Nestled in the North Brisbane suburb of Ferny Hills ‘The Hair Pin’ is a well-established hair salon conveniently located in Ferny Fair Shopping Centre.
Owner and Director Ally McErlean has over 30 years of hairdressing experience, both as a salon owner and previously as a regional manager for a large chain of salons. The Hair Pin was established in 2015 and to date, Ally has built an amazing team of 19 diverse and experienced hair stylists, each having their own unique style and creative vibe.
Louise May spoke with Ally to find out more about her leadership qualities and what special ingredients she has, that has enabled her to grow the business and the team exponentially year upon year since opening 6 years ago.
Was Business Ownership Always a Priority for You?
do the things we loved, was a priority. I just wanted to create a space of likeminded, kind, and fun people who love coming to work each day, and the clients fall in love with the vibe.
What Specific Qualities or Characteristics Do You Look for When Selecting Potential Staff for Your Salon?
Someone who has vision, loyalty and wants to work as part of a team and still likes to have fun. Obviously, skill is important, however with our training we can help get everyone on the same page.
Share With Us Your Philosophies Around Staff Selection and Development. How Do You Find, Keep and Grow High Performing Staff?
I look for staff who want to improve and are hungry for education
How Do You Develop Your Team to Help Them to Be The Best They Can Be?
Encouragement and support and lots of education and training.
What Are Your Secrets for Building a Happy and High Performing Team?
We try to make sure every day is a positive one and organise consistent team building events and trips away to have something to work towards.
What Do You Enjoy Most About Your Business, Team or Clients?
I like a good work balance, If I was not doing clients, I would miss it and I think it is good for your staff to see you with clients. However, I do like to have the time to help out and back my staff up and to nurture their careers. Clients love our culture and enjoy being a part of it, staff- friendships, growth in stylists from apprentice to senior, new staff with new training and support to become confident
Share With Us Some of The Biggest Challenges You’ve Faced Along the Journey and How You Overcame these.
The biggest challenges I have faced started with opening a business with staff and not having a steady clientele, taking that risk in the first place was a big one, then refurbishing and relocating the salon, the weeks leading up to Christmas. (twice) Then the biggest one I would say in navigating our way through a pandemic and not knowing what the future of the industry would be. We just set out to make our clients happy and didn’t focus on $$$ and I think that is a big factor as it is more genuine.
What Would You Say Are the Core Values or Philosophies Which Define Your Business and Leadership Style?
Creating a warm welcoming environment that is positive for both staff and clients and leading by example, encourages staff to consider the work environment a challenging yet rewarding place to be. Being true ourselves. celebrating what makes us different from each other.
What Are Your Secrets to Juggling the Demands of Running a Busy Salon And Having A Work /Life Balance?
Making sure you have the right people in your corner to help out, and I have a supportive family unit. With a team of 19, I definitely need the help of my amazing Salon Co-Ordinator Bec. She is amazing with paperwork, and I am not so we are a great team together.
What Has Been Your Greatest Lesson or Piece of Advice Along Your Business Journey?
Probably to back yourself, and let people help you.
What Advice Would You Give Others Who Dream of Building an Impactful Brand?
Do It!! I never dreamt The Hair Pin would become such an empire. Be kind to your past peers, because you never know when you will need staff and they will remember if you were fair or not! Lastly, be a leader… not a boss.
What’s On the Agenda for The Future?
We are planning on building on our brand and expanding further and would like to enter the education world and spend more time showcasing the talented people on our team.