DAYSPA Attends Dermalogica Congress in Las Vegas

Skincare company celebrates its biggest event in seven years.

Wurwand wows the crowd.Wurwand wows the crowd.

Wurwand wows the crowd.

From Sunday, August 9th, through Wednesday, August 12th, some 2,500 business owners, salon managers, spa directors and skin therapists from more than 60 countries converged on Las Vegas for Dermalogica Congress. The event was the skincare company’s biggest in seven years, having last been held in Istanbul in 2008. This time, Sin City’s Cosmopolitan hotel played host to the affair, which overflowed with demonstrations, education and inspiration—and more than a dash of fun!

A cocktail party kicked things off on Sunday, with Dermalogica’s chief visionary Jane Wurwand and her husband and company co-founder Raymond welcoming the expectant “tribe members”.

A succession of guest speakers gave powerful presentations throughout the Monday and Tuesday; although each offered unique insights and advice, many touched upon Congress’s theme—“Only Connect”, taken from a quote by English novelist E.M. Forster’s 1910 book, Howards End.

Among the keynote speakers was the highly entertaining Stuart Knight, who delivered both wit and wisdom. He encouraged the audience to create powerful conversations with their clients by asking meaningful questions about their lives. “Success comes to those who have the guts to ask big questions,” he said. Wendy Palmer, founder of LEADERSHIP EMBODIMENT, a company that provides tools in skillful listening and leading, talked about the indirect impact of stress on the body, such as reduced risk-taking, creativity and decision-making. “The best leaders lead with warmth and strength,” she noted. Palmer urged attendees to expand their peripersonal space in their places of business, so that “people we communicate with become a part of us, and we build that connection.”

Natalie Byrne, director of global impact for Dermalogica’s philanthropic wing FITE, discussed the nonprofit’s success—it has helped more than 60,000 female entrepreneurs since its inception in 2010. Byrne provided some sobering statistics about world poverty, such as the fact that 70% of the one billion people currently living in extreme poverty are women.

Key Dermalogica employees, including Dr. Diana Howard, vice president of global education and research and development; Heather Hickman, senior director of USA education; Sona Tolani, senior director of global marketing; and Annet King, director of global education, took the stage to divulge new product launches, “hot” ingredient trends—charcoal and naringenin!—and the rise of the skin bar. Meanwhile, Philip Picardi, digital editorial director of Teen Vogue, offered a glimpse into the buying habits of that all-important market sector: the millennial consumer.

Congress also marked Dermalogica’s first event since its acquisition by Unilever, and representatives from the new parent company were keen to share future plans. Senior vice president Vasiliki Petrou talked about the potential for this new “partnership of value” to socially impact millions of people around the world. Charlotte Settle, a member of Unilever’s global marketing team, gave audience members a mental workout via presentations that touched upon everything from biomimicry to the emergence of intelligent products like the Aether Cone. “What happiness-activated triggers can we put in products?” she pondered.

Bookending the two days of presentations were uplifting speeches by Jane Wurwand, Dermalogica’s chief visionary. In her final comments before Congress’s closing cocktail party, Wurwand urged attendees to think about the “why” of their careers. “When we find our gift and link it with our passion, we’ve found our purpose,” she said, summarizing the spirit of the Forster quote in full. Citing her belief that everything happens for a reason, she ended with a reference to children’s join-the-dots books. “Nothing is random if we just connect the dots. We may not know how they join up until later—sometimes we just have to trust it. So let’s keep making the dots.”

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