In  the contemporary business landscape, businesses are very aware of the fact that they are not only responsible for generating profits but also for their impact on people and the environment. This awareness has been developing over many years – it started with the drive for corporate social responsibility, which was followed by the Millennium Development Goals and then the Sustainable Development Goals. Today these impacts are known as ESG.

ESG refers to a set of metrics used to measure an organization’s impact on the environment, society and what their governance structures are; and has become increasingly important in investment decision-making over the years.

ESG in the Middle East

Many ESG initiatives have been implemented in the Middle East region in the last few years. However, with the UAE hosting COP28 this year, momentum for ESG and sustainability to be at the top of the corporate agenda in the region has been created.

PriceWaterhouseCooper shares info from a recent survey which shows that companies in the Middle East are responding with increasing vigour to new demands for changed thinking and stronger action on climate issues.

“They are showing greater transparency about how their operations affect the environment, through increased public reporting. And they are adjusting their organisations to put in place a more systematic approach to managing these efforts, including adding senior executive roles with specific sustainability-focused responsibilities,” the report states.

According to the survey 64% of respondents have adopted a formal ESG strategy in the last 12 months and as many are embedding ESG priorities across their organisations. 70% state that they report on ESG, with a quarter doing so in a stand-alone ESG report.

The survey also states that for a growing number of companies in the Middle East, the ESG journey is neither steady nor linear. While all the signs of growing ESG maturity are present, the survey highlights several areas where progress is patchy. Survey respondents report that the lack of adequate skill to implement ESG and funding remain their biggest obstacles currently.

What falls under the ESG umbrella?

The environmental aspect of ESG refers to factors related to the impact of a business on the natural world, such as energy consumption, waste management, and carbon emissions. This metric underscores the necessity for sustainable practices. With growing concerns about climate change, resource depletion, and pollution, businesses are increasingly held accountable for their ecological footprint.

The social dimension of ESG encompasses aspects of how a company interacts with society, including labour practices, community engagement, and diversity and inclusion initiatives. It is important because prioritising social responsibility contributes to employee satisfaction, enhances brand reputation, and strengthens community ties, thereby fostering long-term resilience and goodwill.

Governance focuses on the systems and processes in place to ensure ethical behaviour, accountability, and transparency within an organisation, including board diversity, executive compensation, and adherence to regulatory standards. All the above are essential for fostering trust among investors and stakeholders. Effective governance practices help mitigate risks such as fraud, corruption, and conflicts of interest while promoting accountability and sustainability.

What does ESG mean for the Beauty Salon Industry?

For salon businesses, embracing ESG principles presents several opportunities to not only minimize their environmental footprint but also to foster positive social impact and ensure robust governance structures. Here are some examples of how ESG can be applied to a salon business.


Implementing eco-friendly products: Beauty salons can switch to using organic, cruelty-free, and sustainably sourced beauty products to minimize their environmental impact.

Energy conservation: Installing energy-efficient appliances, such as LED lighting and low-energy hairdryers, can significantly reduce energy consumption.

Waste reduction and recycling: Beauty salons can implement recycling programs for paper, plastic, and other materials used in their operations, as well as encourage customers to bring back empty product containers for recycling or refill.

Water conservation: Installing water-saving fixtures like eco-friendly showerheads, and encouraging staff to minimize water usage during treatments can help conserve water resources.


Fair labour practices: Ensuring fair wages, providing benefits such as paid sick leave, paid leave and paid overtime, and offering opportunities for professional development and advancement to salon employees.

Community engagement: Participating in local events, supporting community initiatives, and collaborating with local charities or non-profits to give back to the community.

Diversity and inclusion: Promoting diversity in hiring practices and creating an inclusive work environment where employees from all backgrounds feel valued and respected.

Customer education and safety: Providing comprehensive information to customers about product ingredients, safety measures, and proper usage to ensure their well-being and satisfaction.


Transparent pricing and policies: Ensuring clear and transparent pricing for services and products, as well as having easily accessible policies regarding appointments, cancellations, and refunds.

Ethical sourcing: Implementing policies to ensure that all products used in the salon are ethically sourced, such as verifying suppliers’ adherence to fair labour practices and sustainable sourcing methods.

Compliance with regulations: Adhering to all relevant laws and regulations governing the beauty industry, including health and safety standards, licensing requirements, and tax laws.

Accountability and oversight: Establishing mechanisms for accountability, such as regular audits, performance evaluations, and feedback channels for employees and customers to voice concerns and suggestions.

In summary, embracing ESG principles is not only a moral imperative but has become a strategic necessity for businesses in the 21st century. If your salon proactively addresses environmental challenges, fosters social responsibility, and puts strong governance practices in place, you will be able to enhance your competitiveness, mitigate risks, and contribute to a more sustainable and equitable future for all.

If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded – Maya Angelou

As we celebrate female empowerment and the holy month of Ramadan, we would like to focus on the importance of businesses being involved in their local communities and giving back to those less fortunate. 

At VR Beauty Consulting, social involvement has always been at the core of who we are and what we do. Our founder Valerie Reynaert has found great personal fulfilment in her own journey of helping those less fortunate.

Where it all started 

At a time when she was burnt out and feeling overwhelmed, she took a step away from her career and decided to volunteer in Peru. This is where she again found her strength and her focus. From being a teacher’s assistant in a pre-school, volunteering for an organisation that aims to keep children off the streets, and working with the elderly at a Nunnery, to doing research for Operation Wallacea in Mexico by diving as a research assistant and identifying areas that need marine conservation, Valerie found peace and a renewed sense of purpose.

Going forward in her business, Valerie knew that social responsibility was an element she would always prioritise. To date VRBC has given back through involvement in a school in Nepal, training nail technicians who are then given a placement in the UAE. Valerie has also been supporting Ujeli Care Center, an NGO in Nepal, providing healthcare to underprivileged children, and was instrumental in building a toilet in a mountainous region of Nepal for women who did not have access to bathroom facilities during their menstrual cycle. 

The shift towards purpose-driven business 

In an article published by the HLB Global Advisory and Accounting Network, CEO Marco Donzelli highlights that in recent years, the paradigm has definitely shifted from solely focusing on financial gains to emphasising the value of social and environmental responsibility. 

“The public, customers, and even employees now demand more from companies. They seek organisations that not only deliver high-quality products and services but also contribute to the greater good of society. This evolving sentiment has led to the rise of purpose-driven business models, highlighting the importance of community engagement and giving back.,” he says,

Local business seeking to benefit society

On the local front VRBC has seen many inspiring social responsibility campaigns in the last few months.

Essential Salon Dubai (@essentialsalondubai), in support of Breast Cancer Awareness, offered free hair treatments for those clients who were cutting their long locks off, to be donated to make wigs for cancer patients.

Haysam and Hicham Eid, brothers and owners of professional hair tools brand Eideal started an initiative that saw them giving up their first Sunday of every month to give haircuts and share kindness and compassion with labourers from the labour camps in and around Dubai.

Most recently, Collective Haircare (@collective_haircare) and Deena Alawaid (@deenaalawaid) ran a campaign in support of Gaza. The company donated seven days’ worth of their income from services and sales to support the UAE Relief Campaign for people affected by the war in Gaza. They then organized Beauty for PEACE, in collaboration with The Big Beauty Scoop (@thebigbeautyscoop) and Yasmin Subhan (@yasminsubhan_hair), and raised another AED 55,685 in support of Gaza. 

How can your business benefit?

Besides the obvious personal sense of reward, there are many benefits for running a Corporate social responsibility campaign in your business.

These include:

Boosting morale – Helping others makes everyone feel good. When you and your team see the positive impact you’ve made on someone’s life, it lifts everyone’s spirits. Getting involved in local projects lets you see firsthand how your actions make a difference, making you feel even better. Plus, employees respect bosses who give back.

Creating goodwill – Businesses that support community causes often get more support from customers. When you help in your area and donate, it can lead to more people choosing your business and staying loyal to it.


Building team bonds – When your whole team works together for a good cause, it brings everyone closer. Doing something selfless helps colleagues connect in a way that normal work tasks don’t.


Improving your community – Helping local groups makes your community a better place to live and work. This benefits you, your team, and your customers by creating a nicer environment.


Networking – Being active in your community introduces you to important people like local leaders and other business owners. This expands your connections and can help your business grow.


Attracting and keeping good employees – Younger generations, especially millennials, like working for companies that do good things. When your business supports charities, it attracts new employees and keeps current ones happy. Showing you care about helping others says a lot about your company’s values.

“It’s important for everyone to realise that there are so many people in the world who aren’t as fortunate as us. And once you realise that, find a way to support them. Even the smallest contribution can make a world of difference to some people. This is how we can all work towards making the world a better place,” Valerie concludes.


Empowerment is a beacon of beauty, illuminating paths and possibilities for women across the globe. As we honour Women’s History Month throughout the month of March, we reflect on the remarkable achievements and enduring influence of women in shaping our world. At VRBC, this celebration resonates deeply with our ethos, for we believe that empowerment is the essence of beauty.

In our journey, led by the vision of our Founder Valerie Reynaert, we’ve witnessed a transformation in the landscape of the beauty industry. Over two decades ago, Valerie embarked on her career in the beauty salon industry, navigating an industry largely dominated by C-Suite men. It was a realisation that struck her profoundly, considering that the industry primarily caters to women. So, when she established VRBC, she sought not only to bridge this gap but to empower women to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams in an industry close to her heart.

“Our slogan, “Where Empowerment Is Beauty,” encapsulates our commitment to fostering extraordinary success for women in the salon business. We believe that true beauty emerges when women are empowered to make choices, raise their voices, and carve out their destinies. In the work that we do we strive to cultivate an environment where women can unleash their full potential, supported by equal opportunities and unwavering advocacy for gender equality,” says Valerie.

“We are fortunate to live in the GCC, an affluent region with a strong economy where there is money to be spent and where the women prioritise beauty and looking and feeling their best. In an emerging market like this there is so much potential and opportunity for women to build their own futures. It is incredible to see the boom that is taking place,” she says.

VRBC is pleased to see that in recent years the GCC region has seen a stronger focus on stimulating and motivating female entrepreneurship as well as a drive to see women educate and develop themselves further. This has definitely impacted the increase in female business owners in the industry. Being part of this booming industry gives us a chance to help a lot of women, to build stronger foundations to grow profitable businesses.

At VRBC, our focus extends beyond merely assisting women in setting up beauty businesses; we aim to equip them with the knowledge and confidence needed to thrive in the competitive market. With decades of experience and a passion for mentorship, we walk alongside our clients, guiding them through every stage of their entrepreneurial journey.

At VRBC one of our main focus areas is helping women to understand how to set up a business and what they can expect the business performance to be. Very often our clients are passionate about the services they offer but they don’t have the business expertise and experience. This is where we come in. We help build their confidence and share our knowledge. With our decades of experience, we empower, support and show them that they are able to do it. We love walking the path and the journey together, as they build their dream.

“Seeing the impact of what we do is very rewarding. When we first meet a client, they have a dream but they don’t know how to achieve it. Months later it is incredible to stand by and watch them on the opening day of their salon. Each success story reaffirms our belief in the potential of women’s entrepreneurship and fuels our dedication to driving positive change,” says Valerie.

Worldwide we are also seeing that the beauty salon industry has emerged as a powerful force in empowering women, offering avenues for economic independence, skill development, and confidence-building.

According to the International Franchise Association (IFA), women own approximately 32% of all franchised beauty salons globally (IFA, 2022). This percentage is significantly higher in the GCC, highlighting women’s significant presence and leadership within the sector.

“As I reflect on my own journey, from a beauty therapist to a business owner, I advocate for staying strong and resilient, emphasizing the importance of gratitude and kindness. I stress the significance of hard work in achieving one’s dreams and encourage others to join supportive communities like Professional Beauty GCC, where like-minded individuals in the beauty industry can connect and collaborate.”

In a world marked by constant change and evolution, we remain steadfast in our commitment to empowering women and fostering a culture of collaboration and empowerment. Together, we celebrate the beauty of empowerment and the endless possibilities it holds for women everywhere.


In the ever-evolving world of salon business, growth isn’t just desirable – it’s essential. With competition intensifying and consumer choice expanding, stagnation is synonymous with decline. But why is growth so crucial for a salon’s success?

First and foremost, we operate in a highly competitive market space that’s becoming increasingly crowded with competitors. Clients today have more options than ever before, making it imperative for salons to continuously evolve and expand to remain relevant. Without growth, a salon risks falling behind its competitors and losing its competitive edge.

Moreover, growth is essential for attracting and retaining top talent. In an industry where skilled professionals are in high demand, salon professionals seek out establishments with a promising future and opportunities for personal and professional growth. A stagnant salon may struggle to attract talented individuals, hindering its ability to deliver exceptional service and stay ahead of industry trends.

Furthermore, the beauty and wellness industry are constantly evolving, with new techniques, products, and trends emerging regularly. Salons that fail to grow risk becoming obsolete, unable to meet the changing demands and expectations of their clientele. To thrive in this dynamic landscape, salons must embrace growth as a strategic imperative.

To simplify the complex question of how salons can accelerate their growth, we’ve broken down our approach into two distinct routes: “Do more with what you have” and “Do something new.”

Do More with What You Have

Route one focuses on maximising the potential of existing resources and investments. Here’s how:

  • Sell More Services to Existing Customers: Prioritise upselling and cross-selling to increase the average spend per client and generate additional revenue.
  • Enhance or Expand Service Offering: Engage clients and increase satisfaction by introducing new or enhanced services, providing seasonal or limited-time offers.
  • Optimise Staff Efficiency: Invest in training to enhance staff skills and productivity, enabling them to perform multiple functions within the salon effectively.
  • Focus on Retail Sales: Maximise profit margins by increasing retail sales, monitoring product performance, and optimising procurement practices.
  • Streamline Bookings: Train reception staff to upsell and cross-sell during booking stages, minimising downtime and maximising revenue opportunities. And makes sure they rebook clients before leaving the salon. 
  • Monitor Key Business Metrics: Track client retention rates, staff productivity, and other vital metrics to ensure optimal salon performance and profitability.


Do Something New

Route two involves exploring innovative opportunities for growth and expansion:

  • Open New Locations: Consider opening new salon locations, either owner-operated or under a franchise agreement, to reach new markets and expand your customer base.
  • Expand Beyond Existing Borders: Explore opportunities for geographical expansion into new cities or countries, capitalising on emerging markets and untapped potential.
  • Diversify Your Offerings: Explore new avenues such as online stores, training programs, product lines, or collaborations with other businesses to diversify revenue streams and attract new customers.
  • Seek Fresh Perspectives: Bring in outside experts to provide insights and recommendations for growth, offering a fresh perspective on your salon’s operations and opportunities for improvement.

You may be asking ‘What should I do next’? 

Well first of all, stop doing what is not working and is not generating a profit. Decide on pursuing route one or route two then set your goals. Do a detailed plan. Discuss this with the team and incentivise your team for those goals. 

Contact VRBC if you want guidance or support. We have done this many times and we can provide you with experience and expertise to help you be successful.

Finally start! Procrastination is deadly, and you can start by taking small steps towards growth.

In conclusion, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to accelerating salon growth. By leveraging existing resources effectively and embracing innovation, salons can unlock new opportunities for expansion and success in an increasingly competitive industry. Whether it’s maximising client engagement, optimising staff performance, or exploring new avenues for growth, the key lies in taking proactive steps to drive continuous improvement and stay ahead of the curve.

In the ever-evolving landscape of the beauty industry in the GCC, the pursuit of growth stands as a fundamental objective for salons of all sizes. As salons strive to thrive in our very competitive market, the ability to measure, monitor, and understand the intricacies of growth is of vital importance. 

Knowing the ‘why’ it is important to measure growth, the ‘how’ to actually do it and exploring and understanding the metrics to measure by, are tools that will help you build a successful, adaptable, and sustainable enterprise.

As a professional beauty business consultancy, VRBC is well-placed to understand and share the tools, strategies, and insights that will help you quantify your success but also plan for the future. Here follows our recommendation for the tools that you can leverage to assess and propel your growth – it is time to unlock the full potential of your business!

Why is it necessary to measure?

If you don’t measure and monitor a few key metrics in your salon, you won’t know when you are heading for a problem or when you possibly have untapped potential, or even if you are excelling and need to look at alternative means of growth. 

When you focus on measuring performance you will soon see the tangible benefits that extend from financial health and operational efficiency and  you will better be able to discern your competitive advantage and how you can leverage that into your business. 

Benefits of performance measurement include:

  • Being able to make informed decisions about resource allocation, investments, and operational improvements.
  • Ensuring that your efforts are in line with the overall strategic objectives.
  • Understanding what is working well and what needs improvement, and then implementing targeted interventions to enhance overall efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Cost savings and better resource allocation.
  • Providing a clear framework for evaluating individual and team contributions, which can help build a collaborative work culture.
  • Understanding how well you are meeting customer expectations and identifying areas for improvement in products or services.
  • Identifying areas where your salon is exceling and areas where it may lag behind, facilitating the adoption of best practices.
  • Recognising the need to implement proactive measures to mitigate risks and prevent larger problems from arising.
  • Being able to assess the overall financial health of your business. This information is crucial for stakeholders, including investors, creditors, and management, to make informed decisions.
  • By analyzing results, making adjustments, and monitoring the impact of changes, you can adapt and evolve in response to market dynamics and changing customer needs.

So what should you measure?

The specific metrics you use to measure performance in your business will depend on your goals and the nature of your operations. However, there are several common categories of metrics that businesses often use to assess performance. 

  1. Financial Metrics

These metrics include looking at your revenue – total income generated by the business; your profit margins – what is your nett profit as a percentage of revenue; and lastly your return on Investment (ROI) –  the ratio of nett profit to the cost of investment. Equally important is the % Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) – When it comes to retail, UAE market suppliers provide retail margins between 35 – 40%, therefore, COGS should not be more than 60%. 

These calculations will give you a very good understanding of the financial health of your salon.

  1. Client Retention Metrics

Clients are the lifeblood of your business. Knowing whether they are happy is paramount. There are many ways in which you can keep an eye on how you are faring in this space, and they all involve keeping your finger on the pulse of what customers want.

For example, you can call non-returning clients and find out why they didn’t come back. If the client says they had a bad experience, apologise and offer them a free service. If one of your high performing employees leaves, reach out to her clients and tell them she has left and that you will miss them and maybe offer them free services for the next three visits to entice them to stay. In addition you can offer clients discounts or rewards for bringing their receipts back within in a certain time frame

Once you understand where you are there are many ways to improve your scores in this area.

  1. Employee Performance Metrics

Being in tune with your staff is key and all salon owners should consider measuring the following:

  • Employee Productivity – measuring individual or team output relative to input.
  • Employee Satisfaction – completing surveys or assessments to gauge employee morale.
  • Turnover Rate – looking at the percentage of employees who leave the organization within a given period.

Other metrics to consider include:

  • % Cost of Services – The industry average range of % Cost of Service is 10 – 12%, on average 11%. It could be higher if the service prices are lower compared to the prices of other market players and the products used are top brands.
  • Rent %  – this should not be higher than 10% of your revenue
  • Salaries & Benefits % – this should not be higher than 35% of your revenue
  • Sales per SQ foot- should not be lower than AED 2,000 per sqft
  • Retail Sales % – worldwide benchmark is 30%. For the GCC if you reach 15% that’s great – for prime mall locations it should be 30%.

Should you complete your calculations and find that you are unhappy with the performance of your business, there are many factors that can contribute. Whether it be poor administration, poor inventory management or lack of teamwork, there are many ways to fix the issues and get back on the right track.

At VRBC, this is what we do and we are well placed to help you assess your performance and help you improve on it. 

Contact us on to find out more.

Staying ahead of the curve is not just an advantage – it’s a necessity in today’s highly competitive beauty salon environment. As the beauty industry continues to evolve at an unprecedented pace, salons find themselves navigating through a whirlwind of technological advancements, shifting consumer preferences, and global market dynamics. 

In this era of constant change, the ability to identify, understand, and quickly adapt to emerging trends has become a vital element of business success. 

Through their daily business dealings and networking with beauty salon owners and operators across the GCC, our founder and CEO, Valerie Reynaert, and her team at VRBC, have a front row seat to these industry conversations and are well positioned to share insights from them. Here are the business trends that they say salons should focus on in 2024!

Training and Skills Development 

By Chante Jacobs, VRBC Training and Development Manager

Trend 1: Multi-functional staff

We are seeing an increased prominence of multi-functional staff within salons, who are able to easily switch between multiple roles within the salon as demands change during the day, week or month. 

These staff members have expertise across various beauty services rather than specialising in just one, making them more versatile and productive. This shift reflects a broader consumer preference for convenience and efficiency in their beauty routines.

Having staff members who can offer a comprehensive array of treatments, positions salons to meet the evolving preferences of their clientele and this approach is fast becoming a cornerstone of success in the beauty industry. 

This trend has even impacted our offering at VRBC, with the development of training programs we now deliver to clients in the GCC,  such as Face Fitness, Maderotherapy and Soft Skills. These play a crucial role in equipping beauty professionals with the diverse skill sets needed to cater to the dynamic preferences of today’s clients.

Trend 2: Every member of staff impacts the brand experience

In 2024, there is a heightened awareness among salon owners regarding the impact of every staff member on the overall brand experience. Salon owners are becoming more aware about the messages conveyed by their staff, recognising that each interaction contributes significantly to the overall perception of the brand.

Salon owners must be mindful of how staff members represent the brand, ensuring that every interaction, whether in-person or online, aligns with the values and image they want to project. This strategic approach not only enhances the customer experience but also contributes to building a positive and consistent brand identity which contributes to the overall success and reputation of the salon.

Marketing & Branding

By Carol Holdsworth, VRBC Marketing Specialist and Preshky Perera, VRBC Branding Specialist

Trend 3: Social Media is dead (unless you do this)

Social media has become the equivalent of a digital magazine. We scroll by posts on automatic mode, and only stop for those that catch our attention in some way. So how do we make sure that our posts get the attention we are looking for?

  • Diversify your content: There are so many different formats of content, from videos to gifs, images to timelapses etc, which can drive interest and stop people scrolling past. Brands who dedicate time and effort to creating the best content they can for social media, will create the ability to stop people scrolling, and engage with their brand. 
  • Quality content does matter: We would zone out if we saw fashion brands all using the same approach to photographing their new collections, so why do we do it in the beauty industry? Take a look for yourself. The images all look pretty much the same!  Have you considered new ways to capture what you do as a salon in a way that feels fresh and new, and most importantly, edited correctly? You can destroy a great piece of content simply by not editing it correctly. 
  • Rethink social media channels: The old favourites of Facebook and Instagram may have worked for you in the past, however, have you considered if your target audience is still there? We see significant adoption and engagement on channels such as Snapchat and Tik Tok, with channels like Instagram showing a decline in year on year growth in 2023, in favour of Snapchat and Tik Tok. Ignoring this trend, could mean you are talking to a slowly emptying auditorium. 
  • Stylists’ own social profiles can boost your salon brand visibility: We have seen across the industry that beauty professionals, stylists and therapists who focus on their own social media presence, will actually give the salon they work with a bump in reach and engagement. This is achieved either by tagging their page in a post, or through collaborative posts, which are shared between profiles. They are free to create the style of content that resonates with their own personal approach, which feels authentic, and the salon leverages this across their own socials by creating visibility for their staff. It’s a win-win. 

Trend 4: A Branding Refresh Can Revitalise your Salon

Consumer tastes evolve, and this is as applicable to branding as it is to our favourite hairstyles or items of clothing. Is your brand evolving with your consumer? Here are some key trends identified by VRBC’s branding expert Preshky Perera. 

  • Bold and minimalist designs: We see an emerging trend of brand designs, as well as designs for customer touch points such as packaging, menus etc, that are bold, clear, striking and with fewer visual elements to distract the eye. Examples of extra elements are florals, script fonts and multiple colours. This minimalist design should not feel stark, but is focused on creating ‘ease of communication’ for the brand and removing the ‘noise’. 
  • Gradients of interest: Multiple colours and layers of elements may be out, but gradients bring the ‘vibe’ and interest to brands that will be considered ‘on trend’ in 2024. Using single colour gradients (think ombre), will maintain the fresh, clean approach of our first branding trend, with the ability to draw the eye to where it matters. Gradients are perfect for social media and digital use, as well as printed media such as menus. 
  • Branding that matters: Branding is not just about a logo or a colour palette. It is about using these elements to create a deep and authentic connection with your audience and to communicate what makes you unique.  Your branding is ‘experienced’ whether physically in a salon space, online on social media or a website, or at home with product packaging. Your branding tells a story and sets an expectation in the mind of the customer.


By Valerie Reynaert, Founder and CEO of VR Beauty Consulting

Many salons, brands and suppliers are taking on board the need to be more sustainable in all aspects of their business. Just this month we have seen salons supporting the international Veganuary campaign, for example. We are also seeing more and more salons focusing on being more sustainable by going plastic-free, using eco-shower heads or solar panels, recycling or buying salon furniture that has been sustainably produced.

Sustainability and its related practices cover an exceptionally broad spectrum and there are many ways to incorporate its principles. The trend that VRBC is highlighting as key for 2024, is the driver behind this topic – the consumer!

Trend 5: Consumers are driving the need for cleaner beauty

In today’s market, consumers are increasingly drawn to products that seamlessly blend sophistication with simplicity.  As individuals have become more conscious of the impact their choices have on the environment, there is a heightened emphasis on eco-friendly and sustainable practices. This extends beyond the product itself to include the entire lifecycle, from sourcing ingredients to packaging and disposal. 

Brands that align with these values and prioritise environmentally responsible practices are gaining favour among consumers seeking to make more ethical and sustainable choices in their beauty routines.

The intersection of sophistication and simplicity, paired with a commitment to cleaner and organic formulations, has given rise to a new era in the beauty industry. Consumers are not only looking for effective and high-quality products but also those that contribute positively to environmental and social well-being. 

Managing Talent

By Valerie Reynaert, Founder and CEO of VR Beauty Consulting

Trend 6: It is all about the team

Based on a comprehensive global survey involving 70,000 working adults, it was revealed that 75% of participants in the UAE actively seek new job opportunities while still employed. This highlights a pressing need for employers to establish robust employee retention strategies in order to cultivate a more stable and enduring workforce.

During and after Covid, everyone’s expectations and experiences were turned on their head and it has irrevocably changed the world of work. Employees have different priorities now and are looking for a positive and empowering culture in their workplace.

In response, businesses worldwide, and in the UAE, have implemented employee-centric HR solutions that are based on well-being, physical and mental wellness provisions, and work-life balance. Employee wellness is becoming a key focus of a happy and successful workforce. 

Besides transparency, benefits, and flexibility in their work styles, employees are also looking for training and skills development opportunities. In the beauty industry, change happens overnight and there is always something new for therapists to learn. Salons are uniquely placed and can benefit greatly by making an investment in skills development and offering growth and opportunity to their teams.  

A last point to cover involves workplace diversity. The pool of candidates, particularly in our industry, is not extensive. To be in a position to stimulate growth, salons must not be short-sighted when it comes to looking at talent from abroad. While foreign talent may need to transition to the very high standards of our local industry, with correct training and leadership, salons can build a diverse, formidable and innovative team that meets the needs of the diverse UAE clientele.

In our fast-paced world, where innovation is the currency of competitiveness, businesses that fail to keep a vigilant eye on industry trends risk becoming irrelevant. Don’t let this be you!

In the dynamic landscape of the GCC beauty industry, staying ahead of the curve demands a proactive approach if you want to stand out from the crowd. As we embark on the journey through 2024, we at VR Beauty Consulting believe that the need for strategic revitalization has never been more important and that the key to having a successful year ahead lies in the ability to transform challenges into opportunities and status quo into innovation.

It is possible to breathe new life into your team and business, setting the stage for unprecedented success in the year ahead. Here are our top tips that will not only position your team for excellence and propel your business to new heights in 2024, but which will also unlock your salon’s potential for growth, resilience, and triumph.


Do not underestimate the impact of creating a workplace environment that has a positive culture and which prioritizes motivation as a key to success. 

As a salon owner, you can make great strides by understanding what your team’s personal and professional goals are and figuring out how you can help them achieve these goals.

Recent international researchshowed that 39% of employees feel underappreciated, while 77% would agree to work harder if they’re receiving more recognition. Employee motivation activities are one way to make sure employees feel appreciated and boost productivity. 

According to, the benefits of focusing on creating the best employee experience, through workplace engagement and motivation are numerous. Besides enjoying higher staff retention, businesses with a motivated team also enjoy:

  • higher productivity and performance
  • improved manager-employee relationships
  • improved customer service and 
  • better company reputation.

Goal Setting

Goal-setting is a fundamental aspect of personal and professional development and provides a clear sense of direction, purpose, and motivation. In a salon setting, goals pave the way for structured planning and focused action and instill a sense of accountability in the team. 

When setting goals, follow the SMART acronym for your team. Set goals that are: 

  • Specific: which clearly explains what should be done and when and who will do it.
  • Measurable: which can be measured against standards. 
  • Achievable:  can be challenging but must be attainable. 
  • Relevant: aligned with company objectives and higher goals. 
  • Timely: have a clear time frame to achieve objectives.

Once you have your goals identified, then structure them in the MSC Framework, which helps you identify tasks or deliverables that:

  • Must be done each month
  • Should be done (important but have some flexibility around them)
  • Could be done (nice to have). 

This approach, along with regular feedback and guidance will unleash motivation within your team. 


Training is a great tool to motivate your team. AUK training organisation, highlights that as employees see their skills improving, they gain a sense of accomplishment and confidence in their capabilities. This boost in confidence, in turn, motivates them to apply these skills in their roles, leading to increased job satisfaction and overall engagement. 

Studies prove that organisations that have good training plans for employees will see enhanced performance from their employees as they are more efficient and able to perform tasks faster. This efficiency leads to a reduction in the time taken to complete assignments, resulting in higher productivity. It also improves the quality of their work and elevates overall company results. 

VRBC’s tailored training programmes in soft skills, nail skills, face fitness and maderotherapy are of world class standards and will allow you to enjoy a significant return on investment, as well as all the benefits mentioned above.


In the highly competitive beauty salon industry, a well-crafted marketing strategy, coupled with effective content marketing, can breathe new life into a business and establish a strong connection with customers. To revitalize a beauty salon, understanding the unique preferences of the target audience is crucial, and this is especially true for the highly discerning GCC female consumer.

A comprehensive marketing strategy should encompass a mix of online and offline channels, with a significant focus on social media. Social media platforms play a pivotal role in reaching and engaging GCC female consumers, who are known for their active presence on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok and Snapchat. These platforms not only provide an avenue for showcasing the salon’s expertise but also enable direct communication and engagement with the audience.

Content marketing plays a key role in establishing the salon as an authority in beauty and wellness. Blog posts, video tutorials, and infographics can be created to educate and inspire the target audience. 

Moreover, utilizing influencers and testimonials on social media can amplify the salon’s reach and build trust. Personalized promotions and loyalty programs can also be integrated into the marketing strategy to incentivize repeat business.

In essence, a well-executed marketing strategy, with a strong emphasis on content marketing and social media engagement, can position a beauty salon as a go-to destination for the discerning GCC female consumer, leading to increased brand loyalty and business growth.

As we approach the end of 2023, it’s a moment for reflection. 

This year has been incredibly intense, filled with accomplishments that I deeply cherish. However, I must be honest; it hasn’t been a walk in the park. Achieving these milestones came with stress, pressure, and, at times, chaos.

I take immense pride in our significant accomplishments:

  • Crafting tailored soft skills programs and innovative board games for salons, addressing the demand for elevated customer service standards. These games aim to facilitate learning through engaging interactions.
  • Introducing Technical Trainings including Nails, Face Fitness, and Maderotherapy.
  • Establishing our Training Department, welcoming two exceptional professionals to our team.
  • Pioneering the industry-first Talent Gateway, an online recruitment platform catering to experienced salon professionals, addressing the industry’s talent needs.
  • Showcasing our presence for the first time at an industry exhibition.
  • Launching our Branding, Marketing Strategies, and Procurement and Inventory services, offering expertise to salons seeking distinction in a competitive landscape.
  • Expanding our team from one to eight members: 3 full-time employees, 4 partners, and myself.

Growing a business involves building a team, a task not without its challenges. Finding the right fit isn’t easy, and the interview process often conceals important details. Reference checks are imperative, even when outsourcing recruitment. Ensuring a thorough process can save time, money, and prevent disruptions within the team.

Financial pressures accompany rapid growth. Solely relying on profits and personal savings for business expansion brought sleepless nights and stress. During tough times, true colours emerge. As my parents taught me, not everyone who smiles means well.

A profound lesson this year was about not blindly trusting people, even those close for years. Many prioritize themselves, compromising values for personal gain or ego protection. It’s eye-opening yet deeply hurtful. Discussing this with a friend, mentioning how stupid I had been, she remarked, “You’re not stupid; you’re an optimist. You believe in treating people well.” That resonated; I’m drawn to authenticity and have focused on surrounding myself with like-minded individuals. Those who don’t prioritize your well-being aren’t worth keeping close.

Building achievements brings numerous lessons. Isn’t that the essence of life—continuous learning? Negatives persist, but acknowledging the positives amid challenges is an art.

Reflecting on the intense yet rewarding journey of 2023, here’s some hard-earned wisdom I’ve picked up along the way that might just make your journey a bit smoother:

  • Celebrate Achievements: Acknowledge and celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem. They serve as milestones in your journey and deserve recognition.
  • Embrace Challenges as Learning Opportunities: Every obstacle or challenge encountered is a chance to learn and grow. Approach difficulties with a mindset geared toward extracting lessons and wisdom.
  • Thorough Recruitment Processes: Building a team is crucial. Prioritize a comprehensive recruitment process. Beyond interviews, conduct thorough reference checks to ensure a better fit and prevent future disruptions.
  • Financial Planning and Diversification: Rapid growth often brings financial pressures. Plan strategically, diversify funding sources, and consider seeking advice from financial experts. Dependence solely on profits and personal savings can be risky.
  • Trust and Authenticity: Trust is valuable but verify authentically. Not everyone may have your best interests at heart. Prioritize relationships with those who share similar values and prioritize mutual well-being.
  • Optimism vs. Realism: Being an optimist is a strength, not a weakness. Balancing optimism with realism can help maintain a positive outlook while being aware of potential challenges.
  • Self-Care and Surroundings: Surround yourself with supportive, like-minded individuals. Prioritize self-care and mental well-being. Your environment significantly impacts your growth and mindset.
  • Balance Positivity and Acknowledgment of Challenges: Recognize both positives and negatives. Acknowledging challenges doesn’t diminish achievements; it adds depth to the learning experience.
  • Continuous Learning: Embrace the essence of life as a journey of continuous learning. Each experience, positive or negative, contributes to personal and professional growth.
  • Gratitude: Cultivate a sense of gratitude. Being thankful for the lessons learned, the support received, and the opportunities encountered fosters a positive mindset.

As we wrap up 2023, here’s hoping these lessons help light the way for an awesome year ahead full of growth, resilience, and a whole lot of wins!

October is a month of celebration for me, both personally and professionally.

It’s the month I celebrate arriving in Dubai 20 years ago! It is also a celebration of the 20 years of working in the beauty industry in the region which culminated in the realisation of my biggest dream – starting VR Beauty Consulting. Join me as I go down memory lane and look back on the journey that brought me here. 

When I first arrived in Dubai, I was fresh-faced and ready for a new adventure. 

Back then we only had Deira City Centre and Mazaya Center to do our shopping from. There was no Ski Dubai or Burj Khalifa and they were just building the first apartment buildings in Dubai Marina. The majority of Western expats were living in Mirdif, which then shifted to the other side of Dubai when all the communities such as Springs and Arabian Ranches were built. 

We worked Saturday to Wednesday, with Thursday and Friday being the ‘weekend’. That was when the small expat community, where everyone knew each other (especially if you were Belgian like me) would get together. Looking back at pictures from that time and comparing them to today, the city is unrecognisable. 

When I first got to Dubai, I had high hopes for a career working as a beauty therapist in a beautiful salon in the city, with fellow beauty professionals like me, passionate about delivering exceptional service. Then I went for my first interview at a salon and it immediately became apparent to me that the way a beauty therapist was perceived, needed to improve. 

The salon industry in the UAE 20 years ago was vastly different. 

The majority of the salons were small businesses, with no proper branding, no vision, and limited financial understanding and planning. They had limited brands, tools and equipment to choose from. They focused on offering a large range of services but not on customer experience or service. It was all the wrong way round. 

Never one to sit in a corner and cry, I chose to explore ways to grow my expertise and soon other exciting opportunities presented themselves, and I grabbed each one with both hands. 

Twenty years later, I am proud to say that I have a thriving beauty consulting business that I built from scratch and I believe, having come from a family of entrepreneurs, the idea of starting a business has always been somewhere inside of me.

However, the catalyst for taking the leap to start my own business was brought on by some devastating personal challenges, including a near fatal car accident that left me with a disability for life, an abusive marriage, a tough divorce, an unbuilt property due to the real estate crisis, and ultimately a physical and mental burnout. 

The realisation that I was building someone else’s dream, and not my own, was the push I needed to start VR Beauty Consulting.

Without a doubt, living in the UAE has made it possible for me to achieve this dream, and it has shaped who I am today.

Let me explain. When you live your entire life in the town or city you were born in, there are many obligations when it comes to people who have been part of your entire life and your parents’ life. Living in Dubai, you can build your circle of friends from around the world, and surround yourself with people who inspire you.  

After my burnout I decided it was time to surround myself with positive people and to eliminate those who took the positive energy out of my life. In that time I grew closer to those friends who are more spiritual and who have shown me the true meaning of life, but also to those entrepreneurial friends who encouraged me in my professional growth. Surrounding yourself with positivity, makes for a much happier you and a happier life.

I believe that moving to Dubai was the best decision I ever took in my life. I truly believe that anything you want to do, Dubai gives you the opportunity to do. If I had to do it all over again I wouldn’t do it much differently, because overall I have lived a very blessed and happy life here in Dubai and this city has brought me many opportunities and life lessons. 

The only thing I would tell young Valerie is to start saving from the moment I started to earn money, not blindly trust people because you believe everyone is as trustworthy as you, and to only surround myself with positive, good people. 

As I take a moment to celebrate and appreciate this twenty year milestone, I am filled with excitement for the next twenty! 

I believe we haven’t seen half of what changes and evolution is yet to come! With the salon industry in the GCC continuing to show such rapid growth, the sky even isn’t the limit. 

In the UAE, we see that many international brands want to enter the marketplace now. We also see more beauty exhibitions being staged, training academies popping up, showing that the industry now also better understands the importance of training. As our industry is growing, higher standards are being set.

If the UAE brought many opportunities in the past, even more opportunities are ahead of us. I am truly excited for the future. You will see me and VR Beauty Consulting around for many more years to come!