Emily Scullion
June 30, 2023

1.    What has been your proudest career moment?

I’ve been lucky enough to have a long career, so it’s tough to choose! But I’d say it’s probably winning Home Salon of the Year for my salon, Brick House Beauty, at the Professional Beauty Awards last year. It felt particularly special as it coincided with the 15 year anniversary of the business, and really made me reflect on how hard I’ve worked to get here. It was a rare moment I allowed myself to be proud of not only what I’ve achieved but also what I’ve successfully survived in that time- two recessions, becoming a mum & a global pandemic. 

2.    Who has been/is your biggest mentor?

For me really it has always been my parents - my Dad is self employed and I’ve learnt so much from watching how hard he works, how he treated people and how he ran his business. I get my work ethic from them both without question. My mum has always been my calm when times have been tricky & tough decisions have needed to be made. Even when I feel I’ve known what I want to do, my Mum confirms it for me. 

I didn’t really have any mentors within the industry when I was coming up, but I really rate and respect Sali Hughes, she has always stayed authentic and kept her integrity intact which I admire and try to emulate.

3.    What’s the most valuable piece of advice you have ever received?

My Dad always told me, when it comes to business you’re just one of many. I always try to keep that in mind whenever I find myself taking things too personally when it comes to work, as it really helps me put everything back in perspective. When you work for yourself, especially in our industry which is often so intimate, it’s an easy thing to forget. I really learned this lesson when I went on maternity leave (for just 4 weeks!) a few years ago, and even in that time I lost a few of my regular long-standing  clients. It can feel so personal, but remembering it’s not about you is crucial. 

4.    Which training body would you recommend for someone wanting to enter your area of the industry?

In the home salon space I have to be an expert in multiple disciplines, so it’s very difficult to narrow down to any one body. I would say my business has really benefited from working closely with carefully chosen brands who offer not just quality one-off training but continued support and skill development for life, like Dermalogica, Nouveau & BioSculpture. That partnership is so valuable if ever you have an issue or need advice on a new client, they’re always available to troubleshoot. 

More generally speaking, I would say always look for reputable training courses that are properly regulated and accredited, which is essential for your insurance. It’s worth contacting your company to check if you’re unsure.

5.    How do you make sure you stand out from the crowd e.g. up-skilling, research, social media?

I think it’s about keeping up with training and staying across trends - but not just jumping on them. You need to assess what truly works for you and your clients, not just what’s fashionable on social media or within our industry. Don’t be scared to steer clear of trends if that feels authentic for you. It’s more important to master the treatments you already offer before adding in new ones, to avoid just being OK at lots of things and expert in nothing. I also really recommend investing in 1-2-1 training or mentoring in areas you want to level up- I have found so much value in learning from a peer who has real life experience working in the same space. There’s always more to learn! 

6.    If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting their own business, what would it be?

There are two pieces of advice I always try to pass on. 

One is that it’s ok to stay in your lane- don’t judge yourself and your business by looking sideways, especially on social media. 

The other is to know your value and reflect that in your prices and policies. Set them and stick to them from day one. The more respect you have for yourself, your value and your time the more your clients will mirror that. Communicating your policies at the booking stage is so key to avoiding any conflict or confusion. Once I had enough self belief to do this it was a game changer for my business. 

7.    What’s the best and hardest thing about your job?

The best part is the people you meet and the relationships you build with your clients over many years, who often become close friends. It’s such a privilege to work in this industry that I love so much, and be able to use my skills to support other women in the way that we all do. 

The hardest is trying to keep professional boundaries in place with clients, especially in the home salon space which is naturally a more relaxed and comfortable environment than a traditional salon. Clients can be less considerate or more casual about cancellations, and can take it personally when I enforce my policies. It’s not personal or punishment, it’s just protecting my business. 

8.    How do you switch off after a difficult day?

I’d love to say I go and do a meditation for an hour, but the reality is more likely a strong cup of tea, some chocolate and cuddles with the salon dog, Phoebe. I’ll stick something soothing (aka cheesy) on the TV as well, like Married at First Sight or Selling Sunset, that always helps me wind down. I should also say, nothing makes a bad day at work better than time with my son, too. 

9.    Desert island 3 course meal?

Carbs are my love language, so truthfully my dream starter is always Pizza Express Dough Balls with extra garlic butter.

For main it has to be my ultimate comfort food of chips, cheese and gravy- (don’t knock it until you try it!). I love this so much my husband included it in his wedding vows!

For dessert, you just can’t beat a slab of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk which, controversially for some, I like ice cold from the freezer. 

10.  Which 5 people (dead or alive) would you have at your dinner party?

Nicola Kilner- She seems so genuine and grounded but has achieved and been through so much. I love how Deceim completely democratised skincare, and just do everything so differently. 

Marcia Kilgore- Just a total genius who still seems to have so much excitement for her work and our industry, her joy is infectious. 

Caroline Hirons- I love Caroline’s sense of humour and take no crap attitude, I think a night in her company would encourage me to be bolder. 

Then for balance I’d add in Steven Bartlet- I love his podcast and think he’d ask great questions to cut the small talk and probably make us all cry, of course.

And then last but not least Harry Styles- he just seems so much fun, I imagine I could comfortably leave him in charge of the music and the cocktails!



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