Cathy Davis

Allanah Avalon: Cathy Davys of Architectural Hair Education has had four decades of experience in Hair Design and has competed nationally and Internationally, including representing New Zealand in the World cup in Paris and London. Cathy has also won the Oceanic Masters. In 2018, she received was one of the highest within hairdressing; the IPSN – International Professional Standards Network award, for outstanding and significant contributions to the betterment of the Hair and Beauty industries.

Cathy’s achievements show an unrelenting drive for education and for improving oneself whether on the salon floor or on the world stage. Cathy stands by the phrase ‘knowledge is everything – you can never stop learning.’ The outstanding talents of Cathy Davys are well recognised by the hairdressing industry. She brings a passion to her craft that is truly inspirational, to not only hairdressers, but also her clients.

With such an illustrious career why are you starting Architectural Hair Education?

Architectural Hair Education has been born out of my desire to give back to other hairdressers, and to demonstrate to young hairdressers what this diverse and ever-changing industry can offer. 

My belief is that you must have a strong foundation as a starting point for all your work, no matter what the work, your continued growth will not stumble or fall over. Hair Design is Architecture – If the foundation is not strong the house falls over.

One of my educational programmes is called “Creative Intelligence” a two-day retreat. It has been designed to give Hairdressers the confidence to go on the floor earlier, to ignite passion again in those who may have taken a break from the journey, and to train the future stylists to Mastery.

Your programmes look interesting and some are in unusual locations, can you tell me why?

Recently my husband, Ron and I purchased a very large house in the Wairarapa. I was born and grew up in this particular region, so for me, this is both coming home and giving back to the community I came from. 

Ron is a builder but transforms to the chef on the occasion of my workshops. 

The house and gardens are exceptional, there is a sense of peace and tranquillity, but also a quite energy that absorbs all those who arrive there. I trailed two seminars here in 2018 and the response and growth from the students was amazing. The students weren’t distracted by salon noise and phones, they experienced peace and creative learning.

Architectural Hair Education
Architectural Hair Education

Tell me more about your programs and what inspired you to create them?

I have been in the hairdressing industry for a long time, and what I am seeing is that as a salon owner, you’re on the floor, bringing in the most income to pay everyone else. You have good intentions for training and mark out time. BUT come 9:00am training, your best salon guest walks in the door with a hair emergency. You take her, and your team is then left stranded.

NOW, if you had a team member that was your salon trainer this wouldn’t happen. I have designed the Train the Trainer programme specifically for Salon Owners, Educators, Managers and Artistic Directors. This is where I see a real need in our industry, you need to be well qualified, well presented and in an industry or position where you can articulate what value you add. 

Being up to date in an ever-changing environment is essential to becoming a $100,000 a year stylist. (There is a course on this too) Train the trainer is over 4 weekends, over 6 months. This is where the elected salon trainer can put into practice there learns, during the journey they will be mentored and coached.

This programme is being held in the Wairarapa and Auckland.

What could a potential trainer expect to learn on this course?

Personalising the way education is being delivered within your business is the key to controlling quality, a designed program will assist in standardising you’re training by providing structure and consistency.


•How to build and grow a strong team – Who’s on the bus

•How to plan training programmes for consistency

•How to develop the ideal assistant and why you need to

•How to develop the ideal stylist

•Transition from Assistant to Emerging Talent

•Mapping and charting progress

Soft skills

•How to look at the whole person within consultation


•Face shapes

•Understanding Balance and shape

How to coach and teach technical skills

•Precision cutting

•Razor work

•Dress out

•Styling/setting/directional blow waves

•Up styling casual to formal. The Art of pinning and back combing

•Trend Research

Business Skills

•How to lead and what to read

•How to build your brand

•How to coach and inspire your team

•The different styles of learning

•How to win and retain team members

•How to give feed-back. (The Breakfast of Champions)

On a more personal level how do you think your hairdressing has changed over the years?

It has improved, I don’t cut a perm guest in a pixie cut, and then try to perm it. That happened in my first year. No, seriously we evolve, and we are not the same person we were a year ago, 10 years ago or yesterday. 

We learn, it’s important to be able to look back at the end of each day and feel great about every guest that walked out. If one gives you a niggly feeling, ask why. I also believe it’s important to look back and forward and have your eyes wide open for what is changing, morphing, subtly in the fashion world. This keeps you current and continually investing in your own education to be the best.

What is your greatest strength as a Hairdresser and Educator?

I have a desire to help people be the best version of themselves, I see the potential in them, often they don’t see it in themselves. But I like to think if there is just one thing that I might say or do and suddenly the student has an ah ha moment when something clicks, my work is all worth it. 

With salon guests, I share what I am wanting to do and why. Sharing what face-shapes they have is a very powerful way of connecting. Your gaining their trust, with your touch and professionalism. Be excited you have another human being in your chair for 60 minutes. We are the psy-cosmetologists 

Last question, what have been some of the major highlights of your career?

There are so many, every day is one. The biggest thrill was wining the Nationals and Representing New Zealand in Paris. Walking out onto the stage under the New Zealand Banner with our trainer Peter Zidich and the team.

Opening my first salon and feeling overwhelmed that people were coming to my salon, I was almost on my knees kissing them. Watching the teams and people I have trained succeed is a huge moment. Having an amazing daughter and learning from her success and conversations. On my new journey, having my first class fully booked.

Wow what a career and it’s not over yet. This multi-talented lady will take you on an educational rollacoaster, from Bridal to Red Carpet, Precision Cutting, Razor Cutting, intriguing business tips, Cathy’s open honest approach to sharing her knowledge makes her a natural leader and educator. 

Check out Architectural Hair Education at for more on Cathy and her courses.