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How to: Be a Success in the Beauty Industry, Part I

Tue, 29 May 2012 2:00PM

Not sure what you want to do with your nails, let alone your life?

In a series of how-to’s over the coming weeks, I’m sticking my nose in the savvy business of some of the most successful beauty industry leaders and sniffing out exactly how-to get where they are.

Let’s start at the top. Literally.

Renya Xydis is the creative director and owner of Valonz, Salon X and Renya Xydis City – one of the first stops for any visiting celebrity. When they don’t come to her, she is whisked to movie sets, premieres, fashion shows and magazine shoots around the world at the personal request of Naomi Watts, Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman and the like.

Florence and the Machine

Renya with Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine

Emma-Charlotte Bangay: Why were you interested in hairdressing?

Renya Xydis: It sounded like a fun career that allowed me to be creative. I also knew that I would get to meet great people and it could have the potential to take me around the world. It ticked all the boxes from the very beginning.

ECB: What was the first step?

RX: I finished year 10 then went out and found a job. Back then when it was easier leaving school and finding a career. Now I think it’s much harder.

ECB: What was your first salon job and how did this shape your career?

RX: I worked in a salon in Double Bay, Sydney where my chores included getting coffees, cleaning the salon, more coffee, shampoo-ing, laundry, more coffee and even more shampoo-ing.

The shift happened for me when I met iconic stylists Sam McKnight and Eugene Souleiman 16 years ago. There were no computers and Google certainly didn’t exist, so my inspiration came from international editions of Vogue and I paid attention to the hairdressers that were doing the styling. Another one of my early inspirations was Kerry Warn. He is one of the best from Australia and came into his prime in the ‘70’s with magazines and celebrity hairdressing.

ECB: What did you learn then that you still apply today?

RX: To always be excited and switched on and always know your craft. I still feel like that today.

ECB: How did you go about getting more information on what to do about getting into the industry?

RX: Does gift of the gab count? And putting yourself in the right places at the right time? Back then there were lines of people hungry for apprenticeships, so I had to work so hard to get where I did.

ECB: What was your first celebrity job?

RX: My first major job was working on a cover with Nicole Kidman. I was 18 and she was 16 and it took me half a day. I was still an apprentice but my boss trusted and believed in me.

ECB: What were the steps you took from there to get where you are?

RX: I finished a four-year apprenticeship in the Double Bay salon and worked at another salon before opening my own at the age of 20. I learned to never say no because being a yes person gets you very far in this industry. Always be happy and concentrate on the job in front of you.

ECB: How did you then begin to work with high-profile people and increase your status within the salon?

RX: I started when I was really young and it has just been snowballing ever since. Networking has a lot to do with it – it’s not just a job. I really love what I do.

ECB: What’s the secret to working across editorial and in-salon?

RX: You need your hairdressing skills and opportunities. My editorial path was via Marie Claire, Russh, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, but some hairdressers do editorial shoots for their salon, and that is great too. Everyone has a different vision. Once you have enough experience, you can then look at getting an agent. In my eyes, that is when you are on your way to being a true editorial stylist.

ECB: What is the best thing about being a hairdresser?

RX: I love that you can be a leader. Whether it’s of people or of trends. It’s so cool! I love it!

ECB: What is the worst thing?

RX: In the salon I love it all. On a shoot, the worst thing is getting to the location and not having power. It’s a challenge …

ECB: What is your advice to would-be hairdressers/apprentices?

RX: Get into a salon and do your research on the website. Don’t be shy about letting them know how much you want the job and be really switched on.

ECB: Highlight of your career?

RX: Ooooh, that’s a hard one. I worked with Miranda Kerr last week, which was great fun. I love every Friday because I’m always in the salon with clients. And I was with Florence and the Machine for her concerts last week! And that’s just half of this week. I’m very lucky because every week is busy like this but always so varied so I have a new highlight almost every day.

ECB: Who is your mentor/inspiration within the industry now?

RX: My team at Valonz is my inspiration every day. And Eugene Souleiman continues to be my mentor to this day.

ECB: What career advice would you give your younger self now?

RX: Slow down and work hard. Think of the team first, then yourself. If the team is happy, then they will push you to the top. Be humble and always open to learning more. And never, ever worry about staying back late to work!

Check out more at

Do let me know which beauty vocation you want to know more about after the hairdresser series:

Makeup artistry?

Manicurists with the mostess?

Unbeatable beauticians?

Ecb x

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Share How to: Be a Success in the Beauty Industry, Part I



  • Posted by: loopy-lexy // Tue, 29 May 2012 02:23pm

    I love this series, it’s such an excellent idea! I vote for rmakeup artistry because I’m an aspiring makeup artist 😛

  • Posted by: Shaz // Tue, 29 May 2012 02:25pm

    Would love to read about this as a Hair & Makeup Artist!!

  • Posted by: bluebird Master Fan // Tue, 29 May 2012 02:42pm

    I’m not interested in entering any of the fields but find it really interesting reading about leaders of their fields and their paths to success.

  • Posted by: Juuliaahh Enthusiast // Tue, 29 May 2012 04:33pm

    Successful beauty editors :)

  • Posted by: Coconal Master Fan // Tue, 29 May 2012 05:25pm

    Great interview, it’s always nice reading about how people got to where they’re at now!

    I’d love to hear more about make up artistry. :)

  • Posted by: glossed Master Fan // Tue, 29 May 2012 06:25pm

    Love to know about beauty editors!

  • Posted by: swoopingbuzzards Master Fan // Tue, 29 May 2012 08:55pm

    OMG thankyou!
    I’m currently studying to become a beauty therapist.
    my main passion is nails but I’m also very excited about makeup artistry!
    I would love to see more articles :)

  • Posted by: PrettyPrincess Master Fan // Thu, 31 May 2012 09:06pm

    Great interview.
    Love to read more industry stories.

  • Posted by: shakethatbeauty Enthusiast // Fri, 1 June 2012 11:59am

    What an inspiration and it shows you how hard work and being a Yes person can make you a success wtihin the industry. I would be interested to hear about the best facialists so i suppose that would fall under beauticians?

  • Posted by: Knyholm Master Fan // Fri, 1 June 2012 05:29pm

    I dont want enter this field either – but would love a job within marketing/brand management for a beauty brand….here’s dreaming!
    But interesting read!

  • Posted by: meedee Master Fan // Sun, 3 June 2012 02:21pm

    My middle daughter is a hairdresser and is now starting down the road to also be a makeup artist with dreams of opening a salon that can do it all …hair, makeup and beauty therapy

  • Posted by: Tina-1291133452 Master Fan // Sun, 10 June 2012 03:13am

    make up artists defiantely!!! great article!

  • Posted by: nita01 Master Fan // Tue, 11 September 2012 01:56pm

    I like anything that’s beauty related but more so the makeup side of things too.

  • Posted by: Gloss_Geek Master Fan // Sun, 7 October 2012 03:30pm

    Such a great article. It shows that is you have a keen interest and passion for something, you can achieve great things :)

  • Posted by: daylight dancer Master Fan // Tue, 4 December 2012 09:27am

    Such a great interview!! Working on nic as an apprentice is wonderful! You must have been nervous yet excited.

  • Posted by: diva89 Master Fan // Sun, 12 May 2013 06:37pm

    great interview

  • Posted by: talkalot Master Fan // Wed, 20 November 2013 09:33pm

    A wonderful insight on how to be a success in the beauty industry.

  • Posted by: talkalot Master Fan // Wed, 16 July 2014 07:25pm

    Great interview, good for people wanting to get into the industry.

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