BLOG: Sally Montague, director of the eponymous hair group, on why family is at the heart of her business

sally montegue

Sally Montague is the Director of the eponymous Sally Montague Hair Group, which has six salons across Derbyshire. Here she looks at why family is at the heart of her business:

As a child I used to say my mother ran a hair salon. I’m not sure why as she was a stay-at-home mum. Needless to say, she was very embarrassed when people asked her how the salon was going. Looking back, I was obviously impressed with the idea of running a salon. I’ve had the salon for 31 years this year and have expanded to six salons across Derbyshire throughout two recessions. It’s been hard, but vision and drive have got me through the tough times to where I am today.

It was never the plan for my daughters to work for me. My eldest daughter, Emmanuelle Montague-Sayers began working for me at 20 years old, while studying for her degree, and has been with me for the last three years. Angel Montague-Sayers, my middle child, has been with me for the last seven years, since she was 17 years old. At the moment there is no sign of my youngest, Jazzy, joining, as she is at University in Leeds.

The most difficult task when working with family is to maintain a healthy work / family balance and not bring work home with you. At work, I am their boss and they are treated in the same way as other staff. I am probably harder on them as I expect them to know all the answers and to behave impeccably. I love working with them and they have definitely helped push the salons to a higher level. I have been in this business a long time and it is easy to become complacent. The girls encourage me to set the standards high and to understand it’s the small things that are the most important.

Angel winning Creative HEAD’s 2013 It Girl award, being crowned the It List 2012 Fashionista, and embracing her current role of UK Creative Ambassador for styling brand Cloud Nine are all things that I am extremely proud of. I have witnessed her sheer effort and determination and seen her session skills go from strength to strength. Emmanuelle graduated with a first class honours degree in print for fashion and textiles, which is obviously a fantastic accolade. I was also overwhelmed by her fearless attitude to living alone in Paris for a year, aged just 18 years old, where she studied at Parsons The New School for Design. My children are very self-assured.

So what are the best things about all working together? Personally, I am grateful they now understand how time consuming the working world can be. As a mother, I have carried the guilt I was not at home enough when the kids were growing up, as I was so busy with the salons. The girls can now see why I worked so hard and have even said they are grateful I wasn’t an interfering parent. I think that’s why they are so independent. There are no negatives. I just hope they are working for themselves and not just to keep me happy. We have regular family reviews to discuss this and so far, so good.

Salons are so often family businesses, and I think that the reason it works so well is that there is an indisputable bond within a family that means you always have trust, which is key to running a business. My sister and sister-in-law both work for the business as well. They all possess the passion and understand the heritage to help move it forward.