Master Colour Expert & 2020 Hot Shot Team Member Alannah Read has achieved great things amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the success of her Ella&Jade salon in Algester, QLD, a three-time ‘Salon of The Year’ finalist, Alannah unveiled her new luxury space and flagship salon in October in Woolloongabba. She took over the family run business from her mother two years ago, and clients from all over Brisbane travel to Ella&Jade to experience her exceptional skills. We were lucky enough to chat with Alannah to find out about her journey and give her insight into what it takes to run a successful business.
Firstly, congratulations on being selected as one of the coveted Hot Shots Team Members for 2020, what does this opportunity mean to you?
I am so excited to be apart of the Hot Shots Team for 2020. The last 3 years have been business focused for me, and whilst I am loving every moment of that role I have definitely craved and missed the creative side, so I am excited to dive back into that with the Hot Shots Team.
Ella&Jade is a true family owned and operated boutique hair salon, can you tell us the story behind how it all started and your vision for the future?
It started about 15 years ago with my mum, and then myself and my sister soon followed in her footsteps which brings us to the name- Ella&Jade which are mine and my sisters middles names. Whilst my mum and my sister have moved onto other career paths, that family feeling is something I strive to bring to our environment on a daily basis with our team and community of clients. I am passionate about the growth of this industry and in particular apprentices and growing our own. We have an internal education program with a team of educators who deliver the “Ella&Jade Way”. My plan for the future is to keep strengthening our internal program to create a new generation of hairdressers to help lift our industry standards.
Was expanding during the pandemic already in the pipeline and did you face any challenges?
I looked at the Woolloongabba space in December 2019, and as soon as I saw it I knew it was going to be the perfect space to deliver the salon experience I had always dreamed of. Covid has definitely bought its challenges and pushed my plans back a few months, but it has also shown me the strength that we have as a team and brand and with the right people behind you anything can be possible. We as a team are passionate about delivering a salon experience like no other and I am so excited to watch the growth of Woollongabba and our incredible team.
Behind every great salon is a team of passionate creatives, what do you feel is the biggest contributing factors to your success?
I couldn’t agree more, and if this year has shown us anything it’s revealed why we do what we do. Getting back to the client experience has been a big focus for us post Covid closure, reconnecting with our community of clients and offering them a place to relax and enjoy some pampering during a time of uncertainty has been so rewarding. Having a team who support and believe in who we are and what we do as a brand is really the key to success. All of my team are all in 110% of the time no matter if its creatively, on the salon floor or learning and delivering the “Ella&Jade Way” and they’re absolutely the reason we have been able to expand and grow as a company.
What is it that you look for in a new team member when recruiting?
Their “WHY”.... I always ask them why they got into hairdressing and where they want it to take them because there are so many opportunities and pathways and I believe it is my role as an employer to help them achieve it. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing my team reach their goals and being a part of it.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to open their own salon business?
• Find yourself a good Accountant that can help you navigate the book work, bills and all that comes with it because trust me they don’t teach you that in your apprenticeship.
• Surround yourself with like-minded people, and seek advice from those who you admire/aspire to be.
• Align yourself with companies that will support your vision and growth.
• Stick to your guns, say yes to all the opportunities, embrace it all as every day is a new opportunity to learn and grow and thats the most exciting part of it all.
Who has been the most influential hairdresser/s in your career and why?
William Webb and I have worked together for the past 6 years and William has helped create the “Ella&Jade Way” and our internal education platform and heads up all of our creative work and photoshoots. His creative ability is unlike any other and with his support and encouragement I completed my first colour collection late last year which was entered as part of my Hot Shots submission. It’s so wonderful working so closely with somebody who shares the same values as I do, and has the same foresight for the future of Ella&Jade and our industry.
What excites you most about your work?
No day is ever the same, yes finding the balance between the salon floor, my team and the behind the scenes is a constant battle but I wouldn’t change it. When I am on the salon floor I love corrective colouring where I can be as technical as possible. I love the science behind colour. When I am with my team I love watching them achieve something we have been working towards, there really is not a better feeling than watching them grow and develop.
What is the biggest risk you have taken in Hairdressing?
I feel like I just took it with the opening of a second space during a pandemic!
If you weren’t hairdressing what alternative career would you consider?
Probably something to do with business and numbers which is the opposite to a creative industry but I love my office days and visits to the Accountants.
What is the one product/tool that you could not live without?
Wella’s Illumina colour range! I have a massive range of clientele and my day can go from grey coverage to colour corrections and everything in between and this range is perfect for it all. Unbelievable shine and luminosity I couldn’t live without in my colour bar.
What do you predict as the next upcoming trend?
I think different variations of the E-Girl trend will be here for a while. Contrasting colour palettes with interesting feature panels.
You are already kicking industry goals; what’s on the horizon for you in the coming years?
I really want to continue to focus on our internal education program and extend that out through external channels, and who knows maybe another salon or two but I won’t get too ahead of myself just yet.