My first impression of ISBN when I visited last year was that here was a bunch of extremely bright people dealing with important issues together. It’s similar to Intercoiffure but also very different, and it is with those differences that our associations have synergy.
If you think about Intercoiffure, with its 83 years’ equity across 56 countries, its focus is creative. We major in art, and minor in business; ISBN majors in business, and does art as minor. But we have similar approaches. It’s the members who drive the organizations; who share their knowledge and experience with one another for the benefit of the industry as a whole.
External experts are invited to talk at our twice-yearly ateliers, but on the whole, it’s our members who take the sessions, just as it is with ISBN. At our fall atelier, always held in New York, we focus on fashion hair, education and meeting the press, with our most respected members such as Charles Penzone Salons and Visible Changes Salons asked to perform. In spring, we focus more on business, recognizing that even creative geniuses need guidance on how to run successful salons.
At our most recent meeting in Florida we heard from Winn Claybaugh, Harold Leighton, Van Council and many others from within the industry, but we also listened to people such as Dr Dean Foster, who talked about cancer awareness, and Aaron McDaniel, on how to empower and prepare future leaders.
Membership of Intercoiffure is elitist by definition. Only the very best salon owners are able to join, put forward by an existing member within their region and then vetted by our committee to see if they have the right credentials and attitude to be part of such an historic organization. Every employee within the salon benefits from being part of an Intercoiffure salon and they’ll lose that if they move on.
It might sound extreme, but it is how we create and sustain a ‘safe’ environment where members are comfortable sharing their secrets. If one member reveals her latest collection, she does so confident that she’ll get something back from other members that will help her improve in other areas. ISBN limits its membership to the top of the market, the multi-location guys operating million-dollar businesses. Intercoiffure limits its membership to those who are actively creative.
For both businesses, the learning shared by members is more intense and more concentrated than any trade show. And it goes on well beyond the sessions, during dinners, breakfast and even on the golf course.
For many Intercoiffure members, being a part of ISBN is just as important and just as safe. It provides a different level of business knowledge, necessary to the major players. And, in return, for many ISBN members being part of Intercoiffure provides that spark of creative inspiration and helps them provide the passion and opportunity that they and many of their employees crave.
I’d like to see more cooperation between ISBN and Intercoiffure. I’m sure there are opportunities and projects we could develop together, creating new situations where we drive the US beauty industry ever forward.