Tracey Hughes started her hairdressing career over 30 years ago in the UK. During that time, she has been an award-winning salon owner in Australia, an international platform artist and educator, an artistic director, a vice-president of education, a certified professional speaker, a keynote at many of the industry’s leading events, and a salon business resource for countless beauty professionals. She is also the Founder of Leading Ladies, a not-for-profit brand which is a celebration of female leaders who give back to the salon industry.
In late 2018, Hughes joined the Pulp Riot team as their Director of Education. “The brand has such a powerful on-line presence that not everyone perceives them as being an education-driven company,” Hughes says. “We actually do a great deal of education—and will be doing a great deal more. Our brand was born in a hair salon so we truly know what stylists want.”
We asked Hughes to give us a look at what she has been working on since taking up with the Riot Squad.
MODERN SALON: How did you know that this connection with Pulp Riot was going to be a good fit?
TRACEY HUGHES: After my first discussion with David Thurston (co-founder of the brand), we both knew it would be very good for both parties. Sometimes it just takes that opportunity to present itself.
Number one reason it’s a great fit? The people within the brand. They are all very genuine, authentic and down to earth. Also, I love the entrepreneurial spirit behind the brand. They are not typically corporate and we don’t have to have a meeting about a meeting to make a decision—they are made in the moment.
Also, Pulp Riot is very disruptive and innovative. The look and feel of the brand is a bit punk, a little street, and this edginess goes back to my roots and brings in another synergy that makes us so well-aligned.
And, of course, I saw an opportunity to build a great education portfolio. We have this amazing team of artists and there are so many opportunities for them to grow into rock star educators.
My objective is to work with the Riot Squad and mentor and develop them. It’s something I love to do—train the trainers, as this has always been my strength.
MS: What has been your focus in terms of developing Pulp Riot education?
TH: We want to make sure we provide education that truly drives product knowledge and creativity and that makes a difference to the stylists on a day-to-day basis. Our education is interesting and exciting and time-efficient.
We offer so much free education through Pulp Riot TV. We do a great deal of events and are very active at all the trade shows where there is non-stop education at our booths. This has allowed many of our artists to get tremendous personal and professional growth, nationally and internationally.
So in addition to building a curriculum around both new launches and core products, I’ll also be working on an artist development program where we will certify them through all the new curriculum and training them on their facilitation skills—along with their artistry and creativity—and in knowing how to engage a room, how to be powerful and confident and to know how to impart knowledge to others in a way that is truly authentic. That is one thing I love above all else and we want to make sure that is very real.
MS: Can you talk a bit about Faction8, the new permanent color range?
TH: Because we launched the semi-permanent colors first we have been known for bright, creative color work, and that has attracted a very diverse demographic, from independents to more traditional salon-based stylists. We know, though, that most of their services are going to be around more commercial work like grey coverage and beautiful blondes. The Faction8 line has been created with a formula and a creamy viscosity that works for the modern stylist and the kind of work, like color melting, they are doing, today. There are 80 shades in 10 color families which offer beautiful application, shine and extraordinary color results
MS: Final words?
TH: We have so much support from L’Oréal and a lot of resources we can lean into and utilize as well. They back us completely. It means the super is future bright and if there is where we’re at today I can’t wait to see where we’ll be in a couple years.