The Story of ‘Hippy Hair’ and its Return To its Spiritual Home…Voodou!
After 8 years exploring the world and founding the highly successful hair extensions brand ‘The Hippy Club’ – former Voodou Stylist, Louise Smith is back at her spiritual home with a bang.
Here, she talks us through her incredible journey – from working at our Liverpool hair salon, all the way to building her own business – and bringing it back to the place where it all began. Voodou is the new home of ‘Hippy Hair Extensions’ – and we couldn’t be more proud. To book your complimentary hair extensions consultation at our hairdressers in Liverpool, contact us on 0844 445 7889 today.
Check out the Official Hippy Club Blog by clicking here.
How Did It All Begin?
After 8 great years at Voodou, I was looking for something different other than being salon based, I wanted to take my career in a different direction.
Firstly, I needed to identify myself as a stylist. What was I influenced by, what did I like? Who was I? For me Hairdressing is a universal language, there is nowhere in this world I cannot do my job, give me a pair of scissors and a comb and I can communicate with anybody.
As a British trained stylist we are classed as the best by most countries and this can open a lot of doors. So, I have travelled a lot with my job, I have become an educator, I have assisted on photo shoots, teaching, free-lancing and even a salon owner myself.
Six years ago I decided to train in extensions. At first I decided to train because of growing demand from my clients. First I was happy to be doing the standard 2 sewn in rows, simple and effective.
Fashions changed, things were getting bigger, and the curly blow swept across our city!
Two sewn in rows went to three, then to four, then to “can I have as many rows as you can possibly fit in my head?!” – I get how fashion trends can dominate and influence (remember the Dome Pants?!) but older and a bit wiser I knew I needed to be true to myself as a stylist – just because my clients wanted extensions, they didn’t all need to be clones not to mention the toll that such excessive use of extensions can have on your hair.
Hippy at Heart!
If you know me I’m a more laid back kind of girl, I like my hippy style, comfort, vintage pieces, boyish at times, I march to the beat of my own drum. I like hair extensions, and when I wore them I found I had to ‘ruff them up’ to suit me.
Nobody was catering for my ‘look’ and it frustrated me so I started to study the world of extensions. Over the next two years, I studied the ins and outs of the process, where the hair comes from, is it ethical? Is it legal? Why do people donate hair? Who are these hair donors the list of questions I asked where endless.
The Research Begins…
After years of research I found a remote town in India and I made contact with a temple who supplied human hair. I asked my questions and was surprised at the answers. The Hindu religion shaves the hair from the head as part of a sacramental practice. It’s a sign of coming into adulthood she told me.
Years ago the hair was burned to dispose of it. As the hair extension craze grew in the western world the brands come knocking. Many temples in India now sell the unwanted hair to major brands, brining money back into the temple and local villages.
Building the Brand
I was ready to take my next adventure, I decided to start my own Hair Extension Brand, that catered for my style and The Hippy Club was born. If I told you how I created the brand image you would not believe me. The image of the brand was key, I had to get my style across to the consumer, to show that my brand was different. So of a night while my children slept next to me I created the whole brand on the iPhone.
Yes you heard, my iPhone. I couldn’t afford a computer so it was the only way I could get on the internet. I communicated with different countries, networked and looked back into past trends from the Hippy movement. I was not ready for what was about to happen. After creating the image for my branding, the name, design look and feel I launched it on Instagram. Likers become followers. Facebook, twitter rand Pinterest were next and the interest was gaining at a rapid pace.
The Big Launch
Within 4 weeks of launching I was in the biggest salon in Liverpool – (Voodou of course!) and 4 other stockists had jumped on board. People were talking about it wanting it and it felt great to know that they were accepting my product. Two months down the line I found myself in the most bizarre of situations – It was a Wednesday afternoon in London and there I was sitting in River Island Head Office ready to pitch my product to retail giants. I was petrified to say the least, but I believed in my product and was passionate about my industry, I had found a gap in the market and I was going to fill it.
A ½ hour pitch turned into a two hour meeting and I walked out of there with a feeling of enactment, they loved it!!!
I had come a long way for a hairdresser and had proven too many critics (once one myself) that this industry can take you on some amazing journey’s and the sky is not the limit.
Back To Where It All Began…
Now after 8 years my wandering gypsy soul is returning to where it all began – Voodou. I’m happy to be home and sharing my experience’s, knowledge and working with such a fantastic team. As well as being one of Voodou’s in–house extension experts and helping to train new members of the team, I will be writing a weekly blog on hair extensions, new cuts and colours straight from the catwalk. Who’s hot and what’s not. So watch this space…