Kiya Marshall

Get the low down: Freelancing

Lauren Wella Professionals

Kiya Marshall

Kiya Marshall of Blunt.Salon

It can be a daunting prospect this freelancing lark, but we’re constantly inspired by tales of sweet success from stylists who have braved it alone. We’ve teamed up with Wella Professionals to help uncover the highs and lows of freelancing, with a series of interviews with solo stylists…

Kicking off the series is the super talented Kiya Marshall:

How do you know it’s time to go freelance? 

I think it’s completely dependent and different on every situation. For me, I loved what I did but moved to a different city and salon to live with my boyfriend and instantly knew the salon wasn’t for me. I entered Wella Professionals Generation NOW and got to the final, but after that things weren’t the same. I’m such a positive, passionate person and I think if people around you don’t emulate that they drag you down. For me there wasn’t a salon in my city that I wanted to work in and that held the key values I’m all about- so I created it.

Key worries for you when you went freelance?

It was more everyone else’s opinion that worried me. Everyone telling me I wasn’t going to have enough money to pay the bills etc. It turned out my second month being freelance I earned double what I’d ever taken home in the salon and smashed everyone’s preconceptions.

How do you go about insuring yourself as a freelance hairdresser? 

Its super easy, I’m insured with Salon Gold, which covers all the bases I need and it rolls on year to year so I don’t even need to think about renewal, which is amazing when you’re so busy.

How can you seek legal advice if needed? 

I’m currently looking to take on a premise so I’ve had to appoint a solicitor for that, it was really easy with a few clicks on google. 

Do you ever feel lonely working as a freelancer and not being in the salon with other stylists around you?

I really thought I would but I don’t. I’ve worked really hard to get a clientele that truly reflects me and gets the best out of what I can do so 90% of my clients are my age and into exactly the same things as me. It means I’m just basically hanging out with my friends all day. Giving them great hair and getting on so well is an added bonus. I thought I would miss the encouragement other stylists in the salon give you too, but I honestly get more from my clients tagging me and bigging me up on social media.

Not working with a PR, how do you find this? 

I already have 900 clients to myself and have a cancellation list of over 300 clients so I’m fortunate I don’t need to get my name out there at the moment as it just leads to me turning away more clients!

Do you attend industry sessions to keep you connected e.g. have you ever been to Business Network Live?

Honestly? I’d never heard of it! I’m so intrigued now and will definitely be attending. 

I do organise local networking with self-employed business owners who are local to me, which has got me loads of contacts. We always have a Christmas party to celebrate our success and this makes sure we actually take some time off.

How do you go about independently  Pr-ing/ self-promoting yourself?

I update my Instagram regularly and take good clean images, keeping everything consistent and appealing to the eye. I’ve found it’s far better to put your all into one platform than to try and do a rush job on three or four, especially when I’m working 12 hour days, I just don’t have the time. And seeing as our industry is so visual Instagram is the one for me.

I prefer platforms such as Instagram as I feel the people I’m appealing to will see this more. I do this by tagging certain pages I love on Instagram and building a relationship with them. It’s good to have huge pages repost your work and appreciate what you’re doing. It gives me a real push to do better.

I also got contacted by Topshop and have done pop-up salons in store with them ever since, purely from them finding me on Instagram, so I feel you can open up so many opportunities by yourself.

Do you work with any brands to help you get products? Do you have any top tips on how to be successful with this?

Wella Professionals has been amazing and so supportive with this. Considering I’m such a small business compared to them, they have sent me pride flags when I did a pride event in Topshop and the new cool shade range last winter, which was awesome. 

How do you do a stock take? 

My stock is visually displayed so it’s pretty easy, I spend an hour every Sunday morning tallying up what I have, then check it against my next week’s appointments and write down any colours I may be missing.

How often do you order colour?

I tend to do a big order once a month, then check weekly on a Sunday to ensure I have everything and ensure I have enough time to do a little trip to the wholesaler if need be.

What would entice you to try new colours?

I’m always up for trying new things, I have 100% faith in Wella Professionals and know if they’re bringing out a new line it will be even more amazing than the last. I follow all the Wella instagrams and the ambassadors, and just people like myself who are always keen to have a play with new products.

How would you educate yourself on the new range that you have purchased?

Mainly through social media, there’s been times where I’ve known about new stock before my wholesalers and I’m educating them on it I’m so excited for it to come out. 

What are your top colour essentials you always have?

Blondor, Freelights, Koleston Perfect (10/1, 10/16, 10/8, 10/96, 9/1, 6/73, 6/0, 33/0), Illumina (10/69, 9/43, 8/69, 7/81, 6/16, 5/81, 5/35), Instamatics (Dream Pink, Smokey Amethyst, Muted Mauve)

How do you skin test your clients?

I don’t take on new clients so I don’t skin test half as much as I used to. However, if there’s a new product out that I’d like to use i’ll discuss it with my client and we’ll skin test so we are able to use it next time if we’d like to. Some clients travel so far that they’re unable to come for a skin test first, my furthest being someone coming from Dubai. I used to keep almost finished tubes of colour to send to them with detailed instructions for my clients to skin test at home, I would then ask them to send me pictures of the area behind the ear 24, then 48 hours after, just to check everything was fine and log it on a system in my iPad. 

Follow Kiya

For more from the wonderful world of Wella Professionals click HERE.

Respect is a hub for UK hairdressers of all ages and stages to find out what We Love, We Hear and We Seeas the best product launches, styling advice, hairtools, education training and seminars and hairshows! Sign up to our newsletter which is sent fortnightly direct to your email, so you stay up-to-date with salon styling information, trends in session work, advice on presenting on stage or progress in educating – whatever your interest, whether you’re a trainee or creative director, an educator or team leader, you’ll find all the opportunities and ideas on

We love hairdressing; we see and we hear how you can become the best hairdresser, colourist and salon owner possible. Contact us if you’d like to know more about us. If it’s worth talking about, you’ll read it here.