Hair Expo usually means you’ll see a host of faces famous in the hairdressing industry, and 2018 was no different. Chief among them was Tabatha Coffey, one of Australia’s most renowned hairdressing exports with a stellar career and well-known TV credits to her name. Tabatha was at the expo to deliver one-on-one and intimate group business education sessions, truly transforming each salon she sat down with, before Skype consultations later on to track that progress. According to Tabatha, it’s those personal transformations that are where she is finding passion in her current career.

“Part of my job and what I do now is private and business coaching for people. So I coach people on business problems, empowerment problems, whatever they need to work on. I’m actually getting my Masters degree at the moment,” Tabatha explained.

“The fact that I have many certificates now and I’m getting my Masters in being a personal coach for people is the biggest change in my career currently,” she said. “Because one thing that I love is that, yes, I go into people businesses but I think there are a lot of people now that just want a better quality of life, a lot of people who are struggling with work-life balance, and courage to change their career or go out and get what they’re looking for. Being certified in coaching now allows me to work with people individually more and help them take their careers to the next step and find that balance they’re looking for and that empowerment that they crave. That’s been one of the biggest changes in the last few years in the direction of my career has gone. I’ll obviously stay in the hairdressing community because I love it and I know it and I want to help hairdressers and a lot of people are struggling, but sometimes just the courage to take a risk or enter the awards, that’s where the coaching really comes in.”

Tabatha’s work now allows her to truly connect with that business and person. She usually engages with them over a three month period so, even with the consultations, there was less time at expo to transform every aspect of that career or business. Her general approach and primary insights often still proved a lifeline for those students, and checking in later will help her ensure she is really making a difference.

“With expo I really tried to find what people wanted,” she said. “There’s no magic pill or band aid. I would just give them some advice and some action steps and then say ‘let’s meet up again in the next month and see how these tips worked and how things have changed and how we can expand on it next time.’”

By their very nature, the sessions tended to be extremely personal, ranging from concerns with business problems to personal hurdles holding each stylist back in their career. However, in talking to so many businesses over the expo, Tabatha was able to tap into the current status of Australian hair, and identified key general problems that a lot of salons were asking her about.

“I think some people are struggling with social media as a way of growing their business and the importance of it and feel really overwhelmed by it,” she said. “That’s something I talk about in my group sessions – how to utilise it and maximise it in the best way. I kind of do it in bite-sized pieces so you can block out that calendar and have consistency. It’s really important to post once a day and keep that consistency, and that you’re being authentic to your brand through your social media, and working out a calendar so you can come up with creative ideas that keep it fun for the people who are following your brand. It doesn’t have to be so hair-centric, you’re really showing all parts of your brand.”

We’re lucky that despite her massive success, Tabatha has never forgotten her roots, and continued to return to Hair Expo in six of the past seven years. When asked why she hardly misses out on this major national event, her love of Australia and its hair industry shined through.

“I’m Australian so its two fold,” she said. “It’s lovely to come home and I’m a crazy passionate fan of Australian hairdressers. I think the calibre of work here is really amazing. It’s really exciting to be part of expo and see what’s going on with the hairdressers that are here and the work they’re doing. I’m one of the judges for one of the ceremonies as well, so to sit down and really look at what everyone is doing is really pretty incredible. The work that is coming out of Australian hair fashion and beauty has grown leaps and bounds.”

“I live in America but I travel a lot and judge a lot of hairdressing awards, not just Australian ones, European awards too, so I definitely get to see a big cross section of work,” Tabatha said, with the significant benefit of her global perspective allowing her to assess the international industry. “There’s definitely a global aesthetic, but at the same time there is so much flavour that comes out of Australia, they have this individual look, laid back but edgy, and a lot of creativity. Social media has made beauty and the world smaller but I think each country brings their own individuality.”

Tabatha also continues to educate, and was educating at expo, on behalf of Matrix, a brand she aligns with for how much they truly care about hairdressers, emboldening them through important products and education. She appreciates that they want her to be her authentic self, a personality that won her acclaim on international TV screens, while delivering education to really elevate the industry.

In her wide and unending business education, Tabatha shows no signs of stopping, constantly innovating, helping and growing herself in order to change the state of the industry. Her main piece of guidance is a classic, “It’s not just about a haircut or colour, it’s about an experience,” she advises. With so much experience, insight and growth behind her, we were hanging on to every word.