Afro Hair Business Interview – Hazel, Founder of Sanctus Hair & Salon Owner: “In the black community, hairdressers are looked down on. They’re seen as uneducated or dropouts […]”
Afrocks had a chat with Hazel who recently launched her product range. She’s also a salon owner in South East London – therefore she has plenty to say when it comes to the afro hair industry!
Can you introduce yourself?
I’m Hazel founder of Sanctus hair products.
How did you come up with Sanctus Hair business idea?
I’m a hairdresser by trade and through my work, I realised that there was a need for hair products with less or zero chemicals that could help to lock moisture in the hair without leaving hair looking greasy or giving hair the illusion of it being moisturised. To achieve the finish my clients wanted I used to mix Afro and European hair products.
To resolve this problem I started mixing my own ingredients at home and using the products on my own hair. The changes with my hair started to show and with the push from my clients, Sanctus was born.
What’s so special about Sanctus Hair products?
Sanctus products are all water-based. They’re 98 to a 100 per cent natural. The ingredients are plant and fruit-based. Sanctus is for all hair types and can be used on chemically treated or natural hair.
“In the black community, hairdressers are looked down on. They’re seen as uneducated, dropouts or in some cases, illegal immigrants.”
How did clients and customers react to the products? What feedback did you get?
Customers’ feedback is always the best and it’s imperative. They’re the consumers; they know what they want, and how they want the product to work. It’s hard to grow and create a great product without your customers’ feedback.
We’ve had a lot of great feedback, which has been overwhelming and extremely helpful. My clients love the products! They have been so supportive and it’s mainly because the majority of them helped me to create it by allowing me to test it on their hair. So as much as Sanctus is my baby, it’s also theirs.
Our Head of Afro Hair and Business Simone recently wrote a blog post about afro hairdressing not being considered as a ‘real’ profession. What is your take on this?
In the black community, hairdressers are looked down on. They’re seen as uneducated, dropouts or in some cases, illegal immigrants. It’s true that some hairdressers don’t take themselves and their profession seriously. It only becomes a “real profession” when you start taking it seriously. Small things like turning up on time, having respect for your clients as well as their time; It’s important to value your clients because without them you won’t have a job. Small things like that make a big difference.
Do you have any black hairdressers in the profession that you see as role model?
Hairdressers such as Errol Douglas, Junior Green or Charlotte Mensah are references! They take their trade seriously, have set their standards high and have taken hairdressing to a different level. It shows what could be done and gained by taking your profession seriously.
“Get into the hair industry because of your love of hair, not the money”
Are there any other issues you can think about?
For me, it all boils down to a lack of training, education and your mindset. The other problem is that a lot of black hair products and salons are not regulated, so for some people, the hair industry is a quick and easy way to make money. They go straight into it without any form of training. Anyone can pick up a comb or open up a salon, become a hairdresser. This causes some people to lose faith and respect for the profession.
Do you any advice for young people interested in a career in afro hairdressing?
Yes! Get into the hair industry because of your love of hair, not the money. There’s a lot of money to be made when it comes to this profession but it can be so demanding and exhausting dealing with different people, different personalities on a daily basis. It’s only your love of hair that can help you to keep going.
There’s also a trend where we see a lot of young hairdressers not willing to work in a salon or a shop…
Once you are trained, you can take your skill anywhere you want! Whether you prefer to work with fashion houses or shows, movies sets, salons, it’s entirely up to you! The world is your oyster. I would say it’s always good to have a plan, set goals, don’t ever limit yourself, do as much as you can to set yourself apart from everyone else. Study the ones who came before you. Never stop educating yourself when it comes to your field. Know your worth.
What are the new trends you’ve witnessed so far in 2019?
Not much has changed regarding the trends…blunt bobs, grey/coloured hair, hair accessories etc are still trending.
How do you relax when you are not working/at work?
I love and enjoy spending time with my family and loved ones. Reading, going to the theatre and museums whenever I can. Listening to music and watching documentaries!