In this edition of Salon Design of the Month, we speak with the fantastic team at Liverpool-based beauty salon Oh Darlin’. Run by industry experts Cheryl Taylor and Kate Hayes, Oh Darlin’ is a cutting-edge salon that offers a wide range of outstanding beauty courses. We chat with their team about how it all began for Oh Darlin’, how they came up with their amazing aesthetic, how they stay ahead of the trends, and much more.

How did Oh Darlin’ start?

Oh Darlin’ was an idea created by Cheryl and Kate a while ago and it has evolved into a reality through sheer determination and hard work. Cheryl has been in the beauty industry for coming up to 19 years, and is a respected educator and Lash Master and has a wealth of experience in a multitude of different beauty treatments. Cheryl has taught in colleges and salons across the country and is a well-known innovator within the industry, providing training on behalf of some of the world’s leading brands such as Elleebana and being one of the first to train the well known Elleebana Lash Lift Treatment in the UK.

Kate started makeup when she was just 17 years old. Starting out as an apprentice, then going mobile, Kate has worked her way to the top of her game and created a following most could only dream of! She is now a well-known fashion influencer and makeup artist, teaching her skills to up and coming MUAs and providing makeup for some of the UK’s top celebrities.

Oh Darlin' salon

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Two years ago Cheryl & Kate first crossed paths and were drawn to each other through their love of the industry and passion to teach. This blossomed into a strong friendship and business partnership. Both ladies brought their own skill set and experience to the table, but their idea of creating a one of a kind training school/salon was a dream they both shared. This led to the creation of Oh Darlin’. Both Cheryl and Kate had the dream of creating a salon/training space where students would feel welcome and happy to learn. Cheryl & Kate are like-minded, driven business women who both have the passion to teach and share the same love for their students, and they will stop at nothing to achieve success and provide students with the best possible learning environment and support.

How did you decide upon the aesthetic of the salon?

Kate and Cheryl have always loved the Beverly Hills, high end, expensive look and they have taken inspiration from this to help put together that unique Oh Darlin’ feel. The black and white floors, palm leaves, gold accents, flowered hallways and walls, and colour changing lights have taken inspiration from various places across the world. From restaurants & boutiques in LA to offices and spaces in London. They both wanted the salon to be bright, luxurious and at the same time welcoming. The salon has a warm, homely feel while still being a stunning modern backdrop for students, clients and visitors to take selfies galore!Our flowered hallways are like nothing you’ve ever seen! The combination of leaved walls, grass seating and flowered swings gives us an edge and adds an element of fun to the interior!

Oh Darlin' salon

How does Oh Darlin’ stand out from its competitors?

Oh Darlin’ isn’t just your average salon. Alongside the stunning decor, we have the best team you could imagine, from the best makeup artists, lash Queens, nail extraordinaire, brow bosses, booty lift specialists, microblading masters, clothing brands, photographers & videographers, aesthetics professionals… you name it we’ve got it! Then we have the training element, and we are proud to say that we are fully accredited through the Beauty Guild and Beauty Industry approved. We offer a huge range of courses to help people take the first step into the beauty industry or to help professionals further their skills. And what makes us so different is the aftercare. It doesn’t just stop after you have left the salon; our educators take the time to provide ongoing support to every student as and when they need it. We love posting our students’ work on social media and seeing how far each and every person has come since stepping foot in Oh Darlin’. We are the beauty training hub of the North West, there’s no-one out there like us!

How do you think social media has influenced our industry?

Social media is so much more of an influence today on young people than it ever has been and that’s why it’s so important to post positive, empowering messages. We pride ourselves on being positive role models to others and we use our social media platform to boost our followers self-esteem and make people believe in themselves. We share stories of how we started out and show how far we have come to encourage others to always try and challenge themselves. It’s important to share helpful advice and guidance to those who may not believe in themselves. It’s also an amazing way to showcase our students’ work, and we are so proud of every single person that passes through our doors. We love to show their work off and help to boost their profiles.

Oh Darlin' salon

How does Oh Darlin’ keep up to date with the latest industry trends?

Trends can be fun and we do love trying new things, however, we are always looking for new, innovative ideas to add to our ever-growing salon/training school. We do follow the latest trends but we also try and stay true to ourselves and try and be different. We are always active on social media which helps us stay in touch with whats happening in the beauty industry. We also try and provide services and courses we know our clients and students want so we are always open to trying something completely new and out there.

What is Oh Darlin’s biggest achievement to date?

Our biggest achievement so far is our students. Every day we have people travelling from far and wide just to attend our courses, and we have people flying in every week to attend our 12 week makeup courses. Students stay over in hotels so that they can attend lash courses and qualify with us. We have enquiries from students living in all corners of the country booking in time and time again, and it still surprises us the lengths people go to just to train with us! This makes us so proud, especially when we have returning students and people that book multiple courses because they have learnt so much and want to train with us again. All of these things are our biggest achievement because thats what we set out to do when this idea was created.

What do you think makes a successful salon?

A salon can only be successful if you’ve got the right team in place. We were so careful in selecting who we wanted to have working alongside us and what treatments and courses we wanted to offer and we believe we have made all the right choices. We have such an amazing team with a great work ethic. We all empower one another and believe in ourselves. We are the dream team!

Oh Darlin' salon

What advice can you give to others wanting to open a salon?

Just go for it! Anything worth having is worth fighting for. It’s not easy to make it in the beauty industry but if you know you have a dream and you believe in yourself, anything is possible. You also need to ignore all the negativity. This can sometimes get you down but you need to remain confident and everything will come together! It’s hard work and very stressful at times, but if you have the passion for this industry and put the effort in, you will reap the rewards!

What can we expect from you in 2018 and beyond?

So much more is still to come! We will have more accredited beauty and makeup courses, photography courses, cake making courses, accountancy courses, more amazing treatments to offer clients, more staff, more venues… we have amazing things to come! And we want all of our followers, students and clients to be involved in this amazing journey!

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