Home' INSTYLE Magazine : INSTYLE NOV-DEC 2017 Contents W
e have a chat with this Haird ressing
award luminary about the key elements to
Who has been your greatest mentor?
My career really took off when I started working at Heading Out
with Anthony Martino. We originally met socially – Anthony had
established the group’s first salon over 25 years ago and I joined
him in 1990 and was looking for someone he could work with and
mentor with the clear purpose of making the salon number one.
How has your mentor impacted your career?
Anthony has constantly been behind me, guiding me, challenging
me, mentoring me – and never settling for anything other than
the best. With Anthony’s support, I was able to stick it out and
push myself past the highs and lows that come with, not only
being young and eager, but being in an industry that can just as
easily leave you content with being an ‘average’ haird resser.
Before I started to enter competitions, Anthony made sure that
I understood that hairdressing was not just about cutting and
colouring, it was about the business as well. From choosing the
location and paint colour of a salon, to showing me the value and
need to keep challenging myself to stay ahead of the game. I was
encouraged to attend seminars and continue learning, which
later gave me the confidence to put myself out there and begin
What does winning Hair Expo Educator of the Year mean to you?
How does it differ from winning Hairdresser of the Year?
I wouldn’t say this marks a new phase of my career as I’ve always
educated, but it’s definitely essential for my own growth. It’s a
different and special recognition for me – Hairdresser of the Year
is all about you, while Educator of the Year is about teaching
others, giving back to the industry that has given me so much
and helping others grow and enjoy it as much as I do. Although
I’ve always taught, I never thought of myself as an educator – it’s
something I’ve always just done.
Learning, growing and giving is what it’s all about. If you don’t
evolve and keep up in hairdressing you run the risk of going stale
and if that happens, it’s time for you to get out. Like any business
there is always the risk that one minute you’re hot and the next
minute you’re not. You have to stay relevant.
What do you think makes you the top educator in the country?
What makes me different – I think, is my need to always give and
share my experience. If I’m teaching colour for example, it’s not
just about technique – it’s about how it works in the salon, how you
Multiple Australian Hairdresser of the Year
Winner, 2017 Hair Expo Educator of the Year and
more than 30 years of experience and accolades
there’s not many awards Caterina Di Biase
hasn’t caught on her journey through the
translate that into new business and continue to fill seats and how
you turn that into revenue – it’s about the business as a whole.
As well as an educator, I work across my salons and am a
business owner so everything is about teaching them to increase
their dollar average and their client average. It’s never just about
how to cut in a straight line or how to put in foils – yes, you
need to learn that, but to me, it’s about the big picture. How do
you break this business down? How do we reinvent? How do we
tweak what we’re doing? I try to educate a bit differently because I
believe in keeping it practical and never assu me that people know
everything – break it down and keep it simple.
The other thing is that at my age, I’ve become an all-rounder.
My years of experience enables me to educate in all areas – cut,
colour, styling, hair up – I’ve learnt it all and I can teach it all – but
I can also talk about how those things apply to the business, the
facts and figures of running a salon, recruitment, about what’s in
and what’s out. To educate fully, you need to understand all areas
of the business even if you don’t educate in them – it’s naïve not to.
You have to be aware of absolutely everything that’s going on in
How has hairdressing changed in recent years?
For me, my craft is constantly changing. One of the most
important things I have learnt over the years is to never assume
that you know everything, and in order to stay current, you have
to keep learning and evolving. When I was younger I would get
down about the day to day issues that would come up in the salon,
now I know that you can’t fix yesterday, but you can try your best
to fix it today.
What is the biggest challenge for your hairdressing brand today?
I’ve learnt that in order to be successful I need to always be one
step ahead of what’s trending. Ou r clients come to us because we
are experts and the expectation is that we know everything when
it comes to hair. It can be hard to find the time to do your research,
but my staff and I do this constantly.
What key challenges have you faced in the last two years?
A big challenge has been on a business and education level, there
are tens of thousands of young Australians with hairdressing
qualifications that are so poorly trained that they find themselves
unemployed. Sadly, in my experience, many of the Australian
graduates I meet only hold fast-tracked hairdressing qualifications
that aren’t suitable. Although it helps that the government has
listed hairdressing on the skills-shortage list, the requirements
and restrictions on working visas also mean that even when
and if we find an applicant, we are left with a whole new set
Caterina Di Biase
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