POSTED IN Salons ON 14 August, 2018
14 Aug Francesco Group Cheltenham – A Summer of Success!
A Summer of Success
at Francesco Group Cheltenham
For over 20 years Hairdressers Journal’s British Hairdressing Awards and the British Hairdressing Business Awards have celebrated the creativity and passion of hairdressers from across the UK, known within the industry as the Oscars of the hairdressing.
This year is one of the most successful in Francesco Group Cheltenham’s 12-year history, with double nominations at the British Hairdressing Awards and British Hairdressing Business Awards. Salon owner, Lisa Walby is nominated for Franchisee of the Year & Avant Garde Hairdresser of the Year, whilst her Manager Vicky Taylor is up for the wales & South West Hairdresser of the Year and Salon Manager of the Year.
We caught up with Lisa and Vicky to discover the secrets to their success!
What is your first memory of noticing really great hair?
Lisa – When I was about 10, my mum used to wear a banana clip in her hair and I loved the shape it made. My mum also used to go to the hairdressers twice a week and I always enjoyed going and watching her have her hair styled.
Vicky – I always went to the hairdressers with my mum & dad and I used to blow-dry my mum’s hair once a week for a fiver and I used to colour it every five weeks for a fiver, I loved it. But I think I really noticed great hair when I started working here. At the other salon I trained at the standards were maybe not as high as they are here, so I really noticed beautiful hair when I started working for Francesco Group.
I really noticed beautiful hair when I started working for Francesco Group.
Why did you decide to apply for the BHBA’s this year?
Lisa – Because Vicky pushed me!
Vicky – I was talking to Pam about it (Francesco Group Hanley Manager) and I sat down with Lisa and said, ‘Let’s just do it and see where we get!’ so we bounced off each other in the application process. Lisa checked mine and I checked hers and thankfully we both got through.
Lisa – It was very last minute for me as I was so focussed on my Hairdressing entry, the Business Awards just weren’t on my radar, I was so shocked when I got through!
What is one thing you wish that you had been told before embarking on a professional career running/managing your own salon?
Lisa – I think because I went into this as a hairdresser and not a businesswoman I didn’t have enough business training initially. I wish I had more financial training before I started, I would have got the business to where I wanted much sooner.
Vicky – Be prepared for the emotional rollercoaster! It’s learning the small details of how to understand each person individually and the ways to get the best out of them.
What advice can you give to salon owners or those wanting to start up a salon business?
Lisa – Make sure that the team you start with is the best, even if it’s a small team. It’s all about quality, not quantity.
It’s all about quality, not quantity!
Who inspires you?
Vicky – Lisa, because she always believed in me. Within three months of working with Lisa I was assistant manager and now I’m the Top Stylist in the whole company. The fact that I get to work with a top Franchisee who does all our training and believes in us is so fantastic.
Lisa – When I’m training my guys, I take inspiration from them; but I tend to be inspired by objects more than people. When I entered my first competition I took inspiration from a toast rack and I won!
When I entered my first competition I took inspiration from a toast rack, and I won!
What is your favourite part of the job?
Vicky – I love everything! But I love the satisfaction of a client coming in and giving them the best service; it’s knowing you can help someone feel good about themselves.
Lisa – I would say everything, but if I had to choose, my favourite part is teaching my guys and seeing them grow. Our Apprentice Chris did an amazing haircut yesterday without me and it’s just so lovely to look over and see that. He’s so proud and happy and the client is so pleased but ultimately, he wouldn’t have been able to do that without my training.
I love the satisfaction of a client coming in and giving them the best service; it’s knowing you can help someone feel good about themselves.
Vicky, what’s the best thing Lisa has taught you?
Vicky – To believe in myself. I had no confidence when I started, but Lisa believed that I could do it. She just threw me in at the deep end and said; ‘Yes you can!’ and now I’ve won Francesco Group’s Image of the Year, I got through to the London finals at TrendVision, now the BHA’s & BHBA’S. It wouldn’t be possible without having the guidance and support from Lisa.
I got through to the London finals at TrendVision, now the BHA’s & BHBA’S. It wouldn’t be possible without having the guidance and support from Lisa.
Lisa, what’s the best thing that Vicky has taught you?
Lisa – To not always trust my judgement! A lot of the time I’ll go with my gut and I can be wrong. We bounce off each other to make the right decision and she influences me on a lot of things. I’ve learnt to not just go off first impressions in an interview situation. Potential new employees now have a half day trial with the team and they decide whether we take them on, it’s a group decision.
What makes you such a successful duo?
Lisa – We’re very competitive, with each other and everybody else. It’s certainly a complementary competitiveness as we support each other to better ourselves. Our weaknesses and strengths are also complete opposites, which means that together we have everything covered!
Our weaknesses and strengths are also complete opposites, which means that together we have everything covered!
What was the main inspiration behind your individual shoots?
Lisa – My inspiration was children’s movies! I watch a lot of My Little Pony, Mermaid films, Trolls! So bright coloured hair, rainbow hair… I wanted to create a collection that represented every bright colour that’s on the spectrum. I then thought about what kind of textures I wanted to go for. I don’t see hair as hair, I see it as a fabric. I do a lot of dress-making and curtain making, so I view hair as a fabric that I can make something from. I wanted it to look as far away from hair as possible, but still aesthetically beautiful.
Vicky – Mine was multi-texture. I wanted to create something that was versatile to be able to wear on a daily basis but then could also be seen on the front cover of a high-end fashion magazine.
I wanted to create a collection that represented every bright colour that’s on the spectrum.
What did you enjoy most about creating this shoot?
Vicky – I enjoyed doing my mood-boards and having a collection of loads of different pictures, hair colours and textures. I enjoyed the process of moving forward until I had a complete vision of what I wanted the shoot to be. I loved all the preparation.
Lisa – I’ve loved having a work station out in the middle of the salon for the last 6 months. It makes clients ask about the shoot and it inspires the rest of the team to get creative. It’s reignited the passion I used to have 10 years ago for creative hair. The passion my team has for competitions inspires me and my passion inspires them… behaviour breeds behaviour and passion breeds fashion.
The passion my team has for competitions inspires me and my passion inspires them… behaviour breeds behaviour and passion breeds fashion.
Can you give us a rough timeline and estimate for the time and planning that goes into creating a successful BHA shoot?
Vicky – About two months, I practically can’t do anything until the day so it’s a lot of research and getting resources.
Lisa – My shoot required a lot of man hours, it has taken about 20 hours a week for the last 6 months. I work every evening when my children are in bed and in-between clients in the day.
My shoot required a lot of man hours, it has taken about 20 hours a week for the last 6 months.
If you could cut or style anyone’s hair who would it be?
Vicky – Akin Konizi (Director of Hob salons and 4 times winner of British Hairdresser of the Year), to pick his brains about running a successful business and Academies. From a creative point of view, I’d like to find out where he gets his inspiration for his shoots; what tools and resources he uses and how he works with his creative team to produce the hair that he does.
Lisa – Robert Eaton (son of Russell Eaton), we worked on the FAME team together when I was about 21 and we were on an even keel in our careers, but he has really excelled in the industry since then and now that I have established my business I want to be following in his footsteps within the industry. I’d love to cut his hair and pick his brains.
What would be your primary piece of advice for someone wanting to enter the BHA’s next year?
Lisa – Get the best photographer you can afford. You can maybe cut costs in certain aspects of the shoot, but never get a bargain photographer, it’s not worth it.
Vicky – We worked with John Rawson on this shoot and because he is from a hairdressing background he views hair the same way that we do, it helps to create a really cohesive collection.
Lisa and Vicky have clearly worked hard to create a dynamic, fruitful and passionate salon and they deserve every success. We’re so proud that their dedication and commitment to a strong team and beautiful hair is being recognised within the industry.