As they work their way up, young up-and-coming beauty professionals are blazing trails and making waves. We scoured the country to find out who is doing what and how it all began. Here is our chat with up-and-coming beauty professional, Lesley Spencer.
Salon Magazine: How did you get your start in hair? Why did you decide to be part of this industry?
Lesley Spencer: From a young age, I aspired to be an artist. I loved (and still love) to paint, draw, make collages—anything where I can be creative and get my insides out. However, art as a career didn’t seem feasible to me. It wasn’t until an Aveda salon opened up down the street from my house, that I started to think of hairstyling as way to connect hair and art together as a career. You get to cut, shape, style, mould and colour on a live canvas. Of course, you don’t always have creative freedom, but that in itself can be exciting. You work with the client to make the picture in their minds a reality. In a strange way, my artist dreams came true, but not in the form I originally thought. I love my career, and I love that I can be creative. Even the slightest boost in confidence can lead someone to make a bold decision they may not have had the courage to before. Because of that, I truly believe a good haircut and colour can change a person’s life.
SM: What drives and motivates you as a hairstylist?
LS: I love to teach! Whether that be teaching my students something new, or even a guest how to recreate the salon look at home, seeing that light bulb go off in their head is both rewarding and motivating.
SM: What is your expertise? What do you specialize in or excel at?
LS: My expertise is colour. I love working with colour as there is something very satisfying about matching the right tone to the right person. It makes a world of a difference. However, I am trained as a dualist and I think that knowing one craft helps improve the other. Knowing which cuts suit which colours and vice versa. I couldn’t just choose one. Cutting and colouring are so different and I enjoy having that variety in my week.
SM: What is the one lesson you’ve learned throughout your education and career that you still keep in mind today?
LS: It’s okay to make mistakes in both your career and in your life. Though it may not seem like it at the time, without making mistakes you cannot learn from them and grow as a person. It’s important to learn how to take a negative outcome and turn it into something positive.
SM: Who is your mentor or who do you look up to when it comes to hair? Anyone particular on social media?
LS: My mentor is Tristin Morrison, the senior creative director for Aveda Canada. I am lucky and grateful to have such a hardworking and motivated mentor accessible to me every day. He spends his days teaching, working on models, researching fashion, and accommodating clients on his breaks. The amount of focus and detail he puts into every haircut is so inspiring and I can only hope to be like that when I reach that point in my career. When it comes to social media, I love hairbrained. The work on that account inspires me. Seeing that level of creativity on the daily motivates me to create and share my own work with people.
SM: Who is your hair hero? Is there someone you want to work with?
LS: Angelo Seminara introduced me to a whole new world of hair. From his ‘Hair Sushi’ to his ‘Hair Imprinting’, he makes anything seem possible. It would be amazing to be in the same room with him just watching him work, let alone be able to work alongside him!
SM: As a young artist, what has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced and how have you overcome that?
LS: I am very hard on myself when it comes to my craft. I struggle with being completely satisfied with my art, especially when I’m doing something creative. My most significant challenge has been embracing the imperfections as a part of my creations. I have been reading a book called Linchpin by Seth Godin (a must read), and there is a quote in the book that encapsulates my thoughts perfectly: “Art is never defect-free. Things that are remarkable never meet spec because that would make them standardized, not worth talking about.”
SM: Who gave you the best advice as you embarked on your career and what was that advice?
LS: Growing up, my dad gave me a straightforward piece of advice. Never say “no” and always do what it takes to finish the job. Following this advice has gotten me to where I am today. It’s simple, but it works.
SM: What is your one must-have product?
LS: Aveda Air control hairspray is hands down my favourite product. I have very fine hair and I love voluminous hair with a matte finish. Air control gives me that and more.
SM: What are your goals for the next 5-10 years? Where do you see yourself in the beauty industry?
LS: I am fortunate enough in life to say that my goals are to continue down the path that I am currently on. I plan on spending the next 5 to 10 years practicing and perfecting my craft and sharing my knowledge with my many students to help them grow into amazing hairdressers.