At just 27 years old, Tayla Shreeve is already a veteran of Australia’s beauty industry and is fast becoming a seasoned entrepreneur. Her love for beauty products started as a young teen dealing with challenging skin, and it’s this personal experience that has driven Tayla’s passion: to help empower every woman to feel as confident and beautiful as possible.
After years of uninterrupted growth, competition in Australia’s $6.5 billion beauty industry is fiercer than ever. But age has been no barrier for this millennial entrepreneur — just 10 years after leaving high school and gaining a slew of experience working in some of Melbourne’s most prestigious spas, Tayla is now running her own burgeoning multi-location beauty empire, juggling clients and operations across her salons in Bayside, Richmond and Sorrento.
We managed to catch up with Tayla to find out more about the rapid success of her business and what tools she uses to keep things running smoothly across her locations.
Tell us a bit about your business journey so far.
I started my first studio, Cocoon Beauty, in 2014. It was literally a private room attached to my parents’ house in one of Melbourne’s outer Bayside suburbs, Sandringham, that I designed myself. It started out small, but in this industry word of mouth is everything — and that’s the one thing you can rely on in tight-knit communities where everybody knows somebody they can refer. My little studio gained traction pretty quickly, and before I knew it, I had a full client list and was struggling to fit people in. That’s when I decided to open another location that was bigger — with more specialised services — and easily accessible by public transport.
Beauty Collective Co. was born in 2016 and is located in the heart of bustling Richmond. We offer a number of specialised beauty services here, including lash extensions, microblading and cosmetic treatments. In 2018, with both salon locations continuing to grow, I became inspired by the summer events season to open my third location: a pop-up studio in Sorrento. I have many clients who frequent the Mornington Peninsula for events like the Portsea Polo, NYE and (of course) weddings. They were always mentioning that there was a lack of available services for the demand, so I decided to seize the opportunity and it is certainly paying off.
What tools do you use to help manage your operations across all your business locations?
If there is one thing that everyone is short on these days it’s time, so my priority has always been ensuring that my clients can find us, book an appointment and pay without fuss — and without too much work on the back end for my team. I use my social media channels to promote salon opening hours, deals and services, and our website uses Acuity Scheduling, which is great for our clients because they can just jump online any time that suits to book an appointment.
We also use Square’s point-of-sale system, which Acuity integrates with, so all my bookings, cancellations, reminders and payments are automated. Square is mobile, which means we can also take it wherever we go and check clients out on the spot. It’s helpful for managing multiple locations because I can see transactions in real time, so I know exactly how busy we are in each salon at any given time.
Where did your love for beauty begin?
It really started when I was a 14-year-old. In high school I had really bad skin and struggled to maintain it, so I started researching and playing around with a range of different products to see what worked best for me. Once I figured out that a good beauty regime and the right products really made a difference to my skin — and confidence — I wanted to share this experience and empower other women to feel the same way.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I knew what I wanted to do at such a young age, so I made sure that I was always educating myself on the latest products and seeking opportunities to get hands-on experience with treatments anywhere I could, even while I was still studying. As soon as I left high school, I completed my Diploma of Beauty at the well-renowned Elly Lukas Beauty College in Melbourne. This was a big career shaper for me, as it allowed me to work in some of the most prestigious spas and salons, learning from the best.
What was the key motivator to start your own business?
Working in the industry with some of the highest-rated salons out there, I realised that while there was a huge demand for beauty services, there wasn’t as much access for people living or working in the outer suburbs. There are a lot of great salons in the CBD or surrounding areas, but the number of accessible and affordable services decreases the further out you go.
I also found a lot of the larger salons were lacking personalised experiences. Big salons can see a lot of staff churn, so you may go back to the same place which looks and feels beautiful, but get a different beauty professional treating you each time. Skincare is very personal and everyone has different needs, so there can’t be a “one size fits all” approach. I wanted to be in a salon where my top priority was making sure clients received the most personalised experience — with a beauty professional they trusted — every time.
What advice do you have for other young entrepreneurs looking to get into the beauty industry?
I would say my number one piece of advice is to make sure you do your due diligence. You need to know exactly what you’re getting into when it comes to starting a business and what boxes you need to check to get it off the ground. Just because you’re a great beauty professional doesn’t mean you’re necessarily great at admin, accounting, hiring and managing, etc., and you can spread yourself pretty thin trying to do it all. Take the time to look into all the tools out there that can help you with the back-end processes. There are many accessible DIY free and low-cost options, so do your homework and implement them stat.
My other tip, of course, is perseverance! Nothing comes easy, but you will learn so much about yourself and who your biggest supporters are along the way. You have to remember that success is a (winding) journey, but if you work hard at it, being in business for yourself comes with great personal rewards.
What’s next for your growing beauty empire?
This year I already have a few projects in the pipeline, including adding another salon to cater to more clients between Sandringham and Richmond. One of my new specialist services, Tayla Shreeve Brows Microblading, has seen huge growth over the past year, so in 2019 I’ll be looking to take it down a new path and get involved in helping post-chemotherapy patients rebuild their brows.
Upskilling is a big priority for us at Beauty Collective Co., so advancing skills to learn cosmetic tattooing in the medical field will be a big priority going forward. This is something that I’m really passionate about and am excited to see where it could take the business in the near future.