FOCUS: Jaye Edwards

In your own words, tell us a bit about yourself and what you do… 
I’m Jaye Edwards, owner and founder of EdwardsAndCo and more recently Jaye Haircare. I started EdwardsAndCo in Sydney when I was 23, now, 8 years later, I have 8 salons across New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. 
Our salons house Australia’s most refined hair stylists and makeup artists and have become famous for sparkling brunettes, killer curls, creamy blondes and textured beach waves. As a result, we have been lucky enough to build a team of internationally recognised educators who travel all over teaching other stylists to perfect the signature E+Co look.

I launched Jaye Haircare in 2019. Developing my own range of products seemed like the natural next step in sharing the signature EdwardsAndCo look with as many people as possible. In 2020 we launched in Mecca, which has been amazing for the brand!
 
Where are you from? How did you come in to the life you live now? 
I moved to Sydney from rural NSW when I was 15. Honestly, I had no idea what I was going to do, but I knew that there was more waiting for me in the city. I never really had an interest in the beauty industry but somehow ended up getting an apprenticeship at the first hairdresser I walked into. They literally threw me straight into a trial shift, and by the end of the day I was working for them.
What is inspiring you right now? 
I am super inspired by curly hair at the moment. I love seeing my clients embracing their natural curls and coils, opting for low maintenance styling. It’s great to see everyone moving away from heat styling and learning how to define and manage their natural curls with a more organic approach. I am loving adding a subtle sparkle, bringing a sun kissed and dimensional look, as well as curly fringes and bangs. 

What does a typical day in your life look like? 
There is no typical day in my life, which is something I really love about my work. I still make sure I am working on the salon floor across all my salons, so I’m always travelling and working with my clients and teams. I also spend a lot of time at my head office, working alongside the marketing and education teams on what’s next for the business. I also love content days and filming with the team and our in-house videographer.
In an incredibly hierarchical industry, how have you positioned yourself differently to other salons? 
I have never really been very good at following rules, or doing what’s expected of me. I have always been determined to do my own thing. When I started the business, I had three credit cards and debt up to my eyeballs, which was terrifying but it has paid off.
 
Starting your business at 23, what were the biggest challenges you faced? What have you had to learn the hard way?
The biggest challenge has definitely been balancing personal and professional life. I am still learning everyday, I think one of the most important things I have learnt is to know your strengths and weaknesses. I don’t waste time focusing on things that aren't my strengths, I trust my team and empower them to take ownership of their roles. 

If you could give your younger self any advice based on everything you know now, what would it be?
Dont be afraid to say no and always enjoy the ride. Also have a vision and work towards it but never be too focused on one idea that you’re closed off to opportunities that land in your lap. Always be ready to pivot.
 
How would you describe the culture of your business?
The culture of EdwardsAndCo has always been very important to me, we employ over 150 young creatives, so I have to keep them inspired and engaged everyday. When a client walks into any of my salons, I want them to feel like they’re retuning home and escaping reality for a moment. This feeling stems from the vibe created by my team and the salons themselves. I have implemented a 36-hour work week and offer staff 5 weeks annual leave, it’s important to me that staff have an amazing work life balance and have the opportunity to recharge, that way they can be their best selves when they enter the salon.

What has been one of the biggest achievements in your career?
My biggest achievement is actually the team I have created over my EdwardsAndCo journey. The business wouldn’t be what it is without them and I couldn’t be more grateful for them.
 
What are you currently: 
Listening to?
Obsessed with Lil Nas X at the moment, he is pioneering some incredible changes.
Reading? 
The Life Cycles Of a Growing Organisation… maybe not the most exciting read but SO important. 
Watching? 
Handmaids Tale, SO stressful but SO good and almost too real…
How would you explain your personal style?  
My style is always changing, but I would say minimalism is something really important to me. At the moment I am loving effortless, oversized pieces with a muted colour palette.