This week we chat to Cork Women Simone Best, who is by her own admission passionate in the pursuit of perfect hair. Her bijoux salon is an oasis of pretty pastels and talented stylists.
Simone Best went to college in London, studying fashion. She then trained in hairdressing in Peter Mark, opening her own salon in 2009. She has weathered one recession and is proud to retail an eco-friendly brand Kevin Murphy in her salon. She is the leader of an all-female salon with a diverse range of clients. Nestled in the lovely Ballintemple in suburban Cork, she has client’s travelling from other counties to experience their passion and love of beautiful hair.
Who has inspired you in your life and why?
My mother is my biggest inspiration. She owned two salons at the age of 19, she was divorced, educated 4 children on her own, survived in business when Ireland suffered economic depressions and thrived as a self-employed woman. She taught me resilience and I would be the woman I am today without her.
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you have and why?
Water to survive and for well-hydrated skin. I would bring my favourite book ‘Jane Eyre’ about a fearless woman who walks away from comfort and luxury into the unknown, risking everything to be her own woman and have her own way. Lastly, scissors because you never know when you might be rescued, and a good haircut is always important.
In a team environment, what role do you usually take on?
I delegate to make sure that the needs of customers match the talents of my staff. I must be aware of the long-term, big-picture stuff and take care to sensitively manage the people who make my business work. That is the best thing about having a team that supports you, you help each other and work towards a common goal.
What three things do you need to be successful in your job?
Creativity is essential: a hairdresser must keep up with trends while also having a strong sense of personal style. Secondly, I must be flexible because you must be an opportunist to deal with changes in fashion and style. Finally, I find that as a salon owner who works in the salon every day that I must be well organised. Organisation, flexibility and creativity define my success.
How do you define success and how do you measure up to your own definition?
I define success as being the best I can be, as trying hard but also knowing why it didn’t work. It is a cliché now but when I heard the phrase ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ years ago while training in Peter Mark, it stuck in my head. Success is also about striking a balance between business and personal life, ensuring that the wheel of life turns smoothly.
Which of the two animals would you say you are most like — a sheep or a wolf — and why?
I believe that I’m a bit of both. I am a wolf when I must make decisions on behalf of my business and employees. Being ruthless sometimes is important because other people’s livelihoods depend on my business decisions. But ruthless predators don’t make good hairdressers – I meet, talk to and touch my clients every day, I must take care of their vulnerabilities. Maybe I’m a sheep in wolf’s clothing?