40 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT RAINBOW ROOM INTERNATIONAL
This year, we celebrate Scotland’s largest salon group, the award winning Rainbow Room International, turning an incredible 40 years old! Since Alan and Linda Stewart founded the company in 1979, it has gone from strength to strength over the years winning a plethora of awards and accolades and becoming global hairdressing industry leaders and innovators. In this piece, we take a look at some facts about the business, the franchisees, franchisors and team members and share 40 things you may not have known about the 12 salon strong group…
1. Buchanan Street in the centre of Glasgow was the first salon to open in 1979.
2. Riccardo Corvi (now Director of the Ayr salon) started with the company when he was 16, trained through the Rainbow Room International programme, working at the Buchanan Street salon, alongside Owner and Director Alan Stewart, and was the first person to work his way up the ladder at the group from Assistant to Franchisee.
3. The group have won a plethora of awards – 54 in total! Both business and creative led.
4. They were one of the first salons in the UK to introduce the Shiatsu head massage.
5. The Royal Exchange Square salon record a Christmas single every year, selling cd’s and downloads with the proceeds going to charity.
6. Wil Fleeson, Director of the Buchanan Street and Stirling salons, has a Trichology suite in his Stirling salon and is the Director of Trichology Scotland.
7. Adrian Foxworthy, Director of the East Kilbride and Clarkston salon’s was the first of the team of directors to franchise not one but two of the Rainbow Room International salons.
8. Leigh Kerr, Director of Rainbow Room International Academy was one of the youngest and fastest assistants to qualify in RRI history. She is also the company’s youngest director opening the Howard Street Academy at the age of 21 in 2003.
9. Rainbow Room International have appeared backstage at many of Scotland’s hottest events including The Scottish Style Awards, Scottish Baftas, the MOBOs, T In The Park (for thirteen executive years) and TRNSMT.
10. Rainbow Room International’s Academy starred in the six part television series on BBC Scotland called Do or Dye in 2014, which followed Rainbow Room’s student’s as they took their first steps towards becoming Rainbow Room stylists.
11. Suzie McGill, Uddingston Director, has won Scottish Hairdresser of the Year at the British Hairdressing Awards three times and is now in the Hall of Fame.
12. All twelve salons are organically franchised, with many of the franchises being with the group from the beginning of their career.
13. The Rainbow Room International Academy opened in 1983 in Royal Exchange Square. Now the Academy is based on Howard Street, which opened 13 years ago when the salon outgrew the Royal Exchange Square premises
14. The Royal Exchange Square salon is the only salon with a separate beauty area, which was Glasgow’s first Day Spa and Floatarium.
15. The group hold an annual Congress, which culminates in an awards ceremony, recognising the exceptional achievements of the team.
16. Alan and Linda started as business partners and through their shared vision and passion for learning, they eventually became a couple.
17. The group have their own Artistic Team, who have finalised for Artistic Team of the Year at the British Hairdressing Awards multiple times over the years.
18. The Stirling salon recently had a refit and has become wireless and mobile friendly and instead of having receptionists, has maître d’s with earpieces and tablets to host clients through the salon experience.
19. Owner, Linda Stewart, was published in Successful Woman in Business and had her own dedicated chapter in the book
20. They have their own hair care product company, which they sell in salons and on their website, with a favourite product stylists love to use and is sat at each styling station called RRI Must.
21. The group have incredible training programmes, including a fast track programme.
22. The team have worked all over the world at seminars and shows, showcasing their photographic work and working as platform artists.
23. Linda originally planned to go to art school but after landing a Saturday job at a salon group, she found her love for the hairdressing industry.
24. Alan was previously a Director at another salon but decided to follow his own path and had a strong vision of how he would like a salon environment to be and the type of company he would like to run – which resulted in Rainbow Room International.
25. When the first salon opened, it was viewed as quite radical to others in the area, because of its size and its concept of giving clients a bespoke service, longer appointment times, in depth consultations, luxury products, advanced colouring techniques and for charging premium prices.
26. Rainbow Room are seen as Scotland’s colour experts and it’s not hard to see why with the incredible colourful photographic images they produce.
27. Dylan Brittain, Director of the George Square salon, has recently been voted one of the top 100 hairstylists in Britain. He has also been awarded Scottish Hairdresser of the Year twice with Suzie McGill in 2016 and 2017.
28. The group use the Schwarzkopf Professional in all salons and Directors and Artistic Team Members, Suzie McGill and Dylan Brittain are also Schwarzkopf UK Ambassadors.
29. Other than training programmes, Alan and Linda Stewart have put many other programmes into place including an induction programme, client feedback and monitoring and appraisal systems.
30. Diana Carson, Consultant Designer at the Uddingston salon, and Artistic Team Member, has worked on top hair shows and photo-shoots including Men’s London fashion Week and has also won American Crew ‘Men’s Hairdresser of the Year’.
31. Paddy McDougall, Art Director at the George Square salon and Artistic Team Member, has won It Guy in CreativeHEAD’s It List Awards, been a member of the Fellowship FAME Team and is now an Indola Global Ambassdor.
32. Great Western Road Director’s, John and Jo Parker, are married. The RRI group are like a big family and many members of the team are actually related or married. The Crow Road salon is also owned by brother and sister, Julie-Ann and Andrew and Buchanan Street is owned by Wil and Shannon Fleeson.
33. Rainbow Room International are pet friendly and co-owner of the George Square salon, Dylan Brittain, regularly brings his French bulldog George (named after the salon) in for client cuddles!
34. The Rainbow Room International philosophy is ‘constant change and continual improvement’.
35. Everyone in the Rainbow Room family shares the same aims: to embrace change and continually progress to stay at the forefront of the industry.
36. One of Rainbow Room International’s most important slogans is ‘the most important person in our salons is you’ showcasing their impeccable customer care.
37. The Rainbow Room International group has two dedicated social media experts who manage their Instagram and Facebook pages
38. The George Square salon is owned by Dylan Brittain and Yasmin McMail, who both trained together.
39. Alan & Linda realised it wasn’t just enough to be a competent hairdresser; they knew they had to expand their motivational and management skills. To achieve this they became continual students attending courses by guru’s Dale Carnegie, Anthony Robbins and Tom Peters. Alan was one of the founder members of Three Six Five Hairdressing attending the Disney Management Courses. They are actively involved with HABIA, are members of the Fellowship and are actively involved in raising funds for the Hairdressers Charity.
40. Security is important to people and Alan & Linda have made sure that today the company has a secure financial future ahead of them. It is placed on a solid asset and cash rich foundation.
* Featured images via @rainbowroomint on Instagram.
For more information about the brand, you can visit Rainbow Room International here.