As champions of men, SCRUBD are passionate about helping men to be masters in every area of their life. Every month we interview a true master, or in this case two, who are making a difference in the world around them.
This month we are interviewing multi-award-winning hair stylist to the stars, L’Oréal Shu Uemura Art of Hair Styling Ambassador, and salon owner, Paul Edmonds.
1. When you were in training what was your motivation? Did you always have the goal of owning your own salon?
When I was young I always wanted to be an architect but fell into hairdressing when I realised I loved to sculpt and create shapes. Hair was the perfect material to expand my artistic side. I fell into hairdressing by fluke and realised I was good at it, but having my own salon was never my main motivation, it was more about the passion for hairdressing, perfection in form and making people feel and look great.
It was only until I realised hairdressing had become all about the ego led stylist (this was back in the 80’s) and I wanted the client to be the centre of the universe while they were in the chair that it made sense to open my own place to make my vision a reality.
2. In January of this year you launched your second salon within Battersea Power Station’s Circus West. You have been a stylist and hairdresser for over 30 years now and have two impressive salons in London. Where do you see your empire going next?
I have never had a plot or a plan of major expansion, just to be the best at hair. That was until my business partner enabled me to think about the opportunities with the brand that I had created. Circus West is the first salon concept of a long-term expansion plan incorporating further launches of our lifestyle products and other locations… so watch this space.
3. As someone embedded in the grooming industry, do you find you take time for yourself as well as your clients? What is your daily grooming routine?
I find my grooming routine revolves around researching new products, ingredients and experiences so because I love what I do it’s almost like special time for myself. I will always apply an antioxidant serum, an SPF, and I always have regular tailored “man-cials” which are facials that pack a punch. And of course, I always have a CLINICARE EGF face mask. I’m also a great believer that beauty comes from within, so eating well and a bit of mindfulness every day must be part of personal grooming. I also enjoy an occasional manicure. My dad always said you can judge a lot about people by the state of their nails. His even to this day and he’s 95 are always cut and clean.
4. What was it like to be the Official Hair Partner for the 2018 British Academy Film Awards, surrounded by masters from the stage and screen?
The BAFTAs are like a home from home. I have been a BAFTA member for some years now because of the work I have completed for films for the last 35 years. With that in mind being asked to be the official hair partner for the British Academy Film Awards was a natural fit. It was exhilarating and was a whirlwind to be involved before and during the actual event. We built a salon suite at the Savoy where all nominees, citation readers and clients experienced Paul Edmonds London as well as working closely with the other co-partners at the event. It does not just stop there as work is ongoing with the academy circle and supporting BAFTA’s community of experts.
5. What is the biggest challenge you have faced during your career?
Opening my first salon. It’s never easy no matter how much you may think it will be. A few years after setting up my salon someone recommended a financial guru who was going to help me with the business. He duly helped himself and coned me out of all the salon’s money, leaving me on the edge of bankruptcy. Not a great moment in my life. However, I believe you learn more from your mistakes than from your successes. (1) be careful who you trust with your money (2) humility and honesty are the best thing.
When I told the guys working with me what had happened, they all stood by me to make the salon profitable again.
6. A) What qualities do you need to make it as a pro stylist, and keep on trend constantly B) How do you transfer these qualities into your daily life?
A) Drop your ego and realise that your more than just a stylist to your team and clients. You need to listen and try to truly understand where why and how. You are also a life guru, therapist, friend. This takes a lot of research, reading and the ability to always stay open to change. I’m always open to learn and be taught something new.
B) Having a great team who are passionate and want to share new trends with you, helping to understand the brand and exactly what is needed moving forward.
7. What do you wish you knew when you were first starting that you now know?
How much hard work it takes to be successful, and that creativity and profitability are both as important as each other for a great business. Hairdressing is a very difficult business, which I feel only a few people understand when they first set up their salon.
8. If you weren’t a hair stylist what you would you be?
Probably an architect or designer. I’ve always thought if I give up hairdressing I’d like to do some courses in sculpture or design. When we designed the salon, we worked with a design team called Waldo Works. The creative process, although frustrating, is well worth all the effort. I wanted a glamorous space that felt welcoming, human, personal and a place that clients could relax while working in an ergonomic way. All these things fit with our brand, I believe we did it!
How do you master your day?
Firstly, I’m not sure I master every day! However, I get up early, meditate to say thank you to the universe. We are so lucky. If we are healthy we must try and enjoy as much of every day as we can. Not everything is perfect, but it’s great if you feel you make a difference in someone’s life.
If you could have dinner with three male masters, who would they be and why?
Mr Shu Uemura; as I’d like to believe we have a lot of things in common with our film and art backgrounds.
Quincey Jones who I had the privilege to meet last year and has the most interesting stories about his life ever.
The best piece of advice you have ever received?
Life and luck are a bit like a Yo Sushi conveyer belt. You may miss the thing you thought you wanted, but there may be something better or similar coming round which this time you won’t miss, and you will be ready to grab it with both hands.