An Industry Focus: 2008 Face & Body Spa & Healthy Aging Conference and Expo

Attendees and exhibitors of Face & Body 2008 joined together on the expo floor to improve and grow spa businesses.
Attendees and exhibitors of Face & Body 2008 joined together on the expo floor to improve and grow spa businesses.
Photography by Convention Photo by Joe Orlando, Inc.

Every year, spa owners and professionals seeking out the latest in industry trends, products, news and offerings look to the Face & Body Spa & Healthy Aging Conference and Expo to help their businesses grow, and 2008 was no exception.

Held Saturday, August 16 through Monday, August 18, this year’s conference and expo was reformatted to provide attendees with even more up-to-the-minute industry knowledge and products to help their spas succeed and thrive in the expanding marketplace, making it a must-attend event for business success.

As part of the reformatting, Face & Body 2008 offered Pre-conference Workshops, a product-neutral Advanced Education Conference Program, networking opportunities, Manufacturer Classes, Exhibitor Presentation Areas and an array of purchasing choices to its participants, and attendees crowded the classrooms and expo floor at San Francisco’s Moscone North convention center to take part. Information on everything from the most recent ingredient advances to new product launches from the industry’s top companies could be taken in, and attendees took full advantage of this year’s myriad of options that provided something for everyone.

Early education

Education got a jump start Saturday as two co-located learning opportunities launched the morning at Face & Body 2008. “Your Profitable Business Right Now II,” a partner conference with Durocher Enterprises and led by its founder and president Bryan Durocher, drew attendees seeking smart business practices, and they weren’t disappointed as they picked up tips about maximizing client spending, low-cost marketing and initiating a community public relations plan.

Interested in learning more about the National Coalition of Estheticians, Manufacturers/Distributors & Associations’ (NCEA) national certification program, attendees also filed in to its Prep Class led by Susanne S. Warfield, president of PCI Publishing, to learn about the scientific concepts and in-depth knowledge required to become NCEA-certified. A review of relevant topics and lessons was covered, helping attendees get on the right track for their certification process.

Brand new to the event this year, Face & Body 2008 debuted its Pre-conference Workshops Saturday afternoon. Focusing on distinctly different parts of the spa industry, each of the four intensive, four-hour workshops led participants through information about product chemistry, makeup application techniques, an alternative wellness treatment or inflammation and wound-healing.

Led by Circadia by Dr. Pugliese’s Peter T. Pugliese, MD, “The Anatomy of a Skin Care Product” workshop involved attendees using their own raw ingredients and lab equipment to get better hands-on knowledge about what exactly is in the products they use on their clients every day, while Noreen Young of Noreen Young Cosmetics & Makeup Studio provided essential application tips and business-building options for spas offering cosmetic services in “Be the It Makeup Artist.” The “Rainbow Reiki Treatment” workshop, offered by Linda Bertaut of Bertaut Beauty, allowed attendees to experience the holistic efforts of an alternative Reiki treatment, and YG Labōratories’ Rebecca James Gadberry spoke about how the common skin problem of inflammation can affect wounds during her workshop “Insights into Inflammation and Wound Healing.”

Keen keynote

Sunday rolled around with a sense of anticipation at Face & Body 2008, and attendees greeted the morning with an exciting and inspirational speech from Rhonda Britten at the Keynote and Coffee session. Britten, founder of the Fearless Living Institute, Emmy award-winner and frequent Oprah guest, gave attendees an important lesson on “Fearless Living” with their morning coffee as the audience sat enthralled. An entertaining speaker, she explained how expectations, excuses and essentially fear can quickly take control of a life, and detailed ways that allow a person to regain that control by sharing deeply personal stories and using audience interaction.

Attendees found Britten’s keynote speech an electrifying way to start the day. “I attended the keynote and Rhonda Britten’s breakout session, and they were both very inspirational, very informative and very fun,” said Rhoda Keith, esthetician and owner of Skin to Adohr in Rocklin, California.

Britten, a former cast member of the daytime reality drama Starting Over, also sensed the spark of something great during the session. “I felt like the audience was really with me,” she said. “They were ready for the speech and wanting to act on the speech, and I’m really excited to see how life goes forward for them using it.”

Industry knowledge

Continuing its momentum of eager anticipation and industry excitement, Sunday also was the opening of Face & Body 2008’s product-neutral Advanced Education Conference Program, drawing in a slew of attendees with tracks such as Business-building, Medical Spa, Esthetic Science, Trends and Wellness/Sustainability, featuring some of the industry’s biggest names. Educators such as Pamela Hill, Boldijarre Koronczay, Eve Taylor and Mark Lees, PhD, brought their expertise to the conference, discussing the latest in spa trends, ingredient options, client interaction techniques, business growth ideas and more.

Hopping from class to class, attendees found themselves eager to learn. “I was in a class with Rebecca James Gadberry, and it’s the best class I’ve ever taken,” said Robin Welch, owner of The Robin’s Nest Skincare in Los Gatos, California. “The show is really well done. It seems well-organized and is offering great, cutting-edge information that’s really useful.” And Aimee Fuentes, owner of Esthetic Options in Seattle, enthused, “The conference sessions were so good, I wish there was a Face & Body show in the northwest territory.”

The program’s educational offerings also extended into Monday, further showcasing sessions with industry leaders offering fresh voices and ideas. And learning opportunities weren’t only offered by the speakers—attendees also shared their own experiences and hard-won solutions during question-and-answer sessions, and even gathered in the halls to converse between classes.

“For a new spa owner, I found the whole overall show incredibly informative and useful,” said Pat Staley, owner of The Day Spa at Bell House in Pittsboro, North Carolina. “I enjoyed all the speakers’ conference presentations that I attended—I thought they were outstanding and motivational—and I feel like they have given me the tools that will help me help my staff sell to our clients.”

Cocktails and a car

Face & Body 2008 offered the chance for conference and expo participants to get to know each other in a little less formal setting as well, at its Networking Cocktail Reception Sunday evening. Mingling over drinks, hors d’oeuvres and small talk, industry leaders, spa owners, managers and others in the business used the time to create connections and relationships, helping to further strengthen the bonds of their spas and of the industry.

Guests at the networking reception were also able to participate in the celebration of a milestone for Skin Inc. magazine—its 20-year anniversary. Publisher Annette Delagrange spoke about the magazine’s history and development, reading a letter from the founding publisher Jean Allured, and Marian Raney, also a former Skin Inc. magazine publisher, talked as well about her time with the magazine, helping bring to light how the publication has grown, evolved and expanded with its loyal readers throughout the years.

Next, winners of Skin Inc. magazine’s 2008 Best of the Best Awards were honored, receiving gracious introductions and stunning statuettes from Skin Inc. magazine editor in chief Melinda Taschetta-Millane. Winners from both the industry and supplier categories spoke of the honor of winning a Best of the Best Award and encouraged others in the industry to strive for greatness as well.

And finally, the penultimate Face & Body evening brought its excitement to a head with the raffle of an eco-friendly ZENN* car, which was on display in the expo lobby during the show. Attendees could register for a chance to win by placing entries in a basket at the RevitaLash booth, as the company was the sponsor of the car raffle, and before the drawing, Gayle Brinkenhoff, RevitaLash’s vice president of sales, spoke about the environmental responsibility that inspired the company to donate the electric car. Brinkenhoff then ended the anticipation by drawing a name—Yogi N. Patel, president of YSAA Realty, Ltd. in Baytown, Texas—as the lucky winner.

“I was shocked to hear my name over the microphone,” said Patel. “I am so thrilled about winning.”

According to Brinkenhoff, “RevitaLash was very proud to sponsor the raffle because going green is something we really believe in. In fact, my husband and I just switched to hybrid cars. And I was personally proud to be involved, because as I am an eight-time breast cancer survivor, RevitaLash donated $1 for every entry form filled out to breast cancer research, and, in fact, we decided to match everything to donate at least $5,000 toward finding a cure.”

Expo experience

Of course, attendees were also able to catch up on all their buying needs and product-specific inquiries by hitting Face & Body’s expo floor both Sunday and Monday, where the industry’s leading companies offered the latest, most cutting-edge spa products and equipment options. However, attendees weren’t the only ones enjoying themselves—Attila Koronczay, co-owner of Éminence Organic Skin Care, said, “The show was great. We have been doing Face & Body for 10 years, and it keeps getting better and better.”

On the floor, attendees conversed one-on-one with company employees who offered first-hand knowledge about how to build their spa businesses with new treatments, products and programs, and on-floor demonstrations abounded, not only in booths, but also at the three Exhibitor Presentation Areas dotting the show floor. These platforms gave attendees the chance to get up close and personal with suppliers’ signature therapies.

Furthering the experience for those looking for specific protocols, company educators also gave helpful tips for menu options and additions in the Manufacturer Classes, getting audience members involved. And through it all, the show’s team members made sure things ran smoothly. “The staff is very knowledgeable and helpful, and it seems like they really have got it together. Everything seems stepped up,” said Delia Lira-Perez, an esthetician with Trends Salon in Los Gatos, California.

Spa professionals seeking new opportunities also had a fresh option to turn to this year, as Face & Body 2008 introduced its Career Networking Center in conjunction with the San Francisco Institute of Esthetics and Cosmetology. Connecting estheticians, massage therapists and other spa personnel with businesses and companies seeking new talent, the center allowed attendees a chance to speak with several prospects all in one place.

With so many options on the expo floor alone, nearly every attendee was able to find something they were looking for, whether it be a new position, product knowledge or a treatment question answered, helping allay any concerns Face & Body-goers had about keeping their spas growing and vibrant.

Do you know the way?

Don’t miss out on one of the greatest business opportunities in the spa industry! Get the lowdown on all the hot topics, products and spa business solutions by making sure you join us next year for the Face & Body 2009 Spa & Healthy Aging Conference and Expo as it continues its growing trend, moving to San Jose, California’s McEnery Convention Center and happening July 11–13, 2009!

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