Lee Stafford and Phil Smith are celebrated hairdressers with a history embracing awards-wins, running super-successful salons, delivering education, and creating product lines. They join Lauren Stone and Nicky Pope at the Respectfully podcast to talk about the highs and lows of their careers, and why heading up their own brands has become their best challenge yet. For hairdressers and salon groups with ambitions to launch into the product world, or keen to hear what really goes on in the battle for shelf-space, this is a must-listen!
On the panel…
Lee Stafford burst onto the UK hairdressing scene in the mid-90s when he took Men’s Hairdresser of the Year 1998 at the British Hairdressing Awards. The salon-owner from Essex had arrived and we were certainly going to hear and see a lot more of him. He launched his eponymous pink haircare brand in 2001 – going straight into 250 Boots stores – and his eye-catching packaging has remained firmly centre-stage ever since. A salon in central London, a celebrity clientele, and time on TV became the norm for Lee, who has also been an educator for Redken for many years. In More recently, he’s moved into college education – setting up academies nationwide, but has closed his salons and stepped away from the chair to concentrate on his products.
Phil Smith held the first Toni&Guy franchise salon – going on to open another 27 shops with the company – and went onto to become a superbly successful salon group owner and award-winning hairdresser in his own right (for both business and creativity). In 2007 Sainsburys invited Phil to launch a product range and so Phil Smith Be Gorgeous was born. Massively successful still, the label has taken over much of Phil’s attention and he’s scaled back his salon investment to now own one salon in Salisbury; Smith England. In the past two years, he’s now added the range Smith England to his portfolio. Sustainability and cruelty-free products have become his signature and he’s continually striving to make better, more mindful formulations!
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