How does it feel to be the winner of the Top Performing Stylist award?
It feels really good, really amazing. It feels like my hard work has been recognised.
How long have you been working in the industry?
I think it’s been 17 years now! I went to an old hairdressing college as a model for a friend of mine, and I was just playing with a dolly when one of the stylists came over and said that what I was doing was actually pretty good. I had had a bit of experience from when I used to skate for New Zealand, I used to do hair-ups for the skaters, so I guess it started from a really young age. I used to love hair and playing with styles, but once that teacher told me I was good, I signed up for hair college, became an apprentice and just went from there!
What, or who, has been the biggest influence in your career so far?
Definitely my clients, they influence me to always be better and stay at the top of the game. My team members, of course, are amazing, as well as our brand partner, Matrix. Matrix supports us, give us lots of opportunities and helps us with business decisions. There are also all the amazing hairdressers that I’ve gotten to work with, like Tash King, Michael Beel and Ronda Shaskey – just to name a few as I have been influenced by so many incredible hairdressers! I’ve had the opportunity to either work beside them or be educated by them. Their influence just drives me – I’ve learnt new techniques and have been inspired to keep improving my skills and the salon.
Do you feel a sense of community within the hair industry?
Absolutely – in the last five years we’ve all been collaborating a lot more. I just did the NZTV awards with 6 other hairdressers. We all worked together, had a great time, learnt from each other and pulled some amazing looks together. I feel like we’ve become a community. You can kind of spot a hairdresser anywhere! They’re part of your tribe. Even with The Industry Awards – it was amazing to be amongst such high calibre people and it felt like everyone was happy for each other. I was honoured to be in the top 5 against such top talent. It felt like The Industry Awards helped bring the community together in NZ.
How do you ensure you’re delivering a service your clients will love?
As both a stylist and a salon owner – it’s about maintaining the relationships I’ve built in the last 16 years. Sticking to our 7 step client journey and ensuring we are continually building our relationships and constantly educating ourselves. Sending out questionnaires using SurveyMonkey to find out if they’re happy with the service, even down to the temperature of the coffee. It ensures that everything is tailored to them. A lot of my clients have been with me for 12-16 years, so they’re very honest with me anyway! They give feedback on Survey Monkey, but they’re happy to give honest and open feedback in the salon as well. Our newer clients may be more likely to give that feedback on Survey Monkey, but in fact a lot of the feedback is positive so they’re happy to say it in person as well.
What do you think is the main reason clients come back to you?
The relationship definitely, but also producing great hair. You have to be great at what you do. You always need to offer change. Something new, something fresh – you never know if they might want it! You need to be consistent with your standards, always maintaining good high-quality standards.
How do you ensure you’re on top of your game when it comes to the latest trends and techniques?
Always take advantage of seminars and educational opportunities. I’ve been in the industry for a long time and I still go to about 4-5 educational events every year. I’ll send all my team members on them as well. This industry is forever evolving so you’ve always got to be learning. We’ll do trainings in and out of the salon as well as attend hair expos. Forever and always learning is really key to improving.
What are your top KPIs and what do you to work towards increasing them?
All of my KPIs are pretty strong to be honest, but my best ones would be rebooking and retail. I’m always looking at my KPIs and targets in Kitomba and reflecting on how I could do better. I increase numbers by educating my clients and finding solutions to their hair problems. I also do ‘power-booking’, where I sit down every morning, look through my client cards for the day and consider what I did last time, what change I could offer, whether they had a treatment last time and general ways I could improve their experience. Power-booking has been really helpful as it shows our clients that we’re interested in them. For example, I may have written down that they’re going on holiday in January, so I can check in with them and see if they want to go lighter for their holiday, or maybe they want to take a particular product with them. Asking what they do and educating them on the different options also means they’re getting the most from their time with us.
We put our weekly total on the back wall, which ensures we can always see where we’re sitting and are always trying to achieve a higher number. I get the girls to print off the Kitomba records in the morning for the clients, they’ll look through everything for the day, and make sure we have enough time for all the treatments and that we’re organised. Being organised helps everyone stay on the same page, and we’re able to keep a really good atmosphere in the salon. It feels like a family here, it’s inclusive, it’s supportive and it’s comfortable. The clients get to come into a really welcoming environment and then get to leave feeling beautiful!
What would your advice be to other stylists wanting to enter The Industry Awards?
Evaluate where you are right now, set smart goals about what you want to strive for, and then just go for it. I always keep that vision in the forefront of my mind. We do a team meeting every week, so we’ll bring up our individual goals and our team goals. We check in with where we are, and make sure we’re taking the right steps to follow through with the goal. Just go for it, what do you have to lose!
How does it feel to have won Sustainable Salon of the Year for the second year in a row?
It feels really good, we were so nervous, there was so much great competition so we weren’t sure if we were going to win. We were so excited when we did. It also helps reinforce what we’re doing. All of the things we did leading up to last year’s award were an accumulation of 5 years consideration. Coming away from those awards gave us more inspiration and drive. It made me think about what needs to change and what we need to work on, not only for the salon, but for the clients and the community.
We did a lot of brainstorming straight after the 2018 awards thinking about what’s next, and what can help us win again. One of our clients was working for the Sustainable Business Network, she has been fantastic. Having someone who’s equally as motivated to be sustainable and solve every problem has been so helpful, I’ve rung her in tears before, she totally gets it. She’s always saying ‘be the change’ and to implement the changes that we want to see in the industry. So for example, last year after realising the level of recycling being stockpiled we decided to become plastic-free. We set the goal and went about working out the ‘how’. And it feels so good to do that, set the goal and get there!
What has made you so successful when it comes to sustainability?
I think the fact that it’s honest and it’s really close to our clients’ hearts too. I think if you’re not 100% consciously behind it and not doing it for the right reasons your clients see that. When they’re on that journey with you, they get involved, they get talking, and it becomes a real underlying ethos. It becomes who we are and what we strive for. It’s at the ground level for what’s important to us and you feel it in the space we’ve created. People also love watching us work through challenges, they get involved in what we do – like what do we do with our old brushes – they get involved because they’re interested and they have a similar ethos and we all work it out together. This also helps us get new clients because they see our brand, they see what we do and they want to pursue this ethos as well.
Are clients who are looking for a sustainable option now seeking you out?
Yeah definitely. I send out a survey within 24 hours from when a new client has been in and one of the questions is “What did you like most?”. Sustainability features a lot in the responses. We were also approached by Te Papa to be filmed for their nature exhibition “Te Taioa”, they have looped videos of community groups doing work for the environment. They have a lot of cool groups in there, like folks that go around and put LED lights into sports club rooms. We have had quite a lot of clients come to us from that which is amazing! It was helpful to get our name out there and it also makes people aware that you can be sustainable in a salon.
How do you ensure your staff embrace the same sustainable vision as you?
It’s a mixture of ways. We spend a lot of time trying to find the right fit for everybody. We have a really small group of four at the moment and we’re in a tiny space. There’s nowhere to go so the team has to understand and know each other really well. Mel has been alongside me for 5 years now, when she first started it was more about the fact that we were both really into what we were doing, and super caring and honest. That created a lovely, calm and homely environment. Then when I had my son, my care for the planet increased a billion percent. Mel has been on the ride from when my interest started really peaking, and we’ve just kept learning together. That happens with staff members a lot though – you learn new techniques and share knowledge, somehow by osmosis, then that influences your identity, your ethos, your kaupapa. Our other stylist Marrs sought us out online. She owned a sustainable salon in California, so she was already working sustainably. She’s a great source of knowledge, inspiration and support. So yeah, It’s been through a process of osmosis, education and kaupapa that ensures we share the same vision.
Where do you get your inspiration and ideas for improving sustainability from?
It’s hard to say exactly! We have so many amazing conversations with clients, and we’re lucky to have so many amazing people that we get to share time with while doing their hair. Everyone has all these ideas and you just share them. Folks arrive with information and you learn. It’s not only that though – it’s Instagram, or the likes of Sophie Handford and Kowtow – it’s everyone else who’s on a similar path sharing ideas, you gravitate towards people that give you more info. I’ve spent so many years with anxiety which has made it hard for me to approach people, so the information I was gathering tended to be from people I was in contact with through Scout. But now because I’m more eager to learn, share knowledge and get more education out there for salons, I’ve realised I’ve got to be able to push myself out there and seek out people to work with.
Do you feel like people were always very open?
People are definitely more open now, when I first started it was very different! I’ve been hairdressing for 25 years now, when I first started there was this feeling of competition, and that we had to guard what we were doing. I see people sharing a lot more now as an industry, which is vital. We need to share sustainability knowledge and ideas, and learn from each other rather than using it as leverage against competing businesses, or having to learn by ourselves which wastes time that we don’t have. If we can all share our ideas we can learn and implement change much faster!
If there’s another salon, spa or clinic wanting to reduce their effect on the environment, what are some sustainable practices you think they could easily integrate that could make the biggest impact?
The biggest thing you can do is change your mindset. You can do a lot of small things that hand the responsibility over to others, like implementing waste systems or getting someone to take your recycling. But if you consider everything that’s coming into your salon, you instantly decrease how much is going out. If you’re conscious of your impact at every point, you can’t help but change.
There’s always a way to solve the problems that come up. It’s about thinking outside the square, chatting to others and doing some research. For example, it was really tricky to do refills of products initially, then we decided that was too important to take no for an answer and we would just do it. Now, a year later we work with a super supportive brand ‘Oway’ who totally back refilling, so our clients can bring in their own container or use our small glass bottles and jars. Our clients can take home as much or as little as they like. It means they can take home little samples to try and then they can reuse the glass bottle if they want to try something different. This is especially handy as some of our products retail at $53 for 250ml. So by offering our clients choice, we can sell them as much as they would like, it’s cheaper, and they can just try it out! They also get 20% off the retail cost because they’re doing a refill, which is is an added incentive to refilling. Solving problems when trying to be sustainable has opened us up to retail and it has ended up benefiting us without expecting it to!
What does the future look like for Scout?
Essentially we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing, I’ve got so many goals for next year! I’d like to get more staff and grow within our small space. I want to figure out how to share knowledge better between salons that use different brands. I want to make it not about competition but about sharing knowledge for the sake of the environment. This might be through creating a platform, but for now I’m not sure what that’s going to look like! I just have an absolute fire for this. It gets hard to organise all these ideas but I just focus on one thing at a time! I’ve got notes written down everywhere. Half the time I’ll leave them at home and have to get my partner to send through photos for me. The people around me are all passionate about this as well so we’re constantly discussing ideas, whether it’s on the 40-minute commute to work or when I’m looking after my son at home. I’m busy, but it’s so freaking awesome! I just really want to make change – it’s what is most important to me at the moment.
Would you recommend entering The Industry Awards, and why?
Definitely. It helps you focus on what you’re doing, and pinpoint what you’re great at. For us it helped us focus on pulling together the best entry we could. It’s inspiring and helps you grow.
What advice would you give to other salons, spas and clinics about the entry process?
Presentation, I think one of the main reasons we did so well Is because of the way we presented it. We were perfectionists in making it look exactly how we wanted it to. Pull together all the people you know who can help you, because they can make it so much easier. Everyone has contacts – you can find someone who knows someone. And if you don’t – pay for help. It’s really important to get your ideas across concisely and make them look how you want them to look.
Entering the awards last year made me realise you have to really read what they’re asking of you. When I first started on my application for the awards last year I was making all of these crazy notes, and then I showed my friend, who does this sort of thing for a living, and she completely reworked what I was saying. Without her, it would have been a mess. Which I guess goes to show that getting help from your community is really valuable.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
One final thing I want to say is that I would love for people to reach out to me. I really do believe that community is super important. I’ve spent so long being so scared to approach people, but I’ve come to realise that it’s needed to be able to learn, share and grow. People think that sustainability is hard but it’s really not, small changes are super easy and they grow on themselves! The hair and beauty industry in NZ is worth approx 2.3 billion per year, if we can start to redirect that to green conscious companies, we can be the change we need to be for our industry.
If you want to get in contact with Annabel Kinley, owner of Scout Hair, feel free to email her here: firstname.lastname@example.org
How does it feel to be the winner of the New Zealand Hair Salon of the Year award?
It feels surreal, it was a major goal of ours so we’ve been celebrating lots! We took the whole team down to Wellington, partied and made sure we had a really good couple of days away. It’s nice having the trophies in the salon as well, because not only are we celebrating but our clients have been as well. They’ve been so supportive – it’s been so cute to hear their excitement as well.
What is the underlying philosophy of Tayla’d Styling?
Well, it’s pretty much in our name, we’re tailored for you. When I first started out I wanted to ensure everything would be tailored for the individual, for both my team and my clients. I’ve been in the industry for 17 years and in that time I’ve learnt how to do that well. We’ve adapted a 7 step client journey that has proven to be really effective. We also send out Survey Monkey forms to new and regular clientele. This ensures we’re hitting the mark and keeping high standards all the time.
I think a lot of the time it comes down to the relationships you build between yourself, your clients and the team. We have a high level of trust, everyone is honest and open, so we’re able to improve and tailor everything. It’s so important to choose a good team, I ensure before I hire anyone that their values align with mine and those of the business. We’re very open with communication, we talk one on one daily and have performance reviews every 4 months. This ensures I know whether they feel like they’re heading in the right direction. It’s important to me that my team and I have a work-life balance. Flexibility in the workplace and in their career is what my girls are wanting at the moment. Things like taking all public holidays off and having every second Saturday off if they want it, means they’ll be getting the rest they need so they can come in to the salon ready to work hard. Some salons will be open every public holiday, but getting a break is a priority for us. It’s all about balance, listening and communicating honestly.
Can you tell us more about your business journey? How did you become so successful and is there anything you would change?
I started the business just over 5 years ago when I wanted a change of lifestyle. I had been working on the North Shore my entire career, and after moving to the Hibiscus Coast I decided I didn’t want to travel any further than I had to. So I decided I was going to create a life for myself and my family up here, and then I designed my own workplace and systems to establish that.
I think that what makes the business successful is the desire to be successful, continually educating, creating great systems, and making sure they work for me, my clients and my team. The hair industry is forever evolving, I can never get bored of making my clients and team members feel great.
I wouldn’t actually change anything, to be honest. All the highs and all the struggles we’ve had have shaped us into the team we are today
What does next year look like for you?
It looks like it’s going to be a big one! We have new goals in place already. Every Friday we have a meeting, we’ve been discussing the goals we want to reach and maintain in the next year, so watch this space! We want to maintain NZ Hair Salon of the Year, and we’re going to enter a few more awards as well.
If you could give one piece of advice to other salon, spa and clinic owners, what would it be?
To make sure they have balance with their work-life and family. Salon owners all work really hard, it’s easy to end up putting yourself last. But when you’re at your best you produce the best results.
Can you share with us why you entered The Industry Awards?
It was actually because my business coach told me too! Pip Simmons from Bamboo Consulting was honestly amazing. Two years ago she told me I should enter, she really amped me up, and once I did it I became so goal-driven. We first entered 2 years ago and got into the top 5 for two categories, which then gave us the drive to enter again and smash our goals. It’s also a really great way to look at your business.
Entering The Industry Awards has helped by making me stop and evaluate ourselves and our systems. It also just gives us the drive to want to achieve more. The event is great and the companies that created it do such a good job, it’s nice to have an event like that in NZ. I’m so happy it exists, the whole team looks forward to it.