Advice to my Junior Self – Hairdressers Speak about Starting out in the Industry
Starting out in hairdressing can be tough. But being a junior is the step that all established and world renowned hairdressers took to forge the careers that they have today. As a junior you’re busy helping to keep the salon ticking along aiding your senior colleagues in creating looks for clients, waiting for your time to shine.
It can seem like a thankless task so we asked a few of our favourite hairdressers what advice they would give to themselves as a junior…
“I would definitely tell my younger self to pay less attention to what other people think about you, as long as you work hard and treat people with kindness you will go far. It is also important to keep your goals in mind and do your best to work towards them – but remember to have some fun whilst doing so! I have been guilty of working so hard and not allowing myself any down time or time to hang out with friends so I definitely think balance is the key to success for both your professional career and your personal life.”
Jay Birmingham, Owner of Jay Birmingham
I’d say to my younger self, learn about more than just hair, learn organisational skills, learn photography, fashion, technology, finance. You’ll need all these skills to get where your going.
Tom Connell artistic director at Trevor Sorbie
Hindsight is a wonderful thing and some advice I would gift my younger self or any young colourist/stylist.
• Be patient, good things come to those who wait.
• Don’t compare yourself to others, everyone has their own path.
• Be timely, show up early and be the last to leave …it doesn’t go unnoticed
• Make mistakes and don’t beat yourself up, learn from them.
• Be kind to everyone you meet, people talk in this industry!
• And lastly…Always make time for a glass of wine and a download with a friend…. it calms the mind!
Jason Hogan, associate colourist at Josh Wood
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That the creative process is hard, you start off thinking this will be amazing! Then it gets tricky and you think it’s rubbish. That makes you think you’re rubbish but if you work hard and stay focused, it will be amazing! Hard work, determination and focus WILL get you where you want to be, believe in yourself. Surround yourself with people who inspire you, support you and celebrate with when you achieve. Be a team player and be kind, that includes being kind to yourself. If you see it in your mind, you can create it.
Wear gloves and use hand cream, otherwise you’ll have hands 10 years older than the rest of you! Go out more after work, laugh and dance, also when I was really young I dropped Accountancy to be a hairdresser, everyone told me I was wrong. I thought then and I still think now it’s the best industry in the world. If I could go back, I’d tell myself to stop worrying, do it. That’d of saved me some sleepless nights.
Lyndsey Ford, IdHair educator
I was fortunate to follow the path that I believed was right for me and ended up becoming a hairdresser, but I was nineteen when I started out and lots of people thought I would be too old. I think it is important to follow your instinct and do what you feel is right, if I hadn’t done that all those years ago I’m not sure what I would have ended up doing. Also don’t be afraid to try things, you may end up creating something brilliant but you will never know if you don’t try.
Phillip Bell, artistic director at Ishoka
I’d tell my junior self not to be scared of trying different things, just give it a go anyway, you will learn! This is your chosen career not just a job, so embrace it and if you believe you will succeed. Everyone starts somewhere but it’s an incredible industry for sharing knowledge and the training on offer is phenomenal, so take every course available, network, and you’ll make some of the best friends of your life as well as building business you absolutely love.”
“Always be proud of who you are, and love what you’re doing. Be true to yourself and persevere, this will take you to the top. I absolutely love cutting hair, however I realised I also love teaching, nurturing and developing talent. So I decided to concentrate my efforts into building a business that could deliver this. So to my younger self I’d say, determination and perseverance are absolutely necessary for success. Always enjoy everyday of what your doing and always work with integrity.”
Janet Maitland of Janet Maitland Hair Excellence
“Just because you’re young doesn’t mean you don’t know what you want to do. I’ve always loved hairdressing, and I come from a long line of hairdressers. However you have to make a name for yourself. Believe in what you do, learn from those around you and do a proper apprenticeship, and then you’re allowed to break the rules. If you’re creative, let this side develop and enjoy the process as much as the finished product. In this life you’ll have more than one career, but they’ll all be in hairdressing.”
Gary Taylor of Edward & Co
Focus, listen, patience and don’t run before you can walk! The classics take time to master and are the essence and foundation of any inspirational hair images you see. Aim to be in the industry with longevity and skill, rather than as a ‘one hit wonder’ – it’s an amazing career choice with endless opportunities but you have to put the work in first.
Darren Ambrose, D&J Ambrose, Pinner
Right from the start, be clear on who you want to be or what you want to achieve in your career. I started at 13 years old and knew then that I wanted to learn everything I could – I was like a big sponge soaking it all up! I wasn’t bothered how many hours I needed to work each week in order to get the knowledge I needed – I used to do a lot of unpaid work in salons, just for the education and training it provided. Get involved in any competition work you can – it’s a great experience and helps improve your confidence. And don’t be afraid of asking questions or requesting help as it’s all part of the learning process.
Alan Simpson, managing director, Contemporary Salons group