Dublin salon, The Space, is a masterclass in how to motivate and draw out the best from staff. Co-owner, Carla Rose Mc Quillan, explains why she takes the time to individually motivate her staff each morning to help them focus on the day ahead.
What time do you usually get up and how do you motivate your team at the start of the day?
I get up at 7.30am for a 10am salon start midweek and usually 6am on Friday and Saturday for a 9am start. We start with a morning meditation at the salon. I believe it is better to motivate individually than collectively so I start by having a casual chat with each team member. I get a feel for their energy and I then set an individual daily focus early in the day.
Take us on a jaunt through your career journey to date..
I started hairdressing full time the day after my Junior Certificate. I was 15 years old. I instantly fell in love with the industry and ended up working in hair salons in Dublin city centre for the next 10 years. One year after qualifying I became Creative Director, leading a staff of almost 100 people, which was a great achievement and a big learning curve. It was in that role that I learnt professional discipline and how to lead and inspire the best from my team. During that time my team and I won many accolades which helps to keep you motivated. I also experienced a recession which I think really stands to me! I went on to work in New York and Sydney and when I returned to Ireland I became a freelance hairstylist with Morgan The Agency for two years before opening The Space .
Tell us about the idea behind The Space and how you went about getting the idea off the ground?
I opened The Space with my best friend whom I have worked alongside for most of my career. It came easily to us because we were both so experienced in our profession. We had spoken for years about how we would want our business to run – what we want it look like etc., and once you start building momentum it really is hard to stop. Choosing the location was our first port of call and then building up a team was the next priority.
As an entrepreneur, how do you deal with success and failure?
I have a motto – never a failure, always a lesson. I don’t see many things as a failure as such, I just don’t consider failure an option.
Was there a key turning point in your career that you can attribute to your success?
Working in New York and Sydney made me realise how much I loved Ireland, its culture and how we work here. I think that realisation made me the most determined I had ever been to succeed . Having that international experience also opened my mind up to how much I could bring to the table in the hairdressing industry in Ireland.
We believe in staff personal development and we host a soul session for the team once every eight weeks which can include reiki, yoga, stress management and hypnotherapy
Do you have a mentor?
No not really, my business partner Nadine and I just kind of figure everything out between us, and the input from the team helps of course. We are really open minded and we do everything with the best intentions at heart. That ethos hasn’t steered us wrong yet.
Who or what inspires you?
Young talent inspires me: to get a chance to help somebody along in their career from the very beginning is pretty special.
You have a focus on continued professional development at The Space; how do you facilitate that for staff?
We invest a lot in education; every six weeks we have a fun education evening as it’s so important in our industry to keep on top of seasonal trends. We also believe in personal development and we host a soul session for the team once every eight weeks which includes reiki, yoga, stress management, hypnotherapy etc. We also have a fund that team members can access to contribute towards any personal development course that they choose, or if there’s a course that just generally makes them feel happy we feel that is worth the investment.
How do you unwind & de-stress at the end of the day and during difficult periods?
My favourite thing to do to unwind is to walk my dogs and I also meditate regularly. I love to read; I use Audible when time is an issue and I find that really helps to de-stress . I am guilty of an odd binge on Netflix when I have a day off, sometimes watching something mindless can be just what the doctor ordered. Monthly reiki session are great for keeping me on track during difficult periods .
What’s the next career priority for you?
We are only 1.5 years into our first business and we are still very much refining The Space. We are branching out into education next and then there is a possibility that we will launch our own products at a future stage.
What advice would you give to someone launching a new business?
Be ready for your whole life to change; it will be challenging in every way but exciting as long as you let go of all fear. Every challenge can be overcome. Learn how to delegate early as you can not do everything and always treat your team the very best you can, they are the real stars!