One year on... Happy Birthday the LHAA!
An incredible first year at the London Hairdressing Apprenticeship Academy in Camden: Since opening in August last year the LHAA have trained 120 young Apprentices in hairdressing and barbering
At the LHAA, it’s our mission to give the apprentices who train with us the opportunity to work with the best hairdressers in the business. That’s why we’re so proud of the quality of our salon partners, and the passion they have for their work. Theo Silveston of Kink Hair has been working with the LHAA for a long time and is a champion of young talent. So, we caught up with Theo to get his insights and tips into how to make it in hairdressing.
Hi, Theo, what was the inspiration for you to get into hairdressing in the first place?
It was a real fluke. My parents were both hairdressers and, after they split up, the only way I could spend lots of time with my dad was to work alongside him. I was just 16 when I walked into the HOB salon in Bushey, and all I saw was a room full of beautiful women - I thought, ‘I want to live here forever!’ After three days working there, I’d never laughed so much in my life. I loved everyone, and I realised I could just be myself, I finally felt like I fitted in, and I knew that I would be doing this job for the rest of my life.
What was the most important lesson you learned while training to be a hairdresser?
It was that knowledge is power and you should never stop learning. From day one, I was like a sponge, soaking up all the information I could and learning from everyone around me. You don’t just learn to cut hair when you work as a hairdressing apprentice, you learn how to talk to people, and be around customers of all ages. A salon is a place full of colourful personalities, so you need to tap into that and get a bit of inspiration from everyone. I didn’t just learn about what sort of stylist I wanted to be, but also what sort of person I aspired to become.
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
Opening my own salon was definitely the highlight of my career. I was working elsewhere, but I didn’t like it, so I decided to go it alone. I never asked any of my former colleagues to join me, but by the time I set up my salon, 80% of them had asked me if they could come with me. At the opening party, it felt like a really special moment in my life because I’ve had personal struggles and it’s been a real journey, but everyone there was proud of me and happy to support my dream.
What does it mean to you to help apprentices get their start in the industry by working with the LHAA?
It’s the best thing in the world. Sometimes, I’ll be teaching at the LHAA, and they’ll all be looking at me, and just for a moment I think, “They’re really listening to me, they’re tuned in and believing everything I’m saying.” That’s quite an amazing feeling because I’m very passionate about it and I hope that my passion comes across when I’m talking to these kids. I get a real buzz from inspiring apprentices.
Why did you decide to work with the LHAA?
When I met Trevor and Francine Luker, I realised they knew how to run an academy properly and had a great deal of background knowledge in business. They trusted the super-talented team around them to do what they did best, and they give everyone who works with them all the help they need. I like how progressive the LHAA is, and I love how Trevor and Francine are constantly learning and moving the LHAA forward.
You’ve currently got an LHAA apprentice, Zac, working with you. How is he getting on?
Zac is a good kid, a gifted boy who could be Hairdresser of the Year if he wanted to be! He’s got drive, ambition and he’s eager to learn. For someone so young, Zac has great natural ability, and whenever he does something well, I make sure to praise him and make sure he gives himself a pat on the back.
What is the key piece of advice you’d give a hairdresser starting out in the industry?
It’s all about your attitude! To tell people to learn and listen is not enough, your attitude affects everything that you do. So, my advice is that if you give 100% of yourself, and you have the right attitude, you can go far. You can be super talented, but if you have a bad attitude, no-one will want to know you. With the right attitude, you’ll find that everyone will want to help you and bend over backwards to help you realise your dreams.