As an adult, I married a beautiful woman whose parents were born in Mexico and migrated to the United States as teenagers. My brothers, Brent and Matthew, (co-owners of ProSolutions Software) are also married: Brent to a woman of Mexican and Cuban descent, and Matthew to a woman of Middle Eastern descent. Was the fact that we married women of a different ethnicity important? Well, I never thought so; that is, of course, until the three of us took over ownership of ProSolutions Software.
When my brothers and I purchased ProSolutions, we placed want ads in the local newspaper, and being located in Los Angeles, it was natural that we received responses from people of all different backgrounds. We currently have a family-owned company that consists of employees from Irish, Mexican, Guatemalan, El Salvadoran, English, Cuban and Italian descent. At the time I didn’t realize the importance of having people of so many different ethnicities working together… until the economy slowed.
With the dollar at an all-time low and many companies scrambling to make payroll, we knew we couldn’t go on with “business as usual.” We needed something new, something that would keep us one step ahead of the competition and tap into new markets. It didn’t take long for us to realize we had something that many software companies don’t… DIVERSITY. Because several of the people who worked for us were of Hispanic descent, we had attended many trade-shows that catered to the Latin market. We quickly came to learn there were no software companies in the United States that offered a fully written and-even more importantly-a fully supported software in Spanish. It was because of our diverse staff that we were able to stumble across the fact that the beauty industry was greatly lacking in this area. We were blessed to have a group of people who were able to sit down with ideas that came from their various experiences and backgrounds. Together, we came up with a solution… ProSolutions En Español. For the first time in my life, I realized the importance of diversity. It wasn’t a catchy bumper sticker I read while sitting in traffic, and it definitely wasn’t the pompous politician standing on his podium preaching (usually saying “do as I say and not as I do”) that made me realize the importance of diversity. Rather, it was the fact that when called upon, my two brothers and I would have never been able to reach beyond our limited scope to so many others if it weren’t for the many people we had working with us who came from all walks of life. You see, diversity is about much more than skin color, and usually when it’s spoken about, it is limited to that, which is why I think I never understood its importance. Diversity means being able to bring a different perspective to the table and make people think about something they’ve never experienced before.
When dealing with people of different ethnicities or cultural backgrounds, it is important to acknowledge not just their differences, but how those differences enhance our lives and our business. As salon and spa owners, you need to understand as well just how important it is for your clients to have the comfort of dealing with cultures similar to their own as well as the pleasure of experiencing new and exciting differences. How many Zen-inspired Eastern spiritual spas are there in Arkansas? How many salons and spas in Minnesota have people familiar with African American hair? You would be surprised at the numbers. The truth is, diversity doesn’t just inspire the spirit, it enhances the bottom line. We live in a global community, even on Main Street USA.
Since releasing our Spanish software, ProEnEspañol, we have acquired clientele throughout many Spanish-speaking countries and have even had several clients here in the United States switch from their English version to the new Spanish version. This has led to newer ideas for features and advertising that we would never have imagined. We used to call ourselves an “international company” because we had clients outside the country, but now we actually travel to international trade shows in support of our new products. We have since taken this idea of expanding into vertical markets a step further and released a version of ProSolutions specifically for the tattoo industry (www.proinksoftware.com) that has addressed many of their specific needs, an idea that originated from one of our tattooed employees. If there is one thing for sure, when you have true diversity in your life, nothing is “business as usual.”
Diversity truly isn’t just a slogan. It is part of our everyday lives. We don’t just acknowledge it, we embrace it. It makes for better lives, more interesting days, and a better business plan. This should not be just a ProSolutions Software phenomenon. The beauty and wellness industry as a whole would do well to embrace it as well. We often tell our new customers “Welcome to the ProSolutions family!” All are welcome.
About the Author
Stephen is Head of Product at ProSolutions Software and has worked exclusively in the salon and spa industry for over 15 years. He teaches classes at ProSolutions’ annual workshops and is always available to listen to client requests and suggestions that make Transcend the most robust salon and spa software on the market.