Q+A with Emily Mander Hair
Emily Mander, a well-known hairdresser based in Bath, has had to cancel her jam-packed schedule of clients for the next 2-3 months due to the covid-19 pandemic. I wanted her to share with you all how she's staying positive through this positively rocky time.
1. You’ve been freelancing as ‘Emily Mander Hair’ for a year now and have built a strong and loyal following on social media in the process. What would you say are the 3 key factors that have helped you gain a following that has you booked out for months on end?
I’m a Cornish girl but had been living in Queensland, Australia for a few years before returning to the UK and settling in Bath in early 2019. I literally had to start my client base from scratch as I only knew a handful of people in the city.
Looking back over the last year, I’ve realised that finding my niche was important early on, and creating a presence that was taken seriously as a specialist for “lived in colour”.
While living in Queensland, I had worked with Australia’s leading hair agency, Edwards and Co, who set a high example of how a business can grow with the right marketing, branding and content. I experienced first hand how seriously they took their brand presence both online and in salon and how they interacted with their audience.
I knew I needed some guidance in how to brand myself as a premium specialist in “lived in colour” which is why I contacted Nicole from Chelsea Creative. Nicole had previously spent 12 years in Australia so knew who Edwards and Co were and understood my vision.
2. Before even contacting Chelsea Creative to assist with your branding and website, you knew the significance of what a strong brand can do for a business. What does this mean to you and how/where did you learn the importance of branding?
The UK was lacking in the type of work I had learnt in Australia, and not marketing themselves the way Aussie hair stylists were. I knew there was a gap in the industry over here, especially where I’m based in Bath, for something new and fresh like “lived in colour”.
I learnt the importance of branding through Edwards and Co, and realised it’s not just what you’re doing behind the chair. It’s the premium products, the coffee, the interior and the lifestyle behind the business itself which all help to create amazing branding and a buzz amongst their ideal client.
I knew that having stand out branding design such as a logo, decent graphics for Instagram stories and posts and a website that explained exactly who I am and helped clients book in and sign up to various workshops, was a must.
With the guidance I’ve received from Nicole, being methodical with the way I post, and allowing myself to be the perfectionist I am, it has helped ensure I have a beautiful and engaged social media feed. This in turn attracts my ideal client.
3. There is quite a cross over between your personal and business style. Do you think this helps build an even stronger brand for ‘Emily Mander Hair’?
Absolutely! I get inspired by other stylists - the way they dress and carry themselves, the products they use and their personal branding.
I get taken the piss out of a lot for always being so ‘on brand’ cause I’m so bloody colourful but I get so much engagement from how I live my life in general that it works for me. I thrive from being different…
I love dressing in colourful clothes, it puts me in a positive mind frame. I’m usually with my clients for a few hours and I like them to leave my chair feeling fabulous - not just from their newly coloured and styled hair - but that the whole experience was uplifting and feel-good.
4. Since early March, many beauty businesses have struggled to know how to handle the sudden shut down of all shops and salons across the globe due to the COVID-19 pandemic. How has this affected business for you, and how are you staying positive?
I’m not going to lie… it’s hard to stay motivated these days. But this is a struggle for all of us. I’m trying to stay motivated by painting, working out, unfollowing people on Instagram who aren’t a positive impact on my life and following those who do, creating more CREATIVE content…
I've been wanting to do a live hair tutorial for 2 years now and the pandemic finally pushed me to do it – because – let’s face it – what have we got to lose?! If it means influencing one person and making that person’s day better, than that for me has created a positive impact.
5. What are 3 tips you could give to salon and service based business owners, like yourself, trying to navigate through this tricky time?
Don’t lose faith – use this time to be creative! Create a clear mind set, listen to audio books, get your online presence up to scratch. I’m playing around with Canva and my hair photos and learning new things. I’m also taking this time to just rest – us hairdressers are on our feet all day everyday so other than exercise I’m enjoying being still and present with my husband and spending time together on the couch.
1. Look back at your old client photos and see what you can re-hash for Instagram during this quiet period. Also take the time to archive any images that don’t feel like your ‘niche’. Remember who your dream client is, and make sure your Instagram feed reflects their hair – manifest those dream clients!
3. Put the free time you have now to start streamlining your booking systems. Perhaps you can finally take the time to create a new website or get your branding on point.
6. Finally, what can we all look forward to in the world of Emily Mander Hair?
Exciting question and I have so much up my sleeve!! I literally can’t give away everything that I’m working on but there’s some exciting things in the pipeline. Expect more workshops, a variation of education opportunities for everyone and I’m looking at getting some merchandise designed!