Creative Genius, Jason Hall
Jason Hall is the creative genius behind uber salon, Jason Hall Hairdressing in Edinburgh.
As a multi award-winning artist, Jason’s work has appeared on numerous magazine covers and catwalk runways. Here, we probe Jason on his expansive career and find out some of the secrets to his success.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background
I grew up on a council estate in Edinburgh, Scotland. I have one brother and two sisters who are all older than me. I wasn’t the academic and never really enjoyed it. The main things in my life growing up were football, music and my mates. I’ve been married to my lovely wife Jayne for over 20 years and have two sons, Jak and Josef. One of my sons, Jak, is a newly qualified stylist in my salon.
What made you choose hairdressing as a career, and how did your journey into this industry begin?
To be honest it sort of just happened. I needed a job and the hairdresser that cut my family’s hair suggested I apply for an apprenticeship in a salon he knew in the centre of Edinburgh. I phoned, got an interview and started a few days later, the rest as they say is history.
When did you open your salon, and how long was it until your dream became a reality?
I opened my current salon in 1994. It took me about five years to get the salon team that I wanted and since then we have only ever recruited apprentices and helped them work their way up the hairdressing ladder. This ensures that we all have the same outlook and principles towards the salon and hairdressing in general. I think continuity and consistency are the keys to making most things successful.
What inspired you to become a salon owner?
Again, it just happened it was never a master plan it just seemed like a natural progression. I still never think of it as my salon, I think it’s the whole team’s salon that just happens to have my name above the door.
How important is your salon team, and what advice can you give on picking the right team members for your salon and maintaining harmony?
My team is critical to the success of the salon. The whole team is home grown - they’ve all started with us as apprentices and worked their way up the ladder. Each team members’ situation is different and unique, and I try to treat them individually. If a team member asks me for a favour, I try everything in my power to do it - sometimes this is to the detriment of the salon short term - but your understanding and loyalty to the team member is normally repaid tenfold.
What's your favourite hair colour to create?
I still do colour on my regular clients, but it’s all quite standard. When it comes to shows and shoots, I have a team of colour specialists that I share my colour ideas with and let them get on with the technical side of it. Their knowledge, technique and passion for colour is far greater than mine.
Have you experienced any failures in your journey and how did you overcome them?
I’ve had lots of things that never went right, but I just think that’s life - nobody gets it right all the time and admitting that is sometimes hard, but that’s what I do and just move on to the next thing. I find coming up with ideas easy, but executing them can sometimes take time and perseverance, which is when I can lose interest.
What's been the highs and lows of your career?
I’ve been lucky enough to win awards, be involved in amazing hair and fashion shows, and worked for and with some amazing people. I have travelled all over the world with my job, so yes I’ve had some incredible highs so far. I never really look at things being a low, just that they’ve not been the best. I think we all get those periods, but I always remember everything changes, even the bad times.
What's the most embarrassing outfit you have ever worn, which at the time you thought looked great?
I’m really quite boring when it comes to outfits, I’m a real creature of habit with what I wear and always have been. I’ve got a large collection of Stone Island clothes; I’ve collected their stuff for about 25 years and I also collect Adidas Spezials trainers. When it comes to suits, I always buy Vivienne Westwood. If you ever asked anyone to describe me, they’d say baseball cap, Stone Island jacket and jeans, and Adidas trainers. I suppose I’m a bit of a scruff really.
What or who inspires you - where do you turn for motivation on those tough days!
I get inspiration from all over, especially music and photography. For me inspiration is all about the feel you get from something not a vision or an object. And if I’m ever feeling even slightly disillusioned with hairdressing, I phone or meet with my mate Desmond Murray - his passion and excitement for hairdressing is so infectious and his laugh is insane. He always inspires me to strive to be the best me.
How do you inspire your team to create hair looks for a collection?
I start with a theme/feel for the collection and then go onto Spotify and create a playlist of music that compliments it. From there I then make a mood board which includes everything from ideas for hair, lighting, colour and textures. Then I will do a few dolly heads and share the whole idea with the team. From there the whole idea tends to naturally grow.
If you had to describe your salon and team as a TV show, what would it be?
Definitely Match of the day. I’ve always looked at the business as a football club, each person in the whole salon team has a specific position and my job is to bring the team all together and sort any weak positions.
What pearls of wisdom can you give for those starting out their journey?
Pick a mentor and pick them wisely. I’ve had numerous mentors on my journey so far and that’s been invaluable. Also get a strong team round you and don’t think you’re the best at everything, the better your team is the more you’ll grow.
Finally, what's next for you? Any big goals on the horizon?
I’d love to make my current salon bigger, I’m not sure how but I’m sure if it’s meant to be then the answer will reveal itself. I’ve been lead hairdresser on quite a few fashion shows, and so I would like to expand on that and do more in the future.