Gorgeous George Bower, 24, working at the Lipstick & Gunpowder salon in Brighton has an uplifting, open minded manner of approaching his world and the people in his world. I really enjoyed talking to this truly inspirational character, George has clearly worked hard to be where he is today and has a passion that radiates through him when he talks about life. A true Brightonian too!
Around the age of 11, George started messing around with his hair, dyeing it from a natural dark brunette to black. “But I don’t like being dark because it’s natural and I’m not natural.” From there, he began to be inspired by magazines and pictures on the internet to bleach his hair.”It went bright orange… So then I started researching into why it had turned that colour, how to fix it, the science behind it.” George ended up having to strip his hair out until he “finally got to blond.” From there he experimented with as many colours as he could, taking inspiration from different designers, fashion trends, celebrities. “You know what it’s like when you’re a teenager.”
George started working full time at a salon at 14. On day release, trained further at Look Fantastic Training Academy learning and developing his skills and style. “I was only studying hair but you obviously pick up on a few other things, like head and hand massaging. You know you just learn from everyone.” Qualified at 16, George started doing his own thing, working at home “going round my clients houses, experimenting on friends” and going on some additional courses, flourishing his style and expanding his savoir-faire. Showing incredible determination to succeed and passion toward his career, as young as 16 he had a qualification, a full time job and was running around looking for ways to be bigger and better to get where he ultimately wanted to be. A year later he had his NVQ level 3 in hairdressing and went wild in to the world of colour technician training with L’Oreal and followed even more extra courses online. Continuing to do his general inspirational research, watching videos on youtube etc… I was blown away by the amount of time and effort George seemed to have put into his hairstylist career.
“It’s a lifestyle. If you surround yourself with it, you’re going to keep on learning. There’s always someone coming up with something new, so you’ll never stop learning.”
As many industries, there’s a type of “animal city” and a type of “bitchiness” to be the best. George feels that it can only bring you down to enter that kind of competitive animal like mindset and that the key is to appreciate your work for yourself “I just do it for me, if I make someone happy, I’m happy.” Customers in trust George with their hair with the freedom to be creative and he’s payed to make his customers feel good about themselves he explained “I’m not going to disappoint them.” I wanted to know if it was more interesting for George when a customer knows what they want or when they just come in and tell him to do his thing, he said both. “I like it when someone knows what they want because they’ve got a vision so you can really work together to achieve it. But then when someone gives you complete freedom I’m always like okay, how daring are you feeling on a scale of 1 to 10? Are you willing to cut your hair or go lighter, darker? When they give you the freedom it’s amazing!” I wondered if he ever got some negative feedback from his customers and he described the situation as how the customer has always had the opportunity to look through his portfolio and research him if they feel like it and are constantly talking through the process of the styling as a team to get the desired result. “I always go through each step, telling people the science behind it. Why I’m using something or helping them to understand how to maintain the look at home. I’ll advise them to come back after a certain period or just share some general aftercare information.”
So whats George’s ultimate dream for his career? “I’d like to have my own boutique style salon, like a mini studio, quite a small safe space where I could focus on big transformations. I’d like to spend a whole day with just 1 or 2 people, to be able to get to know the person as well so you can build that relationship and still be able to have my own space. Something small and different.” The idea is that he’d have a boutique that would be a niche market for the type of transformations that George specifically wants to do. “Not just doing things to get the money to get by but doing it for myself and for that customer.” He’d also like to travel to Korea, Japan “everywhere I could” with his profession but money puts everything on hold.
“As someone creative, you shouldn’t sell yourself cheap, your personality and your style to fit in.” George is outside the 9 till 5 way of life. He sacrifices a solid wage to be himself and have the freedom that he needs to be happy. “For me to be me.”
Lipstick & Gunpowder (Official Website) is a fantastic team of artistic and professional lovely genuine people who welcomed me very sweetly when I went over to take a few shots. The salon is gorgeous with a very 80s style decor oh and some pink flamingos. VERY BRIGHTON! George explained that it’s such a lovely environment to work in because everyone has a different job role and they all respect one another. He clearly really enjoys his work, lucky man!
“Around Brighton you can be yourself. That’s what we’re here for, to help you be that.”
“Life isn’t just about working and paying bills, it should be fun. Add a splash of colour to your life or cut your fucking hair off, or shave your head! You know, do something that’s going to be amazing! Do something that shows who you are. And the best place to start is with your hair. It will give you a new identity, a new persona, you can become a character with hair if you like.”
“Your style is your own. If that’s what makes you happy, that’s that.”
“We’re all our own brand, don’t try and be a Kardashian.”
“Don’t take things personally.”
“If you’ve got an issue, get a tissue!”
LET THE MAGIC CONTINUE……..