Hair & Halo: Cutting Up the Salon Rule Book

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1.04.2022 Business tips

Hair & Halo: Cutting Up the Salon Rule Book

Meet the duo determined to beat the salon stereotype and reclaim balance.

Bendigo-based hair stylists Paris and Matilda are first-time entrepreneurs with big growth goals. Hairdressing is a tough gig; long hours and weekend work is the norm, as Matilda points out. It’s a stereotype the duo are keen to kick with the opening of their first salon. 

With years of experience under their belts, Paris and Matilda know what it takes to keep a team of stylists engaged. The business partners have climbed the ranks — from sweeping cutting room floors, to now calling the shots — and know exactly how they’ll grow the business with strategies they’ve learned along the way. 

We spoke to Paris and Matilda about what sparked their leap of faith, and how they're managing to achieve work/life balance while growing a new business.

Why did you decide to open your own salon? 

Paris

The pandemic hit everyone differently. We were both bored at home and unable to work during lockdown, so we thought — why not take the leap? 

Neither of us had ever owned a business before. Some people thought it was a bit risky doing it while going through a pandemic, but it was something we were both so determined to do. We wanted to have the ability to grow a business for ourselves, that was ours, and to create a better work/life balance. The hairdressing industry certainly isn’t easy and it can be quite tough to find a salon that really cares about allowing their employees to have that balance.

It’s been really rewarding being able to do everything exactly how we want to do it, and being in control of our workload.

Matilda

For as long as I can remember, I've always wanted to push myself and try to give myself the best opportunities to be as successful as I can be — and doing so knowing that I have provided my clients the best possible service. 

I was starting to lose the love of hairdressing due to working in environments that did not value their staff, and how to keep them happy. So I wanted to create a space that was fun and creative to work in whilst also giving me financial independence and better work/life balance. 

What makes Hair & Halo different?

Matilda

One of our main motivations is to break down the stereotype of hairdressing being a hardworking environment with not much reward. The technical expertise required in this creative industry should be acknowledged as it is in other sectors, and we want to create an environment that does this.

The pandemic made a lot of people realise they want more balance in their life, and that is something we want at Hair & Halo. We are passionate about our salon being a place where other hairdressers can pursue their talents and careers, whilst enjoying balance in both their work and life. 

Owning our own salon also means we can provide and deliver the best training, products and work space for our staff — which ultimately leads to the best experience and results for our clients. Having both worked at other salons, we appreciate what works and what makes staff happy.

We’ve seen firsthand how this strategy helps produce the best results.

How has COVID changed the hair industry?

Paris

People were forced to stop and slow down, and now they are used to this which means they are more flexible. I've found that a lot of clients would prefer to have their hair appointment throughout the day, or in the evening. A lot of people can work from home now, which means our clients can bring their laptop in and work from the salon — as opposed to having to get their hair appointments done on a Saturday or their day off, outside of working hours. 

Because of our clients’ flexibility, we have been able to reduce our weekend work. To compensate for this, our trading hours consist of more late night hours throughout the week, which we prefer, and we think our clients do too. 

Matilda

People definitely have more flexibility now, which means we have adapted our service delivery to accommodate these changes.

There also seems to be a bit more focus on self care and people taking time out to indulge in things for themselves and we love being part of that experience.

Tell us about choosing a payment services provider. 

Matilda

When it came to finding a payment provider we wanted to research it as much as we could, so we knew we were making the right choice for our business. There are so many terminals out there but lots of them have hidden costs to them. 

We knew we didn't want to rent and that we wanted to purchase one, and that's what we loved about Zeller. We also thought the fees were incredibly reasonable compared to other companies out there. Not only is it super efficient, it also provides us with real time accurate information. 

It's also super sleek and modern-looking, which is exactly the style of our salon.

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Where do you see the business in 5 years’ time?

Matilda 

I have great aspirations to expand the business both in Bendigo and in other parts of Victoria. I’m passionate about creating an experience for clients through using the best techniques and latest trends, and continuing to develop my skills through industry training.

I understand the hard work required to make the salon the success I know it will be and to this, I see myself having a team of highly skilled and hard working staff who share the same passion and love for hair that I do.

Paris

We have very high hopes for our business. Our goals are quite big! We want to become one of the leading salons here in Bendigo, and keep growing to the point where we are able to open up another salon in a different location.

Although we have only been open for a short amount of time, we are already planning on expanding our team here at Hair & Halo. We would love to have an array of employees including freelancers, apprentices and qualified hairdressers. We believe that the only way we can grow as a business is to have an amazing team behind us who love doing hair as much as we do. 

In 5 years’ time, we hope to have a successful business here in Bendigo that is one of the leading salons. We do have room in our current space to grow, but not as big as we would like. Our plan would be to find a bigger space that allows us to have a bigger team of amazing hairdressers. We would hope that within this timeline we would be considering, if not already have, a second location where we can grow even further.

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