This month we are delightd to have a chat with multi award winning Hairdresser Sean Taaffe, Fresh back from the Irish Hairdressing Business Awards, Sean shares some thoughts with us on how it all began.
Sean tell us where your passion for hairdressing came from, was it something you always wanted to do?
I always wanted as far back as I can remember to be a hairdresser, even as a kid going into the hairdressing salon with my mother I loved the environment the buzz and seeing people leave so happy it just made perfect sense to me that’s what I wanted to do, if you think of it it’s not many jobs that you get to be creative, interact with people and have an impact on their lives albeit slight but get to make them look and feel fantastic and raise their self-esteem. So I guess my passion for the industry has always been there for me though it’s more than just a job each time a client walks out they are a walking advert for my work good or bad, that’s why I can never understand anyone putting out anything less than their very best work because at the end of the day if you don’t have pride and passion in your work why bother at all.’
Hairdressers are a little like our doctor when we find one we want to see the same person each time, how do you balance that with the number of salons you have?
You’re right the hairdressers and client relationship are very much like a doctor dentist etc. when you find a good one you only want them, and that’s a good sign! For me I’m very lucky to have an extremely talented and driven team that share my passion values and vision so whereas I work between our two largest salons Killarney and Tralee there are incredibly artistic stylists in all branches so no worries there. I split my time between the salon floor and education , I typically do 4 days a week working with clients and one full day and two evenings teaching and training with different team members , we have 55 of us across all the salons so keeping standards high is paramount to me,
Trends change over the years are you continuously upgrading your skills and those of your staff?
Yes up skilling in any job is important but in hairdressing it’s crucial, not alone that the clients expect and deserve to know that you are competent in all new trends but for yourself as a hairdresser and as a person you don’t want to stagnate. I’m very lucky I’m part of team Ireland the Irish hairdressing team and as part of that we meet at least once a month to train and we often go abroad to compete. At this level you have to make sure that you are completely aware of everything that is going on within the industry, I’m also one of the few ‘intercoiufure ‘ members in Ireland, this is an invite only organisation that represents the top 1% of hairdressers worldwide and again we train and do seminars for other hairdressers around the country again keeping us sharp!!
What one tip would you give someone with a bad hair day?
It depends very much on the time you have and the problem you’re having , sometimes if you’re having a really bad hair day it’s easier and often Quicker to start from scratch and shampoo and condition the hair rather than trying to control and unruly Mane armed with just a brush .
As for one tip this might seem like a strange one … Even though I believe your haircut is the foundation of your hair the most important thing is exactly that ‘ your hair ‘ if the condition is dry damaged over processed etc. it’s never going to look right no matter who does or what is done to it , my one tip good quality products to make the hair look healthy and you’ve suddenly made a giant leap forward , if I’m allowed a second tip then I’d have to say a good haircut that suits your face shape , hair type and lifestyle .
You have just recently won an array of awards for the salons at the Irish Hairdressing Business Awards, what does this mean to you personally and to the salon and team as a whole?
Yes Sunday 29 March was a great day for us in so far as we won three big awards, firstly Munster salon of the year! Equivalent in football terms to the Munster final!! Secondly ‘ customer care award ‘ which was really important to us , we try and ensure clients receive an experience not just a haircut or colour whatever the case may be. , we want the count to feel listened to , valued appreciated , their wants and needs understood , so to receive the customer care award was great to receive because it was an acknowledgment that we were doing what we strives to do . And finally national salon of the year! The equivalent of winning the all-Ireland final in football! It wasn’t croke park but the RDS is prestigious enough, it was a very proud moment for myself, for Kara our general manager and all the entire team because it was a victory for the whole group , their hard work their passion their loyalty being recognised on a national level , going up against the biggest and best Salons in the country and winning, for the team they were and are so happy to be a part of it and great for them to k ow that they don’t have to go and work far afield to be part of an amazing salon culture that they are part of it right here in Kerry .For me starting out that was always my dream that the salon or salons could deliver hairdressing standards and salon comfort standards that you would expect on Grafton St or Oxford St and I’m glad to say I think we are doing that .
What does Sean do to relax?
It’s not something I do a lot of , I’m very lucky that my work is very varied from working with clients , to education both internally In the salon or around the country educating for Alfa Parf Milano ( I teach cutting for them nationally), to training with the Irish team it’s pretty non-stop but never boring , when I do have some spare time I love getting out with the dog for a long walk , I’m mad into motorbikes so love going on day trips , info try and get into the gym a couple of times a week to try and make sure I keep some way in shape !!
Where next for Sean Taaffe?
We are always looking at new avenues at how to build and improve our brand; I’m just back from London having toured probably the top ten salons there and have come back with plenty ideas as to how we can strive to be better all the time!!