In an exclusive interview, Renee Melek, Art Director at Reneé Melek Salon, talks about the industry’s changes post-covid, the lessons she learned from the pandemic, and her plans for business in the future.
Renee Melek has steadily gained a reputation for her expertise in hairstyles from around the world, including French, Asian, American, and European techniques. She has developed particular expertise in blonde hairstyles. She is certified by the WAHL Academy in the United Kingdom, and as a hair industry ambassador and teacher, she travels extensively demonstrating and teaching the latest trends in hair cutting and design.
Excerpts from her interview…
How has your journey as an entrepreneur so far? What challenges did you face?
Initially, I took hairdressing classes as a hobby, then picked it up. In the beginning, I didn’t face any challenges as a hairdresser. At that stage, I was new to the art of hair, so all I wanted to do was learn more and more, everything would be gained at the later stage. As I gained knowledge and skills, everything else would follow.
The journey to becoming an entrepreneur has been enlightening. It has broadened my perspective and made me wiser.
A career as a hairdresser has many benefits, but to me, the most important is socialising, because you get to make many friends through this craft and you get to be creative, at the same time.
How has the hairdressing and salon industry changed from when you started?
There have been many changes in the hair and beauty industry, notably the increased use of technology in products and tools, as well as new innovative ways of styling hair. Moreover, when I began my career we did not have multi-branch salons like today, there were no international chains and professional products, like the way they are today
Covid has changed the dynamics of many industries. What do you think about how it has progressed for the hair and salon industry?
Covid has shown that the hair and salon industry will not die. It has proven to be resilient in the face of any catastrophe.
How should hairdressers approach social media and digital marketing? In the days leading up to Covid, many salons and hairdressers used the platform to educate the public. We should implement this in the future. Do you agree with this?
Yes, absolutely. There is no doubt that social media is a great teaching tool and should be used. These platforms allow for better consumer engagement. The pandemic has paved a new path for digital interactions that should be pursued.
What do you want to do with your business? Do you want it to grow more? What is the future vision for this particular salon? Do you plan on branching out further down the line?
I do have plans to grow, but not in the way people think “growth” should be. A branch out would not appeal to me because I wouldn’t follow the crowd and become just another salon among many others. The area in which I intend to invest my time and energy is in developing my plant-based products.
What are your favourite hair products?
One of my favourites is my creation ‘RENEÉSSANCE’, as well as Schwarzkopf Professional and Biotop.
Now that we’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons from the last pandemic – on the financial and emotional level, what new rules or virtues do you want to put in place moving forward?
The only virtue that has managed to keep me afloat through covid is trusting in God and staying true to your craft and your clients. There is no virtue greater than truth. Do not be money-driven, your clients will feel that in you, and you will stay afloat through any storm.