Q&A with Janine Simons from MANE Salon | The Industry Awards 2021

We spoke to Janine Simons from Mane Salon, who had some huge wins at The Industry Awards 2021, taking out Industry Trainer of the Year and Excellence in Marketing. 

What do you think led to your success in the Excellence in Marketing?

We’ve really focused a lot on our presence over the last two years and have put a lot of time and energy into both our physical and online presence. We’ve really honed the team, the look and feel of the salon and of our brand online. From our brand colours, patterns and fonts to our salon story, vision and mission, we’ve really dug deep and gone across all of it. 

One of the things I did nearly a year ago was employ someone in the role of branding and marketing, Ari Hughes. She’s amazing! Bringing her into the business has really taken our look, feel and connection with our clients to the next level. I made the leap and invested in this role because I felt  to take Mane to the next level, I needed some expertise in that area. I think one of the key things it has done for us is that it has made our brand not cookie cutter anymore. Our branding is very distinctly Mane now, which shows me it was absolutely the right investment. 

How would you describe Mane’s brand?

They say branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. I like to think that people would say that we’re trustworthy, progressive, and fun. Our team is a cohesive, supportive and fun team. Our vibe is professional and fun. At Mane we live by a set of strong core values, behaviours and a clear mission statement. 

The message we really want to get out to the world is that you can trust us to do great hair and you’ll have an excellent time while you’re sitting in our chair or visiting our salon. And it doesn’t end there – we still want to be connected with you when you’re not in front of us. It’s so vital to be connected and consistent, more so now than ever. 

Mane Salon

What drives you to keep improving your brand?

Our goal is to stay progressive and innovative. Hair trends change, everything constantly changes in the world, so we really want to make sure that we have a connection and engagement with our wider community. And by wider community we mean our team, our clients and their families and friends.

It’s vital now to have an online presence, and that’s something that’s changed a lot in the last five years. The way to gain and retain new clients for us is through an online presence and keeping it inspired, informative and fresh. Influencers and ambassadors are a must, and when you have a really strong, consistent brand and salon story, it’s easy to find people that are aligned with you because you’re attracting the right type of people. It also makes recruitment easier, training your team easier, and gaining and retaining clients easier. Our stylists can build rapport much more effectively and deliver great hair with the right people in their chair. 

Have you found benefits in recruitment through your branding and marketing journey?

Yeah, absolutely. The majority of our followers and the people we’re connected to online are our salon clients and their friends, but there’s also hairdressers and stylists following us. They can see what it’s like to work at Mane, what the team at Mane are like and what type of hair we do. They see our story, our vibe and think “I would love to work there”, or “I could fit in there”. Recruitment is a huge topic all of its own, but I definitely use a lot of videos and Mane’s online presence when it comes to recruiting the right people for the team. 

What is your favourite marketing channel and why?

We aren’t across a whole lot of channels. We very much stick to Facebook and Instagram, however we also have a small presence on Pinterest and TikTok. 

Instagram is our go-to. This is because our target market lives on Instagram. We get messaged a lot on Instagram, and it’s fast, informative and fun too. With the addition of Instagram Reels now, it’s so easy to keep up with social media trends online and create some fun vibes for the online world. Instagram is definitely our main social media happy place!

A key thing with social media is you don’t want to spread yourself too thin – if you do one platform really well, people will know where to find you and how to follow what you’re doing. Having quite a strong presence on Instagram, people feel like they know you, and most people want to go somewhere and do business with someone they know and trust. Focusing on one platform definitely makes it much easier to do this. 

Janine Simons, Mane Salon

Why is it so important to you to train apprentices?

It’s always been important for me to train apprentices. Part of my business model is our pathway of growing our own people from apprentices into executive stylists or salon managers – we have a quite strong career pathway. It really starts at the beginning and there are so many benefits to training your own apprentices. They really understand your culture, from day one, which creates amazing potential and growth in apprentices. 

From a personal perspective, it works for me and my business model and it is super rewarding. From an industry perspective, I think we all need to keep training and bringing people through our industry. There is arguably a shortage of qualified, competent stylists out there, so if you really want some great people it’s all about taking responsibility and training the next generation. Apprentices can be commercially viable pretty quickly if you set your training programme up well. We have a wonderful industry with so many opportunities, we just need a few more people willing to share, train and mentor the people in it at every level. 

What do you attribute your success to when it comes to training?

I guess the fastest answer to that is hard work. I know there’s probably going to be a lot of eye rolling going on when I say that, however there is a lot of truth to it. I honestly attribute the successes that I have had and continue to have to hard work. I spend a lot of time upskilling myself and the people around me, and not just in hairdressing skills. I also learn and educate how to train others really well, how to build rapport, how to be a great leader, how to communicate, create an excellent culture, everything and anything to grow great stylists and humans!

I’m also constantly experimenting with hair, especially colour, I love it. My true happy place is the business side of the salon world. I spend a lot of time and resources learning new ways of doing things and implementing them. I think it’s just so exciting to find new and better ways to do things in the hairdressing industry.  

The hairdressing skills, absolutely yes, they’re important, you need to be great at that. But it’s all the other things that make people well rounded that can take you from great to excellent when it comes to purpose, passion and potential. Those are big drivers for me. 

Janine Simons, winner of Industry Trainer of the Year 2022

What advice do you have for other trainers, who are wanting to be better and more successful in their role as trainer?

One key thing is to never stop learning. Keep educating yourself. As an educator or trainer, we need to stay ahead of what’s going on, stay inspired, stay current and fresh. 

Another key thing is to teach what you know and teach what you love to teach. That way you really do feel inspired, and the people that you’re educating get a lot out of whatever you’re sharing with them. 

When we’re teaching things we don’t really know or enjoy, no one wins from that. If you look at your team, you’ll have people in your team who are really good at the things you don’t like or who really enjoy training. Train them to train, then step aside and let them do their thing. 

Another thing I look to a lot is online resources or other educators. Don’t be afraid to bring other people in to do the training for things that you don’t enjoy or that you’re not good at. Stick to things that really float your boat and everyone will be a lot happier. 

Training can be a thankless task sometimes, it really can! However it’s vital for growth and for the survival of our industry. You just never know the influence or impact that you’re going to have on the people you’re training. It might be positive, it might be negative (let’s hope it’s positive!). That aside, just teach them anyway because you never know what people are going to take away from it. I believe everyone can teach someone something. 

What advice would you give to other people that may want to enter The Industry Awards 2022?

100% do it! This time around I actually wasn’t going to enter – we were just so busy with everything else. The deadline was extended, and I thought “maybe I should”, but I still didn’t. Then the deadline was extended again, and I thought “right Janine – this is a sign that you need to enter!”. 

It’s such a great journey when you enter. I took quite a deep dive and look into my business that I hadn’t done for a while, and I could see areas where we were absolutely winning, which is fantastic. I also saw gaps where we could actually do a bit better, or where there was something great but we hadn’t completely finished off what we were trying to do. It’s a really great opportunity to look closely at what’s going on in your business, implement some changes and amplify the things that are working really well. 

The whole team is involved – it takes a village, so they say. And it really does, I don’t do it all myself – absolutely not. Our branding and marketing guru, Ari, was integral in pulling it all together and making it look amazing. I do a brain dump in Google Docs and then I have Olivia, our in-house copywriter, pull it all together succinctly, before Ari makes it look beautiful. Olivia does all our web copy, emails, and newsletters – it’s good to have that consistency of voice. 

We often also do a team meeting around what we are entering.  It’s a collaboration, everyone contributes what they think it looks like and what they think the great things are that we’re doing.

And of course, being a finalist and winning is like the icing on the cake! It’s epic and it’s great for the team. When we win, it’s a team win! There’s always hilarity and tears of joy at the awards event. It’s such a great thing for a team to feel connected and to celebrate together. 

Mane Salon
The Industry Awards