Jaye Edwards — Setting Fire to the Rulebook
Stepping foot in Edwards and Co, you’ll be greeted with the familiar sounds and smells of a salon. A rush of hairspray, the familiar hum of the hair dryer and the chatter between client and stylist.
But Edwards and Co is not your average salon.
Born in Young, Jaye Edwards left the rural suburb with one goal in mind — to get as far away as he could.
“I could not wait to leave, I hated school so much.”
Dissatisfied with the monotony of rural life, Jaye jumped on a train to Sydney with no plan. After debarking in Sydney, it took just four weeks for his savings to be chewed up by the luxuries of the city life. Jaye needed a job.
“With no qualifications, an apprenticeship seemed to be the only option.”
He settled on hairdressing, and ended up getting an apprenticeship at the first salon he walked into.
“They literally threw me straight into a trial shift, and by the end of the day I was working for them.”
His road to being a professional hairstylist is all the more impressive when you consider that within 12 years, Jaye has gone from a salon apprentice to the owner of a small empire of salons and a nationwide education program.
In an extremely hierarchical industry, Jaye has managed to take the fast lane to success by setting fire to the rulebook.
After his initial investment into a salon fell through, along with all of his life savings, Edwards pushed on — a testament to his character to say the least.
“From then on, I was determined to do my own thing. I literally borrowed money from anybody I could. I had three credit cards, I had loans. It got to the point where I didn’t know how I was going to pay rent.”
Albeit “terrifying”, Edward’s rocky road to hairdressing speaks volumes to a new generation of hair stylists who are ready to challenge the traditional salon hierarchy.
First of its kind in Australia, Jaye employs just a small handful of permanent staff. The rest are freelance colourists, stylists and makeup artists who rent chairs in his raw yet vibrant warehouse studios when they’re not out working on commercial and editorial shoots for the likes of Vogue, Russh, and Cosmopolitan.
Each stylist specialises in their own niche market, offering a truly personalised service to clients.
“Freelancing allows stylists and colourists who have a clientele to work from a space as a team while maintaining a perceived freedom in their work-life balance.”
This model offers the best of both worlds for these stylists who can thrive off of the energy and support from the other freelancers like they would teammates!
Edwards and his team of freelancers have an impressive following of beauty editors, social influencers, actresses and models, including Australian model and beauty entrepreneur Lara Worthington (née Bingle), who has been with Edwards as a friend and client from the very beginning.
The combined profile of these prominent stylists and Jaye’s beautiful studios has enabled his brand to grow.
With his 6th salon in the works (a mega salon in Surry Hills) Jaye is showing no signs of slowing. While he didn’t plan to expand so rapidly, Jaye is on a mission to create more spaces that speak to a generation of creatives who are seeking diverse and dynamic careers.
Jaye loves the ever-changing landscape of the hair industry.
“Nothing stays the same for long, dive straight in, hold your head high.”
Edwards and Co has been successful because it’s unique. Pressure makes diamonds, and Jaye’s business is no exception.