INTERNATIONAL SALON AND SPA EXPO
JANUARY 29-31, 2011 LONG BEACH, CA
Anne Leona and I were very pleased that Brad Masterson, with the Professional Beauty Association (PBA), www.probeauty.org/isse, invited us two unknowns to this huge convention. The Expo is the largest of its kind on the West Coast and has attendance that is over 40,000+ attendees. Brad explained to us the scope of the Expo and its importance to the salon and spa expo business. Despite being married and having four daughters and eight granddaughters, (not to mention one great granddaughter) I had no clue as to the size, scope and financial impact this vital industry has. Our feet yelled SURRENDER long before we had explored the many booths, educational seminars, and show stops that made up this vast show. It would be foolish, if not, impossible to cover this show in the time available to us. The professional would wish to map out the specific booths, educational seminars, etc. they wanted to see and then run like the wind for the three days of the show.
A major concern for many Seniors is skin care and zeroing on the major concern: dry skin. Coupled with dry skin is the issue of skin being thinner and more sensitive. There were several companies that appear to be dealing with all or part of those issues. Macadamia oil has a wide range of products that deal with skin issues as well as the problems associated with dry hair. We are not familiar about the long lasting of some of the specific items but an Oil Infused Comb and Brush would seem to be quite useful. We did try some of the skin products and were impressed. The term organic is now used at all the shows we cover and this one was no exception. DermOrganic is just one example that promises a healthier hair through use of organic. The Argan tree is the source of this product and well worth looking into. We were familiar with the use of Shea butter but were amazed at just how functional olive oil is both for skin and hair. One representative even stated that, if one could survive the odor, olive oil alone would cure most skin problems.
A company that we were familiar with is Hikari. They seem to produce the best scissors at prices I wish I could afford around the house. Since I am bald, have no clue why they would be useful. The prices are staggering but match the quality. The Japanese seem to have captured this market from the Germans. SharkFin is another scissor company that appears to have a high level of quality. They also have come up with a product for the finger (or finger fitting system as they call it) that is guaranteed to stop carpal tunnel syndrome.
In most of my other life I worked in a Public Library but must admit never to have seen any of the magazines dealing with this huge industry. One example that I looked through at home was NAILS MAGAZINE. If one works in this huge business a natural title but new and interesting to me. The huge number of companies involved in providing service is a small clue to the amount of money involved.
We should have listened to Brad a bit more and fully understood how complex and huge this business is. We enjoyed the entire area of Esthetics and Wellness products. Almost all seemed to be green and we enjoyed the learning going from booth to booth. It was impressive to see a huge area devoted exclusively to the art of spa and wellness.
We are not equipped to evaluate the many classes offered at the Salon and Spa expo. There were lots of them, well attended, and everyone seemed to appreciate the learning process. It was fun watching some of the styling lessons (even though I am bald) because most of stylists not only did their job but also were dramatic about it. FUN!
We saw a company with a new computerized product to help scheduling and tracking of customers. I am sure that there are similar products available, but we wish mindbodyonline.com lots of luck. Besides, we were bribed with an orange. We also saw a furniture lines for salons, programs to accept credit cards (point of sale) and much more.
Due to time constraints (show closing time) we did not linger too much to see the hair extension products and wigs. We learned a bit at both but just enough to be dangerous. We also breezed by the sale of the small products: nail polish, hair spray, and so on. Too much product, too little time!
We learned that there is much more to this business than we knew about. However, that is true about most of the 20+ shows and expos we have covered in the past year. With the size and scope, one afternoon is not enough. It is enough to agree whole heartedly with the slogan: the biggest and the best on the west coast.
Again our hats are off the talented staff that put on this huge show. Thanks for giving us a chance to take a look at this huge business!
John Lustig, Senior Reporter
Anne Leona, Reporter