Success, in salon, is like spinning plates: whilst they all need focus, you simply cannot allow yourself to focus on one plate for too long. At Oscar Oscar, we focus on 12 main plates; including leadership, frontline, education, power bookings, marketing, locations, service, consistency, standards, etc.
We chat with the brains (and brawn!) behind the business.
Ladies and gentleman, let’s hear it for Oscar Oscar Salons Owner/Director, two-time Australian Hairdresser of the Year and all-round industry legend: Oscar Cullinan.
TJ: As the company enters its fourth decade in operation, can you share with us some of the core business pillars that have informed the Oscar Oscar brand?
OC: The success of Oscar Oscar Salons is built upon delivering the ultimate, luxury hairdressing experience. We strive to continuously educate our team to remain at the forefront of innovation. Many of our incredible Salon Partners have been brought all the way through the OO system – starting as Apprentices and evolving to become Salon Partners. Our team is bolstered by a phenomenal HQ team, and all share in a common desire to succeed. We are a brand that leaves nothing to chance and plan all that we do with an acute attention to detail.
TJ: In your humble opinion; what is it about the Oscar Oscar brand that continues to attract a string of salon partners and clients alike?
OC: From a Salon Partner perspective; we offer a complete support package. For one, a unique level of assistance (business operations are run through HQ) that allows for a singular focus on running the salon and guest experience. The journey from apprentice to qualified stylist, the personalised training that each of our staff receives, and the feeling of being part of one big family. There is an extraordinarily strong bond across the brand. When a client chooses Oscar Oscar, they know they are getting the absolute best; this quality is evident from the moment they arrive. We place so much importance on every single aspect of the guest experience.
TJ: Can you talk us through the Oscar Oscar Salons approach to client service? How do you maintain a consistent service and quality standard across the board?
OC: One word: Training. We have a way in which we approach everything and are exceptionally disciplined. This is balanced with the time we spend innovating; it’s our people (and their input) that determines the hrights of innovation. It is industry-wide knowledge that our client service is of the highest standard; that’s what sets us apart from the rest. From the moment our guests enter the world of Oscar Oscar, they are taken on a journey. As any multi-site salon owner will tell you; you can’t be successful without incredible systems and procedures. The bigger you get, the better and tighter these need to be.
TJ: Describe the Oscar Oscar Salons approach to prescribing retail as part of each service.
OC: At Oscar Oscar, we have a firm belief in delivering what we call hair dreams. Part of that dream is, of course, the final product – though no matter how good we are as professionals, hair dreams can become hair nightmares if clients can’t manage or care for their new style at home. So, prescribing haircare is simply part of the package. We do, of course, like to deliver this recommendation as early on during the guest experience as possible – typically during our quoting process – to allow our guests to then relax and enjoy the experience.
TJ: On the subject of retail; can you tell us a bit about the new Oscar Oscar product line: WILDE? What was the motivation behind its creation?
OC: I’ve always wanted to create a hair brand, and this has always felt like the natural next step. For me, however, the WHY was imperative; the brand, like my salons, would simply have to be the best. I’ve always believed that you must either be first or best to market. WILDE is a culmination of 30 years and over 3 million heads of hair in experience; Now, you add – what we call, the silver bullet ingredients – and the product is set to sit proudly within our stable.
TJ: What first inspired Oscar Oscar Salons’ ongoing partnership with Redken as key product suppliers? What aspects of the Redken ethos and approach resonate with you most?
OC: Redken has always been an industry leader in hair colour technology, so for us, this has always felt like a natural partnership. Their innovations, both across product and through their educational offerings, have given us the tools as hairdressers and business owners to deliver exceptional, customised results for our guests.
TJ: How does Redken support businesses in the Oscar Oscar Salons portfolio?
OC: Redken’s education programs are legendary. Most notably, the Redken Certified Haircolourist program is a highly coveted professional qualification. What they do best? Their commitment to building relationships within their salon network. Redken are always there to assist and support when you need them!
TJ: Your favourite range in the Redken stable?
OC: The entire Redken Shades EQ range; the potential for shade variation and choices are endless. These glosses leave the hair with a super, high-shine and are also incredibly low maintenance, as far as colours go.
TJ: Can you share one of your most memorable moments with Redken over the past 30 years?
OC: There have been so many! Though, my personal favourite, would have to be when all of the Salon Partners went to Las Vegas for the Redken Symposium. There was lots of team bonding, some incredible hair education and… I can’t say too much more. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!
TJ: Talk us through the Oscar Oscar approach to hiring and staff retention. Any pre-requisites, non-negotiables or staff incentives?
OC: First and foremost, we have an exceptionally strong hiring policy. We hire for attitude, and train for skill. There is an incredible sense of family among our tribe and, in fact, we communicate with each other as the OO family – not just as staff of employees. An Oscar Oscar team member is a standout from the start. A healthy workplace culture is paramount in ensuring that everyone feels support on their journey to becoming the best hairdresser they can be.
TJ: If you could share one secret to salon business success, what would it be?
OC: Success, in salon, is like spinning plates: whilst they all need focus, you simply cannot allow yourself to focus on one plate for too long. At Oscar Oscar, we focus on 12 main plates; including leadership, frontline, education, power bookings, marketing, locations, service, consistency standards, etc. While they all remain equally important, I would have to say rostering would be most crucial in larger salons. Team mix is almost like your display in retail; get it wrong you will not draw people in – or worse, not have what they want when your clients get there.
TJ: What has been one of the biggest challenges Oscar Oscar Salons has faced over the past 30 years?
OC: The biggest challenge any of us have had to face in this industry would be navigating the current pandemic. Making the difficult decision to close the salon for five weeks – not because we had to, but rather because we strongly felt it was the right thing to do – was heart wrenching. We felt it was our social obligation and were so lucky to be supported by our team and guests at the time. Making it through the turmoil without a single team member losing their job was testament to the team’s focus and leadership. It’s not over yet, however. Our hearts go out to our teams in Melbourne who have been forced to close for a further 11 weeks.