In the Chair with Ciara Conway
Ciara Conway of La Mode Hair and Beauty, on finding balance and swotting up on social media.
I used to get my hair done in the GPO Arcade in Dublin by a stylist named Olive. When I was 15 she asked me to model for her in the IHF Championships. At the competition I was introduced to this new world of hair, of creativity and passion. Seeing the stylists push and inspire each other was incredible and I fell in love with hair.
Going it alone
I always knew that I wanted to own my own salon. I qualified as a hairdresser at 17 and worked in two salons over the next three years. In December 2011, when I was 20, the salon I worked in closed down and I was made redundant on Christmas Eve. My parents encouraged me to open my own salon and I found a small unit only three doors down from where I used to work. Within two months I opened the doors of La Mode Hair and Beauty Boutique.
The salon is open six years with a team of eleven. The most difficult challenge is trying to run
a successful business and have a family. Before having children, my main focus was my career and
business. I spent most of my waking life running the salon, working on building a loyal client
base and building the salon’s presence within the industry. I found the key to finding a happy medium is finding a salon manager I could really trust and had the same passion as I do.
Shortly after opening La Mode I attended the Vidal Sassoon Academy in London, ABC of Cutting course. It has been the best investment in my career to date. I understood cutting in a way I never had before. It was a major stepping stone to winning many of my awards and helping me build a strong loyal clientele.
Ask the expert
I outsource payroll and have an accountant look after the financial side of the business, it puts my mind at rest that everything in that area is looked after and anything I’m unsure of, he’s on hand to advise me. This has taken huge pressure off the day to day running of the salon.
I would like to stricter guidelines put in place for apprentices to ensure they are receiving the training they need. I have seen so many young people left for two to three years washing hair and sweeping floors.
I think a lower VAT rate for small firms in the first 18-24 months of business would really help
businesses so they would have more income available to them to get through the next few years, or to invest in training or equipment.