A little while ago I was lucky enough to be asked to help judge the British Hairdressing Awards. Not only was this a complete honour, but also incredibly exciting and humbling – the talent of hairdresses throughout this fine country is pretty incredible and astonishing. There are lots of categories and accolades up for grabs, but the big one is British Hairdresser of the Year. I’ve been given access to all the nominees, so in the run up to the ceremony next week I’m going to be bringing you an interview with all seven of the hairdressers up for the award. Here’s the very first one for you to enjoy: Jamie Stevens.
Tell me a little about yourself…
Following in my Mum’s footsteps, I’ve been hairdressing since my teens. I opened my own salon in Somerset when I was 18 years old, where I’m originally from. I actually started out going into professional football, taking after my Dad, but an injury stopped me from progressing in this direction any further and I naturally veered into hairdressing. Now at 31 years old, I still own the same salon in Somerset, but I recently opened my first salon in London’s Kensington.
How many times have you been nominated for British Hairdresser of the Year and what does it mean to you to be a finalist?
This is actually the first year that I’ve been nominated and it means absolutely everything! It’s been my dream to win this award since I started hairdressing, and so just to be nominated has brought me one step closer to this, my ultimate goal. It would be a validation of all the hard work I’ve put into hairdressing over the years and I’d be delighted to be an ambassador for British hairdressing over the next year, should I win. It would be incredible to be on the history books as one of the youngest ever winners, if not the youngest, and to see my name on the trophy with all the greats before me.
What do you love most about hairdressing?
Ultimately, it’s the power of being able to make someone feel totally amazing about themselves after just one visit to the salon. They could be having the worst day or time in their lives, so to be able to give someone more confidence and positivity about themselves with a cut or a colour is just magical. On another level, I love the diversity and variety it brings. One day I’m in the salon cutting hair, the next I could be on a photo-shoot or speaking to press and another having business meetings. I can honestly say I really do love my job!
Why do you think awards like this are so important for the industry?
important because they set a benchmark for quality within the industry
and give you a goal to aspire to. On a business level, winning awards
such as these can help attract high calibre staff, keep clients excited
to maintain a loyal customer base, as well as helping you to gain new clients if
you leverage award wins in your marketing strategy.
What are the things about hairdressing that most allow you to be creative?
I think this is all down to the individual. You really can be however creative you want to be, depending on how much work you’re prepared to put in, your commitment to your craft and your confidence in your work. There really are no limits when it comes to hairdressing and creativity.
What are your aspirations for the next 5-10 years?
To be as successful as I can be! Aside from wanting to win British Hairdresser of the Year which is a big aspiration in itself, I’d love to see my existing salons get more and more successful, my salon teams grow and to open more salons. I love education and so there is potential to expand in that area, as I’m often requested to do shows and seminars here in the UK and abroad. As we’re renowned for men’s hairdressing and because of the growing potential of this market, I’m interested in potentially opening a men’s salon.
What are your favourite products to use and why?
Matrix Design Pulse Loosely Defined is a big favourite of mine – a texture cream that works for just about any hairstyle. I’m also loving Matrix Design Pulse Surround Shine. It’s a really light aerosol shine spray, which provides a lovely even distribution when applied and fabulous shine for a camera ready look. The Get Action Spray Wax from the same range is a really handy product too, not heavy at all and works into the hair really well.
What are your latest collections inspired by and how do you develop them creatively?
As I cover all areas of hairdressing, I really wanted my collection to encapsulate my versatility – from more commercial, editorial looks to strong cuts and directional work. I love hairdressing that has a slightly androgynous feel to it, without being too hard, and so here I mixed hard lines with soft, incorporating texture in short and long styles. In developing the work I do, I usually start with the catwalk and upcoming trends, look at what’s happening on the street and blend the two to come up with something new.
Why are you different from other hairdressers?
When you think of some hairdressers, you automatically equate them with a certain style or look, be it a strong cut, or wearable, commercial hair. I’d like to think that because I cover all aspects of hairdressing to a high level, from cuts and styling, women’s to men’s and even afro hair, that I’m unique in being able to do it all!
Stay tuned for more nominees in the coming dayss and check out Jamie’s salon here: www.hairbyjamiestevens.co.uk