Exclusive Q&A with Sophia Hilton from Not Another Salon

PROJECT: X were treated to a double session with Sophia Hilton.  Firstly, the team were invited to the Crazy Colour Day experience with Sophia. 


Team member Kay Binnersley comments after the Crazy Colour Day, “my creative juices where flowing. I loved the concept of the event and how it was all planned out.  I found this could be so transferable to everyday salon colour work, and also creative colour techniques.  I was so excited after I took part in the course my mind was spinning with so many creative thoughts.”


Later that week, at the exclusive Q&A session with Sophia, the team got the chance to ask anything they wanted about Sophia’s career to date, the ups and the downs. 


Arif Arikan kicked off with the first question: “what advice would you give to stylists someone like myself, trying to find their own brand for use on say social media”? 


Sophia’s advice: “you can’t start too early to create your own brand.  My brand developed only after I left a salon where I had been for 7 years. It was when I decided a type of hairdressing, a type of look, when I decided this is me, is when my career exploded.  People like consistency of brand. Start making albums on your phone, what is my taste in hair, styling, clothes, colouring etc., repeat something so people recognise you, it’s the reason I have had yellow hair for seven years!”


Emma Simmons was next up: “I have had my salon for 20 years, do you think its worth branding yourself separate from your salon so there is an Emma Simmons as well as a Salon 54?”


Sophia responded by saying: “depends on your objective you just need to decide whether you want a career separate to your salon.  Do you want education, more servicing the hair or client?  If you are going to have a personal presence and a salon presence you just need to decide whether you are talking to your customer or your fellow hairdressers.  So, for example if my value was from Clients, my Instagram would be all about educating the Client.”


 “This is an ideal time now to really attract guests into our salons and colour.  Your colour is packaged creatively and sold creatively.” Kay Binnersley added: “With everything that has happened going forward, I believe the one treat, our clients can have if we sell it right, is to go to the salon, feel good factor.   We could have some leverage in anchoring our colour work that is a bit different but relatable to everyday stylists.  How do you think the colourwork is going to go over the next few years?”


Sophia: “Crazy Colour has surged over lockdown.  I really believe that with people not in the office, is they are just having bright colours.  Workplaces are becoming more flexible, with more people working from home.”


 “Exactly just as you said, our salon is normally more natural. But we are being asked more to do vivid colours.” Lea Shaw added.


Thomas Worth’s question was about the salon: “any advice in setting up your own salon, what pushed you do it?”


Sophia: “I just thought why not, I am from a family of 9 hairdressers.  My regret and advice is, I didn’t educate myself enough in how to be a salon owner.   There was a lack of education in how to be a salon owner. Get a business advisor before you set-up at least 12 months before, to understand how the salon works”.


Sam Burnett questioned: “I am really surprised you said you weren’t educated enough.  I was going to ask how you are how you a so astute with your marketing and branding, is it just intuition, or is it guidance from family as well.  You seem to always right on the money, and you have such a strange direction of about what you want to show and clearly success.”


Sophia “for every success I have, I have a failure in private. Marketing has just always made sense to me.  But yes, family has played an important part in my understanding of marketing”.


At the end of the session Sam Burnett got the chance to ask the team how they were feeling.  He explained how he has worked on packing in as much as possible in this first quarter to ensure the team get as much education and interaction in their mentoring sessions, even if we are not able to attend Live Education at the moment.


The team were really positive about the year, with Lea Shaw adding: “at first I was really worried about the online aspect of mentoring sessions, but now I am not really bothered about it, in fact if it stays this way for a while that’s fine with me”.


PROJECT: X Team Leader:                      Sam Burnett

PROJECT: X Team Members:


Roisin Murphy - K H Hair

Sophie Titchener - Sarai Hair & Beauty

Lea Shaw - Rural Fringe Hair Salon

Cc McNamee - Andrew Smith Salons Fareham

Pamela Cooney - Toni & Guy, Cannon Street

April Mash - Strangeways

Emma Simmons - Salon 54

Nicola Hamm - Escape Hair Lounge

Thomas Worth - Tint

Arif Arikan - Alice and the Hair

Reina Boddy - Joseph Ferraro Hair

Kay Binnersley - Kay Binnersley Hair


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