During the pandemic, thousands of Australian businesses in a very hands-on industry – hair, beauty and personal care – found inventive ways to operate online. For many of them, there’s no going back. Offering online beauty education may have begun as a necessity but now it’s an integral part of the business, leading to both financial and personal growth. We caught up with three Square Sellers to learn more about how adding an education arm to their business has boosted their brand.
Samantha Harrison Hair Extensions is a Sunshine Coast salon that just celebrated its 10-year anniversary. “I started my online hair extension course because I noticed a huge gap in the market for quality hair and business education,” Sam explains.
I started the course back in 2020, at the beginning of the first Covid lockdown. Being in such uncertain times, it definitely helped fast-track the process as I was worried my business would be hugely affected by the lockdowns. Fast-forward two years and we now have over 1,500 students enrolled.”Samantha Harrison → Owner, Samantha Harrison Hair Extensions
If anything, lockdowns only increased the interest in online makeup and beauty courses. Potential clients and aspiring technicians alike had plenty of time to check out the latest trends on Instagram and TikTok. Building on this, many beauty professionals have leveraged online training to establish themselves as respected industry leaders.
“Clients seem really interested whenever they see my education classes on Instagram. I think they see me as a leader in the industry because of it, and that makes them trust in my skills more,” says Grace Clayton, founder of Los Pastel, a salon in Subiaco, Perth, specialising in blonde hair colouring.
Samantha Harrison sees the same benefits. “I truly believe that by creating an online course I have established myself as more of a leader in my area of expertise,” she says.
And it’s not a question of online versus in-person. The two reinforce each other.
“My in-salon sales have generated nearly $500,000 in the last six months, not to mention my online store and online course sales. My business profits are up 480% in the last quarter,” Sam says.
Grace agrees. “It definitely has helped in being able to offer education to people who might not be able to travel to see me, but more so in terms of marketing. People who watch online education are then more keen to attend an in-person workshop.”
Personal growth and giving back to the industry and community they love are other great reasons more people are offering online beauty courses. Just ask Stefanie Gaglio.
Stef likes to keep things rock ’n’ roll: she has a healthy obsession with leopard-skin print and a set of tattoos that would have made Amy Winehouse proud. She also has some serious lash tech skills: internationally accredited, she’s Western Australia’s only certified My Lamination trainer. Stef started Lashup Perth from the landing of her house about five years ago. The business grew quickly. Just over a year ago, she opened her salon, which employs five team members and offers lashes and brows services alongside tanning and teeth whitening.
As well as in-person training at the salon, Stef runs a successful online course, Levelup with Lashup.
“There is definitely a hole in the market for great trainers that actually love teaching people their art and want them to succeed as well,” she says.
For Stef it’s an opportunity to support women who might not have had the same opportunities as her. Flexible, online education can help those who might not be able to juggle in-person commitments.
“Having an online option for the courses has given me the opportunity to connect with amazing women across the country and help them in their journey either starting out in the industry or for further growth in the businesses they already have. It also gives the ladies with small children or full-time jobs the opportunity to learn at their own pace.”
And it keeps things interesting! Teaching is the best way of learning, after all.
“I love sharing my knowledge and skills, and it’s also another pathway for me to challenge myself and branch away from the everyday grind,” says Grace from Los Pastel.
Samantha Harrison aims to lift up those around her in the business community. “I am currently mentoring business owners in how to create their own online courses, and I strongly believe that online education is truly valuable to any and all businesses,” she says.
For Stef from Lashup, it’s about generosity. “I think that leaders in the industry that have a true passion for their job and want to genuinely share their knowledge and insight are moving toward educating and sharing this with people,” she says.
“The beauty and hair industry used to be extremely competitive, and no one would help anyone. I am a big believer in community over competition, and there are enough clients to go around for everyone. It’s so important for us at Lashup to share all our insights and experience to help our students be the best versions of themselves they can be.”