Five questions for creatives
Becks Simpson is a freelance hair stylist who specialises in vintage, bride and events. After leaving school Becks studied and trained at The Keith & Peter Hairdressing Academy in her hometown of Hereford. After five years she progressed quickly, moving from stylist to salon manager. Keen to keep moving forwards, it was then in 2005 she moved to London for two years, during which time she gained valuable experience at the Covent Garden Avenda Institute, Hebe on the Strand and The Mowgli Salon in Primrose Hill. After moving to Bristol for seven years, where Becks Simpson built an on-site salon at the BBC on Whiteladies Road and a second salon at the Bristol University Halls of Residence, she now operates her freelance business from St Neots.
How did you get into the creative industry, and was there a defining point in your career that led you on that path?
As long as I can remember I have always wanted to be a hair stylist. I got into the creative industry from a very early age. I loved styling my own hair and visiting the hairdressers as a child because it always seemed like a fun and friendly environment to go to. I started my first job in a salon at 14 and then continued onto college and then work. I never liked the idea of being stuck in a salon which is why my ambitions were to work in TV/freelance hair styling.
The turning point which lead me to this path was by chance! I relocated to Bristol, was working part-time in a coffee shop and a colleagues mum who was also a hairdresser put me in touch with a freelance makeup artist that was looking for a hairstylist. Unbeknown to me she was Sarah Brock an award winning artist that has recently done the makeup for the next Wonderwoman movie amongst other things! We worked together for five years and became great friends. The rest as they say is history.
Is there anything you would change in your current career and if so why?
I think the only thing I would change in my current career would be more encouragement to go self employed. I was scared to go freelance, as I couldn’t find anyone that could explain to me how to get started in a language that I understood, all the tax and accountants etc baffled me. Eventually I did, and it’s not as bad as it seems at all, if I can do it, anyone can.
Where do you see yourself, and your career in five years time?
Mmmm, the five years time question… I see myself hopefully having a family in the five years, which being in the career that I have chosen, and being freelance, makes this a lot easier to adapt to than most jobs. If that happens, then after the family, i’d like to think I will be doing continued work as a freelance stylist and would love to teach vintage hair styling and make up.
Are there any rules or habits that help you do your job more efficiently?
I suppose one of the most important rules is communication and empathy. In this work you never know who you are going to meet. This job allows trust to build very quickly as you are being trusted with persons prize possession in some cases.
I find that a skill for listening and observing body language too helps. When i’m in a bridal suite micromanaging a group of six women, its important to know how to handle this environment, as the client is under pressure and looks to me for direction and guidance rather than the family.
What tips would you give to anybody who is looking to get started in the creative industry?
Tips I would give to anybody who is looking to get started in the creative industry would be – don’t compare yourself to anyone. Creative people all have a unique gift, and I think that when you start to follow someone else’s style you lose your uniqueness. The one thing I feared doing the most was styling bridal hair, now I specialise in it. The day I stopped criticising my work and relaxed was the day I started to create my own unique style that only I can do, which then sets me apart from the rest.
You can view more of Becks work on her website: www.thairapy-freelance.co.uk