An Open Letter to Apprentices From Sally Brooks
Sally Brooks is passionate about changing the perception of hairdressing and educating people joining the industry, demonstrated in the release of The Journey to my Destination, the documentary she created with film-maker and barber Gabriel Maciuca. Here, she addresses the industry newcomers beginning their journey…
So, you are about to embark on the most magical journey of your life. You’ve chosen a career that has huge potential and opportunities. I started hairdressing when I was 21 and fell in love with it as soon as I picked up a pair of scissors. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, but I did know I had to watch everyone around me, soak up as much information as I could and volunteer for everything! I swept the floors, made the coffee, passed the grips; anything to be around the stylists and observe them at work.
The saying ‘you get out what you put in’ is never truer than with hairdressing – spend time in the back room and you’ll get overlooked for experiences. Show you’re interested and everyone will want to talk to you, show you the way and help you on your journey.
However, it isn’t easy. Standing on your feet, snatched sandwiches between clients and long days can be hard. Sweeping up, washing hair and sorting out the stock may be boring, but it’s essential to being a good hairdresser. And it won’t last forever; this is just the first rung of your career and the more you do now, will benefit you in the long run.
Whether you want to be a stylist in the salon, salon owner, educator or mentor, these first few years will set you up to be the best you can be. And will also give you a flavour of the different opportunities available to you as your progress. We’ve all been an assistant once, so don’t worry about making mistakes, asking questions, not liking colour, not liking cutting, loving blow drying or falling in love with hair ups.
Finding your niche will take time and there’s no need to rush. You have a whole lifetime in front of you. Once you’ve qualified the money and rewards will come, now, it’s important to build the foundations of your skills and knowledge, ask questions, be enthusiastic and stay out of the staffroom. Try new things, get them wrong but know that all of this is preparing you for a journey to a destination that can fulfil all your dreams.