The famous quote, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything”, speaks of the power of music on the human race. Across cultures and generations, music has the ability to transport one back to a memorable moment in your life, where you can feel the emotion, and even taste and smell the elements of a precious memory. This power is a tool that beauty salons can harness to create an added layer of experience for their clients and to create memorable client journeys, which keep them coming back for more.

At VRBC Consulting, we recently had the opportunity to learn all about the unconscious power of music on customer behaviour from a sonic branding expert, Tim De Smet from Sonhouse, a Belgian sound production company that works with companies around the world to create sound branding to enhance their businesses.

According to Tim, in-store music that matches the brand can increase revenue up to 20% and the length of stay up to 30%.

“Music equals emotion, it enters our limbic system, which is also the part of our brain where we make decisions. We can trick our emotions through the use of music because it triggers feelings. Sound by itself has an impact, but also the type of music and genre moves people. In that sense it’s important to make sure that your music playlist fits the message of your brand and the identity you want to share. It is really important to think about your sound identity and to make a relevant translation with a clear goal of breaking through the noise and connecting with your client.”

Tim shares that in the book, The Power of Sound, by Cedric Engels, about tests that were concluded in hospital, where they gave 500 people headphones playing relaxing music prior to surgery – all the patients needed less sedation for surgery!

“We live in an acoustic landscape. We are constantly surrounded by sound without actually realising it: traffic, a birdsong, construction noise, music. These sounds have an impact on our behaviour, on the way we feel. If you are dining in a restaurant with bad acoustics your body produces cortisol, a stress hormone. If you go out for a run and listen to up-tempo music, your performance will increase because neurons are triggered. Music affects our whole body, says Tim.

When it gets down to business, Tim says, music can literally add revenue to your top line. A study conducted by a pizza food chain proved the correlation between music and revenue. They experimented with a lunch playlist for their busiest time of day and played music that was upbeat – with the objective of energising their staff to move quicker to meet the increased demand at lunch time and to get more people in and out the door, and it worked. Then in the afternoon, when most people come in for coffee, they played jazzy, calming music and people stayed longer and spent more, because they were relaxed.  

This experiment showed that not only can music affect your clients but it can also be used to create an environment that enhances staff performance and productivity as well. 

In another example, a warehouse chain needed to increase the sales of their boxes of French wine so they played french music and the stock moved faster – they sold it all.

‘If you are in a beauty salon and hear the right music at the right moment you will feel relaxed, happy and engaged because dopamine will be released within your body’. Research proves that high-end instrumental music, for example, makes people stay longer in a place and gives them an association of ‘beauty’,” says Tim.

At Sonhouse, Tim says they work according to a methodology that is memorable, different, consistent and alive. They look at the mission, vision and aspirations of the brand and then composers create music that synthesizes with the brand.

“Remember, competitors can use the same music as you. We can create customised music that is alive and unique and which can be adjusted to the season and requirements.”

When it comes to choosing music to support your brand, Tim advises that for beauty salons selling the idea of luxurious pampering, soothing music with a slow tempo, gentle volume and almost no beat – will reinforce the experience well. For a young, vibey and edgy hair salon brand he recommends a playlist made up of happy, upbeat music as well as that the volume could also be higher to create the right mood and ambience that matches the energy of the brand. Similarly the music genre and tempo selected will vary between a ladies and a gents salon. 

Thanks to the rise of e-commerce, people are not going into the shops as often anymore – when they come into your store, you need to give them an experience. When skillfully utilised, music can become a silent salesperson, weaving its magic to uplift moods, elevate brand perception, and foster an unforgettable journey for your clients.

Is training an ongoing priority in your salon? If not, it should be.

The ‘post-pandemic rebound’, in which salon owners saw their revenues and foot fall recovering strongly after the pandemic, is now starting to slow. With more salons opening, skilled staff shortages and overall salon productivity dipping, salon owners need to find the fuel required to power through the next phase of business growth, and according to our Founder and CEO, Valerie Reynaert, that fuel is training. 

Employee training is an integral part of any business and the goal is to empower your staff to become industry professionals who deliver outstanding customer service. Unfortunately, many salon owners do not see training as an investment.

Valerie shares that “When training is seen as an investment and becomes part of your long-term strategy, it becomes a tool that empowers your staff, builds loyalty, retains quality talent as well as builds your business and increases profitability. If you want your salon to have a competitive edge, the first step you can take in that direction is having a well-trained workforce.” So why should salon owners take heed of Valerie’s advice?

Although available research in the beauty industry is limited, a survey undertaken by  Training Magazine, showed that  in other industries, companies who offer comprehensive training programs are 24% more likely to achieve higher market share in their respective industries. Training can have an especially significant impact in service related industries, with research completed by Training Magazine showing that organisations that invest significantly in employee development have 218% higher customer satisfaction and 24% higher profit margins compared to companies that invest minimally in training.

In 2022 the PwC Middle East Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey , which surveyed 52,000 respondents across the region, working at all levels of business, found that in our post-pandemic world, employees are thinking more carefully than ever about their career, with around 30% of Middle East respondents saying they were ‘extremely likely’ or ‘very likely’ to look for a new job in the next year, that equates to 1 in 3 people and is significantly higher than compared with a global survey average of 19%. 

The report goes on to say that the best way for employers in the Middle East, like their global counterparts, to resolve employee anxieties is to build loyalty and trust by investing in training programmes that upskill employees, for which there will be no shortage of participants. 

The report states, “Any employer who is in doubt should take on board the following finding: more than 60% of respondents in the Middle East said some kind of specialist training was a necessity in their jobs, substantially higher than the global average (48%). Some 75% of the employees surveyed in Kuwait, 60% in Qatar, 58% in Saudi Arabia and 46% in the UAE believed their country had a shortage of people with specialised skills. However, respondents in the region were more confident than the global survey average (47% vs 40% globally) that their employers were prioritising upskilling.”

The trends identified in that report are already being seen ‘on the ground’ in other service related industries in the Middle East with the Group Head of Learning and Development at Dubai-based retailer, Chalhoub Group, Zaur Shiraliyev being quoted in a Fast Company ME article as saying that “In the post-pandemic world, just like we are observing changes in consumer behaviors from a retail perspective, we are observing huge changes in employee preferences and choices. Well-being, purpose, and learning are becoming the key differentiators in an employer’s choice. Learning is the new currency.”

This insight is being reinforced through our own daily interactions with salon owners and staff across the region. 

“I am having more conversations around training and upskilling or multi-skilling staff than I have had in recent years” shares Valerie. “Salon owners have realised that getting customers through the door is only the first part of the process and that their staff are not always equipped to maximise the in-salon opportunities.” This is where training steps in and delivers results to the bottom line. 

Our Training & Development manager, Chanté Jacobs, is receiving similar feedback from salon staff who are expressing their interest and engagement in the training which she delivers. She shares that “I am seeing salon staff really getting involved in the training process. They don’t just sit quietly and wait for the end, they ask questions, discuss solutions and really engage with the material that I am delivering.”

In summary, the benefits of training for your business are many and include:

  • Reduction in errors, improved efficiency, minimal need for constant supervision, all of which contribute to cost savings.
  • Innovation as a direct result of stimulating creativity and enhanced problem-solving skills.
  • Better prepared staff, quality customer service, increased sales, greater rebooking rates, a more professional environment and most importantly, more profit.

For your employees, the benefits are numerous too. Training:

  • Helps to develop their skills, knowledge and techniques
  • Keeps them passionate and their morale high
  • Gives them a sense of purpose and belonging in the company and so they become stronger brand advocates. 

Investing in employee training should be a top priority for our industry as it creates a win-win situation that positions salons for success while nurturing and empowering their workforce. Implementing continued training produces guaranteed quantifiable benefits and you will see a return on your investment, without any doubt.

The Middle Eastern beauty industry is a billion dollar business known for delivering the best of the best in cutting-edge trends and quality products, but not always in service delivery. With an expanding market of well-informed consumers who are invested in personal care and beauty treatments, projections are that the industry will continue to grow and increase in value. According to, revenue in the beauty and personal care market in the UAE amounts to US$1.14bn in 2023 and the largest market segment is personal care with a market volume of US$0.52bn

With an estimated 8 000 to 10 000 beauty salons in the United Arab Emirates, competition is fierce. It is not enough to just have an attractive storefront and to offer the latest and greatest in treatments. Salons must be the best at what they do on all fronts to retain customer loyalty and ultimately, to make a profit and to grow.

VR Beauty Consulting’s newly-launched training programme and the subsequent appointment of our Training and Development Manager Chanté Jacobs allows us to leverage decades of industry experience along with regional experience across the industry, to guide salon owners and their staff as to how to identify ways to improve and how to deliver incomparable service and a memorable client experience.

Chanté says she doesn’t want to just train, she wants to create an impact. 

“The way in which information was passed on to me and the passion with which it was delivered is what inspires me to deliver my training in the same way, with my own unique twist. I want industry professionals to remember what they have learnt and to use it on a day-to-day basis. And this is what I love about VR Beauty Consulting’s training programmes; they are a practical, 360 degree approach to suit individuals from all walks of life and they cater to every learning style. I believe they will fill a huge void in our industry,” she said.

Chanté believes that as a trainer, you should be aware and considerate of the individuals you are training and take a personalised approach that suits the individuals on the receiving end.

“I recently trained a group of talented industry professionals, for whom I realised the training terms in English would be a challenge to understand.  I adjusted my approach there and then to meet them ‘where they were at’ which ensured that they were still able to gain the knowledge they needed to succeed. This makes me extremely happy and proud that I was able to deliver the training in a way that was effective and helpful for them.”

There are many challenges facing the industry in the region today, which training can help overcome. One such issue is high staff turnover. Staff are not afraid to leave a job because there are always other places where they can find employment. Salon owners also don’t go the extra mile for their staff, because they question the value of investing in people who they believe will leave their employ at some point. 

“Investment in your staff is so important – they are the face of your business and they need to know how to do better. I strongly believe that if salon owners invested in training their staff and provided them with the tools they need to succeed, it would reduce staff turnover as it would lead to happier clients as well,” Chanté says.

Service levels in our industry are generally poor, across the board, because people working in the industry are not well-informed. They have the skills to do the job, but they don’t take the customer experience into account. Because staff are under pressure to drive money into the business, they are focused on getting clients in and out the door and they are not delivering a personal service. 

“Client retention in the industry is very low, people will go to a salon and then not go back, there is very little loyalty. This is true even from my personal experience. There are a number of salons that I have never returned to, due to lack of service,” she says.

Many beauty professionals in the region are not native English speakers, so they don’t want to interact with clients and are possibly fearful of asking people in charge for training or help, when they struggle.

“When there is a language barrier, staff are not confident in speaking to clients. This is an area where training can help. By training staff they naturally feel more confident and it  opens up the doors of communication, which leads to clients who feel more comfortable and happy,” she says,

Chanté is certain that the VR Beauty Consulting training programme is going to be appreciated because it is so different to traditional training currently available in the industry thanks to having incorporated elements such as personal presentations with animated training videos, in-salon delivery and interactive games that form part of the training experience, as well as because it is targeted and designed to address the unique dynamics present in the GCC region in particular.

“I feel that it is a great method, as it appeals to different learning styles, and it creates a fun learning environment. It allows trainees to engage and interact while learning and, in this way, the knowledge they are receiving becomes easier to understand and to remember. It is not just listening to someone and watching a presentation, it is hands-on and leads to a high level of learning,” she says.

“My focus is to deliver and ensure that they understand why what we are teaching is so important and then to drive the lesson home through the provision of realistic examples. Our training offers a new way of learning that enables us to meet people where they are and to help them learn regardless of their learning style.”

Looking forward Chanté hopes to break barriers and show beauty professionals the power of learning to help them achieve their goals in life. 

“I feel that those who have been in the industry for a while, tend to become complacent, but my goal is to open their minds and to challenge them to learn. Simply because I believe that as the beauty industry is growing, you should too.”

At VRBC we are passionate about our industry and we know the benefits that can be gained when salon owners and staff are passionate about their brand and what they do. Our training will not only teach you how to create the ultimate client experience but also how to change attitudes and create a positive, presentable culture, how to provide a service that creates trust and how to be consistent and engaging. By improving service levels, we know that you can drastically improve your business.

If you would like to find out more about how we can help you in this regard, please email us at