Melissa Timperley Shares Her Secrets to Success
Melissa Timperley is the salon owner of Melissa Timperley Salons in Manchester. She juggles having clients five days a week in the salon with putting together creative shows and shoots as part of her role as a Wella Professionals Passionista.
What was your journey into the hair industry?
I loved hair from a very early age and did a school placement with Sassoon in Manchester which confirmed that I wanted to be part of this great industry. I started with Sassoon as an apprentice aged 16 in Manchester and qualified with them. I did my classic and creative tests with Sassoon and got distinctions in both before teaching at the Sassoon Academy in London and independently gaining a TAQA qualification in assessing and teaching at NVQ3 level. I became a member of the FAME Team in 2016. At the end of that year at age 24 I started my own salon, Melissa Timperley Salons. My salon has been running successfully for three and a half years and we have 10 staff.
Can you tell us about your present role?
I’m the owner of Melissa Timperley Salons on Tib Street in Manchester’s trendy Northern Quarter. I’m also a Wella Professionals Passionista and do creative shows and shoots both in the UK and internationally. I’m still booked with clients five days a week and I do a lot of creative work with Wella Professionals and Unite and try and fit all of the paperwork in between.
What are the pros and cons of your role?
The main pros are that I can make decisions for myself and build the business in the way I would like and in-line with my vision. I also get to work with great clients, alongside fantastic team members and with some superb professionals – hairdressers, photographers, stylists and marketeers who are all excellent at what they do. The cons are the natural reverse side of all that – there’s lot to do and lots of responsibility, which can be all-consuming. I try to create an appropriate work/life balance whilst still retaining my energy, creativity and passion for what I do. It can be hard trying to wear the different hats that are needed for the job and still have energy to socialise afterwards so it’s a good job my husband is very patient.
What are your tips for building a name in the industry?
I’m true to myself and my ethos. I learn from others, but I don’t to copy them because everyone is an individual and you have to be true to your own story. We have consistent branding in the salon and showcase our work at events, aiming to be the best we can be at our chosen areas of expertise. On the business side, we’ve built our reputation on delivering a fantastic client experience in the salon. This has led to some award wins which helps me and the team to know that we are doing the right things. I really believe in creating a workplace where my team are super happy and have a fantastic work life balance such as having Saturdays off on a rota not just as holiday.
What challenges have you faced in your career so far?
Setting up the salon and all the logistics it entailed was a challenge. I would say that unless you have done it yourself, you really have no idea what is involved from both a business, client and team management perspective.
Becoming proficient at colour work was also a challenge as my training at Sassoon was focused on developing excellent cutting skills. I only had the basic training in colour as Sassoon is a specialist salon where you either cut or colour and not both. Realising I had to be both cut and colour to open my own salon, I paid for the Wella Professionals Master Colour Programme which, as you will imagine, was largely populated by colourists who were doing great colour in the salon every day. I had none of that experience but through sheer hard work and study, I ended up with a 94% pass – one of the highest on the programme.
After that I became a Master Colour Expert, which was a tough journey. I’m now a Wella Passionista and love colour work and the creativity it brings to our clients. My final challenge is to develop my confidence and present effectively on stage and at big industry events. This is largely about practise and observing others who are great presenters. It’s also about believing in my work and being passionate about it. I feel very comfortable being on stage now and actually really look forward to it.
What are your tips for someone that aspires to have a career like yours?
The main one is to be prepared for lots of hard work. Being a salon owner is multi-faceted, so you have to be on top of your technical knowledge, as well as a people person and a good boss and manager. You also need to be highly motivated to keep doing what you are doing, as being on your feet for over 10 hours a day is not everyone’s idea of fun. You really have to love our profession and be drawn to it.
What’s your signature look?
My favourite look is a super precise bob, which stems back to my Sassoon training. We’re also known for our curly hair and balayage and sometimes we have the joy and challenge of bringing all three elements into the same look.
What’s next for your career?
I’m continuing on a journey and trying to be the best that I can be. The coronavirus lockdown and the closure of all salons means we will all have to rethink our approach in many ways, so let’s see what’s in store in the future. My personal view is we attract opportunities through our attitude and our behaviour towards others. I try to keep as positive and open as I can to the opportunities that come my way.