Case Study

Savvy & Shine Eco-Friendly Hair

In today’s world, where sustainability and ethical practices are becoming increasingly important, it is refreshing to see businesses that prioritise these values. One such business is Savvy & Shine, a haircare distributor based in Antrim Enterprise, led by the passionate and dedicated Joanna Maxwell. With over 25 years of experience in the industry, Joanna’s journey from working in hair salons to becoming a technical consultant for L’OrĂ©al to launching her own business is a testament to her expertise and commitment to providing the best in eco-friendly and sustainable haircare.

Savvy & Shine was established in 2010 with the aim of bringing eco-friendly and sustainable brands to like-minded salon owners across the UK and Ireland. Joanna and her husband, Tom Maxwell, recognized the need for a more personable approach to haircare distribution, where salons of all sizes could access high-quality products without feeling penalized for not buying in bulk. This inclusive philosophy sets Savvy & Shine apart from the competition and creates a welcoming environment for salon owners who may be hesitant to reach out to larger companies. Savvy & Shine currently hold brands such as Eva Professional, Evo & Cloud Nine and are exclusive suppliers with most of them across the Island of Ireland and (in some cases) the whole of the UK.

What sets Savvy & Shine apart is not just its commitment to sustainability and ethical practices but also the thorough research undertaken to ensure that the brands they supply are certifiably cruelty-free and eco-friendly. In a market where loopholes still exist, Joanna and her team diligently vet every ingredient used in the products they carry, ensuring that customers can trust the brands they purchase from Savvy & Shine.

The success of Savvy & Shine can be attributed not only to its commitment to sustainability but also to its dedication to education. In 2018, Joanna and her team launched a training academy to educate people on their products and raise awareness about sustainable and cruelty-free alternatives in the industry. By prioritizing education, Savvy & Shine has been able to connect with businesses that share their values, leading to strong partnerships and further growth opportunities. Joanna is also a representative for a couple of the brands that Savvy & Shine supply allowing her the opportunity to travel the globe to educate and present the products they hold in high esteem.

Growing up in a family run business, Joanna understands how important it is to build a strong network of support and guidance. Particularly in Northern Ireland, where personal connections play a vital role, Joanna attributes her network of support as being crucial to the success and longevity of Savvy & Shine. The aid from fellow business owners in Antrim Enterprise and other industry professionals has been invaluable, fostering a sense of community and mutual support. Along with the business support offered by Antrim Enterprise, Joanna also seeks guidance from organisations like Invest NI and Action Coach when in need of advice or contacts.

Of course, running a business comes with its challenges, and Joanna has learned valuable lessons along the way. One key lesson she emphasizes is the need to set boundaries by saying no when an opportunity is not appropriate for her or her business. Another she has learned is the importance in prioritising and delegating tasks. She has found this lesson vital to avoid burnout and ensure the business runs smoothly.

Taking care of one’s health and well-being is also essential, as Joanna discovered firsthand. Recognizing the importance of self-care, she now prioritizes rest and relaxation, knowing that a healthy and balanced owner leads to a healthy and thriving business. She’s definitely not adverse to the occasional spa day.

Looking to the future, Joanna envisions continued growth for Savvy & Shine. With plans to expand the team and increase brand awareness, she aims to establish an in-house marketing department to further scale the business. Staying true to their conviction on sustainability, Savvy & Shine are in the process of switching out their traditional vans with fully electric ones and looking to partner with TreeApp to plant trees across the world and offset their carbon footprint. By continuing to adhere to their values and delivering exceptional service, Savvy & Shine is poised to become a leader in the eco-friendly haircare industry.

Joanna Maxwell and her team at Savvy & Shine are shining examples of how businesses can prioritize sustainability, ethics, and education while achieving remarkable success. Their commitment to providing eco-friendly and sustainable products, along with their dedication to customer education, sets them apart in the industry. Savvy & Shine’s journey is a testament to the power of passion, hard work, and a genuine desire to make a positive impact. As the haircare industry continues to evolve, businesses like Savvy & Shine will undoubtedly play a crucial role in shaping a more sustainable and ethical future.

Joanna Maxwell

Some of the support Savvy & Shine utilised during their entrepreneurial journey via Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council


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