The 2017 Pigmentalia conference for the UK tricopigmentation industry took place yesterday at the Mercure Hotel in Bingley, West Yorkshire.
The conference itself was part of a three day event, with the latter two days dedicated to the completion of Scalp 3, the third and final stage of the Pigmentalia tricopigmentation training program. Following intensive training with Debbie Clifford during the first two training stages, tricopigmentation innovator Milena Lardi heads the final phase with rigorous assessments of the students work.
Attendees of the conference on day one were treated to an eye-opening experience, able to watch Milena perform a live tricopigmentation procedure. They were also able to discuss training and commercial mechanics with industry expert and trainer Debbie Clifford, and with the Pigmentalia management team, Jasper Scholtes and Tina Walsh.
I was excited and honored to speak at the event, sharing marketing and business fundamentals tailored to new technicians preparing to enter the industry for the first time, and discussing the advantages of tricopigmentation versus scalp micropigmentation.
The event was divided broadly into three parts – a live tricopigmentation demonstration, a presentation about the training program itself and the business opportunity that lay ahead, and a discussion about the effective marketing of a tricopigmentation clinic.
Given that the audience consisted predominantly of prospective and newly qualified technicians, Milena Lardi’s tricopigmentation demonstration was always going to be the star attraction.
Unlike permanent scalp micropigmentation, a process that is very much down to interpretation and is therefore performed in many different ways, tricopigmentation follows a preset formula that only qualified technicians fully understand. Delegates had a unique opportunity to watch the master of tricopigmentation, the technician who created the temporary SMP process in 2009, perform the procedure live and with the aid of large screen TV’s zoomed in to show every detail of the process.
Assisted by translator Annachiara Galliani, Milena was able to discuss each stage of the procedure in great detail, and answer a wide range of questions throughout.
One thing is absolutely clear – nothing about the tricopigmentation process is left to chance. Every aspect is carefully trained and managed through strict protocol, to eliminate variables that may otherwise result in a less than optimal patient outcome.
Whilst the permanent SMP field is dominated by technicians with a strong artistic flair, the tricopigmentation process feels much more clinical, measured and precise. I do not believe that either approach is necessarily better than the other, but it does demonstrate how the two processes have evolved in virtual isolation from one another, and are likely to appeal to clients with different mindsets.
Training and business opportunity
The tricopigmentation industry here in the UK is comparatively young. Although the process was innovated in 2009, around the same time that permanent SMP was made available on a large scale to the general public, tricopigmentation was born in Italy and didn’t reach the shores of the UK until much later.
Whereas tricopigmentation was originally channeled through hair transplant surgeons and trichologists, the beauty industry is now adopting the process with great enthusiasm, broadening its appeal and its availability.
Although tricopigmentation is not as commonly sought as permanent SMP, the demand for the service is growing rapidly, and with supply at a far lower level than its permanent counterpart, the business opportunity for new UK-based technicians is significant.
Debbie Clifford discussed the content of the Pigmentalia training program in great detail. It is clear that a lot of emphasis is placed on doing things the right way, not the fastest way, a point that Debbie repeatedly came back to during her presentation. I have always admired the high level of professionalism demonstrated by those in the tricopigmentation world, and this commitment was clearly evident.
My piece was focused on customer acquisition, and how new technicians can best promote themselves in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
Without breaking it down into too much detail, my key message was that marketing is, without doubt, the most important function of any business. No marketing means no customers. No customers means no cashflow, and no business. Whereas many technicians flounder in this area and find it hard to attract clients, others place a strong focus on self-promotion and become successful relatively quickly.
Another focal point of my presentation was to break away from the notion that marketing is simply advertising. Advertising is a marketing function of course, but marketing is a much broader activity and influences every single aspect of a business that the customer is exposed to, from the very first indication that a clinic exists, through to treatment completion, aftercare and referral acquisition.
The objective, therefore, is to enhance every aspect of the customer experience, and to consider how each and every touchpoint makes the client feel about their technician, the service provided and the company in its entirety.
Collaboration is a hugely positive and rewarding experience, especially in an industry that is, by its very nature, relatively fragmented. The coming together of industry professionals, the sharing of ideas and best practice and the opportunity to form relationships and friendships, is valuable for all.
The secondary purpose of the conference was to introduce the world of tricopigmentation to a group of people who are considering starting a new business, or expanding their existing services to include scalp micropigmentation. For a few hours, these newcomers were able to immerse themselves in our world, and build a really accurate picture of how their career or business, their income and their lifestyle could benefit.
We will release dates about the next event as soon as they are available. There is likely to be another event towards the latter end of 2017, if not before.
To find out more about training opportunities, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0)1274 911 890 with all general enquiries.
SMP industry advocate. Serial entrepreneur. International speaker and educator. Former Head Of Marketing and freelance Business Consultant for several of the largest and best known SMP companies. Damien has been involved in scalp micropigmentation since the very beginning, and has a broader knowledge of the SMP industry than anyone else in the world.