The Hair Society Goes One on One with
Salon Owner, and one of the UK’s preeminent colorists, Marta Power
If everyone who owned and operated a salon had the level of passion as does Marta Power, the hair industry would be on fire. Her general outlook, business savvy, and raw talent, combined are a force to be reckoned with for sure. First and foremost, let us get to know a bit about Marta Power.
By: Richard Garner,
The Hair Society
On the surface, she appears like most others…She is an avid nature lover, loves to watch the sunrise and set, even more so if it is at the shore of a serene beach. She cares about the environment and makes daily efforts to recycle. She knows this is the only planet we have, and she wants to do her part to ensure it is taken care of for generations to come.
Originally from Poland, Marta and much of her family moved to the Republic of Ireland when Marta was 21 years of age. Not long after, at the young age of 26, Marta moved again to the UK. Leaving much of her family behind in both Ireland and Poland, Marta set off to pursue her dreams. Marta has many challenges in her day-to-day life.
Diagnosed with having Hashimoto Disease, an autoimmune disorder that causes her own body’s immune system to attack itself, more specifically her thyroid. Which in and of itself can wreak havoc on your ability to function. If that wasn’t enough, she also has Polycystic ovary syndrome, (P.O.S.) which unfortunately led to the loss of more than one pregnancy. It would not be uncommon for someone in Marta’s position to want to throw in the towel, but not Marta, rather she uses these and any other challenges that life throws at her to grow from them, learn ways to overcome and persevere.
Marta’s real passion for hair is color. According to Marta, if all she did, all day long was color hair, she would be in her happy place. This shows in the work Marta has done. Color correction has to be her favorite. The greater the correction, the more challenged she becomes, and she does not disappoint.
Here are a few examples of the amazing work they do at the Salon:
For someone who is relatively new to the business, about 7 plus years, she has learned fast. She spent many hours from home practicing and honing in on her skills. She considers herself a very technical person and craves continuing education.
Marta is extremely passionate about the hair business, her salon, those that she works with and those that she receives and seeks out guidance from. Her passion came through in every answer to every question I asked of her.
HS: Can you please take a few moments to share with me a bit about yourself, how you got started in the hair biz, accommodations, certifications, awards, and recognitions, etc.?
M.P.: It all started with the birth of my son Lee. When I held him for the first time in my arms, I knew I wanted him to be proud of me. I knew I needed to be more successful than I was before. I’m very ambitious, But up to now I couldn’t find myself, I couldn’t fit in, I hated my job. I was an employee in one of the leading supermarkets. Every day I was either working at tills or stocking shelves. I felt like I couldn’t progress anywhere with this job. I was hungry for a nice career and I wanted Lee to look up to me too.
I don’t know how, when or where but hairdressing popped into my head. I was never a girly girl, when I was a teenager I was a proper tomboy and the baggier the clothes the better I felt. With Lee going on to 6 months old I had decided to go back to college. A very girly thing for a tomboy! My husband was, at the time, working with The British Army and we were based in Inverness. I knew we would be moving and I knew I needed a skill to take with me wherever we would go. I thought I could also save on childcare costs because I could work from home. I signed up for a taster course in hairdressing. I was a bit unsure of it at first and most of the girls were younger than me. I started going to college and even though everything seemed very strange, I was really enjoying learning a new skill. I went on to the next level and within 6 months gained my level 2 qualification. Why so fast? I wanted it but also my husband’s work required us to move to Tern Hill in Shropshire.
I was extremely proud of myself that I had gained this qualification. I wanted to find a salon I could work in and gain more knowledge. I printed my CV and went on a job hunt. I went to most of the local hair salons in Market Drayton and all I was met with was rejection. I was disappointed because I wanted it so badly! I still needed to work, but I couldn’t get any job I went for. I decided to do some work as a mobile hairdresser and I was working from my home, from a little box room. I was surprised to see how many people wanted to Book in with me. It started slowly but I was growing.
One day, on a Saturday late evening, a Lady knocked at my door. She asked me to do her hair. I said I can’t because it’s 9 pm and it’s a Saturday. I understood then, that it’s too much. It felt like my career and home life no longer worked together.
I had decided to rent a room in town and provide my services from there. After 3 weeks, I had realized that it doesn’t work for me and having a room isn’t good enough for me either. I found a little shop nearly in the heart of Market Drayton and I opened a salon with a budget of only £1000. It was very basic but I thought, hey Rome wasn’t built in a day! I kept reinvesting everything I had to do it up better and better.
In April of 2018, an opportunity came to take over an even bigger shop. I went for it, without even thinking too much and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I had made to date! I upgraded from 3 stations to 5 stations. I brought on two more employees and a third was coming soon. It’s a beautiful little place with so much creativity! To me it’s not only a hair salon – it’s my second home. I love it with every bone in my body.
All this wouldn’t have happened without the support from my husband Sean, family, and friends. Finally, I felt that my son would be proud of me. I felt that I have achieved something. I finally found the “me” I had been looking for.
My journey wasn’t just all good. I had problems like everyone. So if any of you think it was as easy as pulling out a packet of crisps from the cupboard – please don’t be fooled! During my journey, I suffered the loss of two pregnancies, family members, have been apart from my family (they live in Ireland and Poland), haven’t seen my boy as often as I wanted and most recently got diagnosed with Hashimoto disease. My journey wasn’t easy and I had to work for it. Sleepless nights and stress. Would I do it again? Of course, I would! I love what I do and my best reward is to see my Clients smiling!
On my journey, I have also met a lot of other professionals, who with either advise, moral support or education helped me. One of the people, who I will be forever grateful for is Paul Callaghan. This amazing stylist gave me my confidence and taught me a lot about coloring. Another stylist who, I met on my way is Rebecca Taylor. Absolutely positive soul and The “Queen of Colour” and have been honored to have modeled for.
I must also mention Ruby Devine for allowing me to come to her class. Without you my balayage would be still in nappies! I have worked with amazing stylists and makeup artists at photoshoots and they all help make me who I am today and have helped me see the world differently. I have worked with a few different hair companies from who I learned my lessons. I’ve been to London to work at Top Model Worldwide. I have been nominated to The English Hair And Beauty Awards for Customer Service Of The Year 2018. I have won Bronze Medal as Colour Technician Of The Year 2018 in The British Hair and Beauty Awards. I am a member of Trill Tribe working in an artistic team for Trillion Tones. I attended Trill Tribe 2.0 in Finland in October 2019.
I’m now looking forward to the future, running a very busy salon with my stylists. My perfect Team will soon be complete and I can’t wait to start A new chapter
I also want to acknowledge my four Girls working with me – Emma, Leanne, Tracy, and Ellie – without these girls, my dream and vision couldn’t be any more real than it is now.
I’m very grateful to everyone who I met on my journey.
H.S.: Tell us more about your business, how it started, and some of the challenges you have faced?
M.P.: At the moment the biggest challenge for me is two things. I am my own worst enemy and living and running a business in a small, market town I struggle to find very skilled staff. I find it hard to stay consistent and focused. I struggle with an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto Disease and that can make me very tired at times as well as make me feel a little low in my mood.
H.S.: What are some of the best and worst lessons you’ve learned along the way?
M.P.: Over a period of time I’ve learned, that in order to make money you need to invest money. My first salon was very shabby looking. I opened it on a budget with £1000 to spend and it did the job in the beginning. It grew quite fast though. But definitely “you need to spend money to make money” is my favorite quote. Worst lesson is, that I can only count on myself. Nobody else will run a business for me and only i can do it. I understand it now, but sometimes I just expect people to know when I need help, while they don’t realize.
H.S.: How do you define success as a business owner?
M.P.: Being a business owner isn’t a job. It’s a title. The business owner is someone who pops into the salon once per week to take the money. My success as a salon manager is defined by everyone being on a great wage, with busy salon and sales through the roof. One day, I will be a business Owner but for now, I am just managing my own salon.
H.S.: What are your goals for yourself and your business over the next 3-5 years?
M.P.: I can’t tell you too much about my goals because it’s top secret. I am definitely going to reduce my hours next year, hiring another Stylist/manager and focus on another long term goal with SensiDO UK.
H.S.: What skills or talents do you think would make you and or your staff even more successful?
M.P.: I think being more consistent would definitely help. I absolutely hate repeating myself and in my job, when working with staff, unfortunately, I have to. It’s all about constant reminders, about goals, targets, and extras.
H.S.: What characteristics do you think are critical in providing the highest level of service to your clientele?
M.P.: Definitely patience, respect and being open-minded. We meet so many people of different cultures, personalities, ages and skills that we need to be prepared to talk to anyone who comes through the door to see us.
H.S.: I understand you have a diverse and talented pool of professionals that work with you. What separates them and you apart from others in your industry?
M.P.: I have a need to keep on top of the newest trends. I have never done a perm in my life. I never owned a highlighting cap. I think those skills would be handy to have but I don’t miss not having them. Our salon is purely color focused and together all of us Girls, complement one another. Color is my niche, Tracy loves hair up and Emma loves cutting. Ellie is still finding herself. One thing we have in common is that we want our guests to leave the salon with beautiful hair and feeling happy. Our salon stands apart from others because of our exceptional service.
H.S.: Some of the coloring techniques you have demonstrated online via social media have been stunning. What advice would you offer to someone who is looking to venture out into more creative colors or just improve upon their current capabilities?
M.P.: Keep your mind open, and practice when you can. Step out of your comfort zone. Ask questions and don’t be shy about not knowing, We all have been in the same position a few years back. Follow as many Stylists as you can via social media and learn from them. you need to eat, drink and breathe this industry. You need to want it.
H.S.: As you are sitting here today, what do you think you and or your staff need most of all in order to continue your success in the future?
M.P.: I am currently working with my business coaches (HPS) on a new system to try to free up more of my time. That way my staff can have more support from me.
H.S.: What are some of the challenges you face within your salon and the industry as a whole?
M.P.: I really wish that the hairdressing industry was much nicer. There’s a lot of envy and jealousy around, a lot of backstabbing and people who just want to use you. This is very challenging when interacting with Stylists. When it comes to our Guests, I find that the better you get at what you do, the higher the expectation. Guests think that we can pull out a magic wand and make them platinum blonde from level 2 home color in a two hour sitting for under £100. This will not happen. In the world of photoshop, expectations are high. Managing a busy salon and being a newly single mum isn’t easy either. Working 60 hours per week and looking after a 7-year-old plus two dogs has its moments and challenges.
H.S.: You have been in this industry long enough to know a few things, how has working both behind the chair as a stylist/colorist as well as in front of the chair as a salon owner and manager impact your perspective on the business at large?
M.P.: I have met some super amazing people, but I have also met some people who are less amazing. And I’m not talking here about how their work looks because it’s great but we all have so many different personalities and egos that it can be hard.
H.S.: The hair business has seen the economy rise and fall and the hair industry has had to reinvent itself time and time again. Where do you see the future of the hair business over the next 5-10 years and how do you plan on navigating through those changes?
M.P.: I definitely think the hairdressing industry has changed. It is harder to predict how the market will behave, how next month will look. People come in a little less regular. I also see that more and more people use home color, which isn’t that great for hair. Our salon will definitely go with the flow and we will be here for our guests as needed.
H.S.: How has been an entrepreneur affected your family life?
M.P.: I definitely have less time for family life. Sunday is our Family day and we try to put our phones away although it doesn’t always work as well as we would like to. There’s always something to do. Monday to Saturday is salon work and in between distribution. My son Lee loves helping in the salon for a little cash. It’s good to teach him when he is young the value of money.
H.S.: What motivates you?
M.P.: I love listening to Grant Cardone. He motivates me. But making a comfortable life for my son and me makes it even more motivating. I want to make sure we can go on holiday once or twice per year and have fun. I want to make sure he’s got a roof over his head and is looked after.
H.S.: How far are you willing to go to succeed?
M.P.: I’m going all in. How far isn’t the question? It should be how soon can I succeed? My goals change and update regularly.
H.S.: What are your ideals?
M.P.: Respect for Guests, respect for money, respect for other people. Treat others how you would like to be treated.
H.S.: How do you define success?
M.P.: For someone who is hungry, achieving success can unachievable because goals change too often and we crave more. Success is not clearly defined for me since those goals are ever-changing.
H.S.: What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
M.P.: Work hard, play hard, invest, get out of your comfort zone.
H.S.: Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming/maintaining your success?
M.P.: Of course there is. Consistency in your actions, being reliable, respectful and wanting to learn more. This is my pattern.
H.S.: If you could travel back in time day one of your career, and have 15 minutes with your former self to communicate any lessons you’ve acquired, with the intention of saving yourself mistakes and heartache, what would you tell your younger self?
M.P.: Save every penny to invest and don’t spend money on budget price items. It was a waste of money. Otherwise, I wouldn’t change anything.
H.S.: If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?
M.P.: I’ve met so many inspirational people along the way and they have made me who I am. But I think Cleopatra would be a great person to talk to, I would ask her what it was like to be a woman ruler.
H.S.: Who has been your greatest inspiration, and why?
M.P.: Definitely my mum. She is amazing! To her words like “I can’t” don’t exist. Remembering this every day drives me. There’s no “I can’t” in my dictionary either”. Another person I admire is Tatu Viherma – the owner of Sim Sensitive from Finland. This guy started a business by selling watches from China. Now he runs a multimillion-dollar family business. It shows me that I can do it too.
H.S.: What book or books have inspired you the most? (OR What is your favorite book?)
M.P.: Definitely Be Obsessed Or Be Average by Grant Cardone.
H.S.: You have been in the “driver’s seat” for a little while now, to what do you most attribute your success? What would you say are the five key elements for running a successful business?
M.P.: Determination, motivation, need to learn and self-development, having a smile on my face through it all and just simply not giving up. Until recently I also didn’t realize how much I loved haters haha!
H.S.: What do you feel is the major difference between running your own salon and working as a hairstylist for others?
M.P.: I like being in control of my business. I would hate to follow someone else’s rules, I never liked having bosses.
H.S.: How do you go about marketing your business?
M.P.: I have amazing business coaches who help me with it! Hello…HPS David and Nicole Barnett!
H.S.: What has been your most successful form of marketing?
M.P.: Definitely before and after pictures! Showing that difference is the best way!
H.S.: What kind of culture exists in your salon? How did you establish this tone and why did you institute this particular type of culture?
M.P.: We are a very relaxed salon, very professional with exceptional services, We are all individuals but work great as a team. Moreover, we truly care and love one another. We are a great hair family, we have each other’s backs. We don’t just support each other. The salon supports five families and four loads of kids.
H.S.: What sacrifice(s) have you had to make in order to achieve your position today?
M.P.: Family time was definitely sacrificed but without it, nobody would be where we are now.
H.S.: Excluding your own salon, what company or business do you admire the most and why?
M.P.: I’ve actually stopped looking at what others do and I focus primarily on myself and my salon.
H.S.: Tell us about your staff, what special talents they possess, and camaraderie between you and them and they and your clientele?
M.P.: My girls are absolutely amazing. They’re very supportive towards me, very supporting to the salon, warm-hearted and understanding. They’re just perfect!
H.S.: What is your favorite hairstyle, color and or technique?
M.P.: I love creating dimensional blondes and vivids. My favorite color is Intense Blue in Trillion Tones.
H.S.: What has been the most challenging cut/style you have had to undertake?
M.P.: I honestly just love the coloring process! I could do it every day, 24/7. I could skip the cutting, styling, etc!
We all could all learn a lot from Marta, her tenacity, stick-to-it-iveness, and determination. She is a hard-working woman, whos desire to succeed is only enhanced by her willingness to put in the hours at her salon as well as keep learning. Marta has altered her diet to combat many of her autoimmune disorders and it has shown. Just look at this before and after of Marta. She is healthier than ever before and has even seen some improvements from issues as a result of her autoimmune diseases.