Here at Salons Direct, we love hearing success stories from the hair and beauty industry. Rainbow Room International definitely ranks as one of the UK’s most game-changing salons, having been the first in the country to use foils when colouring hair, before growing into Scotland’s largest salon group.
With their own training academy, Rainbow Room International ensures all their hair experts are always learning and developing their skills. Their artistic team are even go-to stylists for events such as the MOBOS, London Fashion Week and the MTV VMAs!
So, for this month’s edition of ‘Ask the Expert’, we spoke to half of the husband and wife team who own and operate Rainbow Room International, Linda Stewart, to find out how to create a salon with staying power.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to stylists – solo stylists or fellow power duos – just starting out in the hair business?
Always be motivated and passionate about the industry, stay up to date with the latest trends and what is going on in the industry and push yourself constantly by attending different courses and developing your skills and knowledge.
If you want to start your own business, have a plan in place and the goals that you want to achieve in order to make the business successful. Make sure you have a fantastic team who will really drive your salon and provide your clients with the best service to have them coming back time and time again.
Where do you find inspiration to keep your hairdressing fresh and innovative?
We find inspiration everywhere, whether it’s from people watching, architecture and interiors or catwalk shows, as well as from other incredible hairdressing names in the industry and our own Rainbow Room International team. Our team inspire us daily and are always on the lookout for the latest trends and innovations to bring back to the salons.
Who influences you to be a fantastic hairdresser and why?
Our Artistic Directors, Suzie McGill and Dylan Brittain, are a great inspiration to us. Their hairdressing skills are phenomenal and this shows by being two years running Scottish Hairdressers of the Year. We have an incredible Art Team at Rainbow Room International and seeing their work is really inspiring and motivating – it makes you want to become an even better hairdresser!
What was it like establishing a salon group outside of London?
It was incredibly exciting as Glasgow was in need of a large salon group! When Alan, my husband and Rainbow Room International Co-Owner, opened the first 2,600sq-ft salon in Glasgow’s main shopping area in 1979, sceptics said it wouldn’t work, but Alan knew that clients were looking for more than ‘just a visit to the hairdressers’. He understood from his previous role as Artistic Director in the largest hair and beauty salon in the world, Harrods, that client care – customer service coupled with progressive quality hairdressing – was the way forward.
He was aware that this would help him achieve his ultimate goal, to create a salon concept that at the time was considered visionary; a concept that would provide the highest standards of hairdressing, customer care and training, while providing the members of his team with a lifelong career and a secure financial future.
What do you think has contributed to the success of Rainbow’s large group of salons?
The success of our Rainbow Room International salons is definitely thanks to our close-knit team. At Rainbow Room, we are like a family and we have so many members of staff who are related or married.
Our franchisees, in particular, are a huge part of our salon group. Many of them have been with us since the very start of our Rainbow Room International journey and have remained loyal for so many years. Without these loyal, hardworking and passionate members of the team we would be nowhere. We are so grateful for them and their support and what they have done for our salons to help us grow.
Is working closely together ever difficult?
Not at all – two minds work better than one! And it’s great to be able to bounce ideas off each other and work as a team to overcome any problems or issues that may arise through the day.
What are some of your favourite tools to use?
The Dyson Supersonic hairdryer is definitely one of our favourite tools at Rainbow Room International, as it achieves stunning results in such a short time; it’s an incredible innovation!
We also have Schwarzkopf Professional products within our salons, which are just amazing. From the Schwarzkopf Igora ColorWorx range to the BlondMe range, the brand has such as fantastic collection of colours and innovative products that really allow us to push the boundaries with colour while keeping clients hair in its very best condition. We couldn’t ask to work with a better brand!
How do you think social media has shaped the industry you are apart of?
I think social media has shaped the industry massively. Social media is where a lot of clients get their inspiration for their hair, particularly from celebrities who show off their new styles online.
It’s hugely beneficial for stylists to get inspiration from social media to keep an eye on the latest trends. It is also a great way for salons to promote themselves, their services, special offers and the hair transformations they have achieved. It’s the perfect tool to inspire clients, show the world what your salon can do and entice new clients through the door.
Social media is so huge that it is important to make sure your salon has a presence. It also gives clients an easy way to review the salon, giving you the opportunity to really increase your salon’s reputation if you are getting regular fantastic reviews.
Where do you see the future of hairdressing heading?
The hairdressing industry is always growing and evolving, and who knows where the future will take us! Hairdressing is changing all the time with new techniques, colour products and tools to master. I’m excited to see what the future holds for the industry and for our Rainbow Room International salon group!