Could you Live your Best Life as a Wella Freelancer?
Wella Professionals global creative artist Jayson Gray reveals how he became a Wella freelancer colourist and educator and shares his typical weekly routine
How it all began
I started my hairdressing career in 1989. I took a trainee position with Robert Fielding, and I was soon styling Afro hair. After a brief stint at Robert Fielding, I decided to move to the Steiner salon group, as I believed a cruise ship would be the most ‘glamorous’ way to proceed with my career.
I never planned on becoming a hairdresser as I’d always wanted to be a chef. I ventured into hair by chance as I was regularly walking past the Toni & Guy salon on the King’s Road in Chelsea. I was drawn in by the powerful imagery in the front windows, but I had no idea I would spend most of my career with the brand (25 years in total).
The career journey
I decided to apply for a position at Toni & Guy. I took the Trade Test for a stylist position and the woman who interviewed me later became a woman I have the utmost respect for – Brenda Mail.
She saw something in me and encouraged me to go into colouring as Toni & Guy was looking for new blood, so I went for it. It’s the best decision I ever made. I owe that woman so much and she looked out for me, the whole time I was there.
During my time at Toni & Guy, I went from an assistant position to international technical creative director. The role allowed me to educate people around the world. I co-created and directed shoots,step-by step videos, wrote scripts, and named collections for the brand and I was proud to have my images in the front of store windows.
After 25 years of being part of the Toni & Guy team I decided to fly the nest and branch out on my own. Creating a digital platform had been floating around in my thoughts for some time, and it was starting to consume me so I had to go it alone and create KARBON KYD. The digital age, and the rise of influencers showed me freelancing was the way forward for me.
A typical week as a Wella freelancer
My weeks give me the complete freedom to work with who I love. A typical week in the life of KARBON KYD and as a Wella freelancer has been fast and furious, which is just the way I like it.
I’m on the road a lot with my brand and with the fabulous Wella Professionals team as a Wella freelancer. I’ve helped with global shows, including the much-coveted International TrendVision Award. I’ve just returned from Malta, Frankfurt and Dublin where myself and my ‘KYDZ’ have been working on various formats of the Wella TrendVision awards.
I’ve also been running ‘A Masterclass in Colour’ for Wella Professionals in Manchester, Scotland and London. Plus, I’ve been working on the mentorship programme, which the winners of each round of the TrendVision Award competition receive as a prize. It’s a really cool project that has been running for around five years. I’m very humbled to have been involved from the start. Wella Professionals is like my god parent and I’m very honoured to be part of such an amazing family.
As well as all of this, I’m still running three columns of clients a week, in two different ‘pop-up locations’ as I like to call them.
I’m working in south east London in an amazing space called Cahoonas, as well as my main residency in Soho at the very cool Billy & Bo. Both spaces have a great energy and my client base is spilt between the two, so I love the variety of my week.
HJ’s Freelance Week is sponsored by Wella Professionals