Jason Shankey Pioneer in the UK Male Grooming Market
Since then he has never looked back with an award winning male grooming salon in Fulham, London and equally successful e-commerce business. His acute business sense and cutting edge ideas had him recently nominated for Business Director of the year at the UK Hairdressing Awards.
Hair and Beauty Jobs talks to Jason ... and in case you were wondering, yes he is married!
Q. How did you get into hairdressing?
When I left school, I initially trained to be a chef. After a year of the catering course I realised that it wasn't something I wanted to do as a career. My mum was a hairdressing teacher and suggested that I give hairdressing a go because I was good with my hands. She also pointed out that many of the local hairdressing salon owners were driving Porsches. As someone who loves fast cars, I decided to enrol on a hairdressing course as soon as possible!
Q. What led you to specialise in male grooming?
My wife had bought me a gift voucher for a facial at her local gym as a present. Being a 'bloke' I wasn't really sure what a facial was but I decided to give it a go anyway. After a thoroughly enjoyable hour, I became aware that there wasn't really anybody offering this kind of thing to men so I did some research, designed how the business would work, rented the building next door to my salon and opened the Male Grooming Salon to the public in 1999. It took a while to catch on but I knew it would turn out to be very successful. Since opening the first Male Grooming Salon in the UK, I've learned more and more about what men want when they want to pamper or de-stress themselves.
Q. What are the most satisfying elements of your job?
Since I've developed my business into a franchise model over the years, it's satisfying to know that my franchisees are able to replicate and profit from my buisness in the same way as I have done over the years.
Q. Who do you admire and why?
I admire anyone who gives their best shot, without giving up. It's easy to give up at the first hurdle but success is normally found at around the 50th hurdle. The few people who keep going to these lengths to succeed are the people I admire. I believe that the harder you work , the luckier you get. In the hairdressing business, people like Trevor Sorbie, Andrew Barton and Lee Stafford are perfect examples.
Q. What inspires you to do what you do?
Apart from having a huge mortgage, I just love my job. Every day is completely different from the one before and the fact that my business is constantly growing gives me a great sense of satisfaction.
Q. What qualities are required to be a successful hair stylist?
Successful stylists are the ones who look after their client's needs above their own and continually keep their skills up-to-date through watching, listening and training. They like to experiment with new ideas for photographic work or competitions and take criticism as a positive, educational lesson.
Q. What career opportunities are there within the male grooming market?
Male Grooming has been the fastest growing sector of the skin and haircare industry for the past ten years and there are plenty of great opportunities for Franchisees, Entrepreneurs, Stylists and staff at all levels.
Q. What would you most love to see happening within the market?
I would like to see more men moving away from unisex salons to male-only specialist salons; but then I would say that, wouldn't I?
Q. Do you have a recruitment policy?
Recruitment used to be the biggest nightmare facing my business until I developed our recruitment policy whcih is quire simple really. Does the applicant have good basic skills and want to look after our clients? Are they willing to listen, learn and make improvements to their normal way of working? Are they hungry for success?- They've got the job!
Q. What advice can you give to budding stylists?
Go for it! Give it your best shot. Aim to be the best stylist in your city, the UK, the world or wherever! It's the best job you'll ever have so listen and learn from those on positions both above and below you to create your own personal style.
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