One business owner has opened up about how she set up her own business after recognising her employer’s inflexibility was limiting growth prospects.
Speaking on the My Business Podcast, Jules Peacocke – operator of high-end salon Lily Jackson Hair & Makeup – says she’s surprised to see how some people in business are closed off from accepting new ideas, to the detriment of their clients and ultimately to their business.
“I’d been in Australia for about three years having completed my apprenticeship in New Zealand and then went to London. Spent three years with a very big salon and famous hairdresser in London, [and then] came to Sydney in ’98,” she recalls.
“[I] ended up working for a really small business in Paddington [in inner Sydney], which was ... I sort of felt like I was coming into the dark ages really, having worked in these really big high-end salons both in New Zealand and in London.
“The salon only operated from nine til five. I think they’re open til 2pm on a Saturday. I spent two years with those guys trying to break through with them, how important it would be to do after hours because clients were all at work.”
Jules says she tried to explain to her employer that extending trading hours in the evenings and on weekends would enable the business to get more customers through its doors.
Meanwhile, the increased operating costs of doing so could be offset by opening later during quiet periods.
“They were pretty old-school these guys. They didn’t really like a young woman particularly coming in and telling them what to do with their business,” she says.
“I suggested to them that after two years, perhaps I was making half their turnover … I should become a partner in their business and take them to the next level. They thought that was funny. I said, ‘Well, if you don’t, I’m going to do my own.’ They thought that was funny. Six months later, I opened my own salon and they were quite shocked, which I was surprised about.”
Jules credits her ability to be flexible and focus on the changing needs of customers, rather than on traditional approaches and methods, for the rapid growth of her business.
“We spent six years in Paddington; we completely outgrew the space and in 2004, we actually bought a premises above Victoria Street in Darlinghurst.”
Check out more insights from Jules below on the thrills and spills of operating a high-end service business on the My Business Podcast below:
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.