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We held Salon Smart in Dublin – and it was epic!

Irish hairdressing is facing its fair share of challenges – a 50 per cent hike in VAT at the beginning of the year coupled with a rise in stylists opting to work in the black market – but the response from Irish salon owners has been both creative and powerful, as we discovered at our first-ever Salon Smart event in Dublin, sponsored by L’Oréal Professionnel.

As ever, we handed the stage to the game-changers in the industry – salon owners from across the Republic (joined by some key UK counterparts) and representing a diverse mix of salon concepts and business approaches. The stories they told painted a picture of resilience and commitment to team. As Dublin salon owner Dylan Bradshaw commented during one of the lively panel debates: “I’m 31 years doing hairdressing and the last three years have changed more than the 28 before. But you can’t panic – if you look after everyone well, it all works out.”

And there were plenty of examples of salon owners determined to go to the next level with their employees – from young Dublin salon owner Carla Rose McQuillan, who encourages her team at The.Space to start each day with 20 minutes of mindfulness and meditation, to industry stalwarts Zeba Hairdressing, whose owners, the Dromgoole family, constantly upskill their staff:  “Investing in your team is an investment in the future,” said Paul. “70 per cent of the staff at Zeba started off at Zeba and completed their training with us. We’re incredibly proud of that.”

Waterford-based Lloyds Hair also know a thing or two about effective teamwork, having won Best Salon Team three times at Creative HEAD’s Most Wanted awards. “As important as it is to be good at your job, having manners and a strong work ethic is essential,” said owner Danielle Kennedy. “You must have the foundations in place. It’s important to know that if anything ever goes wrong, your team will step up.”

But what about when a successful business comes to the end of its natural life? Paul Percival and Adam Reed opened their first Percy & Reed salon in 2007, added a second in 2013 and also launched their own globally successful product line, but recently announced that they are parting ways. In a candid, mature and emotional interview, the duo discussed the highs of their 12 years together, and the lows that forced them apart.

Their most important piece of advice? Communication. “If you’re lucky enough to have someone go on a journey with you, be kind and forgiving,” said Paul. “There’s enough stress in running a business. Have a personal conversation, that’s the most important thing. That’s how we are still able to sit up here together.” The audience responded with a standing ovation – a fitting tribute to this incredible duo, and to Salon Smart Dublin as a whole.

Check out more images from Salon Smart Dublin 2019 in our Facebook album


For a full run-down of all the Salon Smart Dublin action click HERE >