Is Gen Z really the problem? Tony Walmsley of Anthony Salons discusses why strong leadership is paramount to the success of the newest generation entering the industry. 

Tony Walmsley

Tony Walmsley

When I am mentoring or educating fellow salon owners, managers and leaders, the same conversations tend to arise. Currently, always one of the top three conversations is around managing Gen Z and the headaches it brings. What I question is whether it’s the behaviour of Gen Z that is the issue, or is it a lack of strong leadership from Gen X and Millennials? 

 Let me explain. 

 In our industry and beyond, the people in leadership positions seem to be so quick to write off Gen Z because of their attitude, behaviour, and beliefs. For me that’s lazy leadership. 

What I see in that generation is more and more people wanting to be something. They have more ambition than ever and are in a rush to get there. Are these bad traits? Certainly not! In fact, 15 to 20 years ago the problem was that there was a lack of those things in a workforce. But maybe that’s what lazy leaders look for – compliance from a workforce. 

Each generation has its own quirks, their own behaviours. It stems from the environment they have been brought up in and what they have been exposed to. 

Tony Walmsley with team

Tony with his team at Anthony John Salons

Gen Z has been brought up in a world where everything is instant. Think about it – most things in their life have been there at a click of a button. Also, and importantly, they have not been allowed to build the same resilience, due to not being exposed to enough challenges and therefore micro doses of failure. This is due to helicopter parenting and the removal of things such as competitive sport and regular tests at school. Third, they have seen people become famous and earn large sums of money for (from the outside at least) appearing not to do very much. And their role models appear more touchable than ever because of social media. 

Then these young adults are thrust into the world of work, and we just expect that they are going to be patient, are going to take constructive feedback well, and that they are going to put the hard yards in before they ‘become somebody’. Why would they do this when up to this point in their life they feel the opposite is true?  

We must show them, teach them, and nurture them to follow us. It’s easier than you think but it’s us as leaders that must adapt to them, not the other way around. 

Each generation has its own quirks, their own behaviours. It stems from the environment they have been brought up in and what they have been exposed to.”

Tony Walmsley

When you look at surveys of what Gen Z want from an employer number one right now is LEADERSHIP. They want leading. For me the problem, is the lack of leadership skills of the people leading them. As leaders we must not be lazy and pivot accordingly. My leadership team members are banned from saying things like, ‘it wasnt like that in my day’. We’re no longer in the90s or early 2000s, which is when most people in management positions trained. This generation is different – our environments and communication styles should be different because of it.  

As leaders we must not be lazy and pivot accordingly.”

Tony Walmsley

I believe it all starts with building strong relationships and trust. This should be the main focus of your induction process. We are more likely to follow people that we like, and it’s your job to make them like you not the other way around. This in turn brings trust, and only then can you start to fully guide your people to get them to realise their potential. 

Gen Z will not be dictated to, they do not want to be managed, but instead coached and mentored. A position in an organisation is no longer enough to bring authority, instead it’s the relationships we build, with clear communication. This creates the feeling of growing together that people look up to and will, in turn, follow. We must create an environment of high challenge AND high support. 

Tony Walmsley at Salon Smart

Tony at Salon Smart 2024

I personally like people who challenge the status quo, who want to be something, who want more and want it NOW. I embrace it, I promote it and I grow from it. Why wouldn’t I want people who are all these things on my team?! In fact, where I struggle is to lead people who aren’t all those things. 

Build relationships, build trust, show them you can help, show them you can help them reach their goals. Always communicate to them the timelines and manage expectations. Motivate, incentivise, and reward them. Mentor them, coach them, and give them the leadership they are so obviously craving! 

Bad leadership will blame a generation. Good leadership will galvanise one. Don’t be intimidated… Grow together. 





Yolanda Cooper is changing the game of electrical styling with her revolutionary SupernovaPRO hair tool.

Yolanda Cooper

It was when she was at an airport in 2016 that Yolanda Cooper had her idea for her electrical tool, the SupernovaPRO. She was checking in for a flight with overweight baggage, mainly because of the number of different hair tools she was travelling with. ‘There’s got to be an answer for this’, she thought. It turned out there was. And it’s a game-changer.

The SupernovaPRO is the world’s first three-in-one hair styler combining a fully functioning straightening iron, curling tong and wave wand in one ultra-sleek, beautiful-to-behold tool. It comes with a whole host of first-to-market patented features, including revolutionary SmartSwitch technology that makes it the only hot styling tool with three independently powered functions; premium grade ceramic plates infused with Trionic technology that softens, smooths and hydrates the hair; and a patent-pending ergonomic DoublePivot system, which relieves pressure on the median nerve to reduce the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome – a condition especially prevalent in pro stylists.

The SupernovaPRO tool

 Not bad for a young female entrepreneur from Belfast designing her first electrical tool! “I think going in blind to something allows you to be completely free of fear,” says Yolanda. “If you knew what you were getting into before you did these crazy things, half the time you wouldn’t do it because you’ve no idea how complex it is, how long these things take and how many reasons there are for it to fail. Some of the best entrepreneurs are the ones who just have no clue what they’re doing, they just go into it and commit to figuring it out later.”

Armed only with a sketch of what she felt the tool could look like, Yolanda set about hiring industry-leading industrial designers and engineers to turn her concept into a reality. It took five years to refine the tool mechanically and aesthetically as she constantly challenged her team to come up with the technology to match her ideas.

“Going in blind to something allows you to be completely free of fear.”

Yolanda Cooper

“Very early on we realised that if this is going to be a professional tool, then three-in-one is brilliant but it can’t be a compromised experience – we have to make each of those tools incrementally better than what’s on the market,” says Yolanda. And I think I think that’s what we’ve done. So, straighteners have always been symmetrical and rectangular, but what if you need to get right into the baby hairs at the root? We made our straightener narrower at the tip, so that it allows you – for example – to detail short fringes and work with Type 3 and 4 hair. Ceramic technology provides great negative ions into the hair, but how do we take that even further? I’m a trichologist, so that’s why I came up with the idea of taking a heat protection formula and infusing it into the plates to give superior shine. When it came to the tong, we changed the tip to a rubber material so that you can literally hold onto it, even when the temperature is set at 200˚C. And we spent a long time perfecting the exact torsion of the spring and the double-pivot system to make the tool more comfortable to use. Consumers might not notice that benefit, because they’re only going to use the tool for 20 minutes at a time, but hair pros, who are styling nine hours a day – they’re really going to see the difference.”

“We realised that we had to make each of those tools incrementally better than what’s on the market. And I think I think that’s what we’ve done.”

Yolanda Cooper

Proud that the SupernovaPRO is designed, engineered and manufactured in Great Britain, and fully aware that she is competing against some industry heavyweights, Yolanda is putting her experience as a former marketing director to good use. “Core to our communication and marketing strategy is a grassroots approach,” she says. “We have a programme called The Salon Spotlight, where we send our film crew into a salon to shoot collaborative content, including interviews with the stylists and footage of them styling their client’s hair in different ways. We can also create an event in the salon, where I and our head of engineering will come along and talk to guests. And the content we create can be used for a salon’s own social media campaign to drive awareness. We may not have the budgets that some of the big brands have, but what we do have is passion and agility and the desire to go and partner with salons on a one-to-one basis.”

And finally, why the name Supernova? “I’ve always been fascinated with astrology and stargazing,” says Yolanda. “And with SupernovaPRO we’re trying to create the biggest shining star in the industry. In space, a supernova is a cataclysmic explosion. And so I thought that was a cool name, because we are aiming to be the biggest thing in the industry. It’s quite fitting.”

Retailing at £299, SupernovaPRO is exclusive to salons across the UK and Ireland. To become a stockist or purchase at the wholesale price of £199 plus VAT, visit





Creative HEAD meets the brains behind Yuv Lab – potentially the biggest industry game-changer since the hairdryer.

Francisco Gimenez

Thought about your colour bar lately? It’s where your colourists mix the concoctions that command some of the highest charges on your treatment menu, but it’s also where your business haemorrhages money, too. Salon owners estimate that at least 40 per cent of the colour they buy goes to waste. And that’s why Francisco Gimenez has been thinking about your colour bar too.

The Mexico City-born tech entrepreneur is the brains behind the Yuv Lab, billed as the first smart, bespoke hair colour lab for salons and freelance colourists, looking to streamline and automate the colour formula process dramatically to reduce waste and costs while making clients happier.

Gimenez, whose engineering background predisposes him to problem-solving “I’ve been called a disruptor, but I have never set out deliberately to challenge things,” he says), had spent years thinking about and observing professional colour during his time with the customised hair colour business, eSalon. He had seen how colourists always mix colour by hand, a process that is not only susceptible to improvisation but that almost automatically creates a surplus of unused formula. It tends to taketwo to three shades to mix a client’s colour but only about half or a quarter tube of each shade is used. If colour runs out mid-application, it’s normal to run back to the colour bar and mix the full amount again, in order to get the same consistency. Says Gimenez: “What’s left in the mixing bowl after colouring a client’s hair gets thrown out, as does unused product in the multiple bottles of colour opened to create that person’s shade, since opened bottles of colour have a short shelf life before the formula begins to oxidise. If what’s left over isn’t quickly used on another client, it simply gets thrown away.

“On top of that, salons typically purchase a professional colour brand’s full portfolio of 100+ shades, many of which are nearly identical with only very subtle pigment differences,” he continues. “Itopened my eyes to all the unnecessary spending and excess waste that’s occurring, and I thought, there has to be a better business model.”

Gimenez’s solution is the Yuv Lab (pronounced “you’ve”), a patent-pending refillable cartridge-based dispenser that’s light enough to carry under your arm (making it perfect for freelancers, too), and that can store and dispense millions of customised colour formulations. Instead of mixing colour by hand, Yuv does it all with the touch of a button. The machine’s sensors – Gimenez had a whole team of robotics and manufacturing experts working for him – measure and calibrate exactly how much of each colour is to be used on a client, then it stores that information online for future visits, eliminating the need for keeping clients’ formulas on hand-written notecards (which as we all know, can often be marked incorrectly or get lost altogether).


Yuv ambassadors Grace Dalgleish, Jack Mead & Lydia Wolfe and Samantha Cusick

Yuv uses refillable aluminium cartridges, rather than single-use plastic bottles, ticking important sustainability boxes – every delivery includes prepaid return shipping labels to send empty cartridges back to the company. The colour itself (which Gimenez knew had to be world-class) was created by a speciality colour formulation lab in Switzerland. It provides up to 100 per cent grey coverage, using ME-PPD technology to dramatically reduce allergic reactions. The Lab is also equipped with all the developers needed, including a cream bleach, and offers the flexibility to substitute ingredients to create semi-permanent formulas. 

But here’s the bit that’s truly revolutionary: you don’t purchase any colour inventory upfront. Yuv Lab runs on a ‘pay as you dispense’ model, meaning salons and freelancers will only be charged for what they use, eliminating paying for dead stock and cutting down on waste. The smart system tracks colour consumption over time and adjusts consignment deliveries to match what you use, streamlining inventory and saving precious shelf space.

“We bill for the grams of colour used, which is precisely tracked by the Yuv Lab machine and stored in your online account,” explains Gimenez. “The cost per full tube of colour is roughly the same as what the other major salon brands charge, but it’s pay-as-you-go colour, so you get better value because each tube lasts longer, and you never pay for unused formula.” He estimates that Yuv can reduce product waste and cut colour spend by as much as 35 per cent on both fronts.

It costs £49 a month to subscribe, which includes a Yuv Lab, an iPad to access its app, a thermal printer to label hair colour bowls, and access to its business solutions.Even with our fee, you still save 25 to 35 per cent on overall colour costs because Yuv cuts out product waste and you’re not paying for inventory,” says Gimenez. “And renting the machine, rather than buying it upfront, removes all fear of expensive commitment.”

Gimenez has thought about potential barriers to Yuv Lab, too – for example, he knows that colourists get attached to their current colour brand and so do their clients, who’ve been depending on the existing hair colours. To get salons and hair colourists comfortable with switching, Yuv grasps what’s been effective for them to date to enable its machine to replicate that.

Explains Gimenez, “Instead of forcing people to learn a new system, Yuv allows each hairdresser working in the salon to customise their account. That means Yuv works bespoke to each colourist and their way of working, which means it’s not a problem if you have a new team hire and they’ve got their own unique approach to mixing and using colour.”

But most important of all to Gimenez was to reassure colourists they can still be creative with Yuv – in fact Yuv pledges to amplify creativity. The machine enables hair colourists to play with tones, ammonia levels, pH, opacity and more, and repeat the results of their playing consistently after they’ve pinned down their desired concoction. Gimenez envisions hair colourists developing tailored hair colour palettes akin to Spotify playlists of hair dye that they can leverage to boost their personal brands.

The Yuv HQ is in London because, “it’s a good benchmark market for a hair salon business in that you’re connected both to Western Europe and the US,” says Gimenez. Plus, he loves London. YuvLab has been put through its paces in a selection of London salons and now, with the feedback in place, the time has come to roll it out further. Grace Dalgleish and Samantha Cusick have beenappointed UK colour ambassadors (“Yuv will revolutionise our industry,” says Dalgleish. “I can’t wait to create my own bespoke palette for the brand”, while Cusick will collaborate with Yuv to develop new shades and formulations that meet the needs of modern salons and freelancers). And they have just been joined by Jack Mead and Lydia Wolfe from Jack & The Wolfe. Says Gimenez: “Their commitment to pushing creative boundaries and their influence in the industry make them an ideal fit for the brand”.

Gimenez is carefully building its salon and hair colourist network, one by one, knowing that as the word spreads, there’s a growing waitlist of salons that want Yuv Lab. Scaling up will come once every box is ticked. “I really want our first clients to be satisfied,” he says, and then the volume will come. So, to me, the number one thing is the satisfaction of those first clients. The plans for growing will happen once everything is ready.”

Francisco, we’re ready!





The 2023 double Most Wanted award winner shares her guide on how to find inspiration when it’s playing hard to get

We all know the importance of finding inspiration. It’s a powerful force that drives creativity, motivation, and the generation of new ideas. It often involves a deep emotional or intellectual connection that sparks enthusiasm and a sense of purpose. Finding inspiration can be a highly personal and subjective experience, but what happens when inspiration dries up? Even with the best will in the world, all artists experience periods when inspiration just isn’t there. What can colourists do when it happens? 

 Switch up your tools 

Why should we be limited to a tint brush? It’s fun to experiment with different sized paintbrushes; different angles can create various blends and placements. Sponges are a great way to create seamless freehand blends, making the most commercial applications fun. 

Play with paints 

Truly understand your colour wheel; it’s essential to know this inside out to take your formulas to the next level. When looking to customise shades, play with acrylic or water paints to understand how to create the most unique tones. For example, while working on different shades of greens, I found that adding a dot of red to my formula created a more muted beige effect, giving me the perfect pistachio.  

Get swatching 

Personalisation is exactly where colour is; crafting colour for the individual and giving our clients a reason to return to us. After playing around with paints, I love to test my shades on swatches to see how they transfer onto hair. This gives me a starting point, allowing me to keep tweaking until I find that perfect shade.  

Press pause 

To be creative, we need downtime. It’s essential to pause and stop. I find new inspirations spark when I take a break from social media and immerse myself in something other than hair – whether that be watching a documentary or taking a walk and observing people. Recently, I was inspired by a group of students who had been colouring their hair themselves. It was super visual and made me consider how I could recreate it. 

Inspiration can’t be forced; it needs to flow through you. When life is busy or there’s a deadline attached it can be difficult to feel inspired. Looking at colour through a different perspective, stepping away from the situation or trying something new, gives internal space for creative thinking and fresh ideas to come alive. Inspiration can’t be forced but it can be encouraged, it needs to be nurtured. Stay open and stay curious. 





In this podcast, recorded in 2020, the Maciver brothers discuss the rise of the men’s market, the modern male client and what exactly makes guys tick?

From a first supermarket job earning £4 an hour, to the owner of a success personal training business, Peter Maciver (aka PMAC) is the powerhouse behind the fitness transformations of high-profile stars including Marvin and Rochelle Humes and Reggie Yates. His older brother, Mark, who recalls working 19-hour days in a factory for just £27, runs SliderCuts, a booming barbershop in East London. He’s published a book, developed an impressive line of merchandise, and he’s worked with leading brands from Dior and Louis Vuitton to Facebook and Reebok.

A Creative HEAD podcast project in partnership with Treatwell





True visionaries with creativity at their core

Darren and Jackie Ambrose – co-founders of D&J Ambrose in Pinner – unpack their longstanding partnership, which has combined individual passions to achieve spectacularly original outcomes. Also championing new faces, the duo works hard to mentor and inspire rising stars in their salon, as well as through important industry initiatives. True visionaries with creativity at their core, enjoy their ‘collaborator story’…

A Creative HEAD video project in partnership with L’Oréal Professionnel Paris