65. Interview with Annika

1. You and I met and started chatting via Twitter and then Facebook, has the internet helped you and your business? Also What do you use these social networking websites for? And do you have an agent?

I don’t have an agent and it is amazing who you can meet and network with via the internet. Twitter and facebook are just the beginning, they have helped a heap in getting a buzz about into the world. You have to make noise somehow and not everyone is willing to listen to you yelling in the street (most people will think you’re crazy!) I guess its less frightening to people to interact using these kinds of methods. Also its assessable, its less in formal and everyone knows what you’re doing without asking you directly. I use them a lot from booking appointments for clients and getting new jobs for photo shoots. I post as much as I possibly can so people feel connected and can create an opinion of you and your work.

2. I have noticed via your Facebook account that you are involved with lots of fashion parades, how did you get involved with that side of hairdressing?

The salon I worked at did a couple of hairdressing shows and I always helped with them. I also started volunteering to help out backstage at fashions parades while I was still working in the salon. I didn’t really have a day off most weeks. I involved myself as much as I could. Hard work pays off.

3. For me, I have found doing hair for a shoot, and doing hair for fashion show and in the salon means I have to have a completely different approach to hair in these mediums. How do you balance them?

It’s a hard balance that you cant fall behind in… you have to stay on the pulse of things. Continue to learn your trade and constantly evolve. I think still working in a salon keeps me grounded. You’re working with everyday people who want different things from their hair. Sometimes it can me more challenging then fashion hair. Where as photo shoots and fashion shows it’s all about a particular image, it has to be perfect for that one photo or the 10 minutes the model is out on the catwalk. But they do work together at times, generally fashion hair filters through to commercial wearable hairstyles that clients will ask for. I think it takes about 3 to 6 months for the general public to get used to the new ideas in the industry.

4.Where have you worked previously?

I worked part time when I was 15 in a salon in a shopping centre. It’s a really big salon with a retail shop attached, Ross Caia is a franchise of three. I finished high school and started my apprenticeship there. I was there 5 years in total. I wanted to learn more so I moved to a boutique salon in Malvern called Madd. I really learnt a lot there and perfected my trade. I had a very passionate mentor, I have a lot to thank him for. I wouldn’t be the hairdresser I am now without his knowledge. At the end of the day I’m just too eager to succeed.
I now work for myself freelancing under my own name ANNIKA’S, I do clients from their houses, work casually in a salon, do hair and makeup for photo shoots & runway shows. I also do a lot of work for Model Academy, they train young models to prefect their job. This is a term course that goes through everything, its great fun and I find it amazing to watch these students turn into top models.

5.How long have you been doing hair and when did you have your first hair “epiphany”?

Well I have been playing with my own hair my whole life (laughs) but as an actually professional trade… full time seven years and three years part time before that.

First hair epiphany would be..? (thinks) When I was eight I had all my hair cut off into a graduated bob I couldn’t believe the feeling I got when I left the salon, I was in love. I always wanted to be a hairdresser and I wanted to make people feel the way I felt that day. I wanted to give people style, an image to call their own and make them look & feel better about themselves. Hairdressing is very rewarding if you let it.

6.For readers who want to become freelance hairstylists themselves…what advice would you give to the up starters?

Volunteer as much as you possibly can and yes you wont get paid for volunteer work! But that brings a lot of other work, you have to be dedicated and network with people in the area you want to go into. Say it is more photo shoots you want to get into, talk to photographers and get to know them. Backstage Fashion Runways you would get to know designers. Be yourself people like to work with people that they get along with and that are friendly and hardworking.

7.Top five favorite tools

1. Hairdryer – I can’t go past my twin turbo 2600 its my favourite
2. Straightens (I have many but the main ones are GHD and T3)
3. Hairspray – I can be picky, I worked in a tigi salon so love their products, I normally use the S Factor or rockahollic they are both medium hold and not tacky like a lacquer, easy for models to brush out too.
4. S Factor Creamy Molding Wax
5. Bobby pins

I also do love label.m dry shampoo and label.m sea salt spray & my crimpers that are from the 80’s.

8. What do you feel are the problems facing the industry right now?

I think there are a lot of problems with our industry...
I think people don’t realize how hard we work and how little we get paid. The general public is unaware and most don’t think of us “hairdressers” as professional, which is our problem because we make them think that.
Attitude is very important and I think there needs to be more training across the industry. We are creative people and need to be inspired and constantly motivated. I also think the colour company’s should have the same numbering colour system. And don’t get me started on competitions. I could go on and on about ways to improve our industry but I wont…

9. My research tells me you worked in a salon prior to freelance work, could you tells us how did you make the transition from hairdresser in a salon to freelance?

Gosh, I actually asked to go part time and my boss wouldn’t let me so it was a hard decision to make but I knew it was the right one, I quit completely and knew my love and passion would some how support me.

10. Lets talk make up. How did you get involved with that? And which came first hair or make up?

Hair came first. I never really thought I would really get that into makeup but it does work hand in hand, same as fashion. Its all about a look and its has to follow through head to toe. I never really wore that much makeup myself until I started working full time at Madd Hairdressing and I learnt how to apply it. It came fairly naturally, I love colour and did a lot of painting at high school (I think that helps) now that I think about it… it’s kind of surprising I didn’t get into it sooner.

11. What are you working on at the moment?

Just the general stuff as well as setting up a website that will have an online portfolio. I would love to work Internationally. Also planning a working holiday in October, always wanted to go to Salon International.

12. What are your plans for the future?
I would love to have my own salon one day... have a happy balance of salon life and freelancing. I want to inspire others and keep the passion alive and pass on my knowledge to anyone who is willing listen. Annika Bowen pictured with Napolean Perdis.

Annika Bowen pictured with Napolean Perdis.

Annika's Twitter page http://twitter.com/annikabowen

*This post was originally written for Style Street by Jean-Paul Rosette

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