Sally: We’ve worked together for a long time, how would you describe our relationship?
Jamie: You’re my hair wife, we’ve worked together since we were 21 years old. We debate certain things and directions and that’s healthy, you need someone looking at the other side of the argument. There is a lot of compromise in our relationship, which is key to having a successful business.
Sally: Creativity is at the core of everything I do. How important is it to the salon?
Jamie: To our business it’s very important. The creative side generates revenue through shoots, shows and seminars overseas. More recently we’ve launched Brooks Education and we need a reason for people to want to learn from us.
Sally: Do you think creativity and business can sit side by side?
Jamie: It takes compromise on both sides. There is a budget, it’s not an open-ended cheque book. Creativity can be a money pit, so you have to be realistic in its value; if you spend £5,000 on a shoot are you going to get coverage, international interest, brand enhancement – it can’t just be folly.
Sally: Do you think it’s important a business is creative?
Jamie: Yes, it keeps people interested and attracts the young stars to the business – we have had a lot of young people work for us who travel far to get to us. A big show or shoot bonds the team as everyone from the team is involved. It means we can create our own identity rather than rely on manufacturers imagery.
Sally: So do you think you have a successful business without the creative side?
Jamie: Absolutely, there’s a lot of salons all over the world who don’t do shows or shoots and are hugely successful. In fact, they are probably more financially successful than a creative salon! Some salons are judged by their financial performance so creativity isn’t as important to them.
Sally: What’s your advice for balancing both?
Jamie: If a salon wants to be creative set money aside and stick to it. You have to remember there is no point being a creative business if you have no business left! Everything needs to be paid for, everything eats money, you can be creative but creative within your means, It’s all about turnover; creativity is fun but see it as an extra, it’s not your core business.
Jamie: We know each other inside out – how would you describe me?
Sally: I'm the ideas person and you're more practical about making the idea come to life so our skills complement each other. You allow me to do what
I do best and I respect that there are realistic financial restraints. The most important thing is that we trust each other and respect what each of us brings to the business. I will always be grateful that you are my hair husband.
Jamie: Is it important to be creative?
Sally: It forces you to challenge yourself to keep growing and to stay relevant. It is a vital part of who I am. Creativity is challenging yourself to do something new; shows are incredible for developing not just a hairstyle but a whole concept to take the audience on a journey; a shoot challenges you to capture what’s in your head.
Working to a deadline forces you to develop a finished product.
Jamie: Do you think creativity and business can sit side by side
Sally: One drives the other -what a lot of people tend to do is underestimate the value of business and run away with the other side. For me, both are equally important; one pays the bills whilst the other fuels the tank.
Jamie: So you consider the business implications when putting together a project?
Sally: Being creative is the reason we all went into hairdressing but it’s important that you stick to budgets as the more you get into a project, the more ideas you have and the more you will spend.
Jamie: If a salon wants to be creative but there are financial restraints, what’s your advice?
Sally: Never let a budget restrict you. Choose no more than two projects you want to work on during the year and do them. Find collaborative work with other people – up-and-coming photographers and make-up artists who are also tight on budgets and do something together.