In times of uncertainty and change, when it becomes difficult to look towards the future, values focused on well-being, safety, and respect for the environment gain importance. During the pandemic, trends confirm that demands in the world of cosmetics are increasing exponentially, even in the darkest times. There is a greater inclination for personalisation and for choosing a certain type of brand that embodies certain values. To achieve a true sense of Beauty, man must reconcile himself with the good, the true and the beautiful. These three values are indispensable for restoring Beauty to its role of social responsibility. There is a need to recover self-care, generating a way of being and feeling, that is such as, to reconcile with the network of relationships that exists outside one’s own world. It is about connecting the macrocosm with the microcosm, carefully observing one’s own actions and feelings, and at the same time, nature, and other human beings.

We spoke about this today with Dr Massimiliano Giobergia, a Business Development expert in the Private Label and Retail area of the Beauty sector.

GA: Dr Giobergia, your experience in the world of travel at a managerial level has led you to have a special approach to customers. Can you tell us about it?

MG: In the world of travel, the customer is seen as a “guest” to whom we must listen, pay attention, and show dedication, and I believe that this concept should also be applied to beauty salons, because the customer is a welcome guest and should be treated as such. Sometimes a simple word can change the perspective in the relationship. I see a lot of similarities between the journey, the holiday, and the path you take in a hair salon, a spa, or a beauty salon. Just as in travel we are proposing a dream, it is the same in beauty salons. Nothing makes us feel better than looking in the mirror and seeing ourselves beautiful and smiling. In fact, this is the dream we all seek, and it only comes true when the operator puts his hands on our skin or hair with attention, dedication, and professionalism. After all, a salon experience is like a small holiday. When you enter a beauty centre or a hairdressers’ salon, you always want to find a moment of relaxation and well-being. It is a cross-contamination of realities that put people’s wellbeing first and can help deepen the relationship with customers/guests.

There is also another aspect of the relationship with the guest that could also be borrowed from the world of Beauty and it is the moment of Check-in and Check-out of hospitality, fundamental phases of “attention” that serve to detect details of requests, needs, preferences or any misunderstandings. These are also strategic moments for the resale of products.

GA: In this regard, little importance is still given to the resale of maintenance products in beauty salons, both because of an acquired culture of the sector, which still sees the operator as a “craftsman” and not as the “entrepreneur” he really is, and because of the lack of descriptive knowledge of the cosmetic products, which instead should be the exclusive prerogative of beauty operators. In your opinion, how could a change of pace in this respect be helped by restoring the economic capacity of retailers?

MG: Training plays a decisive role in this process because in addition to conveying the intrinsic knowledge of the product and its ability to maintain the qualitative performance of the technical service over time, it conveys a series of skills that can help this process. I am thinking, for example, of the role of merchandising or visual merchandising, where the study of product display, of the information paths within the salon can determine sales on their own. Unfortunately, we often see products relegated to dark, dusty corners, hidden, or even locked away in sad shop windows. The sales culture must be taught and must become a service equal to the others, starting from the window and entering the salon, in the booths and at the workstations. Because it is a paradox that cosmetics are not sold in places where Beauty is created!

GA: What are the elements that should be strengthened so that Beauty can regain its founding values and recognise its saving power for humanity? What are your forecasts for the future of the Beauty market, especially in this historical moment in which the whole humanity is asking for solid points of reference?

MG: Certainly, knowledge of history and our human traditions. We need to promote and reward ability, talent, and commitment. Unfortunately, the culture of beauty is disappearing in favour of aesthetics devoid of value and values, even in schools. Technological progress has paved the way for the phenomenon of ‘democratisation’ of professions, which on the one hand is positive, but on the other hand, it makes people believe that by watching an online tutorial they can become experts in anything. Not to mention that this has flattened creativity to a great extent in a market that demands ‘anything and everything’ and ‘cheap’ rather than a job well done. This process is witnessed in all sectors dealing with Beauty. Professionals with a capital “P” do not become instant professionals, they require study, years of dedication, vocation, and sacrifice. But in the end, they must be recognised, otherwise, they fall into the usual vicious circle that Humanistic Cosmetics intends to break. Finally, education, respect for others and work ethics are essential. These too are not infused sciences; they must be nurtured through study and with example.

GA: What advice would you give to a young person who wants to embark on a professional career in the world of beauty?

MG: Study, multidisciplinary culture, languages, the curiosity to learn, the desire to embark on a career that is certainly difficult but one that will undoubtedly pay off. Good listening skills and a good dose of humility, and finally, to have their own style, worn with sobriety and elegance of spirit. Let us not forget that clothes make the man!

GA: You are a very elegant man with refined tastes and old-fashioned manners. How do your noble origins influence your work? Do the behavioural values traditionally attributed to noble families still make sense today?

MG: Yes absolutely! Tt should be an inspiration given by all families. I am not talking about attitudes that often-become affectations or useless ceremonies, but I am talking about values and simple good manners. I am talking about respect, politeness, courtesy, true elegance, sobriety, as opposed to a world that encourages loudness, coarse appearance, and rudeness by mistaking it for personality. Fortunately, colleges and academies are dusting off ancient rules of etiquette, which until recently were considered buried. Dress is the first visiting card, the protagonist of a system of signals adopted to communicate cultural information clearly and immediately: fundamental in the ruling class. Elegance is not ostentation but discretion, common sense and savoir faire. Although there has been a fair amount of female emancipation, I find that a bow and a flower are always appreciated by a woman, they are a tribute and a discreet gesture of respect and admiration. Elegance is education. In this sense, I hope for a return of nobility of spirit.