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BLOG: What makes a successful hairdresser?

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Debbie Digby is a hairdresser of 40 years, founder of Feathers Salon Group and CEO of Passion4hair, Distribution and Education Academy. She explains four areas a hairdresser must master to become successful in their trade.


Could there possibly be another trade where carrying out the job is more complex than hairdressing? When carrying out services, a hairstylist is multitasking to the max.


Creating the product (the hairstyle), in front of the customer (the client), whilst simultaneously having a conversation (with the client) and maybe also engaging with activities around them (the team).


Let’s compare that with other trades. A car mechanic will be fixing the car in the workshop, and the customer will be waiting in the showroom, or would have left the car to pick up later. In fact, rarely would the customer speak with the mechanic – the administration person would liaise with the customer.


A chef will be preparing the dishes in the kitchen and whilst the diner might be able to see them in the open kitchen, the chef will not be expected to speak with the customer, instead they will simply concentrate on creating the orders whilst the waiting staff look after the customers in the dining room.

debbie digby blog

When I explain the complexity of carrying out services to non-hairdressers they are amazed and at the same time impressed at the proficiency of the hairdresser. Here are the four areas that that a successful hairdresser must master.



From understanding the science of the hair and the chemistry of the products used, to the different hair types and how they behave. The amount of information to study may appear to be never-ending and that is the best way to approach knowledge.


Technology changes and new information is available all the time so commit to staying at the forefront by staying in touch with the industry through magazines, websites, trades shows and training courses.



Being able to create a look on a head of hair is an art to be admired. The skill of haircutting and styling hair is ever-changing as fashion dictates the latest looks.


It is imperative to become a fashionista by following fashion weeks and leafing through the latest magazines and online content. Attend training courses to remain informed and inspired. If you are not up-to-date and inspired, your clients will not be either.

debbie digby blog

Emotional Intelligence – EQ

It is said that in business today EQ is more important than IQ. The ability to be self-aware, have empathy and deal sensitively with others makes up your Emotional Quotient (EQ). Some people are naturally emotionally intelligent but for those who find working with others a little more challenging, there is good news! EQ can be developed.


Commit to being a great team player and take every opportunity to develop your teamwork and leadership skills.



Not always recognised as a skill, confidence is important for a successful stylist. It is true to say that if you are strong in the three areas above, confidence will follow. And the reverse works too, if you want more confidence, improve your knowledge, skill and EQ.


Confidence comes from knowing you have done your very best to deliver the service as required.

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