The Dream Team: Irish Hair Federation

President of the IHF and owner of House of Colour, David Campbell reveals the tasks he is taking on during his tenure.

David Campbell

We’ve just launched the legacy plan, a five-year plan to turn Irish hairdressing into a world class industry. There are eight different strands to it: The nixer market, education, inspiration, events, pensions and so on.

We have developed an app, it’s education in your pocket, and you can avail of discounts on training; we have our hair hub which is designed to ignite passion, and we have our business hub every October where we bring in the best in the business to advise salon owners on their business needs and aims.

This summer, we are launching the Spark Sessions to encourage young female hairdressers to open salons. There is a gap at the top of the industry with regard to women. On top of that, we have the Irish Hairdressing Championships and will be different, with breakout sessions from the likes of Pulp Riot, Kevin.Murphy and Phorest who will be sending their best to educate the industry.

We are very much involved in the National Apprenticeship, steering towards it coming online in 2020. Hairdressing will be the first apprenticeship ever in Ireland that every education training board will take on, that’s never happened before. We want to make sure there is something after that so we are launching the Master Craftsman’s Diploma – a seal of approval that is recognised across Europe.

It’s a big honour to be President. I feel that the industry needs sensible direction, passion and people who have the skill and knowledge and the willingness to pass it on. The experience of the executive committee is our strength and when I look around at the 15 members, I know that Irish hairdressing is in great hands.

Social media makes us as hairdressers have to raise the bar, we need to know more than those people on YouTube. It’s about reclaiming the craft. The same problems arise all the time: the black market, and we are launching the I’m A Professional campaign where we’ll have all the top people in the industry do a two-minute clip: ‘I’m David Campbell, I own House of Colour and I’m a professional,’ and we’re going to flood social media with it. We can’t stop those people on YouTube, we just need to send out better stuff.

I don’t know if everything will be achieved during my two-year tenure, I would hate to think it would! I would love to take it on and for Danielle to bring it home and a succession of Presidents to reap the rewards from it.

Danielle Kennedy, owner of Lloyds Hair and Vice President of the IHF talks about supporting the success of women in the industry.

I was asked would I go forward for the committee, I put forward my proposal and was voted on. Then David was asked to be the next president and he asked would I be his VP which was very flattering. I’m only in the industry seven years so when I joined the Federation, I was quite passionate that stylists and owners get involved and see what a fantastic tool it is.

I am very excited about getting trainees and young stylists involved in the Star Team, and about the Spark Sessions. I find that there a lot of women in the industry going it alone as salon owners. It can be a little lonely, a little daunting so we wanted to inspire female salon owners and the Spark Sessions are about women in the industry sharing their experiences, building each other up and creating a network of support. There’s nothing like that at the moment, you have social events but this makes it more formal and structured and you are there to network.

The first one is about sharing our journeys, and there will be someone everyone can relate to: I got into hairdressing when I was 28 and I’m not a stylist. I was in retail management and the recession hit and I couldn’t get a job. I saw a position for a non-stylist salon manager at Lloyds and I thought, this looks really interesting. It was a smaller salon with about seven staff and I got the job. Five years later it has grown to three salons and a team of 60. I just loved it, loved everything about it, the team aspect, the excitement. I will be joined by Sarah Mason of Sarah Mason Professional, Olive Tucker of House of Colour and Denise Walsh of Rustiq.

There are two key issues facing salons all over the country: During the recession salons weren’t training trainees because they weren’t hiring so now there is a huge shortage of newly qualified stylists. You need team members at every level in your salon and there is a lack of fresh talent.

The other problem is the client expectations as a result of social media, instagram. We’ve had to do communication training with our teams to try to manage client expectations and it’s because all of this stuff is so in your face.

The standard is amazing in Ireland, but to think we don’t have a national apprenticeship and a national qualification, it’s madness. Irish stylists can go to London and win events, beating out UK salons. I’ve huge respect for the industry, to work with people and to help mould them and develop their career is amazing, it’s what I love.