2014 is Mark Leeson’s 30th anniversary in hairdressing, during which time he has finalised for 32 British Hairdressing Awards and won an incredible 14, as well as numerous other high profile titles. Mark won this British Hairdresser of the Year at this years awards, one of the most glitzy events in the hairdressing calendar! We caught up with Mark to find out what winning this prestigious award meant to him..
1. Firstly a massive congratulations on winning this year’s Hairdresser of the Year! What does this achievement mean to you?
It means absolutely everything. This has been my dream since I started hairdressing 30 years ago, and for it to become a reality is hard to comprehend. The week I started hairdressing Trevor Sorbie won the first British Hairdresser of the Year award, and I just remember thinking to myself that one day I wanted to win that title. Now it’s happened and it feels quite remarkable, but it has not been without a huge amount of hard work and time.
2. You must have had your fair share of celebrity clients, who was your favourite to work with and why?
I’m actually not a big celebrity hairdresser at all. I’ve worked with a few celebrities over the years, but generally I work with a lot of regular women and spend a lot of time training my team and educating them to be the best they possibly can. However a few weeks ago I worked with Valerie Campbell, Naomi’s mother, who was delightful and genuinely lovely person. It was for a magazine shoot and I really enjoyed our time together.
3. How do you deal with a client who’s insisting on a style which you know won’t work on them?
I always manage expectations, and if someone really wants a particular style or colour I can only advise them on what they believe to be right for them – if they really don’t listen then I accept that. I’m lucky that most of my clients have been with me for many years and we’ve been on a long journey to create the hair they’ve always wanted. Sometimes people don’t realise that their cut or colour isn’t right for them until they look back at it. How many times have you looked back at old pictures and thought how shocking a cut or colour was on you, and at the time thought it was great!
4. Clients say the funniest things; what’s the funniest thing a client has ever said to you?
Well this didn’t actually happen to me, but it was one of my team and I still laugh about it now. His client sat in the styling chair and took out a picture of their pet poodle and asked for a cut that looked just like their dog! Can you imagine?
5. Where do you go for inspiration, to make sure you’re always on top of the latest trends?
Fashion is probably my biggest source of inspiration and what’s happening on the runways is always interesting to use as a starting point for my collections. The young hairdressers who work in our salons never fail to inspire me; they are so imaginative and creative. I’m also greatly inspired by other talents in our industry. I’m fortunate enough to get to judge a lot of hair competitions and it’s always great to see the kind of work that’s coming through.
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