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In conversation with Melissa Timperley

At the young age of 24, Melissa Timperley opened her salon in the heart of Manchester. Starting out working solo in the salon, six years later Melissa now has a team of 14 and is one of the biggest Unite accounts in the UK – impressive for a business woman under 30!

When choosing a career in hairdressing Melissa says “My parents weren’t happy because I was a straight A student. They had high hope for me to go into medicine or law, so they said if I’m not choosing an academic career then I’ll need to have the best hairdressing training and at the time that was Sassoon’s.” After nine years at Sassoon’s, working her way up to a creative stylist and educator, Melissa felt her career had come to a halt.


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A post shared by Melissa Timperley (@melissatimp)


24 is a young age to open a salon, how did that come about?

I felt like I  had come to a cross road in my career. How long do you wait until you’re ready? It was now or never really, and I had this vision to create beautiful place to work and wanted to create a place stylists enjoyed to work. I wanted to be the best boss, my staff to earn the best wage , and for them to have the best living and working conditions because I felt this wasn’t available at the time.

I viewed about five salons and then the place I ended up used to be a public toilet (nice!) There were plans to change it into a 3 storey building and that what I wanted. Originally the top floor was a studio, but we’ve grown and all three floor are used for hair. Now I’m looking into opening an academy.

Where does your motivation come from?

My parents have the best work ethic and are very supportive. Also, I can’t keep still. I’m a perfectionist and always working towards the next thing. I feel like a swan on water – I look like I’m moving gracefully but underneath my legs are peddling away.


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A post shared by Melissa Salons Manchester (@melissasalons)


Where does your fashion inspiration come from?

From many sources to be honest. Working with Unite gives me the opportunity to go to Fashion Weeks and I love that they are a crucial part of the session stylist’s kit as well as being a professional salon product. One of the reasons I love the Brandis because of the condensed range, making it easy to travel with.

I also get my inspiration from books, magazines and living in Manchester. It’s a very vibrant city.

You have a salon,  you’re an educator and you do some session work, how do you balance it all?

It’s a lot. A never ending balancing act that I still haven’t mastered. Also my husband, dog and family – something eventually gives and thats a challengeI really want to work on next year. I think I’ve learnt to make priority lists and if something doesn’t get done the world doesn’t end. My husband has given me a 9pm curfew and that’s when I have to put my phone and laptop down every night.

How did you develop a relationship with Unite?

The fact the products are made by hairdresser makes it easy to connect. Andrew Dale is also ex-Sassoon so he knew my background. The products do what they say; I tried them and instantly loved them.

There are six salons on my street and everyone offers something different, for me that was Unite. I started working with Gary Baker and he believed in me; now I’m the biggest Unite account in the UK.

Your team took part in Runway Ready, how did they find it?

Fantastic! It’s intense, but we knew what we were signing up for. I’ve worked at Fashion Weeks so I knew what to expect, but it was great for my team and gave us all the opportunity to pick Gary’s brains. He is such a special hair artist and has done everything over his career. He is a fountain of knowledge. for my team to work with Gary was incredible and I would reccomend anyone who is interested in session styling to do this course because it doesn’t just teach you knew skills, but also what you need in you kit as a session stylist.


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A post shared by Melissa Timperley (@melissatimp)


How have the team benefitted?

One of the perks of this course is that you are given the opportunity to have a place on one of the Fashion Week teams, so I’m hoping to send some team members to those. It’s allowed them to branch into a different aspect of hairdressing. personally session styling is not where I want my career to go, but I strongly believe you should be able to do all hair types which is why I think the course is beneficial for those not looking to pursue a session styling career – it’s certainly helped the team learn new skills.

What are you top three Unite products?

I feel like everyone says this. 7Seconds Detangler – it’s good for all hair types, the hair product I’m taking to a desert island. Elevate mousse is a favourite for curly hair, and to add texture to fine hair; and my third Smooth & Shine, I love that it’s sparkly. Perfect for blondes and hair that needs some loving. It also looks great on curly hair too.

Learn more by visiting Lacey’s Distribution.

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