Inspirational Woman: Katie Allan | Founder, MAYFIVE Hair

Meet Katie Allan

Founder, MAYFIVE Hair

Katie Allan is the Founder of MAYFIVE Hair.

In this piece, she talks to us about her career journey to date, opening up her own salon and why she believes work-life balance is the key to happy employees.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role 

I have been hairdressing since I was 15, it has always been my career goal to have my own salon, so I’m super proud to have opened MAYFIVE Hair.

Prior to opening MAYFIVE I worked at Charles Worthington as their ‘Head of Colour’. I have been able to be apart of some amazing opportunities such as makeovers on ITV’s This Morning, London Fashion Week, educating for L’Oreal internationally and styling celebrities such as Dani Minogue, Gemma Chan, Mel Giedroyc to name a few. I opened MAYFIVE in June 2018 and employ a team of 8 at my Salon on Chiswick’s boutique street, Devonshire Road.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career? 

I didn’t really sit down as such, but I started my career at a small village salon, the owner had 2 dogs and I always thought that one day I would have something similar as I really loved the intimacy of working with a smaller team in a location that was very much a community.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?  

Absolutely, not a week goes by without a new challenge!  I’ve always been very much a creative person, the admin side of business I find less enjoyable. I have learnt over the years that you need to get those things out the way first so they don’t sit, fester and pile up. I actually read a great book called ‘eat the frog’ which made me realise this perspective.

What has been your biggest achievement to date? 

I was able to step away from the Salon last year in 2021 to have a baby, and it was a really sense of achievement to have been able to build the business well enough and have such a supportive team, which enabled me to take time out. 

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Making work life balance a priority. Trying to be the best I can as an employer and as fair as possible to the staff. I try to be as flexible as the business allows and give them the best work life balance possible. I would really feel disappointed to hear my staff where unhappy under my employment, and try to ensure this doesn’t happen. Happy staff result in great customer service which results in happy clients.

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How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?  

I have always loved mentoring and educated throughout my whole career. I think this may be one of the reason I wanted to open a Salon, as I do get satisfaction out of watching people grow and helping them along the way. I currently have 2 trainee hairdressers at the Salon that I am training up, it’s one of the most rewarding parts of the job!

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?

See more women successors in the hairdressing industry, if you think about all the well known brands, or hair products you can pick up in the retail shops, they are mainly from a male dominated brands.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be? 

Don’t compare your self to others and stay in your own lane.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?  

I want to focus on developing the team I currently employ, we are starting to out grow the current space we are in, so the possibility of a new shop is maybe on the horizon!

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