Whether you’re a salon owner, stylist or apprentice, employed or freelance, it’s crucial to ensure you develop a strong support system to succeed in this fast-paced industry. This is especially true considering that hair professionals are estimated to spend around 2,000 hours a year listening to people; who will listen to you? To answer this question, we caught up with some successful industry figures, and here’s what they had to say…
“As a hair professional, I often turn to different people for different things, however when I’m looking for support, I almost always start at home,” explains Andrea Dorata, owner of Dorata Hairdressing. “Within my team I feel supported by everyone, but my mentor is my brother, who is also in the business. He is indispensable,” he adds.
Tina Hollis, owner of T2 Hair & Beauty Salon, also looks to her family for support and encouragement. She says: “My husband is the person I open up to about things that affect me emotionally; my concerns and worries are always eased when I talk things through with him, but he also gives me a kick up the behind when needed.”
Former colleagues, employers or industry friends can also form a great support network for hair professionals – something Brooke Evans, owner of BE Ironbridge, agrees with. She explains: “I am super fortunate to still be in touch with my old boss, Tim Scott Wright – he has been my absolute pillar of support since day one.” Discussing how Tim has supported her throughout her own business venture, she adds: “Any time I have a question or I’m not sure what to do, I’ll ask him. He’s been in business a lot longer than me so having that support guidance and experience of someone who’s been through it all before has been massively helpful.”
Katie Mulcahy, oner of Paint & Powder, also recognises the benefits of bouncing off of industry friends, sharing: “I’m lucky enough to have friends in the industry in similar positions, and we regularly chat. It’s nice to know you’re not alone in your thoughts; it’s definitely helped me knowing there’s either someone on the end of the phone or someone I can see from time to time.”
Of course, if you’re looking for support from people who understand your circumstances, who better to turn to than your team? This is especially true if you’re looking for logistical support within the salon, with Karen Thompson, owner of KAM Hair & Body Spa, explaining: “When I’m out of the salon attending industry events, working at events or as part of my role on the Aveda Artistic Team, I always look to my team for support. I have an appointed manager in the salon, and their role is to oversee the management of the team and ensure everything runs smoothly whilst I’m away.”
Meanwhile, Paul Paterson, owner of Medusa Hanover Street, discusses the benefits of having someone in a management role to turn to. He says: “We’re incredibly lucky to have a fantastic leader, our MD Colin McAndrew. He’s always on hand if ever there is a problem or you just want someone to talk to. As a salon owner, I felt like I was always on my own and wouldn’t always reach out as I didn’t want to feel like I didn’t know what I was doing. Now, having this kind of support has made my role as a stylist much more enjoyable.”
The number of figures you can turn to for support is endless, and it really does depend on the kind of support you’re looking for. For example, Brooke also shares that as she had no business experience before opening her own salon, she now works closely with an accountant. Meanwhile, Samantha Cusick, owner of Stã Studios, reminds hair professionals of the importance of joining industry associations, explaining: “Being part of industry associations and networks allows me to connect with peers facing similar challenges. These associations often offer resources, educational opportunities, and a sense of community.