Award-winning hairdresser, innovator and educator, Lee Stafford is one of the UK’s top ambassadors for the British hairdressing industry. From humble beginnings to a global brand, the success of Lee's career has been built on determination and passion...

Who or what got you into hairdressing in the first place?
My mum had hair like a Welcome mat – the kind you have outside the front of your house. It was really thick, coarse and dry and she used to go to the salon all the time. One day I was sitting there with mum when she asked me what I was going to do with my life. She said, “You love fashion, you love girls, you hate getting your hands dirty and you hate the cold weather. What about hair?” So it was my mum who managed to get some London salon numbers off the guy who styled her hair and helped me organise meetings. I went to all the interviews with mum and before I knew it, I’d started in a salon on the Kings Road and I was hooked. Women, fashion and all in the warm with clean hands, mum was bang on!

How did your training go?
I trained in a West End salon for a short time but I left at 16 and set up a salon in my mum's dining room for the next six years. It was a slow and painful experience learning from all my mistakes; however, I ended up buying the family house off mum when I was 17, all my mates moved in (one lived under the stairs) and it was a lot of fun, to say the least. What I would tell someone now that I’m uglier and wiser, is to seek out the best stylists and salons and then stick to them like glue.

Tell us about your hairdressing role now
It’s changed massively over 40 years, from being in salons, on TV and onstage and generally surrounded by loads of people all day, every day to now running my product and academy businesses mostly from my home in England, or wherever I fancy... New York or Ibiza. I passionately, wholeheartedly gave blood, sweat and tears to learn the craft of hair, management and business for decades. I set goals, took risks and eventually found the best to learn from and when opportunity came knocking, I was pumped and prepared to take the bull by the horns.

What has surprised you most about working in hair?
Firstly, how difficult the craft is to master and secondly, the impact you can have on someone's life when you create an incredible haircut. Also, the travel, the money and the excitement you can experience within the hairdressing industry – it's unique!

‘Sell’ hairdressing to a 16-year-old…
Do you want a career that embraces your quirks and differences, where you can be as creative as your imagination will allow you? Where you can travel the world, make people feel amazing and make a lot of money doing it? Do you want to work in an industry that has been found (independently) to be the happiest profession of them all? If any of this is floating your boat, then a job in hair is for you – just make sure you work hard for it.




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