You have built yourself quite an empire. Did you always know you wanted to be this successful?
I was fortunate to have a fantastic apprenticeship in the UK to kick-start my career. I initially had aspirations to become a barrister however the day I started hairdressing I knew this was what I was meant to do. The first couple of years were very exciting and challenging and I had a huge desire to learn!
I've always had strong ambitions, and worked hard to master every skill that I can. I am extremely self-motivated and driven and I believe I have enjoyed success because of this passion. I can't say that I've always known that I wanted to be successful, as people define success in such different ways. I do believe I have pursued a career of excitement, creativity, development and challenge.
What is the biggest challenge you face in this industry?
I have been extremely fortunate in this industry to gain the knowledge and experience I have through seizing every opportunity. Each challenge is a learning experience, so I remain positive and focused with each new opportunity and life change.
If I had to pick a challenging time, it would be when I first moved to Australia. I had little money, knew nobody and was trying to start my own business. It took a lot of strength and determination to build a new life and establish a new business. This experience reinforced in me that I really am capable of anything - anyone is, as long as they stay focused.
My current constant challenge is time management with juggling so many roles, commitments and ventures within the industry.
What is one thing that the industry has taught you?
I live by the philosophy of 'being present in the moment,' and this is something I feel I have learnt over time, and through my hectic industry schedule. I also believe that persistence and hard work are both factors in success, as well as an open mind and a knack for creativity. Although, I believe a lot of these qualities are innate, the industry has definitely encouraged the growth of these qualities within me. The greatest lesson the hairdressing industry provides is in communication and through running a business and educating, my communication skills have evolved greatly.
What is one of your tips for "Tricks of the trade"?
One of my favourite tricks for women doing their hair themselves at home is to use 'double moussing.' This is when you blow dry styling mousse into your hair twice – once, and then again. This is a great trick for those who are going out, or looking for a lasting style throughout the day and into the night. This also means you don't need to apply hairspray to curls making them appear more natural.
What is the key to building a successful team?
I truly believe education is the foundation to building a successful team. This industry gives so much to talented and skilled individuals, but a strong base knowledge of fundamental theory, and classic techniques is still (and will always be) important.
My team undergo weekly training and mentoring sessions to be the best they can. This also fosters a positive sense of learning and team work, as they can support each other and nurture each others' growth.
A successful team comes through developing all the individual's confidence in their skill set. Also through creating a team culture based on open communication. Through my personalised and award-winning training programs, I feel as though we have managed to create a fantastically driven, loyal and successful team.
What was the biggest risk you've ever taken?
Business requires you to trust your instincts and not be afraid of taking risks. Since I am very driven and impulsive I have taken numerous risks! Most of them have been calculated risks yet some have been courageous. Therefore I would say the biggest risk has been expanding the business and running numerous operations without compromising the integrity of any of them.
For upcoming stylists looking to start their career, what's the one piece of advice you would give them?
Never stop learning and make the most of every opportunity that presents itself!
Focus all your energy on developing really strong fundamental skills first. Your initial training can set you up for future success. It's important to master the classic foundation techniques as all creative techniques are derived from them. Keep an open mind at all times to allow your experience and creativity to flourish from many resources.
Never say 'no' in this business – especially when you start out. It can be difficult to be taken seriously and offered new and exciting opportunities, however, if you are lucky enough to be given a chance, never say no!
You clearly have a big vision in terms of expanding and growing your empire. Ultimately, where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Currently, Mieka Hairdressing has become part of the Evolve Salons Group. Evolve Salons are dedicated to creating growth within the Australian hairdressing industry via acquisition of profitable salons. In turn, Evolve hopes to revolutionise education within the hair industry, by creating ground -breaking education systems and training resources.
I have taken on a new role, and am now the COO of Evolve. An exciting position, I have the pleasure of influencing the creative direction of not only Mieka, but an array of other brands. It is also an opportunity to see 'my baby' grow and flourish as a 'prestige' brand, in ways I never imagined.
Also Tracey Hughes Education is flourishing and I'm expanding my team of educators who are dedicated to increasing the quality of personal tuition. We are also producing merchandise, scissors and training resources for the industry globally. We are further expanding our international agents so we hope to have further impact in all regions worldwide.
However since I do try to be present in the moment – so I really have no idea where I will be in 10 years time. However, I hope that I am happy, healthy and still doing what I love.
How do you keep your passion alive?
Since I'm very self-motivated I constantly drive my passion through embracing new challenges. I find inspiration from many avenues and surround myself with positive people.
What is your favourite thing to do when you have some down time?
I love being at home with my husband and my animals. It is such a rare occurrence, that it has become something I truly cherish. I also practice yoga to try and keep some kind of balance and perspective in my life.