Hairdressing Careers – The Social Media Start-Up Stephen Hopper
Stephen Hopper was a graphic designer before he took a job at a hair salon. After realising there was a niche in the market for a hair extension specialist salon, he opened his own business a year ago and is successfully using social media to promote it.
What was your route into hair?
I was originally a graphic designer in Newcastle, and I was lucky enough to work in Ibiza during the summer. After my final season, I moved back to my home town and took a job in a hair extension salon as a salon manager and I trained in hair extensions. I was there for about six months before the owners decided to close the salon. I spotted there was a niche in the market in my area for hair extensions with only one salon offering pre-bonded extensions and none offering ring methods, so I decided to go it alone and start my own business.
Can you tell us about your present role?
I’ve had my business for almost four years, and it was my salon’s first birthday in December. We are a private hair extensions salon on one floor offering a one-to-one service. I recently expanded to include treatment rooms upstairs that feature a number of other beauty industry specialists from nails to massage.
What are the pros and cons of your role?
I adore my job because I get to meet so many people from all different walks of life, yet I can still bring through my creativity. I’m a bit of a control freak and see the business as my baby so I do find it difficult to let anyone do anything that I could do myself but I’m learning slowly.
What are your tips for building a brand?
I believe in keeping everything on brand. My design background helps with that. I believe having a strong brand vision and being consistent with it is important as it helps you to be recognised online and offline.
What challenges have you faced in your career so far and how did you overcome them?
As much as I love social media and I run my whole business through it, it can be quite a dark place to be. It can most definitely be a struggle not to compare your work with your peers and question if you are good enough. I like to set myself personal goals every few months and then I reflect on them to see how far I’ve come on my journey.
What are your tips for someone that aspires to have a career like yours?
Be prepared to work very long hours and make some tough sacrifices. If you want to have a successful business, you have to be prepared to work hard, put the time in and make it your priority.
What is your favourite account to follow on Instagram?
I love @NotAnotherSalon and Sophia Hilton’s view on the industry is really refreshing to me. I was lucky enough to attend the Not Another Social Media course earlier this year, which was fantastic.
What is the signature look you like to create?
Waves all day every day.
What are the go-to products in your kitbag?
I love the Hot Tools Curl Bar at the moment with the interchangeable heads as it is so versatile and the timer setting is a godsend. Maria Nila products are flying off our retail shelves – they are 100% vegan, cruelty free and smell divine!
What’s next for you and your career?
There are some exciting things in the pipeline over the next year which I can’t wait for! Follow @hairessmaneson Instagram if you’d like to find out more.
This article was originally published in the February 2019 issue of Hairdressers Journal