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Trainee stylists are inspired by hairdressing professional

Posted: 16 December 2020

An insight into hairstyles created for top fashion houses as well as scooping prestigious national awards were the topics of discussion for hairdressing students at West Nottinghamshire College.

Level 2 Hairdressing students welcomed professional hairstylist Jennifer Low to their online class session to hear all about her career and learn more about her experience in the industry.

Jennifer, who now owns Scott’s salon in Grantham, was invited to speak to the class by personal tutor Suzanne Szepeta, who worked for Jennifer at Toni and Guy salon in the late 1990s, early 2000s.

Students learnt that her career, which spans more than 30 years, saw her owning her first salon at the age of just 18 which was supported by funding from the Prince’s Youth Trust. She then owned a Toni and Guy franchise at the age of 28.

Jennifer explained to the students that one of the keys to success in the industry is to push yourself to try new things and to express yourself. She spoke of how she encourages her staff to enter competitions and to “be involved, don’t hang back – be confident and push yourself.”

Jennifer has seen award success in becoming a finalist in the 2019 and 2020 Salon Business Awards as well as being in this year’s finals for best education in the British Hairdressing Awards. She explained to students how education is very much at the forefront of her business, as she works closely with the TIGI professional artistic team and is one of their educators.

Students learnt the importance of creating a photographic portfolio to showcase their work for either competitions or for inspiring clients. Jennifer showed some of her hairdressing images through the decades which she has created for competitions and for the London and Paris catwalks during fashion weeks.

Jennifer also explained the large-scale process of creating photographic looks which involves up to five months of planning, holding model castings, going to London to select the models, then weeks of planning what hair styles and looks to create.

Student Kiera Durham said: “It was very interesting. I’ve never heard of some of the hair shows and amazing competitions which she spoke about so I’ve learnt something new – they sound so exciting to be involved in and Jennifer is incredibly inspiring. For my career I’d love to work on a cruise line and Jennifer’s got some great advice for new stylists to think about.”

Programme area leader Suzanne Szepeta said: “I’ve known Jen for many years and one thing she’s very passionate about is education and investing in her staff’s training. I hope that our students learnt today through her advice that as a stylist your learning never stops. Even after your college qualification has been achieved there’s plenty to discover and improve on.

“Even though entering competitions like Jen has done isn’t possible at the moment, we’ll definitely be taking the opportunity in class practicals to explore competition-based looks and take professional looking images of the results so that students can get a feel for the contest-style environment.”

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