Having opened his own salon at just 18, stylist Jamie Stevens has a truly enviable CV. Having scooped countless awards including ‘British Hairdresser Of The Year’ and ‘Men’s Hairdresser Of The Year’ 3 years running, Jamie hasn’t stopped there as he continues to work his magic as resident hairdresser on The X Factor, Gok’s Fashion Fix, This Morning and How To Look Good Naked, as well as working with celebrities including Stella McCartney, Elle Macpherson and Hugh Grant.
We caught up with Jamie to discover his best advice on becoming successful in the business of hairdressing.
When did you decide that becoming a stylist was going to be a full time profession?
My mum, grandmother and great-grandfather were all hairdressers, so you could say it ran in my blood! I started out following my father’s path as a professional footballer, but an early injury cut short my dreams of sporting glory. Hairdressing had always been an interest, so I decided to venture into it and haven’t looked back.
What is your first memory of appreciating / noticing really great hair?
I started helping out in the salon at 9 years old, eventually taking over at 19! One memory that stands out was when my mum was cutting a client’s hair who had been feeling quite down. Her new cut and colour transformed her confidence and made me realise just how powerful hair can be. How did you make the leap from stylist to handpicked stylist to celebrities, as well as working in TV? In 2009, after I’d won British Hairdressing Awards’ Men’s Hairdresser of the Year, Gok Wan’s agent got in touch. The hairdresser on his TV show was unavailable so I stepped in – everyone was happy with the results and it progressed from there. This Morning was a great grounding in live TV, whilst making over real women on How to Look Good Naked was extremely rewarding. We were able to boost someone’s confidence in a way they never felt possible. Working on The X Factor, coupled with winning more hairdressing awards and opening my London salon helped my profile grow to what it is today.
What is one thing you wish that you had been told before embarking on a professional career in hairdressing?
That it’s very hard work in the beginning, long hours and not great money. I didn’t realise it was so challenging but nothing comes straight away, it takes a lot of time, perseverance and dedication to perfect your brand. You need a balance between creativity and business – also clear goals to know how you are going to progress to the next step.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to stylists just starting out in the business of hair?
Set clear goals and discover what truly makes you happy, from working in the salon to joining a session agency or styling hair for TV, film or fashion. Work on your days off, research, and assist as many talented people as possible. Being kind, sincere and working with integrity goes a long way to helping you succeed in business.
How did you turn your hairdressing skill into a salon and of course into a fantastic brand?
The first salon I opened is based in Somerset, South West of England. In 2012 I opened a second salon in London. I have fantastic teams and love to spend time in both locations. It was during my time in the salon with clients that I did a lot of research into creating my own line, MR. Jamie Stevens haircare.
What is your career highlight to date?
There are so many to choose from! Opening my salons and being an ambassador for a global haircare brand score really highly. But most of all, being a multi-award winning men’s hairdresser, in the British Hairdressing Hall of Fame and having the opportunity to launch my own men’s product range, MR. Jamie Stevens into Boots last November was a dream come true. In particular, my MR. Disguise range has proven to be an incredibly powerful and simple way to boost the confidence of men affected by hair thinning and loss. It’s this transformative aspect of hairdressing which inspired me at the start of my career.
Where do you find inspiration to keep your hairdressing fresh and innovative?
I find inspiration in nature, animals, home, architecture & design. The texture and colour created by nature can be breathtaking. I also think that social media has progressed dramatically, there is so much content readily available that can inspire and teach.
How do you remain rooted to your profession as a hairdresser as your brand and status as a stylist rises?
The core of my brand has always been based on family and an incredible team who collectively keep us all driven and focused on the task at hand. We love what we do.
Who influences you to be a fantastic hairdresser and why?
It would have to be my Mum! I learnt everything from her. Also Vidal Sassoon, he revolutionised the hairdressing industry. I met him once and his dedication and passion to his career and brand has inspired me to work as hard as I can to create one as renowned as his.
What can we expect to see from Jamie Stevens and the Jamie Stevens Salon in 2016?
My London salon has just been refurbished, changing the interior to create a more modern welcoming space for both men and women. I’ve a huge vision for the future aiming to grow both my salon and product businesses. We’re forever working and building to create an empire, so watch this space!