Q&A: Hooker & Young

Q&A: Hooker & Young

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Hooker & Young
We catch up with the UK’s leading hairdressing duo to discover how they stay ahead of the game, whose hair they’d most like to cut and why colour is the new cut – and just how many dogs they actually have…

What are the biggest changes you’ve witnessed over the last 20 years in your industry? Which ones do you love, and which ones make life more difficult?
The hairdressing industry has seen massive changes over the last 20 years, but then we do live in an ever changing world so I guess change is inevitable. Our industry is now seen as being much more credible and professional, which is a fantastic thing for hairdressers and a change that we all love and embrace. Unfortunately, there’s a real lack of school leavers coming into the industry, which is sad and quite debilitating for a lot of salons. Hairdressing offers such amazing opportunities and there are fantastic career prospects. It’s such a shame that young people are no longer encouraged to find apprenticeships but, rather, to stay on in further education which, quite often, ends with far fewer prospects.

What has kept Hooker & Young at the very top of the industry?
Consistency, self belief and our incredible team. As a company we have always strived to be the best we can be, and this is something we instil into our team. The internet and online shopping has seen a massive downturn on the high street, yet has also seen food and drink businesses thrive. I guess hairdressing is something you can’t order online, although there are many tutorials out there showing the very brave how to cut it at home! We simply maintain our standards, give our clients the best service we can, and arrive at work every day with a smile on our faces.

You’ve achieved so much -– what keeps you motivated?
We simply just love what we do! I think I speak for the whole H&Y team when I say we all feel incredibly lucky to be part of such an amazing industry. It’s exciting and rewarding in equal measure, and I guess for us now we are at a stage where we can help our team achieve their goals and watch their dreams become a reality. That’s an amazing thing to see, when you’ve mentored and nurtured someone who eventually becomes a superstar. 

What’s your best piece of advice for anyone starting in the hairdressing industry?
Work hard, stay focussed and enjoy the ride. Hairdressing opens so many doors and offers so many opportunities – whether it’s buying your first car, owning your own home or travelling the world presenting hair shows to thousands of hairdressers, it’s simply awesome. 

If you could change one thing (or things) over the last 20 years, what would it (they) be?
That’s a tough question! There’s been far too many ‘long hair trends’ for far too long. Bring back more short hair trends for women. I would make it compulsory for school leavers to try hairdressing, or at least put it on the school curriculum – wishful thinking, I know! 

What’s the biggest challenge you foresee for the industry in 2019?
Trying to fit everything in my diary into one year! That’s actually not a joke! Seriously, we go into every new year as a challenge. Challenging ourselves to be better than the previous year, giving our clients the best service we can. 

What’s going to be the leading trend(s) in hair for this year?
These days, much like in fashion, hair trends tend to be quite eclectic rather than a ‘one look suits all’ vibe. Women are much more confident and like to own their individual look, which means we tend to see a wide variety of styles being created in the salon. Hair colour has become the new ‘cut’, with people being much more open minded and adventurous to try a new colour rather than a new cut. 

Who would you most like to makeover?
This is not the answer you’d expect but... Theresa May! I mean, who cuts that thing? It’s awful! Oh, and Donald Trump, too. I reckon they share the same hairdresser.

Which celebrity styles have you been asked for most? (Is it wrong that I still ask for Frankie from The Saturdays!)
Theresa May! Only kidding. It doesn’t happen as much these days, nobody asks for the Lulu or the Rachel from Friends anymore. Actually, I reckon the Frankie was probably the last big hitter! Requests tend to be more colour-focused now as most people have longer hair. Gigi Hadid and the Kardashian’s are pretty popular when it comes to on-trend colour.

How do you unwind?
We have a second home in Spain, so we try to get over there as much as we can. It’s somewhere where we both really chill out and relax. It’s also a great place to think up new ideas and future plans without any distractions. We also love spending time with all our wonderful dogs who make our lives complete, they’re like our children. And we’re expecting puppies! That’s an exclusive. Our little Shirley has a few buns in the oven!

What’s your favourite places in the North East?  
We just love Newcastle. We travel a lot with work, visiting cities all around the world, which makes you appreciate what you have on your doorstep. The North East has such a lot to offer – with breathtaking coastlines and some of the best historic places to visit in the country – but we have a real soft spot for the city and feel proud to be part of it. 

How many dogs do you actually have?!
We actually have 13, although I do always have to count them out on my fingers just to make sure, as the numbers do fluctuate from time to time. So from the top: Scarlett, Gabriel, Grace and Angel (Great Danes); Muffin, Jaffa Cake, Crumpet and Cookie (British Bulldogs); Daisy and Dimple (Miniature Wire Dachshunds); Pickle (Pug); Jelly (Affenpinscher); and Shirley (Italian Bolognese) – soon to be ‘Shirley & The Shirlettes’.

Published in: February 2019

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