Doing Hairdressing Education Differently

Published 10th Jan 2024 by Charlotte Grant-West

Finding fresh ways to embark on a burst of education when you’ve been a salon owner for 18 years can be challenging. Which is why when we hear of new and inventive ways to engage business owners we love to share them.

David Akroyd, the franchisee of Toni&Guy in East Grinstead, recently had an education experience that differed from anything he’d done before. He’s been inspired, motivated, and at times, moved to a highly emotional state.

David, along with a small group of 12 salon owners he’d never met before, ventured to the edge of the Peak District for the Wella RED Business Owners Retreat at Wildhive Callow Hall in Derbyshire in 2023.

The three day trip combined business workshops with Liz McKeon, mixed with retreat experiences to allow David and the group to completely unwind and reflect. We’re talking early morning yoga, a pottery class, bike riding, long dinners and nights around an outdoor firepit under the stars. All whilst taking in acres of surrounding countryside and sleeping in a luxury treehouse.

David explains why this gave him the reset that he needed:

“I’ve had my salon for 18 years now and this felt like a really good time to take some time out and look at where I am, and where I want to be. In recent years since the pandemic, we have been so focused on what staff and clients needed, and getting everything back on track, that I’ve not focused on what the business needs. I decided it was a good time to reassess and put the business first.

I run the business alone, so I wanted to go on the Retreat alone to meet other salon owners and managers who have similar struggles to me. I travelled up to the Peak District, arrived at my tree house and I immediately felt incredibly chilled from the moment I arrived. Being surrounded by nature and in such a stunning environment was immediately inspiring and put me in the right mindset to focus.   

We spent three days at the Retreat and it was exactly what I needed.   

I loved the sessions with business guru Liz McKeon, and one thing I realised was how little I put myself first. When Liz spoke about this it really resonated. My biggest take away from the Retreat was that I need to put myself first more, because if I don’t do that, I can’t do my best for the team or clients. Liz’s business sessions were so calm and delivered with such high impact in a great way; I had so many moments of clarity. Everything she delivered came from experience. She had a major impact on me.

As well as spending a day focusing on us as individuals, we then all looked at what we needed in our businesses and took a 360 look at everything. That was so powerful. We explored opportunities within the business and the areas that could potentially grow, whilst figuring out the steps to get there. I came away with an 18 month business plan that I believe is totally achievable.

I think we all had moments of clarity on the Retreat. I loved meeting everyone and the mixture of the intensive business training, with chilled out activities such as a bike ride, pottery painting, and early morning yoga was incredible. We would sit around the campfire at night talking, and the conversations between us all were meaningful and powerful. It was wholesome and we all made some great relationships that I know will continue way beyond our days at the Retreat.”


Charlotte Grant-West

Charlotte Grant-West

Published 10th Jan 2024

Charlotte oversees the print magazine, website and social media channels at HJ. With over a decade of experience as a journalist, Charlotte was formerly Editor of Modern Barber and HJ Men, Social Editor at Netmums and Features Writer at Boots Health & Beauty magazine. She loves any products that make her hair bigger and more voluminous, and loves a behind-the-scenes peek at anything hair-related – whether it's a factory tour, BTS on a shoot or backstage at fashion week.

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