Celebrating almost thirty years as the owner and director of Oscar Oscar Salons, Oscar Cullinan is not only a business mogul of the beauty industry, he’s also one of Australia’s leading celebrity hair stylists, twice awarded the prestigious title of Australian Hairdresser of the Year.
From his humble beginnings in Western Ireland to the sunny shores of the Gold Coast, Oscar has raised the bar in the industry, both locally and nationally, servicing the growing demand for opulent hair.
With 12 salons across the country, and plans for significant expansion in the foreseeable future, Oscar continues to revolutionise the hairdressing industry, dominating the Queensland and Victorian markets with his truly luxurious salons and their premium service offering.
Tell us about your beginnings and where your journey has taken you today?
I was brought up in the Irish countryside in a poor family, so most afternoons and weekends I worked with local farmers, tending livestock and working fields — I could drive a tractor by the age of nine! Seven years ago, I bought a farm near Byron, so I guess you could say I’ve come full circle.
Fast forward to the present and I now have 12 salons around Australia, mainly in Brisbane, Melbourne and the Gold Coast, where we employ more than 220 people. We’ve also got another five salons planned this year, with one that’s set to change the face of Burleigh — the Gold Coast’s new Bondi.
Why did you choose to reside on the Gold Coast and establish Oscar Oscar HQ?
The Gold Coast is Australia’s pot of gold. It has everything — sun, sand and beautiful beaches! I don’t think we’ve managed to market its magnificence yet, but that will happen. Right now, it’s the best-kept secret on the planet. This city is full of immense opportunities and beautiful landscapes that we sometimes take for granted. The Gold Coast has welcomed me with open arms and provided me with the ability to establish and expand my business, as well as the opportunity for personal growth. I am more determined than ever to lead the industry from our headquarters here with a team of passionate and dedicated professionals by my side.
Do you have any other projects in the works?
I love property so I currently have a property portfolio and am working on a product line that’s in the early stages of development. I’m also the co-owner of a boutique Muay Thai boxing gym in Burleigh called Fighters Haven; it’s a good way to de-stress from the demands of dealing with the juggernaut that is Oscar Oscar. I’m really looking forward to establishing the gym this year as a non-for-profit, allowing us to help disadvantaged youth learn new skills and develop a positive outlet.
What piece of advice do you wish someone had told you before starting Oscar Oscar?
In the words of the Rolling Stones, You can’t always get what you want, but you get what you need. Resilience is the key to long-term success. We learn more from failures than we do from easy wins.
A wise man once said to me, ‘What happens if you train them and they leave?’ Then, he quipped, ‘What happens if you don’t train them and they stay?’ This was a great teaching lesson for me in terms of ensuring that quality control and training is highly consistent, to deliver a six-star service every time. This comes down to not only the skillsets of individual stylists, but those of each team as a whole.
What are you most excited about for the future of the Gold Coast?
The economy is booming on the Gold Coast and doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. I’m looking forward to seeing the continued development of local business that comes with this and the influx in cultural diversity over the coming years. I’m also looking forward to the rise of fellow creatives as they continue to establish themselves and drive the arts and culture scene. This city is constantly growing and evolving, and its perception is changing for the better.