With several states in Australia having experienced lockdown for months on end, it’s not surprising that when a roadmap out of said lockdown is announced, people end up feeling confused, overwhelmed, and disheartened.
The professional beauty and aesthetics industry is no stranger to being left in the dark during these state reopening’s, aptly referred to amongst therapists as, “the first to close and last to open industry”.
Despite impeccable hygiene and safety protocols, the technological advancements our industry has experienced over the past decade and the diverse nature of offerings within the aesthetics sector, the perception of our industry through the eyes of Parliament continues to be outdated and vastly misunderstood. Until now.
As Minister Jaala Pulford firmly explained, “if it wasn’t for our advocacy to the Health Minister, beauty would not be opening at all along with the other industries at the indicated benchmarks in the roadmap”.
That advocacy Minister Pulford is referring to is the dedicated efforts of the Aesthetic Beauty Industry Council. Created for the industry, by the industry, ABIC was established to improve professional standards, working practices and unity of the salon, spa, and clinic industry.
With daily conversation in our community surrounding where beauty businesses currently stand under their State Government’s roadmaps and as an industry at large, it was time to talk to the people right in the centre of the action. I sat down with Reika Roberts, Chair and Director of the Aesthetic Beauty Industry Council who shared with me the key messages they are fiercely communicating with the government, the feedback they’ve received thus far and her advice for beauty businesses feeling unsure in these convoluted times.
I jumped straight into the nitty-gritty and asked Reika what exactly the key messages ABIC were communicating with the government are. With our industry still viewed through a very traditional, dare I say old-school, lens by our nation’s changemakers, I was thrilled to hear that ABIC was seriously opening the eyes of those in Parliament to what our industry actually does on a day-to-day basis.
“Let’s face it; there has been tremendous change in the services and technology that has evolved and continues to do so in our industry. It’s actually been a wonderful opportunity to explain to various authorities the key differences in market segments of the Aesthetic Sector (we were very surprised to hear that most in parliament have very little idea of the nature of our member’s businesses), and why ABIC as the authority that represents the industry in its entirety needs to be consulted prior to making policy”, Reika explains.
The policies Reika is referring to are ones crafted by the national cabinet with no consultation of the beauty and aesthetics sector. A current priority being shared with the government is the need for COVID-safe operations and an affirmative plan to not just reopen but rebuild businesses within our industry. By educating the government about the reality of our industry, and shifting away from the narrow-minded perspective, ABIC is truly showcasing how seriously our industry always takes the likes of hygiene and safety, not just amid a pandemic.
Reika adds, “there’s a general misunderstanding between those who are making decisions and the business decisions that our members as clinic operators need to make. There has been no industry body present at association meetings, so in a way, we can’t lay blame. This, we are pleased to say, is changing”.
A strong and united industry presence in these decision-making environments is the key to a brighter future for all beauty businesses. By being consulted and authentically understood as an industry, ABIC can provide accurate, considered, and direct feedback to changemakers within government and have our voices heard in all the right places. This is music to my ears, and I have no doubt, yours too.
One of the organisations supporting ABIC to have their voices heard in all the right places is the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA). A federation that assists the government to understand the intricate workings of a small business, COSBOA has been integral in ABIC’s advocacy by inviting Board Members to their fortnightly meetings.
With the likes of the Fair Work Ombudsmen, SafeWork Australia, Ministry of Health, Chief Economists and Parliamentary Ministers also attending these meetings, Reika shares that these sessions provide a dedicated space for industry’s wanting to make real change, share proactive feedback and take action.
“It also opens up a lot of scope for media interest and this enables our voice to be carried forward with less confusion and more clarity.
Whilst it’s not easy, and it has taken time to ensure we are on ALL the industry meetings that take place with Treasury Departments, the Council for Small Business (COSBOA), The Australian Chamber of Commerce and any other meetings that take place, we are making firm inroads”, she adds.
With ABIC firmly on the invite-list, amongst such prominent government bodies, it is evident that the work of Reika and her ABIC Board Members is not only being recognised but taken incredibly seriously.
With a lot of the action currently happening behind the scenes, I wanted to ask Reika what beauty businesses can do if they’re feeling the heaviness of uncertainly and confusion; especially with the likes of social media causing what feels like a daily frenzy.
“At the moment, what we need to do is wait for the Public Health Orders to come out.
Whilst in NSW and VIC the roadmaps have been produced, the devil is in the detail and the PHO’s will detail all the changes. As an ABIC member, you have exclusive access to a dedicated team of Facilitators, HR and IR professionals who will advise you on the changing landscape and ensure you are not left wondering”, she shares.
By becoming an ABIC member, you are at the forefront of what’s happening within our industry with unparalleled transparency. Staying ahead of industry news, changes, and updates in the least overwhelming way possible, ABIC is your go-to for authentic support with facilitators that speak your language on the other end of the phone.
In addition to boosting industry standards from a parliamentary perspective, ABIC memberships also level up your day-to-day business life with exclusive access to resources, guides, and templates. Channelling the individual expertise of ABIC Board Members and aligned industry professionals, ABIC members enjoy access to a curated resource hub loaded with everything from business management, finance, marketing, human resources to policies and procedures. This is definitely something beauty businesses should be taking advantage of whilst their doors are still closed.
I hope our conversation with Reika has left you feeling confident and excited about the future of the professional beauty and aesthetics industry. Change is possible, so become a member of ABIC today and help to make great change for our industry.