Timely's Brand Ambassador Larissa Macleman got the inside scoop at Beauty Expo Australia 2016, and came back with more pumped up than ever about the future of beauty. Check out take on the fun!

If you wanted to know what the future of the beauty industry held for us, you’d go ask the movers and the shakers in the industry, right?

So that’s exactly what we did.

Larissa chatting with the movers and shakers at Beauty Expo Australia 2016

Sydney was unusually warm for late August. The sun was out and the ride from Darling Harbour to Glebe Island was more than pleasant. The new exhibition centre is sitting in its full glory towering over Darling Harbour. Its angular shapes and authoritative presence makes me excited for the 2017 Expo! The atmosphere, shopping and dining that Darling Harbour brings to the Expo event is exciting.

The Expo was pumping and the usual buzz reminded me of how much I love to get among the industry peeps. With my quest for the future insight, I busied myself getting Dave’s camera in front of the movers and shakers. There was a clear theme and message on where things are heading, what you should be doing about it, and how to prepare for it now.

Some beautiful nail art at Beauty Expo Australia 2016

Be authentic

In an increasingly noisy space, where everyone is fighting to be heard, the message was loud and clear. Just be yourself.

There is only one of you and you are enough.

It’s easy to get lost in social media where everyone is showing off their latest gadget or overseas trip, promoting their products in a certain way or gaining thousands of followers. It’s easy to look over the fence and see that the grass is greener over there and wistfully wish you were as cool, as tanned, as rich, or had a team as good or a client list as long.

But the ones who are really doing well are those who have their head down and are being their best version of themselves. They’re not worrying about what others are doing, but are doing what feels right for themselves.

Becca Gilmartin, Beauty Editor of Laud Magazine said it best:

“Just get into your own bubble and work out what you want to do as an artist. Don’t worry about what’s happening to everyone else.” 

When you feel comfortable in your own shoes, your message to your customers becomes more authentic. You can focus on educating them on the value you bring with your expert skills. Show them they will get the very best care and service if they are your client.

When that’s the centre of what you do, you can’t go wrong.

Embrace the niche

The idea of marketing directly to your ideal client was also mentioned a few times. Why try to be everything to everyone? It’ll never fully work. Choose what you want to be known for and who you want to be speaking and marketing to. The more clear you are about what your expertise is, the better it is for the audience you’re trying to attract to your business.

Jazz Pampling is a brow artist and specialises in those tiny little hairs that sit at the top of your face. You can’t get more specific than that, right? She has stood her ground and become the go-to expert in Australia for eyebrow shaping. Make-up artists are flocking to her for training in this niche area.

It’s not to say that because she ‘does eyebrows’ that she can’t or doesn’t do anything else – in fact, she is a fantastic make-up artist. But she stands out from the crowd and is known as the go-to expert in her field, which means she is in hot demand. Jazz pointed out that trying to do everything will inevitably water down your offerings:

“We worry about trying to be great at everything, and it means that our service is not always the best that we want it to be.”

Specializing hasn’t hurt her business; it’s made her even more successful.

Invest in your team and the future

Tomorrow can feel like it’s far away, but the digital landscape is having its impact on the way things are done. First and foremost, you have to stay educated and ahead of the bell curve if you want to be prepared for the future of the beauty industry.

Keeping yourself upskilled with new products, techniques, trends and technology is the only way to make sure you’re still ‘the latest thing’ when tomorrow rolls around.

This important piece to your business puzzle isn’t just about you – you must take this approach with your team also. You want your staff to be educated, motivated and top-of-the-line. Your best defence for staff retention is through education, which builds motivation.

Surely you’ve noticed that when your staff come back from an Expo, a training course motivational or skills based, your revenue that week has an immediate upward spike? That’s not a coincidence. Educator Geoffrey Herberg had a great perspective on it:

“Salons only budget 2% of their salon turnover toward training their staff, and I think that’s really disappointing. If you invest in your people, they become loyal, and you’ll attract the right type of people in your business.”

Many people ask me “But what if I train them, and then they leave?” and my answer to you is: What if you don’t train them, and they stay?

A special treat

The highlight of the Expo for me was surely The Lip Lab where you can choose, mix and apply your own personalised lipstick. The Lip Lab is the very first company of its kind in Australia to create your own lippy! With one of the professional lip colour consultants you can choose, mix and apply your own shades. You can take it home and come back for the same recipe time and time again. Or (much more fun) keep mixing new shades!

The Lip Lab at Beauty Expo Australia 2016

It’s embracing an era of ‘what you want, when you want it’ products. It offers the punter a little drama and stage performance – and of course we all want super-kissable lips right? The brand is slick and seamless and I can’t wait until it arrives in New Zealand.

So long for now

Once again, I leave an Expo reminded of how much I love my industry and how excited I am about the future. New ideas, new technologies and new normals are upending beauty, and I can’t get enough of it. There’s nothing like seeing what your colleagues are doing to get inspired. See you at the next one!


Inspired by her own journey to find freedom & profit in her award winning salon, Larissa founded the Salon Owners Collective. She now inspires other salon owners to do the same through coaching, courses & modern marketing strategies.