There are many inspiring people in the Irish beauty industry today, some of which may not even be on your radar. One woman who should be if you’re looking for a business idol is Ciara Wilson, owner of The Salon Shop.

Salon Shop Logo

Ciara’s love of all things beauty, in particular her love of makeup, began as a tween. At the age of 13 or 14, Ciara would babysit for a family-friend, Cara O’Sullivan, an opera singer and Cork native. At times, Ciara would accompany Cara on trips to RTÉ and was in awe backstage at the makeup artists and what they would do. “That’s when I knew this is the industry I wanted to be a part of; this was for me.” Cara once brought home from a trip abroad, a makeup brush set complete with box. “I thought all my Christmases had come together! And I still have those to this day.”

Ciara’s passion never wavered and so after studying various beauty treatments at Cork College of Commerce and managing someone else’s salon for about a year, Ciara opened her own salon at the age of 19. “My Dad saw how much effort I was putting in managing someone else’s salon and traveling back and forth and so he knew I had the drive to make a go of it. He always had a strong work ethic and passed that on to all of us. He told me, ‘Look around the city and see if you can find a place of your own’.” Ciara took a break to have her first child at 24 but swiftly opened up her second business at 25. “My mind started ticking over again. I wanted to get back to beauty and adult conversation!”

Salon Shop Photo

For budding young makeup artists and beauty therapists, Ciara advises speaking to salon staff and owners. “Studying beauty treatments was a stopgap for me, since I was too young to go to the UK and study makeup, but it really opened my eyes to the vast amount of beauty treatments there are to learn about and provide. Talk to salons and see what’s out there would be my advice.”

You would think that someone who works this hard would spout advice on the best ways to switch off but the truth is, she doesn’t; at least not from Monday morning to Friday evening. “My partner is a workaholic, like myself, and I wanted to find a way for us to wind down together. He isn’t a footballer or a golfer. One weekend we took a camper van out for a weekend trip and loved it so much we bought one of our own. Now, from April until October, we spend most weekends out in the camper van travelling around Ireland!”

Ciara may not have the work-life balance that many speak of but she has one that works for her and we here at Hi think that’s a great piece of wisdom to take away: To be a success you don’t have to emulate other successful people; do what works for you and you will thrive.

For more information on The Salon Shop visit or call 021 242 8033.