The hair and beauty industry is a tough nut to crack, with many Irish entrepreneurs struggling to make their name a household one. Onagh O'Driscoll, Managing Director of premier Irish hair extensions company Platinum Extensions, explains how to break the mould and take your passion to customers.
How did you first get into the hair and beauty business?
My passion for hair grew from an early age. I was obsessed with the industry as it encourages creativity and is constantly changing. I studied business in college and combined this knowledge with my interest in hair. I knew I wanted to be a part of the industry in some shape or form and my interest in business allowed me to combine the two. I started when I was 19 with a mobile hair extension service called ‘Luscious lox Hair extensions’. I then progressed and opened a salon in Bray called ‘All Dolled Up’ before moving to Platinum at 22.
What was it about extensions that sparked your interest and made you want to start a business?
Training in extensions and trialling different brands in my salon made me appreciate high-quality hair. My interest grew to sourcing the hair itself and distribution as there was a niche in the market for high-quality hair at affordable pricing and it was my mission to find it. Platinum is now open seven years and thankfully we are storming the market with three salons nationwide, several product lines and a booming wholesale business.
What was the most challenging part of setting up Platinum Extensions?
Although it’s worth it, there’s nothing easy about business. As my dad always says: "If it was easy everyone would be doing it!"
The hair industry is incredibly challenging and competitive. When Platinum first started, it consisted of three staff catering solely to distribution. There was no salon or training academy and it was tough growing the business on a shoestring budget. Thankfully seven years down the line, we now supply to over 450 salons around Ireland and the UK, we have a specialized academy and three successful salons which are located in Dublin, Galway and Cork. We are constantly changing and evolving to meet and exceed industry standards. The brand has grown and expanded beyond my imagination.
My advice for any upcoming business women would be to believe in yourself and to have patience with your progression. A loyal support system and hand-picked team are essential to encourage and grow your vision.
What makes Platinum different from other hair extensions?
Platinum’s mission is to provide affordable luxury; we aim to keep costs to a minimum without compensating on quality. Our luxurious Italian locks rival brands with an unobtainable price point. We work with our client base to improve our existing lines and to create new product ranges based on our customer’s requirements. We pride ourselves on passion and customer service.
What has been the most rewarding part of your business?
The most rewarding part of Platinum is seeing the brand evolve and expand, going from strength to strength for the past seven years. Everyone employed is part of the Platinum family and have contributed to the success of the brand. I value each and every one of my team as they have as much passion for Platinum as I do.
If someone is considering getting hair extensions, what are your top tips for having them look their best?
Detailed aftercare instructions are provided with every Platinum fitting. My top tip would be to invest in good quality human hair. Your hair is your crowning glory, it is the first thing most people notice about you. A luscious head of hair portrays a put-together appearance even if you’ve run out the door without a full face of make-up in the morning. A professional application (and removal) from a reputable salon eliminates unnecessary damage to the natural hair. Separating the bonds and tying up your hair at night are essential elements of maintenance. Make sure to use high-quality hair products without ingredients such as sulphates and alcohol which dehydrate the hair. Platinum clients enjoy on average 3-5 months of gorgeous good hair days.
Featured image: Onagh O'Driscoll