Ruby Jo Lomax is the CEO of RJL Education. She started the training school with aims of providing a more accessible route into the hair and beauty industry by running fast-track courses to get students up and running. As a salon owner herself of Escape Hairdressing and Beauty for over 12 years, she knows a thing or two about how to succeed in a competitive space.
Not only do her courses equip students with all the technical knowledge they need to succeed in their chosen hair and beauty discipline, but she also teaches effective marketing & business strategy techniques to ensure students are as employable as possible – which really makes RJL Education a unique school for aspiring hair, beauty and aesthetics enthusiasts!
Ruby’s love of hairdressing started at school. In school she was offered the opportunity to attend Bolton College to start an NVQ Level 1 in Hairdressing in place of a GCSE; and she simply couldn’t wait. From there, Ruby started working in a salon as a ‘Saturday girl’ on weekends, where her love quickly spiralled into a self-professed obsession.
After leaving school, Ruby struggled to find an apprenticeship role, so headed back to Bolton College to start on her Level 2 in Hairdressing full-time – but didn’t find the experience as enjoyable as before. But then she saw an apprenticeship being advertised at her dream salon and – after two gruelling interviews – was offered the position. With only a year at college under her belt, Ruby had minimum colouring and cutting knowledge, so was offered the chance to repeat her Level 2 over two years in the apprenticeship. She accepted without hesitation.
“I knew being in a professional environment was better suited for me. I genuinely don’t think my skillset and confidence would be as strong as it is today without my supervisor’s careful guidance and direction.”
One year into her apprenticeship, Ruby was invited to a college awards ceremony, which she attended with her employer and mum in tow. The hairdressing category was announced but her name wasn’t called.
But then the last award of the night was read out – Apprentice of the Year 2007 – and Ruby’s name was called out of all apprenticeships in the college. As a prize, Ruby was gifted two pairs of Japanese steel hairdressing scissors, which she still uses to this day, and are a gentle reminder of all the hard work she put in all those years ago.
Everything got better from there. Ruby started to enter WELL Trend Vision competitions and was a finalist twice, as well as being regularly featured in The Bolton News and local magazines for her creative hairdressing.
At the age of 22, Ruby felt like it was time for a new challenge. And so her first business was born: Escape Hairdressing and Beauty. This venture started as a partnership with another hairdresser with more experience on the business side of things. This, combined with Ruby’s extensive skill and knowledge, made for a strong partnership. After parting ways, Ruby continued to run the business on her own, increasing staff, giving the salon and makeover, and doubling turnover within the first year.
Ruby has owned Escape for 12 years now, which sees it running more successfully than ever, to which she credits the strong rapport she builds with customers.
Once the salon was stable with stylist and client numbers, Ruby began to look for her next challenge… Teaching. Ruby wanted to give others the same education she had received during her apprenticeship, and the first step was to enrol at The University of Bolton to complete a certificate in education part-time, alongside running her hairdressing business. After a lot of late nights and tears along the way, Ruby graduated with a Distinction.
The first phase of RJL Education began with private education around the North West. Ruby would go into salons and start by assessing the ability of the stylists, track their progress, and work to improve areas they weren’t confident in. In many cases, this involved taking the stylists back to basics and rebuilding the knowledge from their NVQ Level 2 and 3 Hairdressing qualification.
It was here that Ruby started to realise that so many stylists were lacking strong skills, and the vision for RJL Education began.
Female Entrepreneur of the Year 2023 – Bolton Women in Business Awards 2023
Women in leadership 2023 – She Inspires Nov 2023
Fashion, Hair & Beauty – She Inspires Nov 2023
Beauty Training Academy of the Year – January 2024