for his clients and his tip on how to set yourself apart from other hairstylists is to, “Give them something new, something fresh, and something different.” His goal for his time at the Sola Sessions was to teach the attendees how to make more money behind the chair through consistency.

He showed us step-by-step how to do two different hairstyles - long layered cut and an "Ariana Grande" style ponytail. He added, "When girls go out, they talk...get them talking about you!" His main takeaways for attendees were, “Start thinking about your future, and think about who you’re connected with.” He left us with one lasting thought - “It’s your job behind the chair to make them hear their theme song.” 

8. We Created Magical Moments With Our #SolaFam! 💙

“I had such a blast at the Sola Sessions In Nashville this year. Dedicated to my craft, at Sola Sessions you are surrounded by so many boss babes who are there to support you and your business. The connections and friendships you make are amazing. A day filled with motivation, love, support, guidance, and education. It’s important to take time and step away from working behind the chair and start work on your business. Working to be the best hairstylist I can be, pushing myself into the unknown, educating myself so I can inspire others. It’s all about the journey and I want mine to be unforgettable. Thank you @solasalons for putting together such a great experience! I truly appreciate all the time, and effort that went into this beautiful event. A special thanks to all the staff, speakers, brands, venue, and guest artists that helped make this event what it was!!! Ya’ll are freaking amazing! ❤️👊🏻” - Ava Pags (@apothic_hair)

“The last 2 days have been a whirlwind. There was a Sola Conference yesterday and on Sunday we had a huge get together for all the Sola professionals. I had such a great time, made some wonderful new friends, got some great education to be better in my profession, I got to be the model for the facial (I always give never get so this was awesome) and while I was getting the facial I won a new iPad mini (I was really needing a new one for work so this was awesome!). I even went with some of my new friends on a haunted tour of downtown Nashville, in a hearse! It was so cool!” - (@idoskintn

“Thank you #solasessionsnashville for such an amazing educational opportunity! It was so awesome meeting so many other #solabosses” -Barbara Dubois (@meliora_hair_salon)

“This past weekend I attended my second #solasession and it was beyond amazing! You must be wondering what’s Sola Sessions, let me explain. The Sessions are all about inspiring, motivating and educating Sola professionals, while also learning from and collaborating with our awesome, dynamic community from all over the country. Sola brings the industry's best to us for intimate, Sola-exclusive events across the country, this year it happened to be in a city that has my heart, Nashville! Besides education, we also get a super cool swag bag, prizes, lunch, happy hour, & additional non-hair classes. If you’re a #SolaBoss I highly recommend you to come join us next time, you will have a blast! ” - (@hairbyyanet)

Want to see what happened at the Sola Sessions for yourself? Watch the full event on-demand until October 16th! Click here to watch!

 
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