Ashley Gamble started his career as a young stylist in Wolverhampton, but with determination and ambition, he has grown in to one of the industry's most renowned stylists.
Here Ashley tells us his story...
My career started at a salon in Wolverhampton, and it was while I was there that I discovered the wealth of opportunities within hairdressing. I joined the Fellowship for British Hairdressing and applied, auditioned for, and finally secured a place on the F.A.M.E. Team. This was, and remains, a huge platform for emerging hairdressing talent and it really opened my eyes to the opportunities available to me – things like shows, shoots and education.
I quickly realised that photographic work was my passion, and went on to win numerous awards for my shoots – but also started to connect the dots between ‘extra curricular’ work and what I was doing in the salon. I think getting a balance of the two is essential, and they both feed each other in terms of inspiration, techniques and products. Today I still do both, and consider them to be equally important skill sets – I couldn’t do one without the other. I’m proud to have finalised numerous times at HJ’s British Hairdressing Awards, both as Schwarzkopf Professional British Colour Technician of the Year alongside my partner Stephanie, and as Midlands Hairdresser of the Year – with more than ten finalist titles in total. I’ve also finalised for other key industry awards including Creative Head’s Most Wanted and the Behind the Chair Big Shot awards. Entering competitions like this is so important for understanding your own personal aesthetic, honing your creative skills and building a profile, both at home and internationally.
About five years ago I opened my own salon in a beautiful Shropshire village, and having my own creative base has been essential for growing both my business skills and presence in the industry. We work with Schwarzkpof Professional and I was delighted to be chosen as one of the members of their first #SKPCollective – a program of digital influencers that worked closely with the brand on new launches and content creation. It really taught me a lot about working with brands, and the further possibilities available within the industry.
After a year on the team, this year I moved to education within Schwarzkopf – something which has always been a passion of mine, thanks to the amazing education that I received over the years. Using the skills I learnt on the #SKPCollective, I came up with a course that’s all about social media styling – creating quick, fun, fresh, trend-led looks that clients love and which look great on your salon’s profile. It’s a new approach to education and one that I’m excited to be a part of.
For other stylists who want to grow their work with brands, I really recommend putting yourself out there with education and engagement. Attend courses to level up your skills, and use them on those courses to network with key players from the brand. You should also see them as a great opportunity for content creation, with short videos and photos to share on social media. Engaging with the brands you love online is a great way to get on their radar, particularly if you’re creating brilliant work and images that they can share.