With three wins at the 2014 Kitomba NZARH Business Awards, Morph Hair owner, Hamilton’s Dave Rogers, shares his story of success.
How was Morph Hair born?
It all started with the name Morph. I had this name floating around in my head for about a year, coupled with a desire to own a business from early in my career. So really it was born from the name. The business and team that have evolved from there have embodied our name and brand ever since which has given us the ability to cope with changing work practices, industry development, changing client dynamics and consumer expectations.
As far as getting the salon it was a bit random but I have always been someone to say yes to opportunities. I was about four and a half years into this amazing industry, when my flat mate at the time noticed an ad in the paper for a salon for sale. With a salon name and a phone call to my then to be business partner Nikki Otto we headed down had a look, said “yeah let’s do it” and everything has grown from there.
Your salon environment – What inspired you?
I am a person that enjoys a bit of a laugh and likes to have fun, I also have a competitive nature so the environment we have reflects these traits. Basically we wanted to replicate the feel good factor of what we do across all areas of our business which would create something a bit different from other salon environments. A happy energized team was a key point in creating an exceptional customer experience different to our competitors.
What’s your business philosophy?
I believe in keeping things fun, fresh and moving forward, challenging all of our team (including myself) with innovation and goals whilst remaining dedicated and focused on our core business which is hair and customer service. Clients are at the fore of everything we do with positive client outcomes being the driver behind all new initiatives. I also believe if you need help, ask for it or seek out the experts. Our success is not just from the people in direct contact with our business but also the amazing industry experts that we have been fortunate enough to work with over the years. To these people (you know who you are) thank you for your input and dedication to our industry.
If it’s not fun change it, if it’s still not fun change it again…
How do you keep your staff motivated and inspired?
I think you have to keep things fresh. Entering awards, competitions and including everyone in the business journey, celebrating successes and striving to be better are core parts of our culture that everyone is on board with. The key to having a motivated and inspired team is to employ motivated and inspiring people that buy into a salon direction and philosophy then mapping out a personal journey, checking in with them regularly and doing everything you can to support that journey.
What part has technology played in supporting your business?
Technology works hand in hand with our business vision and direction and supports not only our operation, but also strengthens our brand of change and innovation. It’s easy to be caught up in the grind of doing the same thing over and over. After periods of “the grind” throughout our 11 year history it has been clear that to create a unique experience for our clients, changes whether subtle or bold need to be embraced and contribute massively to the excitement of a visit to our salon.
We have partnered with brands such as Redken, ghd and Kitomba who invest in new development and innovation that strengthens our direction of evolution. New development in heated tools, product development and software have not only given us the ability to give clients an exceptional customer experience but also allowed us to report and track key business figures instantly with ease.
What initially drove you to enter Morph Hair in the Business Awards?
We had a good idea through Kitomba Benchmark that our business compared favorably to other salons throughout New Zealand, and after having success at business awards regionally in the past, it was a great opportunity to see how we stacked up against the best in the industry. I have believed from our inception that we had something a bit different going on as far as culture, team dynamic and the overall customer experience at Morph, so it was great to have an in depth look at our business. Underpinning everything is a competitive nature and a team culture that thrives on success.
Why was it important for Morph hair to enter the Business Awards?
From previous experience we found it was a great process to go through to get a complete snap shot of our business, what is working, what isn’t and make changes where needed. Last year there were some things that really opened our eyes to the impact on bottom line and real results that we were unaware of in terms of marketing and sustainability. An example of this was in the marketing section where I was going to write about two marketing strategies (both unique) that I thought were both doing well. It wasn’t until we had an in-depth look at both that we found one had worked extraordinarily well and the other not so well! We also knew that we had good growth and all KPI’s were up on the previous year so we had a chance of doing well. Our culture is very much about team and I have a responsibility as the business owner to promote our people wherever possible and these awards are such a great opportunity to do that.
How many times have you entered the business awards?
This is the second time we have entered. The first time, like many things I have entered in the past, we didn’t make the finals in any section, but between then and now there has been a lot of positive changes at Morph that have got us to the point we are at now. It’s great to celebrate our successes but to also celebrate the times when things haven’t gone this well, as this is where the most important changes to our practices and skills have come from, which has seen Morph do well both in business and our industry competition and creative events.
Tell me about the process you went through entering the 2014 business awards.
For me it’s about that initial decision to do it. I get the commitment from myself through sharing this decision with others, especially our team. For me this works well because our DNA as hairstylists is all about delivering great results for other people. From then it’s about the story or journey of our business and collecting as much evidence as possible to support that story and formatting it into an engaging read for the judges. I could say more about our particular process, but I don’t want to give away too much as we are entering again this year!
How does the process of entering the awards help you as a business owner?
It’s great to make the time that you wouldn’t normally have to look at every aspect of the business. As a full time stylist, business owner and family man I tend to neglect dedicated time to reflect on what we have accomplished over the past 11 years. I have found the process challenging (which I love) but also gratifying in the fact it confirms that we are generally on the right track for continued success. Creatively I find it’s a great process to engage other parts of the brain which positively impacts all of the work I do in and out of the salon. Winning at the awards (L’Oreal Professional Grand Salon of the Year, Kitomba Excellence in Marketing and Wella Sustainable Salon of the Year) has absolutely been one of the biggest achievements of my life and the impact it’s had on our team and clients has been incredible. We have all of 2014 achievements signed on the walls in our salon which has instilled a great amount of pride amongst our team and been a great motivator to continually be our best.
What would you say to salons considering entering the Business Awards in the future?
If you’re considering it you’re already half way there and just need to take the next step. Take this amazing opportunity to have a good look at what you have achieved and what you want to achieve in the future. Win or not, the process and format of these awards are invaluable to the future of your business. It will challenge your views on what is working and what isn’t and set you up for future success. I highly recommend it!
I would like to thank Kitomba, NZARH and all the sponsors for this amazing event and opportunity, it has been an amazing experience and we look forward to being part of it again this year.
If you’re interested in entering the 2015 Kitomba NZARH Business Awards, visit www.kitomba.com/business-awards to find out more and register your salon. With more than $15,000 in prizes and a chance to really see how your salon is performing, what are you waiting for?