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

Delivering the VRBC difference to revolutionize training in the GCC Beauty Market

At VRBC we are very excited to be sharing our training programmes with salons across the region. Tailored specifically for the GCC beauty industry, our offering is a highly effective and entertaining workplace education and performance solution, unlike any other seen before. It consists of easy to understand presentations, engaging and memorable video content, as well as learning through play solutions. We have great confidence that what we are offering is fresh, fun and that it will deliver lasting training benefits to salon professionals. 

These benefits are delivered through four key differentiators that our training offers: the content and application has been designed specifically for salons located in the GCC region; the training is delivered in person in your own salon space; as the first of its kind in the region, our training programmes incorporate education through play; and the results and impact of the training are easy to measure. This is what we call the VRBC difference.

Bespoke solution

With twenty years’ experience in setting up, managing, as well as consulting with leading salon brands across the GCC, our founder Valerie Reynaert, identified that there was an opportunity to enhance effective training delivery in the industry. This was evident in not only service delivery, but also business performance and staff retention trends seen across the industry.

Designed in collaboration with a European-based training facilitator to develop training courses and initiatives, specific to the Middle East, our programmes address key areas where maximum impact can be made. 

Delivered by our Training and Development Manager, Chanté Jacobs, a highly experienced beauty industry trainer, the programme includes instructor guided sessions, presentations that are clear and easy to follow, engaging video content, role play exercises and board games. In addition, learning materials will be distributed for revision and reinforcement.

As Valerie and Chanté have been hands-on in the industry for many years, they understand what salons need for success and they are in the unique position to offer and deliver training that provides maximum benefit.

Convenience and personalisation

Oftentimes, training is not a priority because salon owners see this as a loss of working hours which they believe will have a negative impact on their clients and their bottom line. Nothing could be further from the truth, as training is key to happy clients and growing sales. And we bring this all to your doorstep. 

Another benefit of delivering training on site, is that it allows Chanté to adjust her methods dynamically, and to make her teaching relevant to your salon layout, staff count, and specific services offered, making training more effective and also memorable.

Games, fun and laughter leads to deeper learning

Drawing inspiration from different popular board games, our training games have been adapted to help teach key lessons in the client journey. By harnessing the value of play, our programmes remove barriers, allowing deep learning to take place.

Each board game teaches specific lessons for the salon and beauty industry.  Lessons that will help salons operate more efficiently and profitably and in so doing, enhance the service levels of our industry across the region.

VRBC training also incorporates animated videos to showcase best practices. When training is delivered in this way, learning is entertaining as well as educational. Where people are engaged, lasting learning happens.

A measurable return on your investment

The focus of our training and development programmes is centered around three major areas of impact – the Client Journey, which encompasses the experience you create for your customers from the very first phone call all the way to the conclusion of the service, through to selling skills, which encompasses training your staff on how to improve retail sales of products in the salon;  and lastly handling customer complaints, a key skill which is of vital importance to the success of your salon.

As a result of our trainings being performance focused, the financial and commercial benefits will be tangible, you will be able to see a measurable ROI in turnover, customer satisfaction and retention. 

Impact area 1 – The Client Journey

Clients will remember not only the services that you delivered but also how you made them feel when they were in your salon.  The Client Journey training programme will teach your staff how to deliver outstanding customer service in all areas of your business, and how to establish and develop the best standards in the key areas of health and safety, appointment booking, welcoming standards, nail and hair services, the treatment room and when the client leaves the salon.  You want your clients to feel like esteemed guests throughout their time with you.

Impact area 2 – Learning Selling Skills

Do you know that a healthy salon business generates around 30% of their total revenue through retail sales? That’s revenue in addition to the services already rendered. Our training in Selling Skills is about developing effective selling skills that will build loyalty and trust, create long term impact and enhance your brand’s reputation. Topics included in the training program include types of clients, the selling process, upselling and cross-selling, selling on the telephone, and closing the sale.

Impact area 3 – Customer Complaints Handling 

The number of complaints is on the rise, worldwide, as clients have easy access to platforms such as social media and online reviews, and they are quick to use it to share a bad experience or poor service. The ineffective handling of complaints can result in an estimated 5-15% reduction in revenues, with a corresponding reduction in profits. When a business does not welcome complaints, it can result in a significant hidden cost. Our Handling Customer Complaints training programme provides your salon staff with the necessary tools and tactics to turn complaints into opportunities.

The VRBC training programmes are a powerhouse that will positively impact your business, your staff, your clients and your bottom line. If you would like to find out more about our training programs or for any booking enquiries, please email us as

While the beauty industry is an exciting and vibrant space in which to work, there are many challenges that lead to beauty professionals experiencing high levels of stress.

As an industry operating within the retail space and offering services that are in high demand, many salons are faced with exceptionally long working hours – mostly six days a week, in some cases for 10 to 12 hours a day. Furthermore, the industry is plagued by complaints of salary deductions, low pay and unclear commission schemes, as well as lack of communication and respect – all factors which create fear and stress for employees. Sadly, without structured salon policies as well as a corporate and personal plan that ensures balance and wellbeing, burnout becomes inevitable for many.

Poor mental health is becoming a worldwide crisis, and at VR Beauty Consulting we have chosen to be part of the solution by helping the GCC beauty industry, by creating solutions and practices that ensure a healthy work culture across the industry.

The drive to prioritise a healthy work/life balance and to create a beautiful life is part of our business culture which stems from our founder, Valerie Reynaert, who struggled with exhaustion and burnout in 2019.

“Hitting rock bottom taught me that I was the only one responsible for my life and how I was living it. I now understand, from first-hand experience, how important it is to take care of your mental wellbeing, to listen to your mind and body to live a balanced and happy life,” says Valerie.

“I had to do a lot of work on myself, figuring out why it happened and how I could prevent it from happening again. It was not an easy road, but it was a very insightful and interesting one to walk.”

The benefits of prioritising employee wellbeing are numerous. Happy employees are more productive and generally perform better; team spirit and morale results in better service levels; and when your salon has a reputation in the market as an employer who prioritises wellbeing, you will attract better candidates who will remain loyal to you. By investing in an employee wellbeing policy, you will see fewer cases of employee burnout, absenteeism, and employee turnover.

When it comes to establishing salon policies, VRBC champions the importance of creating an environment where people feel safe, respected, and motivated; establishing open communication channels through daily briefings, weekly meetings and an open-door policy; treating employees with respect; organising team building events so people can connect outside the workplace; incentivising employees, paying them on time and praising them for good work.

“At VRBC, for example, we encourage our team members to switch off the moment they leave the office. We could work 24/7 but as an employer I don’t believe this is sustainable. The team is free to use their lunch breaks to go for a swim, a walk in the park or go to the gym. It is important to take a break as it is hard to remain fully focused an entire day. This is what I missed in my previous roles, so I wanted to do things differently and create the company culture I always longed for in the past,” says Valerie.

Another issue VRBC sees frequently when speaking to clients in the region, is the culture shock experienced by beauty professionals who come to work in the GCC from other countries. We often find that they have not been educated on how to deal with the cultural differences and are expected to just know how to behave. This causes unnecessary conflict between staff and salon owners as well as clients. ‘’To this end, we are also offering culture training going forward,” says Valerie.

Valerie advises a thorough onboarding process for every new joiner so they know exactly what is expected from them.

“Set clear goals and KPIs, provide clear job descriptions and have policies and procedures in place to avoid uncertainty. This will go a long way towards creating a sense of belonging and comfort for your employees, as well as avoid any unnecessary mistakes or conflict going forward.

Very early on in Valerie’s journey back to mental health, she says she realised that creating a happy life has a lot to do with the environment you create around you.

“If there are people who do not treat you well, you should determine if you want to accept this or not. If you don’t agree with the work culture you are part of, do you really want to stay? All those decisions are yours to make. Taking time out to reflect on what is happening in your life and if you are living your best life possible is crucial to being able to create your own beautiful life.”

On a personal level, Valerie chooses to prioritise exercise, journaling, and self-care. She also travels often and spends time with loved ones. To unwind and re-energize she heads to the ocean to go diving.

“Very importantly, whenever something triggers me in a negative way, I analyse the situation to understand what has triggered me and how I can avoid this in the future. I focus on the positive and make sure I surround myself with positive and inspiring people,” she says.

In conclusion, in our industry where burnout and stress are prevalent, we must join together to do the work necessary to build a positive work culture across the board. At VRBC we remain committed to assisting salons implement quality training and empowering employees to reach their full potential, and in so doing assist in creating happy employees and work environments.

VR Beauty Consulting is proud to announce the launch of a highly effective, and entertaining, workplace education and performance solution for the beauty industry!

With recent and exciting announcements of the launch of the VRBC training and development department, along with the appointment of Chanté Jacobs, who is a highly-experienced beauty industry trainer, we are now proud to announce the launch of several comprehensive training programmes, tailored specifically for the GCC market. The format of our programme is unique, and is delivered in a never-before-seen format that may take you by surprise.

Along with clear and easy to understand presentations, video content that is engaging and memorable, our training programmes will also include a fresh and fun element which holds many learning benefits – game play!

Sounds unusual, yet research is on our side. According to Tim Burkowske, a global training and development expert, research has shown that when we play, our brains are activated in ways that change the neural connections that impact problem-solving.

Learning in a fun way triggers the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain, such as oxytocin and dopamine, that help to regulate emotions, support social skills, and impact mood, memory, motivation, and attention.  Another benefit of this form of training is that participants can work through challenging dilemmas, all while having fun. It is like you are creating a virtual, adult-sized playground where people can problem-solve, unpack ideas, engage with others, develop their skills, and create the best possible outcomes. 

This was our inspiration when we approached the design and development of our training and development programs. 

We have harnessed the value of play with our training programmes by creating board games that teach specific lessons for the salon and beauty industry.  Lessons that will help salons operate more efficiently and profitably and in so doing, enhance the service levels of our industry across the region.

With twenty years’ experience in setting up, managing, as well as consulting with leading salon brands across the Middle East, VR Beauty Consulting founder Valerie Reynaert, identified that there was an opportunity to enhance effective training delivery in the industry. This was evident in not only service delivery, but also business performance and staff retention trends seen across the industry. 

In response, VR Beauty Consulting collaborated with a European-based training facilitator to develop training courses and initiatives, specific to the Middle East, that will address key areas where maximum impact can be made.

The benefits of training and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) are significant and provide a positive return on investment as it not only creates a better experience for your clients but it also makes your employees feel valued and engaged while creating growth opportunities for them and reducing staff turnover while improving productivity. In addition, it will set you apart as a salon who invests in their employees and that is up to date on the latest trends, techniques and developments.

It has been proven that with regular in-salon training, service levels in your salon are significantly improved and these remain so for longer.  Doing so consistently will build your reputation as a top-class and professional brand and increase your customer base and customer satisfaction.

We have drawn on decades of training experience to develop training programs that truly engage salon professionals, making learning easy, fun and most importantly, memorable.

The focus of our training and development programmes is centred around three major areas of impact – the Client Journey, which encompasses the experience you create for your customers from the very first phone call all the way to the conclusion of the service, through to selling skills, which encompasses training your staff on how to improve retail sales of products in the salon; and lastly handling customer complaints, a key skill which is of vital importance to the success of your salon.

Clients will remember not only the services that you delivered but also how you made them feel when they were in your salon.  The Client Journey training programme will teach your staff how to deliver outstanding customer service in all areas of your business, and how to establish and develop the best standards in the key areas of health and safety, appointment booking, welcoming standards, nail and hair services, the treatment room and when the client leaves the salon.  You want your clients to feel like esteemed guests throughout their time with you.

Do you know that a healthy salon business generates around 30% of their total revenue through retail sales? That’s revenue in addition to the services already rendered. Our training in Selling Skills is about developing effective selling skills that will build loyalty and trust, create long term impact and enhance your brand’s reputation. Topics included in the training program include types of clients, the selling process, up selling and cross selling, selling on the telephone and closing the sale.

The number of complaints is on the rise, worldwide, as clients have easy access to platforms such as social media and ratings, and they are quick to use it to share a bad experience or poor service. The ineffective handling of complaints can result in an estimated 5-15% reduction in revenues, with a corresponding reduction in profits. When a business does not welcome complaints, it can result in a significant hidden cost. Our Handling Customer Complaints training programme provides your salon staff with the necessary tools and tactics to turn complaints into opportunities.

Our Training and Development Manager Chanté Jacobs will deliver these courses in person, a service that we believe will be valuable and vital for the Middle East beauty industry and in so doing, to bring added value to the learning experience.  In her own words, Chanté says that she is driven to provide excellence in her training and that she is focused on being precise and paying attention to detail. She is looking forward to helping individuals achieve far more than what they were hoping for.

While each of our courses are impactful in their own right, the combination of all three is a powerhouse that will positively impact your business, your staff, your clients and your bottom line. If you would like to find out more about how we can help you in this regard, please email us at

Promoting and encouraging sustainability in the beauty industry is a passion project for the team at VRBC, therefore it is only fitting that, as we approach the end of Earth Month with the theme of ‘Invest in our Planet’, we take the opportunity to highlight how salons can make sensible investments to protect our environment and in doing so, respond to the growing demand for more sustainability from our clients.

A sustainable approach to our industry starts by focusing on reducing waste, using products responsibly and selecting products that use responsible sourcing methods. This can all feel a little overwhelming, but with the incorporation of a few simple practices, you can be on your way to a more sustainable salon. 

Sustainability keeps customers happy

A compelling reason to embrace the sustainability mindset is to keep up with customer demands and improve customer sentiment. In a poll conducted by weDo/Professional, the sustainable professional arm of hair care brand Wella, 54% of consumers said they consider sustainability to be a key factor when buying beauty, hair and skin care products, with more than half of respondents (56%) believing it is important to look for products with recyclable packaging and 44% concerned about choosing products that are cruelty-free.

With clients becoming more environmentally conscious and more knowledgeable about the ingredients that are in products, salons need to respond in a positive way and provide sustainable options for clients to consider. For example, by selling paraben-free products, focusing on products that are good for society as well as good for the environment, and focusing on products that are sustainably and ethically sourced.

An emerging trend we have noticed is that clients are actively seeking new and unique products to try. These could be products that are quirky, artisanal or ‘fresh’ brands that make your salon stand out. Salon clients are seeking uniqueness so be ready to provide something that catches their interest.

Join the forerunners in protecting our planet

VRBC works with a large number of salon owners across the region and we can say without a doubt that the discussions around sustainability in salons are increasing. Owners are interested in how they can incorporate more sustainable practices into their salons. We see a sincere desire from business owners to be more sustainable, because of their own personal values around the environment.

Here in the UAE the trend is already underway with both smaller salons, like Zaaz Spa & Wellness and That Hair Though, as well as bigger players like Bedashing and The Grooming Company running sustainability campaigns. I hope to see this trend and movement escalate in the region.

Where to start?

It is vital that you bring your team onboard with any strategy you wish to implement, but it is especially important with a sustainability strategy, which has a much better chance of succeeding if they are onboard and supportive of the concept.

There are so many ways to start the sustainability journey. Some of the most popular efforts we already see in the market are active recycling and active reduction of water and energy consumption. We also see the incorporation of non-toxic and eco-friendly products into salon product ranges.

To encourage and assist you in your own journey, below are our top tips about where to start incorporating sustainable practices into your salon.

  1. Sort your salon waste for recycling

Sort foils, paper, plastic and hair. Yes, even hair can be recycled! Create sorting stations in your salon and encourage staff and clients to use them.

  1. Reduce water and energy consumption in your salon

We are living in one of the most water scarce countries and yet we have one of the highest water consumption levels in the world due to climate, population and income. UAE residents use up to 550 litres of water per day, a number that is 82% higher than the world average.

Considering that the average UAE salon uses 50,000 litres of water per day, salons are uniquely placed to have a significant impact on the preservation of water. Using efficient water shower heads at your basins and training staff not to leave water running while they mix or apply products is a solution that is easy to implement and which will save you money too.

Installing energy efficient light bulbs, or even motion detecting lighting, that switches off when there is no movement, will reduce your electricity bill. Winters in the Middle East bring beautiful temperatures and breezes, so opt to switch off the AC’s and open the windows or doors where possible.

  1. Incorporate organic or vegan products into your offering

Several salon beauty brands now offer organic or vegan options in their hair and skincare ranges, as well as reuse and refill product lines. These can be a key point of differentiation for a younger clientele and provides an opportunity for clients to return to your salon on a regular basis.

  1. Use sustainable and eco-friendly hair tools

Exchange hair foils (that can take up to 400 years to decompose) for biodegradable paper sheets. Consider buying your scissors from suppliers who actively give back such as Leaf Scissors, who plant a tree for every pair of scissors sold.

  1. Source ethically

Source high volume salon consumables like cotton wool, cotton buds, tissue and couch roll from manufacturers that use ethical employment practices and sustainable farming methods. Whenever possible, source biodegradable consumables.

  1. Use non-toxic, eco-friendly cleaning products in your salon

We can now choose from a wide selection of natural and effective cleaning products that are effective, smell incredible and are good for the environment. Try to replace some of the harsher chemical cleaning products you use in your salon with a biodegradable and sustainably sourced product instead.

  1. Offer fair-trade tea and coffee, water in recycled bottles or filtered tap water.

Delight your clients with a tea or coffee that is good for society and the planet! With several suppliers of fair-trade tea and coffee in the Middle East, it’s an easy switch to make. Encourage your clients to bring their own bottles of water, or offer to fill up their bottles with fresh, filtered water, reminding them why you are doing so will help to gain their support.

  1. Bring plenty of oxygen releasing plants into your salon or plant an insect or bee friendly garden.

Lush, healthy plants bring a special touch to any space but be sure to select plants that release oxygen during the day such as Aloe Vera, Snake Plant, Orchids and Peace Lily. If your salon is located in a villa, plant insect friendly plants in the garden and opt for a biodegradable and bee friendly insect spray.

  1. Tell your clients about what you are doing to support the environment and society as a whole!

Tell your clients what you are doing to be more sustainable and why you are doing it. Ask them for ideas and suggestions, and encourage them to take this journey with you. Your clients will appreciate your efforts and the opportunity to contribute to something that improves the world for us all.

  1. Collaborate with competitors

This may sound counter intuitive, however, as with coffee growers and fashion retailers, the beauty industry has an opportunity to collaborate with competitors to shift the industry as a whole towards a more sustainable future. Opportunities for collaboration can be combining recycling waste and contracting an industry recycling partner, coming together as an industry to shift policies at a local and government level or simply sharing knowledge and experience of our individual journeys towards a more sustainable future.

In conclusion, promoting sustainability in the beauty industry is not only essential for the environment but is also becoming increasingly important to clients. By implementing simple and effective sustainable practices salons can make a significant impact on the environment and attract more customers who value sustainability. With a growing trend towards sustainability, it is time for salons in the Middle East to embrace sustainable practices and make a positive impact on the planet.

As always, the team at VR Beauty Consulting will be ready to assist in any way to help salon owners and operators design and implement sustainability strategies.

As the new year has commenced, salon owners are reflecting on 2022 to see what changes need to be made and what can be improved for a successful 2023. Although I look forward to a new year with excitement, I cannot ignore the issues that salons face come 2023 so I have put together my top four issues affecting salons and how to manage them successfully.  

Market competition

In the UAE, the salon business is flourishing, with more than 5000 salons. So much so, that the UAE cosmetics market is one of the largest in the region, with Dubai leading the way. With more and more salons continuously opening, this is an incredibly competitive market, making it challenging for salon owners to keep their doors open for business. The solution here is to make your salon stand out from the rest, which will create loyalty and encourage new faces. With the level of competition and the sheer number of beauty salons that consumers have access to, knowing what makes you different and sets you apart from the rest is key.

This can include having the most well-trained staff and providing the best treatments and level of service. This could also include creating a beautiful salon, that is Instagrammable as well as sanitary and comfortable for your clients, and lastly, providing competitive pricing that makes it affordable for clients, yet still fruitful for the salon.

KSA salon industry growth

With the KSA salon industry rapidly growing, we are predicting a significant drop in the number of KSA residents traveling to the UAE for their hair, nail, and beauty services. KSA consumers will now be able to choose from the increasingly competitive local salons available to them right on their doorstep. The only way for this to not impact salons in the UAE too drastically is to get more UAE residents through the salon doors and spending money to compensate for any client loss. One of the best tools that you have access to is social media. A strategic approach to your social channels will ensure consistent messaging, create interest and generate footfall through the door.  

The global economic crisis

With the global economic crisis in our midst, an increase in product costs and potentially a reduction in client spending, there are a few things that can be done to save money and cut costs which makes for better, wiser decisions during this time.

Once again, sufficient training of your team is something that will benefit you here massively. Focusing attention on training will result in the optimization of the operations and efficiencies of the salon. Staff should focus on areas such as reducing product waste and upselling where possible.

In an environment where clients are reducing their spending costs, it will be very difficult to increase their spend per visit every time; however, offering bundles or packages to clients is a great strategic method to get clients to pay more than they initially intended to. Things like a manicure and pedicure bundle or a balayage and blow-dry package are a couple of the favourites.

Labour law changes in the UAE

With the labour law change made in the UAE last year, it is now easier for staff to leave for a job at another salon. The aim here is to build a salon culture whereby your staff are loyal and want to continue working for you. Losing staff regularly has a major impact on businesses when you consider the investment required to recruit and train staff. My advice is to always do all you can as a salon owner to retain the staff you have. For any business to be successful, you need to invest in your people. And nowhere is this more important than in salons because your members of staff are the key to happy clients. Become an employer of choice by investing in the ongoing professional and personal development of your team members. Know that the younger generation of salon employees is looking for inclusion, empathy, and empowerment.

The above are very real and present issues that salon owners could be facing in the UAE during 2023 and could have some negative effects on the growth and success of salons; but with enough preparation and forward-thinking, there are solutions to these problems and your salon can have a very successful year ahead.

With 2022 about to become a distant memory and the prospect of another exciting and successful year approaching, VR Beauty Consulting (VRBC) has much to be grateful for and I am thrilled and proud of our achievements this past year.

In 2022, VRBC embarked on its third year of existence, emerging from the start-up phase and confidently entering the scale-up phase, in a marketplace that has been rapidly rebounding from the previous two years and returning to growth. It has been a joy to work with so many new and existing salon owners who have decided to invest in their future and position their businesses for rates of growth that have already surpassed pre-pandemic levels.

We took the exciting first steps of entering the Saudi Arabian market. It has been a true honour to see the dynamic businesswomen of Saudi Arabia set up their own businesses. I am proud to support this emerging movement, walking alongside them and assisting and motivating them through the setting up and development of their salon businesses. I have been in awe by the passion, drive and determination of the female entrepreneurs I have engaged with in Saudi Arabia, and have no doubt of the success they will achieve as a result.

This year I have fulfilled a very special dream that I have carried in my heart for years. We launched our Nepal partnership, through which we identify new beauty industry talent from South Asia and enable them to secure employment with salons in the Middle East. This was a goal I had in mind right at the start of VRBC, and in 2022 it became a reality. I could not be prouder of this work. In addition to this, we are in the process of launching our talent gateway, which will create a dynamic network of candidates and salons, and enhance the accessibility to talent in the Middle East.

In 2022, we took the bold step to expand VRBC’s services to include support and assistance on the sale of fully fledged salon businesses. This is an exciting new area for VRBC and one which we believe will grow in importance in the coming years.

As for my aspirations for 2023, there are so many — and through the process of looking back on 2022, I am becoming more confident that they can all be achieved!

I want to continue to build a business that is forward-thinking and that helps salon owners and the industry to evolve to new levels of success and profitability.   

I look forward to working with new clients and helping them to achieve their dreams and goals, helping them to secure the best talent and thereby raising their standard of service delivery overall. Most of all, I want to do all I can to help people to achieve their maximum potential.

I look forward to embarking on this new chapter with all of you bearing witness. Happy festive period and I wish you all the very best for the new year!

The festive season is in full swing and you there’s a buzz in the air with Christmas celebrations and decorations galore. Competition in the beauty industry heats up at this time of year as clients prepare for year-end parties, vacations and New Year celebrations. There can be a lot of pressure to embrace the season and create a celebratory atmosphere in your salon, but there is also a fine line between ‘festive’ and ‘tacky’ when it comes to decorating one’s salon; but there’s no need to panic! Here are some of my top tips.

Deck the halls

…but keep it elegant. There is no need to buy every Christmas decoration in sight in order to make the salon a happy and festive space. A classic Christmas tree, simply decorated, along with some festive feel around each service station is perfect. It will add a festive touch for the clients without making them feel like they need to leave as soon as possible for fear of festive overload.

Festive packages

Your clients are likely to want to make sure they are party-ready for all the year-end celebrations with their friends and family. Why not save them the time of booking multiple slots for different services with the help of a ‘Festive Party Package’. This can include all the key services to look and feel their best this festive season, all bundled into one simple package.

Don’t forget your team

The festive time is a very busy one for salons, which means your team is going to be run off their feet. So don’t forget to give them a little cheer along the way. You can do this very simply by arranging secret Santa with a small budget or, if costs allow, you could treat them to an end-of-year party to say thank you for all their hard work in 2022. This also provides an opportunity to set the tone for the year ahead.

Added extras, with a festive twist

There are several ways to add a subtle festive spirit throughout the day. Why not offer a festive-inspired beverage or festive nail art and hairstyles. Another option is to offer festive gift boxes and wrapping within your retail section. Save your clients’ time from having to think about gifts for others while increasing your revenue this December. This is a win-win for both the client and the salon!

Scale back on social

By all means, post about your festive packages and what you have going on in the salon but remember your overall brand image and message. The festive season will be over before we know it, so you want potential new clients to understand what you do on a day-to-day basis and not be overwhelmed by countless pictures of Santa and his reindeer.