David himself admits that he has an unusual background to have come up with the idea for his new business venture The Parlour, which is a Blow Dry Bar, located on the ground floor of the Laois Shopping Centre in the heart of Portlaoise. However, he also admits that he is a person who sees opportunities and works hard to make them happen. He started out in the Construction Industry and built up a successful commercial cleaning business, which he still runs today. However, The Parlour business is his focus, as he wants to build it into a strong national and international brand.
David came up with the idea of opening a Blow Dry Bar, which would offer clients the opportunity to pop in for a Blow Dry, no appointment needed. Initially the concept took time to build as it was not a standard Hairdressing Salon but the idea has taken off and The Parlour has built up a strong customer base with clients returning which is a real testament of the success of the business model.
Although there were initial costs in setting up the business, David did not borrow heavily and funded from his own savings. He is of a strong belief that if you can start a business with as low costs as possible, this is the best way to do it otherwise high borrowing results in additional stresses as you try to build your brand in the first year.
As The Parlour offers a personal service to clients, it was important for David to get the right people on board who believed in his passion for customer service excellence. All small businesses know that having the right people on board is so important and David is a strong believer that you have to keep motivating the team so that they also buy into the values of the business.
He has a strong team and good Managers who manage the operation, which leaves David time to think more strategically about where the business is going.
He attributes his success to his upbringing and particularly to his father who he describes as a hardworking man. As children, there were always tasks to be done around the local farms and he remembers doing jobs like cutting turf which was great learning for him. He believes it brought home to him that you get nothing for nothing and you have to work hard to achieve your goals. This lesson has been very valuable for him because he knows you have to put the hours in to make it happen.
The entrepreneur David most admires is Richard Branson because he started out with little or no experience and built up strong businesses based on doing things better than anyone else does. “Richard Branson got involved in business that he had no background in but was still able to build up strong companies and compete with the best in the market”, says David. He has read all his books and does see some similarities with himself but laughs when he explains not in terms of income. Richard Branson has inspired him in many different ways but David also believes that you need real self-belief in yourself so that you can meet the challenges that business will always throw at you.
The best advice David ever got was from his grandfather when he told him that you will get nowhere in life if you do not make it happen for yourself.
“Putting in the hours is a choice, David says. This is the only way to make it happen but it’s all worth it when it comes together.”
David is confident about the future and has since opened his second hair salon and is now working on his third. David is proud that out of his idea he has created real employment opportunities as he currently employs 21 people in the two salons (8 part-time staff).
David is the type of person who puts his all into everything that he does. He entered the Irish Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) run by Enterprise Ireland in conjunction with Laois Local Enterprise Office. He won the prize for the Best Business Start-up and was awarded the overall winner of the three categories of the IBYE competition. David says this about his IBYE experience: “Entering the IBYE competition was a great experience for me, said David. I would encourage entrepreneurs to just go for it, as you have nothing to lose. It was great to have a panel of judges questioning you on your Business Plan as it got you thinking again. It also opened my eyes to new business opportunities and it was fantastic to just take that time out to stand back and take a good look at your business”.
When asked about what advice he would give to a new start-up? “Start small, David replied. It worked well for me. When you start big and incur high costs, there is too much pressure involved in growing the business. You have to grow into your business and while this sound likes common sense, you would be surprised how many small companies do quite the opposite”.
David can be contacted at The Parlour in Portlaoise on 05786 64888. Check out The Parlour on www.facebook.com/theparlouronline and LIKE their Page.