Meet Rikki, the founder of The Wedding Hair Company. Find out how she got started and what it's all about...
"It actually started by accident! I'll give you a bit of background on me so you can see how it all developed...
I'd worked in salons since I was a kid. I washed hair and made coffee on Saturdays and really enjoyed it. I was also fairly academic at school so I went to university and got my degree in Communications. I continued to work in a salon as a Receptionist while I studied. Once I finished uni, I tried my hand at various other things and went traveling for a couple of years but I always kept my hand in with the hairdressing industry and eventually became a fully qualified Hair Stylist.
I have to be honest here and say that salon life wasn't really for me. I don't think I had the right personality for it. Working in one place all the time made me feel trapped. I'd also obsess about getting everything perfect for clients so I never got my speed up with cuts and colours. I had the opportunity to assist session Stylists but I couldn't afford to work for free on a regular basis. I was so frustrated and contemplated leaving the industry completely. Then I found bridal hair.
I'd finally found my niche in the industry! I'd always been drawn to putting hair up and felt I could really flourish as a Bridal Stylist. So I started doing hairdressing from home to give me flexibility with bookings and then began taking weddings on. Some of my bookings came from word-of-mouth but most of them were through a local Bridal Hair and Makeup Artist who would contact me when she needed help.
Shortly after getting going in the industry, I had my daughter. I was so excited as I thought I'd be able to run my new business alongside her, which was certainly true in theory. But in practice, it was a whole other story! I'd planned to take on weekend weddings and grow the business when my daughter started school. This sounded like a great plan and would give her one-on-one time with her Dad. But in reality, as my partner got busier with work and I booked more weddings, we'd never have any time together as a family. I realised I wanted that time more than I wanted to do wedding hair.
But I was still in love with Bridal Styling! While I was pregnant, I'd done mountains of research on business and set goals and timelines so I could reach the levels of success of the Bridal Stylists I admired. I'd pulled on all my marketing and journalism skills from my Communications degree and all my experience in the hair industry to create a killer business plan and I didn't want to throw it all away. I'd even created an Instagram account where I could share my favourite bridal hairstyles, connect with other industry professionals and give my brides ideas for their own wedding day style.
And that's what changed the game for me. My Instagram account gave me a point of connection with people across the globe. I started getting daily messages from brides-to-be wanting recommendations for Bridal Stylists in their area. Stylists were reaching out for support with their own social media and my followers were growing. It was then that I realised I didn't have to let go of my dream. I just needed to pivot. So I wrote a new business plan, got a small team together and started our Bridal Stylist Directory on our website. We began adding Stylists from all over the world and giving them a platform to be seen. It was lovely to be able to share their work on Instagram and in blog posts and see all the amazing comments come in. Seeing their followers increase and more of their work being shared by other major accounts was so exciting for me! Not only were we inspiring others, we were building a community.
Then, the pandemic hit and things took a turn for our industry. Many Stylists in different countries were out of work completely. Community matters now more than ever before. It's been great to see Stylists taking this time to deepen their practical education and business knowledge, and really lifting each other up with positive posts. On a personal level, I realised that I was able to support the Bridal Styling industry in so many more ways. We expanded our Directory to include Educators, Accessories Brands and Product Retailers as they're such a big part of our community. We were also getting emails asking for help with the business and marketing elements of working in the Bridal Hair industry. I saw a unique opportunity for me to use my skill set to really help others. We moved into using more social media platforms to broaden our reach and I focused in on what our community needed.
By doing my market research and listening to conversations taking place in our industry, I saw 2 main problems:
1) Fabulous work and brilliant products were going unnoticed.
2) Bridal Hair businesses were failing due to lack of support (not talent)!
With my combination of marketing and communications knowledge, along with my experience of working specifically in the bridal hair industry, I knew I could change that. As part of my market research, I also looked for businesses who were offering support to Bridal Stylists. All I could find were expensive directories and even more expensive coaching and mentoring programs. Most of these were not specific to the Bridal Hair industry, and many of them seemed to be focused on elevating the profile of the teacher / mentor rather than showcasing the work of the Stylists. I knew there was room for something different here and I was determined to make it accessible to everyone.
So we created our Membership program to support our community in every way we can. Bridal Hair businesses have unique needs and work in a particular way. As someone who's worked in hairdressing for over 20 years, I can totally relate! I love speaking to our Members and finding solutions for them.
I'm so proud of the company we've developed, which has only been possible because of this community. Now there seems to be an end in sight with this pandemic, I'm so excited to move ahead with growing The Wedding Hair Company, finding new opportunities and doing what I love. I'm sure you feel the same!"
If you're not already part of our community, we'd love to have you! Find out more about our Membership program here.