The opportunity to interview hairdressing royalty like Charles Worthington is something you just can’t say no to.
Working in education there is so much changing around us; however hairdressing appears to have remained a constant in that there’s been no digitalisation of the trade. The government’s push on apprenticeships has definitely opened people’s eyes to a whole new way of learning – and they like what they see.
I couldn’t wait to find out more about Charles Worthington who has been a huge name in the industry for over 20 years. Within that time he has established his brand which includes both hair products and salons across London. Here I learn more about his humble beginnings and his thoughts on the industry.
How did you get started as a hairdresser?
I moved from my hometown York to London and attended Robert Fielding’s School of Hairdressing in Soho. I then graduated to apprentice in a Robert Fielding Salon.
What was your experience like as an apprentice?
I thoroughly enjoyed my time as an apprentice as I don't like disorder, so keeping the salon looking sharp and tidy was a joy for me rather than a chore, plus you are surrounded by creativity- the power of hair transformation! I particularly enjoyed the interaction with clients and showing off my new found skills of sound product knowledge combined with my shampooing and head massage skills. Training sessions couldn't come fast enough after absorbing so much from my peers on a daily basis.
Why do you think hairdressing has retained its attraction to so many over the years?
It is the perfect profession for anyone who is creative and loves the fashion world. Hair makes the ultimate fashion statement about a person and is a powerful force in making people feel good about themselves which is why talented professional hairdressers gain considerable respect for the work they produce.
What are some fundamental skills hairdressing apprentices should hold if they want to get ahead?
Positive ‘can-do’ attitude and a willingness to help - always going the extra mile. Set yourself the objective to stand out from the crowd. Realising the importance of your training being the foundation of the hairdresser you will become.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything?
Yes to have more hours in a day…!
Which celebrity did you enjoy styling the most and why?
Sarah Jessica-Parker because she is such a cool fashion icon and very open minded and experimental with her hairstyling. And the very last episode of Sex in the City was filmed in my New York salon!
What would you say has been the most challenging part of your career and how did you overcome any obstacles?
I would say performing on live TV doing full makeovers in less than 30-60 minutes was a challenge. I learnt very quickly to adapt to situations such as these and assess what is required. So I might not be able to do my best technical haircut in that short time but so long as the finished result is a great transformation and has good balance and suits the persons face shape, your job is done. I would then do any tweaking required after the show when I can take my time.
Presumably you have a hand across all divisions within your business. What area do you enjoy working in the most and why?
I enjoy my teaching and mentoring role and being able to use my years of experience and knowledge to help others along their career path.
What are some common misconceptions people have about hairdressing and how would you respond to them?
Hairdressing can be seen as an easy career option and also low paid – Categorically not true! It is like any other profession where if you excel in what you do the rewards are high.
What advice would you give to people wanting to pursue a career as a hairdresser?
Hairdressing is a ‘creative calling’ so if you feel drawn to the craft the chances are you will be good. Hard work and commitment pays off so always demonstrate passion and most importantly, remember you get out of life what you put in.
If you've been inspired by Charles Worthington and his story,
Safeera is Editor of Whatuni and a journalist from Kingston University. Always the inquisitive, her writing spans across a number of areas such as sustainability, fashion, lifestyle and now education. Her belief that you never stop learning and passionate nature has taken her to New York City as part of her degree and across the airwaves on national radio talking about the issues that matter to her.