Neil, owner of The Cutting Room, reflects on the lessons that have carried him through the years…
When did you start?
My hairdressing career started when I was three years old! My mom owned a salon that operated on a walk-in basis so I was often looked after by waiting clients and started doing their hair for them! My wife Sherene and I established The Cutting Room in 2005.
How many salons do you own?
At the moment we own three salons, and maybe a few more in the pipeline! We are also going to be opening a kiddies salon soon! Exciting stuff!
What made you go on your own?
I’ve never been good with authority and being told what to do so I would say that I got bored! Besides, having a boss means that you can never just pop out quickly, or decide to revamp your salon every year! I like to change things up regularly, it keeps things interesting!
If you could do one thing differently, what would it be?
I would have started using professional products by a well known branded house like Redken much sooner.
Toughest decision I’ve ever had to make…
We had a salon in Muizenberg a while ago and were constantly having to deal with various building issues. We had to make a very tough decision to close it down after a while and no one likes that feeling, especially because the salon itself was successful.
The key to happiness is…
Loving what you do. If you choose a job you love, you will never have to work a day in your life.
I knew my salon made it when…
We were able to open accounts with various brands that had previously turned us away because we were ‘too new’. It was also when we were approached to be hairstylists for the likes of Cape Town Fashion Week and Top Billing that really made me see just how far we have come in the industry and we will only continue to grow from strength to strength.
The advice I’m glad I never took?
When we were starting out, a lot of people told us not to trust anyone, especially staff. We are glad we never listened to that advice because trusting and having faith in people has given us the opportunity to open more salons.
What advice do you give young stylists?
You never stop learning. Knowledge is power. Don’t ever think that you know it all. There is always room for improvement. Take advice and assistance from senior stylists gracefully. Always be yourself, be passionate and take pride in all that you do. Most of all, HAVE FUN!
What hairstyles and colours do we have to look forward to in 2016?
Everyone has different standards of beauty and fashion and trend, and those standards change with time. I think that individuality is key these days and anything goes. What works for some might not work for others so if you think you can carry it off then you can wear it! Be bold, be crazy, be unique!