Hi lovely readers,
We want to celebrate our fantastic Online Academy members so we’ve been asking them to tell us their stories. Everyone’s career path is different and we think sharing them is a brilliant way to provide fellow industry peers with a fantastic insight into the different journeys an H/MUA can take. It’s also a wonderful opportunity for you to take stock and see how far you’ve come!
Here’s our first Spotlight story, from Online Academy member Kim, who has an eye for creating stunning hairstyles.
Why and when did you decide to become a hairstylist and how did your journey begin?
I had always loved doing hair, ever since I can remember, for friends and family and I even worked in a local hairdressing salon as a summer job when I was 13 or 14… That early experience put me off turning my hand to pursuing a career in hairdressing, but yet it hadn’t quite killed my love for styling hair…
My real journey began many years later, a couple of years ago in fact, when I knew I wasn’t going to continue my career in banking after having my second child. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do when it was time for him to start school and the house would be empty after school drop-off. I had tried to be a full-time mum to my two little ones for a while but I kept feeling like I needed something else, for me, to keep my mind busy, but I could never quite figure out what that would or could be.
During a visit to my own hairdresser, we were having this exact conversation and she suggested up-styling – but I responded with: “I have had YEARS of university behind me and banking exams, it feels like my whole life has been spent studying and I can’t face the thought of going to college in the evenings to study for a hair qualification with students half my age! And, I don’t want to cut or colour hair either!” It was only then that she explained that bridal styling is completely self-taught and this opened up a whole new world to me! Online learning then became an obsession! I bought a mannequin, decided to give it a go, and here I am today!
Where did you learn hairstyling (what hairstyling courses, masterclasses, etc. have you done)?
All my learning is self-taught from watching online tutorials. I did a basic foundation online course with a local hairstylist (Olivia Muldoon) this year during lockdown, just to satisfy myself that I wasn’t missing anything obvious when it came to the basics of styling and after that I signed up to the KG Online Academy.
What do you think it takes to become an accomplished bridal hairstylist?
Practice, practice, practice. Lots of watching and learning. Learn from your mistakes and more practice! You need to have energy and passion to be able to push yourself and your business too. And it’s not about the money, you should love doing hair in your heart, and if you do, the rest will come.
How many weddings each year do you do?
Since lockdown was lifted in the UK in July this year, I have done 15 weddings. I had another 4 booked in over the next 4 weeks, which I had to cancel this week due to the new close-contact restrictions in place for Northern Ireland. I didn’t take on any bookings for November or December this year as my son and husband have their birthdays in November and it’s my birthday in December, along with what would have been lots of school plays, holiday, Christmas shopping and Christmas parties to go to… Maybe not any more! However, as things will be quieter this year it is nice to have a little down-time to focus on learning new styles and perfecting new techniques.
Oh, and I have also done a few photoshoots and collaborations this year too, with 5 different photographers and a variety of wedding suppliers, bridal boutiques, etc.
In 2021 I have 25 weddings booked in and don’t have room for many more!
Although I do love an elopement wedding – usually these are short notice and are mid-week – the bride is super-relaxed and chilled and the location is usually somewhere stunning on the north coast of Ireland. I can never say no to these ones!
What are your top 3 favourite hairstyles to do?
Hollywood waves, textured low buns and anything Kasia inspired!
What are you excited about in the next few years? Any exciting goals on the horizon?
This is a bit of a tough one; I’m at the point in life where I am trying to “wind down” and concentrate on being a mum, but I can’t help it, hair is my passion and I’m not sure if I will ever be able to “take it easy!” My day-to-day normal-life diary is pretty full for next year – we will be moving house at the end of March, with rebuilding and lots of interior decor on the horizon and I also need to try and make time to be there for the little ones too. My husband keeps reminding me that we agreed I would do hair if it was a part-time thing! It does take up more time than I could have ever imagined! One of the big things about the move is that I am really excited about creating a new and amazing space for my clients and my business!
I am also SUPER-excited about attending a Masterclass next year with Kasia that I won in the KG Online Academy 1st birthday competition and meeting the rest of the K-Team – seeing Kasia work her magic in person will be an AMAZING opportunity and experience!
What would be your top recommendation for someone who’s in the beginning stages of their journey as a bridal hairstylist?
Personally, for bridal styling, I feel you need to focus on your strengths and your natural style. Yes, do work on your weaknesses when it comes to techniques, but don’t force it when it comes to your style. If you have a natural flair for a certain look or style, concentrate on that and channel it. Be unique. Also, don’t ever be afraid to stop and say “this isn’t working” if you’re half-way through a style. That’s why it’s so important to know a variety of techniques to achieve the same end-result. Take it down, start again, breathe, and take your time.
Your favourite quote that inspire you?
I always say this to my kids: “If you never try, you’ll never know!“
What are the 3 hairstyling products that you can’t live without?