Tom Smith
August 8, 2022

1.    What has been your proudest career moment?

I take pride in the accomplishment of every project I am part of (whether it is achieving hair goals with my clients, presenting the latest hair trends or helping brands to develop new products) but a moment that stands out was the launch of Olaplex to the UK market in 2015. Being able to authentically speak to such incredible, innovative science at various events, whilst having the awareness that I was part of making ‘cosmetic-science history’ was a very special time.

2.    Who has been/is your biggest mentor?

I have recently had the privilege of working with Amanda Harrington (who, by the way, makes the best self tanning products you will ever use!) and am so inspired by her incredible balance of creativity, business sense and kindness.

3.    What’s the most valuable piece of advice you have ever received?

“Say yes until you have to say no.” This is something I was told by Billi Currie, the owner of the Chiltern Street salon I have worked at for the last 11 years.  I always remember and share it with anyone who’s unsure about a situation they find themselves in. When opportunities come your way it can be easy to fill your head with ‘what if’s’ and turn those opportunities down.  It is all about self belief and like any journey you can learn so much along the way.  This to me is the key to success, learning and growing as you develop and build your career. 

4.    Which training body would you recommend for someone wanting to enter your area of the industry?

I started my career with an apprenticeship at Vidal Sassoon, which internationally is known to have the gold standard of hairdressing education. I am so grateful to have had the foundations from Sassoon where learning to work with the natural shape and form of hair is the core, but since then I have been fortunate to learn from so many other independent education providers who are taking a really innovative approach. After getting your foundation education as a new hairstylist, it’s so important to seek out further education in areas that excite you to really develop and mature your knowledge. Thanks to social media we’re no longer limited by geography and there are some fantastic online (as well as in person) courses available internationally from some incredible individuals. Check out ‘Human Kind Hair’, ‘Debbie G Training’, and ‘Edwards & Co’.

5.    How do you make sure you stand out from the crowd e.g. up-skilling, research, social media?

Something I’ve always been extremely passionate about is taking a totally holistic approach to my work - I want to know how every step works and be across as many facets of each project as possible. In the salon I’m performing not just cutting and colouring services for my clients, but specialising in texture services, extensions, and event hair to give the best, most cohesive results possible. In my brand consultancy work I am part of NPD teams working from conception right through to market launch and educational support for the consumers. 

In addition, through my social media accounts and in the press I contribute in a totally transparent and ‘no-nonsense’ way with view to spreading the truth and cutting through the marketing ‘BS’ we are often bombarded with. I like to empower consumers with the facts. I think that is really important as there is so much miss-information circulating.

6.    If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting their own business, what would it be?

Stay true to your moral compass. Set yourself four ‘pillars’ that are your core values and check every business decision you make against those values. This works towards keeping your brand messaging consistent and will keep you on the right track by retaining mindfulness of the bigger picture.

7.    What’s the best and hardest thing about your job?

The best thing about my job is the variety I get to experience. I am so fortunate to wear many hats and feel just as fulfilled when I am one-on-one with a client in my chair as I am travelling to present to an audience of 500 about a new product launch as I am testing something in the lab or teaching my team! I love having all these different sides to my career. 

The hardest part is all the patience that is required as so many projects are years in the making behind the scenes!

8.    How do you switch off after a difficult day?

My mood is extremely influenced by scent and so something as simple as lighting a scented candle and having a few quiet moments to reflect and decompress after an intense day is extremely effective in bringing me into a calmer state. Right now ‘Big Sur After Rain’ by DS&DURGA is the fresh, clean yet earthy aroma that brings me peace while encouraging creativity. If that fails then a big glass of wine and a few episodes of The Real Housewives usually does the trick!

9.    Desert island 3 course meal?

A really good, spicy Bloody Mary and a steak tartare to start, 

Charred Salmon and Broccolini Gnocci (the one my boyfriend makes) for my main, with an ice cold glass of Pommery, and to finish, a Lemon Merinque Pie if the Island is sunny or a Sticky Toffee Pudding if it’s cold!

10.  Which 5 people (dead or alive) would you have at your dinner party?

Stephen Hawking

Lady Gaga

Eckhart Tolle

Ben Gorham 

Jane Fonda



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