“I didn’t think I’d like the creative side of the job, but now I find it the most exciting part.” Fresh-faced stylist George Crompton-Smith described to us his first steps into the world of hairdressing. After making his debut at our original Tunbridge Wells salon earlier in the year, he’s been with us for the grand opening of our new Marlow salon. At 24 years old, George has already made a big impact on both guests and our team at The Chapel. We wanted to get to know the man behind the chair a little better, so we sat down with George to find out some more.
What first motivated you to get into hairdressing?
I wanted something I could get into the business side of. Owning my own business is something I’ve always wanted to achieve, so I thought hairdressing would be a good place to start. When I began with a Saturday job in a salon, I didn’t think I’d like the creative side of the job. But I loved it. It was, and still is, the part of hairdressing that I find most exciting. After that, I did my training with an independent salon called Brothers, and eventually wound up here at The Chapel.
How did you find out The Chapel was coming to Marlow?
It’s quite a funny story actually. A friend of mine who is a builder was on the Wycombe District Council website saw that The Chapel had put in planning permission for the new Marlow salon — converting an old church in the area. He let me know immediately, and I got in contact with The Chapel before they had even begun advertising for jobs. I was so intent on working here that I knew I had to get in there fast. The process was pretty smooth, and by April I had been accepted and began working at the Tunbridge Wells salon while Marlow was being finished.
What do you think makes The Chapel unique?
I think it’s their overall morals and ethos. At The Chapel, they care so much about the experience that guests have. From my previous experience in salons, I hated the “conveyor belt” system, where you were expected to get as many people in and out of the chair as quickly as possible. But The Chapel changes all of that. You’re given enough time so that each guest can achieve what they really need and want from their hair. This is the perfect environment because it gives you the room to get creative and grow your skills with each guest.
What excites you about the direction of the hairdressing industry?
I’m a big fan of the way that hairdressing is going recently. Personally, I love the undone but done styles that are quite beachy and texturised. This look can be made to suit the individual and look different on every single person. It’s still versatile in its simplicity. It’s a very relaxed look, which is a big step away from the bigger, structured blowouts we’ve seen in the past. I think similarly about the way colour is moving in the hair industry. I like the move towards more sunkissed natural look, it suits so many people. For clients, this kind of undone colouring and styling is something that’s so easy for them to recreate at home. It’s much more transferable and low-maintenance — but still impactful.
You’re passionate about the creative side of your job, is there a place you take inspiration from?
As a stylist, a large part of my inspiration comes from fashion magazines. I don’t look at them for the outfits, but I like to see how brands are styling their collections, including the hair. Some looks are more avante-garde and abstract, but with editorial work, they soften the hair down to focus on the clothes, and these looks are often quite stylish and sleek.
Of course, you also have to take into consideration pop culture, Instagram and what's relevant in the news. This can be a great place to start, but sometimes you have to look out for clients who are easily influenced by celebrities. They might want to emulate their idol’s style without recognising it doesn’t fit with their individual aesthetic. These are the times when you can get creative as a stylist. Show them other options that would suit their face shape and colouring better or give their style a twist to suit their individual look. Ultimately, it’s all about how you as a stylist adapt the trends to each individual who walks into the salon.