“Get­ting fired gave me a new out­look”

She’s her­alded as the stylist who launched a thou­sand trends – meet ALEX BROWNSELL, 30, co-founder of Bleach sa­lons

Cosmopolitan (UK) - - Beauty Lab -

➤ Only lazy peo­ple say ‘no’ I started cut­ting hair in my lounge, which had a leak in the ceil­ing. At the time, my friends and I were all go­ing through breakups, so we called it Heart­break Hair and it be­came pop­u­lar through word of mouth. We’d have drinks, gos­sip, laugh and cry, mak­ing the at­mos­phere dif­fer­ent to a typ­i­cal sa­lon. Even back then I’d want to ac­cept new chal­lenges. View­ing trick­ier styles as a good thing and do­ing them in a chilled space is how Bleach carved a niche. Now, I tell our 45 staff, “Don’t say ‘no’ out of lazi­ness – only say no if some­thing could be detri­men­tal to the cus­tomer’s hair.” ➤ Fail­ure brings per­spec­tive I got fired from The X Fac­tor in 2008, when I was 20. I was sup­posed to help a friend out on a shoot for the show, but ended up go­ing to a party and wak­ing up in a ho­tel with no bat­tery, so I couldn’t call for a few hours. I thought she wouldn’t mind. She did – and my lax at­ti­tude was what an­noyed her the most. I was gut­ted and it marked a real turn­ing point in my ma­tu­rity. ➤ Keep your nerves and ego in check It’s of­ten those who are ‘up-and-com­ing’ who have the worst ego – and I was no ex­cep­tion in the be­gin­ning. Self-be­lief is vi­tal, but a huge ego can be detri­men­tal, es­pe­cially when you’re work­ing on an edi­to­rial or fash­ion shoot with a team. The best hair­dressers are those who stay pos­i­tive and act con­fi­dently, even if they’re freak­ing out in­ter­nally be­cause some­one’s kick­ing off over a wig that doesn’t suit them. ➤ Say ‘yes’, then fig­ure it out Years ago, Port Eliot fes­ti­val asked me to do some­thing orig­i­nal there. I thought about weav­ing silks and pat­terns into hair, then for­got about it. Weeks later, I had to blag it when the or­gan­iser called to ask what my plan was. I said, “I’ve in­vented… hair ta­pes­try,” and then spent three nights fail­ing to make a loom de­vice out of card­board. Af­ter re­search­ing medieval ta­pes­tries, I bought a pic­ture frame from Ox­fam, sawed grooves into it, and made a con­trap­tion which thank­fully worked. I’ve since spent two years de­vel­op­ing it with Bang! Cre­ative.

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