In a revealing and in-depth interview, global hair educator and salon owner, Scott Bailye, talks about his career journey so far through the industry he loves – hairdressing of course!
Scott Bailye, tell us a bit about yourself and your salon.
I opened my own salon, Scott Bailye in 1996 in Leicestershire after beginning my career in 1987. My career in hairdressing has been a crazy and amazing journey.
As a student, I was never academic and my strengths lay in art and fashion. This led me to exploring a career in hairdressing after completing a week of work experience in hairdressing. Coming from a small town, the experience of working as a hairdressing apprentice in a busy city at just fifteen years old was so exciting. My passion for the industry developed and I knew from that young age that I wanted to own my own salon. After around nine years of working hard and pushing myself to develop new skills, I decided to open my own salon at just twenty-four years old. A huge risk that I hoped would pay off. I have worked hard since then to establish Scott Bailye salon and create a legacy that I could be proud of.
As a salon owner, I believe we must nurture and support our industry. I think we have a responsibility to pass down our expertise and educate the younger generation. From this belief, I have worked with local schools on apprenticeship programmes and work experience opportunities throughout my career. This in fact led to a salon academy opening in the school I had attended!
You have been in the hairdressing industry for almost thirty years, what has been the biggest change throughout this time as a salon owner?
Running a salon today compared to when we opened in 1996, is completely different. The expectation from clients across the board is higher now than before. As a result of this expectation, the demand for education and training has increased too. Our salon looks much different now compared to when we first opened, not only in terms of style but also size. We tailored our salon to the needs of our clients which meant we downsized to create more of a boutique salon with a bespoke experience.
Of course the tools we use to run our salon have also drastically changed in the last thirty years as well. We have evolved from traditional paper client records and appointment books to storing everything digitally now and make use of the iSalon apps on our mobile phones.
Do you think it’s important to put yourself out there for extra circular activities such as educator roles and ambassadorships with brands? What benefits can these type of roles bring your business?
As a creative and a salon owner, it is very important to push yourself to follow your dreams and achieve your goals. Once I had established my salon, I continued to follow my passion of creative hairdressing, for example. I worked closely with reputable, recognisable brands including TIGI and Paul Mitchell. This led to me working as part of their artistic teams which introduced me to the world of TV, editorial and celebrity hairdressing. This fuelled my passion for education as I wanted to share all the skills and expertise I had gained with my team to push the salon forward and enhance our client experience in salon.
Working within the creative side of hairdressing away from the salon floor, I was able to realise my ultimate goal which was to create a cutting DVD of my work. I was lucky enough to tour globally with Paul Mitchel as a member of the Global Team which enabled me to meet with a brand, MUK. I became their UK artistic director and cutting educator, and was noticed by the main organisation based in Australia. This opportunity led me being invited to represent the United Kingdom for MUK and to create four cutting DVDs of my own work as well as becoming a Global Guest Educator for them with international recognition.
If I hadn’t put myself out there and forced myself to explore other opportunities in addition to running the salon, these opportunities would not have presented themselves and I possibly wouldn’t have reached my full potential.
It’s so important to encourage yourself and your team to follow passions and explore. This only benefits your business as you return to the salon with a wealth of new experience and knowledge which enables you to level up your offerings.
You work closely with different charities. Do you think it’s important to give back? How can other salon owners give back in a way that works for them?
I believe giving back to charities close to your heart, and giving back to the wider industry is really important. We run a number of different events and initiatives to raise money. We host regular hairdressing shows in which we give our apprentices the opportunity to perform on stage and all money raised is donated to a charity. Activities like this are great for us as we are able to support the amazing work of a charity via donation and help our apprentices grow in confidence and push themselves by presenting them with this opportunity.
What helps you run your salon smoothly?
As all salon owners know, it is a full-time job that is so challenging but also incredibly rewarding. The work never stops as a salon owner but there are a few things you can do to make your job a little easier and help your salon run a little smoother.
For us, our salon software helps massively. As a salon owner, my goal is to always protect my business and ensure we run as efficiently as possible. With this in mind, we can’t afford to have a large number of no shows. To combat this and protect us against this, we take advantage of the automated SMS reminders that iSalon offer. Our clients receive a reminder about their appointment 48 hours prior. This gives them the chance to cancel or amend and us the chance to fill their appointment if needed.
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