Catalyst UK and Irish Consumer Coverage

We’ve had lots of great coverage for our clients this month in the UK and Irish consumer magazines!

There’s far too much to include in one post so I’m going to focus on some of the coverage for 3 of our clients, Orofluido, Halo Hair Extensions and Black and White Wax.

Orofluido was featured in Star and Irish Tatler this month. It was included in the Top 10 Tried and Tested Hair Oils in Irish Tatler and made the Top 5 in Star…

orofluido‘ orofluido

It’s great to see that Beauty journalists love Orofluido Beauty Elixir as much as us girls at Catalyst do! I used it for the first time the other night and not only was my hair left super shiny and smelling amazing, it took about half the time to blow dry which I was especially pleased with as my hair usually takes around half an hour to dry.

If you want a truly indulgent hair oil experience then look no further than Orofluido. It also smells of a mix of chocolate and vanilla which is always a plus!


Halo Hair Extensions have recently launched their New Adjustable Halo which eliminates the mess of clip-in hair extensions, instead a ‘halo’ of hair is placed around the head and adjusted so it fits perfectly in place. This new launch from Halo has been a major hit with the Beauty press, as seen here in Ireland’s biggest selling women’s magazine U and Black Beauty & Hair…



Black and White Wax has been around for 90 years and its reputation as the top hair pomade is still strong as can be seen by just some of this recent coverage in Ireland’s U magazine and Black Beauty & Hair. This product is best for creating unique, long-lasting styles; whether it’s the Marcel waves made famous by pin-up Marilyn Monroe, or this summer’s massively popular wet-look trend…


We’ve got much more exciting coverage booked in for our clients which we can’t wait to share with you soon!

A Match Made in Catalyst Heaven!

Catalyst client, Halo hair extensions are delighted to announce that Queen of Hair Extensions Michelle Griffin (also a Catalyst client) is now a brand ambassador for Halo. Halo’s managing directors John and Dee Russo encourage artistic innovation and natural consumer styles with the use of hair extensions and Michelle’s innate ability to transform hair with hair extensions immediately caught their eye. The new role will see Michelle demonstrating on stage at live shows for halo, as well as creating inspirational photographic work!

John Russo from Halo “In a word, Michelle Griffin is amazing! One of the UK’s most respected mentors, colourists and stylist, we are proud to see Halo as part of the Michelle Griffin Academy experience. Michelle is the creative director behind one of the most talented teams in the world. Leading the way for the best hair extensions, we’re very excited to welcome her as our newest brand ambassador”

Michelle Griffin “Me and my team are excited about working with Halo and building the hair extension and training market together. As a salon we love working creatively on our clients with Halo Hair, building our clientele and reputation for wedding hair. As a training centre we will be providing creative courses on Halo Hair for assistants and stylists in the industry, EXCITING times ahead”

The Most Important Areas of Web Design in 2012

As respective Web Developer and Web Designer, Martin and I are always questioning which are the most important areas of Web Design now.

So if you don’t know where to start, below are two of the most important things you should consider when getting a professional website designed. There are others of course, but you can’t go wrong starting with these…

Content Is King

…So the old cliché goes, but this should be your starting point before you even speak with a web designer. Unfortunately Many website owners believe they can just slot content in after the website is complete, or type it up in a spare evening. If you treat content this way you’re neglecting the most important part of your website.

Maybe you’re skimming over these paragraphs right now because you’ve heard this old adage before, right? But what if I told you that the quality of your website content directly relates to your SEO performance? The truth is Search Engines (like Google of Yahoo) are simply trying to mimick humans and understand whether content on a website relates to someone’s search query, so having an honest content strategy where you aim to fill your website full of relevant information for your target audience is where you should start.

Your Content Strategy will be a document where you write brand decisions like the ‘Tone of Voice’ for your writing, what kind of information you think your audience will value, how you will communicate with your audience (Twitter, Facebook, or blogs?), and what kind of website you want – for example, do you want your website simply to imbue your brand image, or do you need to create a community?

You can draw up a content strategy yourself of course (you know your business best), but we actually recommend that you try to budget for a professional copy writer to help you out. Of course, we have a copy writer at Catalyst who’s an industry veteran (Richard, if you’re reading this, I mean that in the nicest possible way!).

Forget About Old Versions of Internet Explorer, Focus on Mobile and Tablets

One of the latest buzzwords in the web community is ‘Future Friendly’. What we mean by this is to focus and design for upcoming technologies and think how they may disrupt current websites. The greatest example of this is the rise of mobile devices and tablets, which has completely shaken up the industry. Believe it or not, it’s almost just as probable that your visitors are viewing your website on a mobile device rather than a desktop computer (source).

The best web designers will be aware of this and will be pushing you to spend your budget optimising your website’s mobile experience, and not wasting money testing on older versions of Internet Explorer. By taking this approach you are future-proofing your investment; with mobile stats on the increase and older browser versions on the decline.

Although it may sound bizarre, since we consider this as one of the most important areas of web design, at Catalyst we design for mobiles first, then work our way up to a full desktop design. By starting with a small ‘canvas’ this approach helps us keep the design efficient. It’s not just us thinking ‘mobile’ either…

“We’re just now starting to think about mobile first and desktop second for a lot of our products.” ~ Kate Aronowitz, Design Director, Facebook

“[The shift to mobile design] is even bigger than the PC revolution.” ~ Kevin Lynch, CTO, Adobe

How Can Website Increase Business Revenue

If you’re in the position where you’re looking to upgrade your website, or even get a new website you might be wondering how to justify the cost. So how can website design increase business revenue? Let’s look at what exactly you’re getting…

Lots of our clients understand that they need a website, but often only think of it in intangible terms, struggling to come up with a budget because they’re not sure how much business it will generate. But often you forget just how a website can increase revenue. Here are 3 things that a website can do to increase business revenue…

Your Website is Your Brand

If a potential client has not yet engaged with your business it’s very likely the first thing they’ll do is ‘Google’ you. It is a quick acid test to see what kind of brand you are. If you have a professionally looking website that has a regularly updated blog, you’ll likely be seen as a modern business that’s in touch with consumers. But if you have a poor looking website that was last updated 6 months ago, in my opinion it might be more harmful than if you have no website at all, because it suggests that you do not carry things through properly, it is a half-completed job.

As a consumer this is the first thing I do when a brand is recommended to me, and I’ll likely make my mind up about a brand within 5 seconds of landing on their website.
Your website is your shop front and it imputes what kind of brand you are. Bringing this back to the topic of increasing revenue, consumers are more likely to consider your business a ‘luxury’ brand if you have a good website, and ultimately it’s more likely they’ll give you their business.

Your Website is a 24/7 Shop

If you’re selling products online, an e-commerce store can operate 24/7. Online stores also have the advantage of your clients not needing to physically travel there too. In the age of the iPhone and mobile devices, people are used to instant gratification and you shouldn’t overlook the convenience that a website provides your customers. There are often times when I remember I need to buy something late at night, and fancy getting it sorted straight away so that it’s off my mind – a quick trip to Amazon and I can forget about it, another less thing to do in my workday! Think outside the box too; lots of the Hair salons that we work with have 24 hour appointment booking systems.

You don’t have to be the size of Amazon to get an e-commerce store either; there are many serviced solutions like that make it relatively easy to build an e-commerce store. Of course, you may want it professionally styled to match your brand; something which we offer at Catalyst.
Advertising Opportunities

Depending on what kind of company you are, advertising can quickly pay for your website cost. Advertising doesn’t need to look terrible either – try to uphold standards and give your advertisers rules to stick with. FusionAds is an example of a nicely designed advertising network that create distraction-free adverts.

We’re building two magazine websites at the moment which both feature advertising, covering the cost of the website in a few months, before going on to bringing in profit.

The above three points are just a few ways to increase business revenue, and you can quickly cover the costs of your website. My advice would be to think of the bigger picture when budgeting for your website, it pays to spend a little more to get a great site considering the increased opportunities it may give you to make your money back.

…Catalyst client award nominations continued!

We’re delighted to announce that we’ve had 3 more award nominations for 3 of our clients!

Nominations are for the AIPP Awards 2012/13, with Skyler McDonald, Creative Director of seanhanna salons, Anne Veck of Anne Veck salons, and Robert Masciave of Metropolis Hairdressing all selected as finalists in the Best Avant-Garde Category. Only the Top 10 Hairdressers from across the world have been chosen as finalists for this category; 3 of them Catalyst clients.

The AIPP (International Professional Press Association) assembles a total of 72 magazines from 35 countries representing nearly all of the hairdressing trade publications throughout the world.

We are delighted for our clients and would like to congratulate them on reaching these final stages, especially as this year was a participation record for the awards having received 423 photo collections from a total of 22 countries.

This year the AIPP 2012/13 Awards will take place during the renowned hairdressing event the Alternative Hair Show 2012 at the Royal Albert Hall on 14th October. We wish all of our clients the best of luck, we just wish they could all win!

Here in the Catalyst office we are extremely exited and pleased for all the award nominations our clients have received as we know they deserve to reach the finals of such prestigious awards.

We wish you all the best of luck!

The power of Pinning

My teenage days were filled with avid magazine collecting. The fashion and beauty pages of Marie Claire, Vogue and Elle were ripped, teared and layered together to create inspirational mood-boards. The season’s colours clashed and contrasted, displayed in scrap-books, stuck onto card and adorned on my bedroom wall.

Colours, lifestyle trends and beautiful eye-catching imagery have remained dear to my heart, but in the age of digitalisation the way I build mood-boards has changed. Online social media platform Pinterest has become my vice. Described as a “Virtual Pinboard”, Pinterest allows you to organise, gather and share images. The site is designed to help you create pin-boards from images, which are shared and uploaded by other users and yourself. Through the nifty “Pin It” button, which can be attached to your bookmarks bar, image sharing has never been easier.

Pinterest helps to inspire me. The immense collection of imagery available at your finger-tips spans a vast range of categories which include; fashion, beauty, lifestyle, recipes, interior design, travel, architecture and gardening. My boards tend to relate more to fashion, beauty and hair. I love to mish-mash street-style fashion images, with intricate nail-art, arty updos and perfectly applied eye-liner. The pastel explosion of Spring/Summer was perfectly documented on the site. Proliferating user’s pin-boards were images of ice cream dip-dyes, perfect pink lips and a sherbet assortment of nails. I first noticed the trend for half-moon manicures, on the Hair & Beauty category page.

Brands and magazines have opened their eyes to the power of pinning! With the visibility and accessibility a site like Pinterest can offer, brands are now able to convey their personality and recommendations in a very visual way. Magazines including Glamour upload and share images with their followers, arranged onto fun and inventive pin-boards that include; “Beauty Editors Postbag”, “Colourful Life” and “We <3 London”. The appeal with Pinterest has been gently snowballing for some time. The beauty of sharing and collaging imagery is creative, fun and addictive. Get pinning!

Glow Baby Glow

There is nothing more appealing than the healthy glow of a natural tan, but with increasing awareness to factors including skin cancer and sun inducing wrinkles, many of us have been reaching for the bottle in favour of the sun’s harmful rays.

Those of you who have used fake tan in the past will know that this sun free alternative does indeed have its flaws! From streaks, to looking orange, I’m always slightly wary when it comes to fake tan as more often than not I am left disappointed when my  tan doesn’t live up to the model ideal that is plastered all over their marketing material. This said, I love hearing about new brands and was very excited when it was announced that we would be working with the brand new tanning range, Sunjunkie.

Sunjunkie’s Deliciously Dark Mousse is by far one of the best tanning mousse’s I have tried. It glides on easily giving an instant colour that develops into a natural looking tan in just a few hours. It dries quickly without leaving you feeling sticky and best of all it has absolutely no smell at all! I love this product and would definitely recommend it to those looking for a natural, streak and fuss free tan.

Here is a list of my tried and tested top tips to ensuring you get a natural looking, streak free tan the fake way!

1. Preparation is the key to ensuring you get a natural even application. When applying your tan remember to exfoliate everyday for at least three days before you apply your tan. This will remove any dead or dry skin and will ultimately ensure your tan fades naturally as possible. It will also help to avoid any patchy disasters.

2. Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise! Be sure to cover yourself in moisturiser after every bath or shower. This will keep your skin soft, healthy and conditioned which will make your tan last longer.

3 Before applying your tan rub a small amount of moisturiser or Vaseline on elbows, wrists, knees and ankles. These are the usual problem areas where tell tale signs of fake tan can often be shown. This will avoid build up and help to create even application on notorious dry areas.

4. When applying your tan whether using a spray or cream the best way to achieve an even coverage is with a tanning mitt. These can be picked up from most chemists or beauty stores. Once you have applied your fake tan to your mitt be sure to apply in circular motions.

5. Most fake tans will last between a week and five days. To help maintain your tan keep moisturising after every shower and exfoliating to ensure your tan fades evenly. When drying yourself dab your skin dry don’t rub as this may make your tan come off unevenly.

Keep to these simple tips and you will be well on your way to creating a natural looking tan the healthy way!

Catalyst wins Beauty and Hair accounts

It has been an exciting week for Catalyst with two new beauty and hair clients joining us; miracle body oil Organic Golden Camellia from Gentle Beauty and leading Berkshire hairdressing group, Koulla Swann!

The nurturing Camellia oil harnesses the power of pure Camellia seed oil to nourish and moisturise face, body, hair and nails, and is suitable for all skin types, even for baby skin. Organic Golden Camellia is the finest natural plant oil for human skin. Helping to mirror the skins sebum production, the oil helps to replenish skins lost moisture. As well as having many remarkable properties, Organic Camellia Oil is fully approved by both The Vegan Society and The Soil Association. Having successfully worked on their previous products, Gentle Beauty has re-appointed Catalyst to drive sales by maximising media coverage for the brand!

Leading Berkshire hairdressing group, Koulla Swan, with salons in Newbury and Reading are renowned for their creative, technical and client service skills. Launched in 2008, Koulla Swan’s philosophy, “Customised Creativity” is echoed by their outstanding customer service, high quality hair and beauty services, and their dedication is to provide each and every one of their clients with services they want and desire. The salons beautiful environments, are designed to help clients to unwind and recharge. Catalyst has been appointed to work closely with them on marketing projects designed to increase awareness of both salons and increase their active client bases.

We are really excited to be working with Organic Golden Camellia and Koulla Swan, and look forward to sharing more news regarding our new clients with you soon!

Catalyst Client Award Nominations!

The team here at Catalyst are specialists at putting together award entries for our clients, of which we currently have 7 nominations in upcoming awards this year!

There are 5 nominations for the Most Wanted Awards 2012:

Best Online Salon – seanhanna salons

Catalyst took this site and refreshed it, making it more contemporary, modern, and incorporating responsive design for optimal viewing on all mobile devices.

Best Local Salon – seanhanna, Bristol
– Cutting Room Creative (CRC), Leeds

Creative Talent – Skyler McDonald, Creative Director, seanhanna salons
– Anne Veck, Anne Veck Salons

The finals for these awards are held on 3rd September so we’ve got our fingers crossed! Good luck to you all.

For the British Hairdressing Business Awards 2012, Louise Curtis, Manager of seanhanna Putney has been nominated for Salon Manager of the Year. We wish her the best of luck for the awards ceremony on 17th September!

Finally, we would like to congratulate Yesmin O’Brien, Artistic Director for seanhanna salons, on being selected by the Fellowship for British Hairdressing for the Fellowship Signature Style Collection A/W 2012. She is 1 of only 4 selected as prestigious winners of this award.

We are enormously pleased for all our clients and would like to congratulate them on reaching the final stages of these distinguished awards. All that’s left to say is… Good Luck!

Holiday Beauty Essentials

With this June being the wettest on record according to the Met Office, most are dreaming of sunnier shores. If you are lucky enough to be escaping the dull British gloom and flying to white sandy beaches, frothy turquoise seas and scrumptious sea-food platters, I am officially jealous! However whilst you are chucking bikinis into your case, loading batteries into your camera, and picking up fluffy holiday reads, don’t forget your holiday beauty essentials!

If you, like me, are fulfilled with excited anticipation weeks before you board a Boeing 747 to whichever dreamy destination you have chosen, sometimes you forget the pitfalls of a more exotic climate. Hot humid weather and warm salty seas can play havoc with your hair, the bright burning sunshine can redden your face and nose, and the humidity in the air can cause even your trusty make-up favourites to melt off your face. Luckily with a handy to-do-list, and some carefully selected beauty buys, holiday pitfalls can be transformed into winning looks in an instant.

Frizzy unmanageable hair can cause bad memories long after returning home, with unflattering photographs appearing on your Facebook page. Treat your locks, by using a shampoo and conditioner that contains UV protection, to save your hair from harmful rays. Embrace on-trend tousled hair, by using a sugar or salt spray to help transform your sea-drenched hair into beautiful bouncy waves.

Keep skin moisturised and healthy, by using a protective sun-cream and keeping out the midday sun! For pasty skinned individuals (like myself) who crave a golden glow, use a gradual self-tanner to slowly build up gorgeous holiday colour. Use a BB cream with SPF 20, for a truly transitional day to night look, the skin-matching formula will help your complexion look fabulous at every stage of your holiday. Glisten in the evenings, by dusting a gold-flecked bronzer across your cheeks.

Personally, I always find my make-up melts, slides and fades away due to the higher temperatures abroad. Invest in a range of waterproof goodies, guaranteed to last through the night. For eyes choose a stay-resistant inky black liquid liner and dramatising mascara. Choose a rosy pink cheek stain, to add warmth and colour to your complexion that has ultimate staying power. Finish off your night-time look, with a make-up setting spray.

Unfortunately for me I haven’t booked any exotic holidays this summer, but for you lucky lot jetting off somewhere fabulous remember to invest in a range of beauty saviours.