After a brisk early morning walk along the Thames (not all the team I might hasten to add!) it was off to the Thames room again for a cooked breakfast to set us up till mid morning coffee! (do they think us hairdressers are always taking breaks!)

Once again the morning was opened by a suitably refreshed Catherine followed by Nicholas Wood (President of Goldwell and KMS) and an interesting talk on business building marketing, he was followed by the effervescent Sharleen Hunter founder of the PR company Unleashed Potential.

Sharleen came up with some great ideas and made you realise just how important PR is to most salons, one thing that really stuck in mind was ‘once you woo, you have to WOW!’ and keep in touch with your customers because ‘out of sight = out of mind”

Sharleen was a tough act to follow but on came the group head of Urban Retreat salon in Harrods, Marcus Allen.

Marcus talked us through his last week and some of his issues he had to deal with including 8 pregnancies (none attributed to Marcus!)  stock control, perfumes worth ridiculous amounts going missing etc etc, this is from a 250 strong team! Marcus was moct entertaining and made you realise we are all on the same journey but not all turning over millions of pounds a year.

After Marcus we had the first of two halves of planning and executing a photo shoot, this was with the legendary photographer John Rawson and the PR Sharleen, Creative Head editor Lauren Margrave and hairdressers Darren Webster and Lisa Whiteman all adding their own views as to how to go about a succesful photo shoot.

I think a lot of people walked away with a completely different view on photoshoots.

Now it was time for coffee, it was 11oclock after all!

Back in now for director of education for 365, Ken West

Ken shared his analysis of price cutting and discounting in these challenging times and produced quite a bleak picture for the salons who take on this slippery slope.

Ken was followed by John Carne, his brand manager Emma Chadwick and his art director Andy Smith.

They all spoke about the revamped John Carne salons and gave us quite a unique insight into their planning and how they broke down the business to rebuild it, food for thought.

It was now time for a working lunch, yes lunch time must be coming up I hear you say!

Interesting time looking at the different businesses and what they had to offer, once suitable revived it was time for the ‘Think Tank’ session this time flew by with many lively discussions on a variety of topics followed by the second half of the photoshoot.

Once again it was time for refreshments and this time it was freshly baked cookies that flew off the tables like there was no tomorrow!

We then settled down to enjoy “The story of our life’ with the legendary northern duo Gary Hooker and Michael Young being interviewed by Catherine Handcock

As always these two are hugely likeable and you have to admire their sheer determination to build such a prestigious brand away from London.

Insights into their business were wonderful and you really felt honoured to be sat listening in like an old friend, sadly it ended all too soon and it was quick goodbyes to friends old and new and then on our way back suitable topped up with some inspirational thoughts to start our new week with and all looking forward to more of the same next year