With a glittering career in the luxury hospitality industry, MBA alumnus Roz Colthart’s CV reads like a list of dream jobs. From private islands to floating residences, Roz’s career has taken her to some extraordinary places. Her current role is no exception. As the rest of us shelter under umbrellas, Roz spends the winter months in the Maldives working for a leading sustainable luxury resort. But rather than rest and enjoy paradise, Roz embraced her gift for innovation and launched Salon Studios which she manages from afar. Keep reading to learn more about this and how Roz put the distance into distance learner!

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Enjoy the journey, see who you meet on the way and where it takes you, and don’t try to plan too much – as the saying goes ‘life is what happens when you are busy making other plans!’

Roz Colthart

Master of Business Administration, 2017

A native of Edinburgh, Roz Colthart left the city aged 18 to work at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Through hard work and serendipitous opportunities, Roz made her dreams come true. From Richard Branson’s Necker Island, Malmaison Boutique Hotels to the floating residential ship, The World, Roz has worked for the crème de la crème of luxury hospitality companies. She has also founded two companies - Black Essentials, an online fashion retailer, and Salon Studios (more about that later!).  

Roz Colthart studying at an airportA big believer in ongoing learning, Roz was 37 when she decided to study for an MBA through online learning at Edinburgh Napier. She was working on the residential cruise ship, The World, at the time and really put the distance into distance learner by studying across continents, at airports, on planes and across many time zones! There were some late nights and even more early mornings, but this flexible method of learning was ideal for Roz.

Currently, Roz spends the winter months in the Maldives working at Soneva - a leading sustainable luxury resort based on the island. Combining her passion for hospitality and real estate, she sells Soneva-branded residences to sustainable-conscious consumers. Roz happened across the vacancy while studying for her MBA at Edinburgh Napier. Downing tools for the day, she opened up LinkedIn and at the top of her feed was the job vacancy. Two weeks later she was in the Maldives being interviewed.  

While on the final stretch of her studies, Roz was taking some time out in the USA to complete her dissertation and went for a haircut. The hairdresser she chose worked within a salon-suite model. The concept is a re-invention of traditional salon ownership, providing self-contained, separately ventilated, move-in ready salons, for self-employed salon professionals who would like to provide a one-to-one service for clients. 

Being able to help other people take control of their own lives and follow their dreams of starting their own business was music to Roz’s ears. Nobody had launched this model in the UK before and as the number of self-employed salon professionals in the UK is growing each year, Roz immediately saw an opportunity and decided there and then to bring the concept this side of the pond.

Voila! Salon Studios was born.  

The first of its kind in the UK, Salon Studios is headquartered in Corstorphine, Edinburgh. The first salonpreneur to make the leap to her own salon had just been made redundant and was looking for her next move. She joined Salon Studios with 2 clients and within 6 months she had built a client base of 300.

To be told that you have contributed to someone’s dream and that they ‘couldn’t have done it without you’ is why I started this business – to make it easy for people to follow their dreams.

But the innovative streak doesn’t stop there.  

In a bid to support the growing number of self-employed salonpreneurs in the UK and globally through lockdown and to build a community where people in similar positions could connect, Roz launched the Salonpreneur®.  

The Salonpreneur is an online platform which offers a variety of free resources including social media checklists, CANVA templates, consultation forms, marketing and business plans and more.  

More elements, such as podcasts, a magazine and ultimately awards, will be added to the Salonpreneur catalogue in the future to prevent self-employed professionals from missing out on the teamwork, camaraderie and support network that life in a traditional salon brings. 

Because of her endeavours to support her business community during Covid-19, Roz Colthart has been recognised as a GREAT Inspiration. A UK-Government backed initiative, this movement celebrates UK businesses, organisations and individuals which have done extraordinary things during the pandemic.

Well done, Roz!

Salon Studios

To learn more about Salon Studios and Salonpreneur, visit their website or social media pages 
Salon Studios



If you’ve got an idea for a business, check out Bright Red Triangle, the University’s hub for innovation and enterprise. They have a range of resources available to support the development of entrepreneurial thinking and action including ideation, prototyping, problem-solving, business start-up activities, and business growth.
Published August 2020