Mr Nice Guy, Part 1Everyone loves Andrew Barton. No, seriously, they do! Yorkshire-born Andrew is one of those people who everyone warms to, and no-one has a bad word to say about. Not only does he run a busy, celeb-worthy salon and head up a thriving haircare business, Andrew is also one of the most-loved TV stylists out there, and yet he still does it all with that infectious grin. While celebrating his 50th birthday in Beirut, Andrew took some time out to answer some questions we’ve been dying to ask.
If I wasn't a hairdresser I would be...
I don't know! I can’t think of anything else I have wanted to do; my career has been so rewarding and enjoyable.
What's the one piece of advice that you would give to someone who wants to make an impact in the hair industry?
It goes back to what I learnt as an apprentice – never to accept ‘okay’ as a standard. It actually means things are not okay – and it means your client is not coming back.
Where's home to you?
Home is London. It’s a bit of a love/hate relationship but I still get an excited feeling every time I cross one of the London bridges. My native home is Yorkshire and I’m very proud of my roots (excuse the pun!) and am proud to be an ambassador for Yorkshire, promoting tourism, industry and enterprise. Next year I will be launching a very exciting creative project in my home town of Barnsley.
How did you get started in hair
I trained as an apprentice in my home town and the training I received was of the highest standard. I was taught to never accept ‘okay’ as a standard and that has stood with me ever since, and is an inspiration for all I do now. My training was strict and very disciplined. At the time I didn’t realise the value of those standards but now I totally appreciate my humble beginnings in that village salon.
When did you know that hairdressing was what you were born to do?
I wasn’t academic at all at school, but excelled in art and design and certainly had a creative leaning, so I always knew that I was destined for something artistic. I started studying at art college but my working-class roots led me to get a job – I’d had enough of college and wanted to earn money! I got a job in a hairdressing salon and my mother insisted that if I was to do an apprenticeship, it had to be with the best salon in the area, and it was.
When it comes to running a successful salon, what are the most important factors?
Like any business, it’s about consistency. Whether it’s managing my salon team, managing my consumer haircare business or my education consultancy business. It’s all about being consistent.
You've no doubt seen it all in your career - what's your funniest moment?
Possibly one of the funniest moments was when a client came into the salon with her Afghan hound and told me she wanted her hair cut and coloured to match the fur of her dog. She meant it. She wanted her hair cut to the same length and coloured to match the dog’s fur!
What's the one aspect of what you do that makes you think, 'God, I love my job'?
I’m very blessed to work in various areas of the hair industry, from styling hair on glamorous magazine shoots, to presenting shows; taking part in seminars around the world, as well as working on television shows and of course running my own consumer haircare business. It’s all creatively challenging and fun, but the best bit of my job is seeing a woman smile in the mirror when I’ve finished her hair at the salon.
As Creative Director for Urban Retreat at Harrods, the world’s biggest hair and beauty destination, we are faced with the same challenges as any salon - it’s just on a much larger scale. The underlying factor is that we all have the power to transform how a woman looks and feels about herself through our hairdressing skills and creativity, whether we are based in a large or small salon, village or city. After 30 years in the industry this is still the most satisfying part of my job.
Make sure you check back on Monday for part 2 of our exciting interview with the brilliant Andrew Barton…
Or you can read the whole interview now in our summer magazine!
Originally published in Capital Hair & Beauty summer magazine 2017.