Career Code: Celebrity Hairstylist Renya Xydis Shares the Secrets to Her Success

Updated 04/17/19

In honour of Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power’s book, The Career Code: Must-Know Rules for a Strategic, Stylish, and Self-Made Career ($17), we’re kicking off an interview series featuring 17 questions (in honour of the book’s 17 chapters) about the work lives of the most inspirational female leaders in the beauty industry.

You may know Renya Xydis as the owner and creative director of three of Sydney's biggest hair salons—Valonz, Salon X and Renya Xydis City. The businesswoman famously counts Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman and Miranda Kerr amongst her clientele, and is undoubtedly one of Australia's most successful and influential stylists. Having spent over three decades in the industry, Xydis is as well-known for her editorial work across premium magazine titles as she is her amazing pink hair. (Which is seriously fab, BTW.) Personal style aside, it's Xydis's commitment to her business, staff and the hairdressing industry at large that inspires us most.

A mother of two, it boggles the mind to think of all she must do in a day. Know that saying, "You have as many hours in a day as Beyoncé"? The same could be said of Xydis. 

Ahead, you'll find honest and open advice from Xydis on everything from how she fosters inspiration ("It’s just a matter of allowing your mind and creativity to wander outside the box"), to what every entry-level employee needs to know. 

Keep scrolling for her best business advice.

"I don’t just have one job, every day is different. You never know what the day will throw at you but that’s part of the excitement and why I love doing what I do! I’m a stylist, a business owner, a creator, a brand ambassador for a number of brands, and most importantly a mother."

"I’m a creative which mean my mind and ideas never stop. I’m always looking for new inspiration which can come in all shapes and sizes, and sometimes when you least expect it it to. It’s important to always be inspired, especially in the hair industry, as you need to stay on trend and up to date. I’m always encouraging my team to invent and create and research. There’s a constant demand for the 'new'; a new technique, colour, style or product."

"Stylists always wear black! I have a lot of black clothes in my wardrobe as they're easy to wear when you’re running from the salon to an editorial shoot. You always look 'dressed'. However, I do like to have fun and mix up the textures to keep it interesting."

"Tom Ford. I think he is a genius businessman with an incredible vision."

"I’m constantly researching and looking at what other international markets are doing to forecast upcoming trends. I’m lucky enough to spend a lot of time overseas working on editorial shoots or at fashion weeks so it’s great to be able to apply what I’ve seen and learnt when I get home. When I’m home, I’m constantly on social media looking at influencers, models, brands... anything and everything to do with hair!"

"I don’t regret anything. If I didn’t take the steps I took in my earlier years I wouldn’t be where I am today! I love being able to wake up and love what I do. I’m really fortunate to be able to do that."

"Enthusiasm, passion, loyalty, creativity and the ability to be a team player."

"Black is a staple for me but when I want to mix it up a bit, I have a few go-to dresses and accessories I love wearing. For me, it’s not so much about feeling 'powerful'. I like to work with my team and get really involved in the processes."

"Creative, loud, inspiring, bold, crazy (the good kind!), fun and energetic."

"I’m always on the go whether it be in the salon or on an editorial shoot so there is always a lot of inspiration wherever I go. It’s just a matter of allowing your mind and creativity to wander outside the box. That’s when the best ideas come to me." 

"Be honest with your boss and give them the respect of meeting with them when you resign. Don't let them find that you are leaving through someone else. It's an uncomfortable conversation but it's a necessity. Be transparent with your intentions and never take clients or staff with you—not cool. If you want to go out on your own, good for you, but you need to work hard to find a team and clientele on your own merits."

"I always try to keep it healthy however it really depends if I’m travelling or not, as I love exploring new restaurants and cuisines overseas. A salad or sushi is always an easy go-to if I’m working in the salon."

"I think mistakes are a really important part of learning, so I never frown upon them, but look at them as a way of growing. It’s important to show your eagerness to learn, especially in our creative industry. Your ability to bring new and fresh ideas to the table is key. Never be afraid to speak up!"

"I reference Instagram as a point of inspiration quite a lot so I follow industry people, other creatives, models and photographers etcetera."

"I am an early riser. First thing I do is check my social media accounts and then my emails over a light breakfast. At night, if I am not working on a job or late at work, I pick up a light meal on my way home for my husband and I. I go home to chill, but it's crucial I update my social media accounts as this is the time I connect with my international followers. Then, I may have a conference call from the Global Wella team. I answer my emails before retiring to bed."

"Surround yourself with positive, inspirational people and never stop believing in what you do."

"Overseeing three salons is always a constant, but I've also just come back from doing a global campaign in Finland and seeing my hair bestie Tracey Cunningham in L.A. Next, I am off to be a judge at Wella TrendVision [an industry showcase of hairdressing talent] in Barcelona. I manage to balance this schedule with my celebrity clientele and my loyal clientele. It's a juggling act but I love it!

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