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May 22, 2019
Other countries take a great interest in London hairdressing. What we do. How we do it. They still see London as the epicentre for hair innovation and the Michael Van Clarke salon at the forefront of professionalism and creativity. I’ve given seminars in Russia before, both times in St. Petersburg, and this time Estel invited me back to speak at their annual weekend conference which also launched a Premier Club for their top 600 salons.
They put on incredibly professional conference events which also include entertainments; West End quality theatre shows and spectacular firework displays from barges on the water, like a smaller version of London's New Year’s Eve event on the Thames.
Estel are the largest professional supplier in the Russian market and their salons extend into Europe and some new international markets too. They supply 70,000 salons with hair colour and hair care products. The event was in the Russian holiday resort of Sochi on The Black Sea which was developed as the Caucasian Riviera in 1909 for Russian high society. It occupies over 100 km of coastline making it the second longest city in the world, and the mountain range behind hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics. It had previously been called Alexandria and was the site of a military base.
Estel had taken over a new conference hotel, and a massive floating nightclub, which they turned into a 60-seater pop-up salon to make the record for the most hair colours given in a single day in Russia. The Russian version of Guinness Book of Records attended.
Speaking to international audiences always throws up unique challenges and only about a dozen of the 700-strong audience spoke English. The rest were wired up to the interpreter. I’d spent six hours with her the day before going through my presentation and all the slides had been translated into Russian. She did a great job on the day conveying the nuances of my delivery, or perhaps the audience were being very polite.
The interpreter did tell me a trade secret, that if a speaker tells a joke that isn’t funny or understood she’ll say through the head phones, “they’ve told a joke, be polite and laugh”. I really did laugh at that, but I wasn’t doing stand-up comedy so didn’t think she’d have to resort to that covert technique.
I gave an hour long overview of our salon business and our 3’’’More Inches products, many aspects of which they found astonishing – “Do you really have 2 chefs and clients have lunch in the salon?”
I followed with a 75 minute talk on How to Stay Ahead in Business - Ten Key Principles developed over the experience of my career. This was created as part of our Salon Business Mastery teaching programme. The audience showed their appreciation by storming the stage afterwards for an hour of autographs and selfies.
Michael Van Clarke
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