Salon Smart Dublin: The People #SalonSmartIRE

The very first Salon Smart in Ireland went off with a bang thanks to an incredible ensemble of guest speakers. Check out who made the cut and got everybody talking…

“When it comes to educating I always say, ‘be passionate, be patient’. One of the things I’ve come to realise is that everyone learns at a different pace. Education is about a mindset” – James O’Dwyer

Award-winning colourist and expert educator, James has risen through the ranks to become one of Ireland’s most prolific names – when he’s not looking after his packed-out client column at Marbles salon in Limerick (part of the Hugh Campbell Hair Group). The gifted educator started at his current salon as a Saturday worker and fell in love with the craft. “When we give someone confidence and you can see it, there’s no better feeling,” he told the crowd.

James talked about his salon’s dedicated colour space, team and service and how client feedback allowed them to tailor it to suit and how education keeps them ahead. “Stimulating imagination and creativity is what we’re all about. We pass on knowledge to our teams and bring in guest artists. Everything we do should be in the pursuit of excellence.”


“Ireland has such a wealth of hairdressing brilliance and it’s very exciting to be able to bring an event like Salon Smart to Dublin. I know it is only going to get bigger and better” – Anna Samson

As the editor of Creative HEAD Ireland, Anna Samson keeps her fingers firmly on the pulse of Irish hairdressing cultivating a rich and talented network of salon owners and stylists. Sharing her enthusiasm and admiration for a couple of her favourite hairdressing establishments, the audience heard about sustainable salon Locks & Lace based in Sligo, whose holistic approach has captivated its audience.

“We are experts. It makes me angry that bloggers have more of a voice than us. That’s what pushes me forward. Remember where you put your focus. Your bread and butter is your clientele” – Sabrina Hill

With three businesses under her belt that have all rapidly expanded thanks to social media, it’s safe to say there isn’t much Sabrina Hill, owner of Kopper Hair Salon, doesn’t know when it comes to having a digital presence. When the opportunity came in 2004 to take over the original Kopper Hair salon with just a team of three, Sabrina grabbed it with both hands. Quickly realising the salon could gain an online following, she began posting colour corrections on Facebook that attracted people into the salon. By the time Instagram exploded in 2010, she already had a following of over 25,000 on social media. Now relocated to Cork City centre Sabrina employs a team of 26 and has strong, practical views on how to handle your salon’s social media strategy.


“I identified who my client was and knew that the main objective was to make them feel like they belong. I used nostalgic colours to evoke happy memories and create an area that they wouldn’t be able to resist Instagramming” – Siobhan Jones

National and international colour artist and educator Siobhan, owner of London’s Rose & Wild salon, shared her wisdom and energy about her decision to leave celebrated chain Headmasters to open her own boutique salon, Rose & Wild. “It was a big step to move on but I needed something else. I asked myself lots of questions, and it became more confusing before it became clearer,” she said. “I kept asking myself – ‘Am I was doing certain things because I’m influenced, or because I want to?’ It’s about the buzz. We have to pick the right trends for us and our brand.”

Moving away from buying to connecting is what makes us human… Think about a lasting and meaningful experience you can give someone” – Monica Teodor0

The general manager of L’Oréal Professionnel in the UK and Ireland, Monica Teodoro, got everybody up on their feet to talk about how trends, consumer behaviour and new technology is disrupting the salon environment. The audience were in the palm of her hand as she spoke about the importance of staying current but also the risk of digital burnout. “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. People will never forget how you made them feel. You can’t pick up feelings in a box of colour. True connection is your USP, it’s what makes you unique in this changing world.”

Check out more images from Salon Smart Dublin 2019 in our Facebook gallery