Andrew Smith: Only 3 Years in the Making!
As 2019 draws to a close, we asked some of our members what were the highlights of their year. Many have achieved more in the last 12 months than they ever imagined like member, Andrew Smith who was named Southern Hairdresser of the Year at the British Hairdressing Awards. Here he shares his thoughts on one of his best years on record!
Andrew, 2019 what a year! How are you feeling as we end the year!
It's incredible isn't it! I'm an ambitious person and always have goals and dreams, but never, ever would I have expected that 2019 was going to be the year that I fulfilled so many of them. I'm still in shock, so excited and so unbelievably thankful to everyone who has been involved on this amazing journey!
What were your goals at the beginning of 2019?
Obviously creating an awesome collection was on my agenda with the hope that it was considered good enough to reach the finals of the British Hairdressing Awards. My strategy at the beginning of this year was no different to any other year, it's quite basic - work hard, remain focussed, give myself enough time to think creatively, and surround myself with good people and organisations who support me in reaching my goals. Good Salon Guide is most definitely included in this list!
You're a salon owner, a stylist, an educator and a brand ambassador - how do you find the time to achieve so much?
I'm very fortunate to have three brilliant salon managers who relieve so much pressure from running the salons. I leave them to manage the teams and take all the day to day responsibility of running the salons away - they're amazing and I'm sure do a much better job at this than I would these days. Working a regular column is, I believe, critical to my success - it keeps everything real, certainly helps me relate to the students that attend my education courses. My regular clients keep me grounded and are fun to be around. At the end of the day, the salon floor is where so much of the magic happens. Creating collections is a passion, I'm obsessed with this and really don't see it as work. I revel in every opportunity and I just find the time to fit it into my schedule. I'm always thinking of new ideas and looking for new inspiration – it’s part of my DNA and comes naturally.
What have been the highlights of 2019?
Where do I begin? The BIG one... the absolute dream come true has got to be when I was named as Southern Hairdresser Of The Year at the British Hairdressing Awards. That still surreal moment at The Grosvenor House Hotel, Mayfair amongst the industry's most renowned hairdressers - and my name was read out. It is something that will stay with me for a lifetime. Such a special moment I have dreamed of my entire career. Being named as Hair Awards Men's Hairdresser was amazing, as it was my first national title. Representing the UK for milk_shake at their 20th year Anniversary Global Celebrations was a huge honour - even better, it involved a wonderful five-day experience on board a wonderful cruise liner that travelled around the med!
You have been a member of Good Salon Guide for some time, how do you feel it benefits your business and your personal profile?
Oh wow... I'm a huge fan of Good Salon Guide - it has commercial value and has really driven so many new clients through our salon doors. When customers are considering a new salon they love that seal of approval that our Five Star Good Salon Guide rating brings. Plus we are the only salon in Hampshire to have every hair accreditation that the Good Salon Guide offers, literally every one - Five Stars, Colour Expert, Barber, Extensions Artist and Blow-dry Bar!! I've also personally had my collections featured in the magazine and was given the opportunity to represent Good Salon Guide at Colour World earlier in the year. These sorts of opportunities certainly help to raise my profile in the industry.
What’s your advice to up-coming stylists who wish to enter competitions and raise their profile?
Make sure you have an excellent and up to date online profile - Instagram and my website are critical when it comes to entering competitions and raising my profile. Dream and believe that with passion, dedication, support from the right people and organisations, and a clear strategy, you can achieve your goals. I began this journey less than three years ago and I would never have thought that within such a short space of time I could achieve so much. In order to take your career to the next level you need to leave yourself the time to think creatively, plan strategically and manage your time accordingly. You should never think that you know it all - remember that there are specialists in every field and by taking their advice you will elevate your business.
What's next for you?
Haha - there is so much on my to-do list!!! I'm still at the very beginning of this journey so watch this space!
Any special mentions?
Yes please! milk_shake - thank you for the opportunities! Enormous thank you to my salon managers and team, to Wonderful Life who supply us with the products, to The Fellowship of British Hairdressing, to the creative teams involved in my collections, to photographer Richard Miles, and of course, to my amazing partner Dan who is my biggest supporter.