Episode 034

Nicola Clarke

Podcast Length: 55 min | Date Published: 7th April 2020

What does it really take to have a celebrity client base?

My guest on today’s Podcast is Nicola Clarke who is a salon partner and the creative colour director at John Frieda salons in London as well as being a major celebrity colourist.

Nicola’s success is not only due to her talent as a colourist but her personal qualities of grit, determination and persistence which are lessons that we all need to take on board as we work through the coming weeks.

For many hairdressers, the opportunity to work 1-1 with some of the worlds top models, musicians, actors and celebrities is their dream job and definition of success. But obviously, it’s a definition of success that only a few can achieve and even less can maintain.

It takes more than just technical and creative skills. You also have to be a certain type of person to be able to deal with celebrity clients, because it can be demanding, unpredictable and stressful to the extreme… But the upside is also pretty cool as well!

Nicola has a client list that includes the likes of Kate Moss, Madonna, Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchette, Carey Mulligan, Margot Robbie, Sienna Miller, Leonardo Dicaprio, Jake Gyllenhall, Brad Pitt, Claudia Schiffer, Tilda Swinton, Gwyneth Paltrow, Dua Lipa… I am sure you are getting the idea.

Quite simply Nicola is the colourist behind some of the worlds most photographed faces as well as being called upon to create characters in the world of film.

Nicola runs the gauntlet from film locations and magazine shoots to red carpet but is always back to the salon, which she describes as ‘the best part’ of the job.

So if you are expecting some prima donna princess, you will be disappointed because Nicola is one of the most down to earth, loyal and normal people that you will ever meet and I suggest that that is one of her secret weapons!​

In This Episode:

[02:36] Nicola, welcome to the show!

[03:21] Nicola shares how she got into the business when she was thirteen.

[04:35] When did you start working full time in a salon situation?

[07:52] Nicola speaks about being interested in session hairdressing and wanting to be a part of that world.

[10:12] She chats about working at a place called Hyper Salon.

[12:35] Nicola shares that she took her holiday’s during fashion week with the hope that she could assist Sam McKnight.

[14:35] Were you working in the salon as a colourist or an all-around hairdresser?

[17:09] Nicola speaks about the transition from working at a salon to becoming a session stylist and colourist for celebrities.

[19:31] She chats about an article in Vogue about her being Sam’s assistant.

[20:27] Nicola shares being asked to fix Gwyneth Paltrow’s hair on set.

[22:50] Antony believes that part of Nicola’s success is because she is not intimidated by anyone.

[25:35] Nicola sees celebrities as regular clients, not as someone famous.

[26:52] Have you had any push back from stars wanting something done that you weren’t comfortable doing?

[29:06] Nicola says she loves doing red carpet work the most.

[31:48] She shares a story about getting on a helicopter with Madonna.

[33:55] Nicola speaks about working in John Frieda’s salon in London, where she has a salon named the Nicola Clarke Salon.

[36:40] Opening the salon was one of the scariest things she has ever done.

[38:50] Do you personally manage the salon? Do you still stand behind the chair?

[42:00] Nicola shares about what she wished she had known before she opened the business.

[45:21] Are awards and competitions vital to you as a salon owner?

[48:43] Nicola gives young stylists advice about having a career as enjoyable as hers.

[51:23] Don’t listen to anyone who says you can’t do it.

[52:51] Thank you so much, Nicola, for sharing your story!

Thanks for listening!

Thanks so much for joining me this week. If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons at the side or bottom of this post.

Also, I’d love it if you’d leave an honest review for The Grow My Salon Business Podcast. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show and help other people find my podcast. I also love to hear what’s been helpful! Just click here to review, Click through to ‘Listen on apple podcasts’ scroll to the bottom, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favourite part of the podcast is. Thank you!

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Special thanks to Nicola Clarke for sharing her story with me for this week’s episode. Until next time!

Find Nicola

Nicola Clarke at John Frieda


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