Being proactive about your own knowledge and staying up to date with current skin, body and therapy information and government regulations is essential to being successful in our industry, says Kristy Hines.
Our industry is always evolving, from product development, new consumer demands, progress with techniques and trends as well as scientific advancement. Some changes are a slow evolution of research and development and it can be easy to follow their progress.
On the other hand, some changes in our industry are fast and if you don’t keep up you can miss out and be obsolete with your advice. So how do we maintain a level of knowledge that will ensure we are able to inform and educate our clients effectively and accurately?
We start our careers at a beauty college where we learn foundation knowledge. Many therapists cling to this knowledge and don’t progress past this level — either they’re not interested to learn more or believe they have learnt everything they need to know. This couldn’t be further from reality.
After college, a therapist embarks on the practical application of their knowledge and learns the reality of relaying their knowledge to their client. This can be very overwhelming at times as there is a lot to master. Not only are you practising technical application of treatments to meet client expectations, but also the language and interpretation of advice in a way they can relate to and understand — often one of the hardest parts of our craft to master.
Sad but true, many therapists never take their knowledge beyond this point. If you don’t master the art of communicating your knowledge or keep your knowledge up to date, the result is poor client retention and dismal retail sales.
There are many avenues of training you can attend to progress with your knowledge. But as therapists, we should not rely on other people to make information available for us, nor should being unable to attend classes or seminars be a reason for poor knowledge.
Keep the resources you gather along the way of your development and always look back through them to help cement the information. It is amazing what you pick up from reading information a second, third or even forth time!
Suppliers regularly hold technical and product knowledge classes. These courses are a great way to learn and are a foundation step to building knowledge.
Trade expos often host seminars relevant to therapists as well as being an opportunity to view what’s happening across the industry from different product companies and distributors.
Question everything; don’t be afraid to cross-check information and do your own research. Don’t trust just one source of information on a topic. If you develop a more inquisitive and investigative approach to what you learn you will find you not only understand the information more thoroughly but it will result in learning other relevant information. So many therapists think attending a one-day course will give them enough information to last the rest of their career; don’t let yourself fall into that rut.
Lastly, you can never expect or think you know everything. There is always going to be something you haven’t yet learned. Learn how to professionally deal with this without freaking out! It is ok for your client to ask lots of questions. Let them know you will look into it and get back to them with your professional opinion.
Other sources of information to help you further your knowledge:
- Industry colleagues: your current team, ex-colleagues, teachers and educators.
- Industry publications: in print and online.
- Related industries: look at information resources from the hair and hospitality industries for business and service information and medical resources for anatomy and physiology information.
- Network: look to professionals in related industries such as podiatrists for manicure and pedicure advice, dermatologists for skin conditions and concerns, nutritionists and naturopaths for wellbeing advice, and personal trainers to understand fitness and exercise.
- Google it: This option may seem a fast resource but it will take time to consider the source of the information before you decide if it’s reputable information.
Kristy Hines is owner of Mineral Lifestyle Hair Spa, minerallifestyle.com.au