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Image by Farouk Mechedal


My Story So Far

“Passion comes from the heart and you have to really love doing something to be passionate about it! I couldn't be anymore passionate about my hairdressing!”

The Inspiration:

There is always someone or something that really inspires you into doing something. How I came to have a career in hairdressing was definitely no exception to this.

My grandmother (Noreen) had a long and happy career in hairdressing before she became an auxiliary nurse for the NHS. She still to this day tells me all her funny stories about the places she worked, and the clients she saw regularly. She always boasted how she loved the ability to remain so creative and still be so involved with others.


My grandmother saw and appreciated my creative flair growing up and her wisdom foresaw that I would flourish in the hairdressing industry. I confided in her before leaving school and told her that I didn't know what I wanted to do when I left, my choices were between hairdressing or equestrian care. She soon put me on the right track, advising me that my creativity and passion would greatly suit hairdressing and she could see me going far.

My grandmother is now my longest standing regular client since I started my career in hairdressing, she has willingly been my guinea pig for new cutting techniques, she has allowed me to colour her hair all the colours on spectrum (Some of which were not desired) and even allowed me to transform her hair with extensions on occasion. My grandmother turned 80 in 2018 and still to this day comes for her Bi-weekly wash and blow dry. 

My grandmother gifted me her hairdressing scissors and they are proudly displayed alongside this picture of her on my wall at home. I often look at them and think so fondly of the career she so explicitly explained when I was younger.

Image by Farouk Mechedal

The Work Experience & Saturday Job:

My hairdressing career started whilst I was still at school. The school placed me at Francesco Group Derby for work experience. From the moment I stepped through the door, I instantly loved the buzzing atmosphere and environment that the salon created, shortly after my work experience ended, I made the decision to apply for the salon’s Saturday assistant!

The Apprenticeship:

I knew from the moment I stepped into the salon that it was the environment I wanted to become a part of and it would be where my creativity would thrive!

I used my experiences from assisting the salon at the weekend and decided to apply for an apprenticeship.

I went on to study my NVQ2 & NVQ3 hairdressing through Francesco Group apprenticeships. I soon came to the realisation that the apprenticeship had been structured in a way which would ensure I was trained to a premium standard and also to maximise my potential as a stylist.


Post Graduate Training:

After I completed my apprenticeship and attended the Francesco Group Finishing School, I soon got the taste to want to continue my training further. I thought there wouldn't be much more learning available for me in the salon.

I was so wrong, over the years I have been so lucky to have had such a privileged ongoing education. Francesco Group have astonishing amounts of post graduate training available and they really strive for you to take an active role in it.

Some examples of training I have completed would be:

  • Classic Cutting.

  • Advanced Cutting.

  • Classic Colour.

  • Advanced Colouring.

  • Generation Next.

  • Generation Colour.

  • Barbering.

  • Red Carpet Hair.

  • Hair Extension Training.

  • Management Training.

  • Master Colour Programme.

  • L’Oreal Colour Specialist Training.

Image by Farouk Mechedal

Master Colour Expert:

Wella offers amazing further education in the form of a foundation degree in colour. The Master Colour Expert Programme was an extremely intense course which focuses on colour, not only on application techniques and the various different products available, but also how the eye perceives colour and how colour is reflected by light.

After I had completed the Master Colour Programme I was able to to hold the title Master Colour Expert in the salon. I felt the course gave me such an enriched knowledge and a greater understanding of colour. I feel I am able to put these skills into practice everyday in the salon by supporting others with clients, teaching techniques of mixing and application and furthermore I am able to offer my clientele a greater colouring experience and colour result because of everything I gained from completing this course.


Project X 2015:

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Project X is a year long course aimed at the highly skilled, passionate hairdressers whom want to broaden their knowledge and skills outside of the normal day to day runnings of a busy hair salon environment.

The course offers load of amazing additional training and the opportunity to work alongside and interact with some of the biggest names in British hairdressing. The course offers mentoring days with the experts, education and numerous opportunities to present work on stage or in a photoshoot environment

I discovered Project X in 2015 when Francesco Group head office sent out an information pack to all salons, wanting applicants from the Francesco Group family. This opportunity excited me greatly!

To be able to apply for Project X I had to submit a 30 second video clip explaining a little about myself and why I wanted to be a part of Project X. I still cringe every time I see my entry video, but I must have done something right because, I got in!!


I ventured to London every month to be a part of the Project X team. I managed to not only experience a cast of leading professionals, but I managed to experience the hustle and bustle of which is the hairdressing industry in London.

Over the year I had the privileged opportunity to work alongside so may leaders of the hairdressing industry, a few examples would be:

  • Jamie Stevens

  • Vidal Sassoon Academy.

  • GHD London.

Project X also gave me the opportunity to work within a team of people striving to reach our maximum potential in creativity. The course taught me that there is no such thing as a right or wrong way in hairdressing. Every hairdresser has their own unique way of doing things and Project X taught me to open my mind and not only be more open to ideas and techniques but to believe in my own abilities as a hairdresser.

Another amazing opportunity we had during the year was to complete multiple photoshoots, one of which I am extremely proud of: Dark Romantic.

Image by Farouk Mechedal

Project X 2015 - Dark Romantic

The Dark Romantic photoshoot for me was my all time favourite during the course as it really evoked the creator in me, the mission statement was dark and, I LOVED IT!

Our group discussed and decided we should draw on inspiration from our favourite films. After completing the photoshoot and reviewing the images, I really feel that we succeeded in what we had set out to do:

  • Hannibal Lector.

  • Alien - Xenomorph.

  • Avatar - Neytiri.


Project X 2015 - Dark Romantic Is A Hit

A short time after completing the photoshoot it became clear that Project X 2015 had been a massive success for me professionally! I felt that I had grown so much over the year and the work I had created excelled all of my own expectations! I couldn't have been more shocked when a month or so later our images from the photoshoot started to pop up everywhere.

I couldn't have been prouder to have seen our images.... YES OUR IMAGES, all over social media, on the front covers of Estetica USA and the Fellowship magazine.

Image by Farouk Mechedal

Francesco Group Awards:


The Francesco Group Photographic awards is an annual event where stylists have the opportunity to compete against each other within the FG family. Each stylist is required to submit a photographic entry from one of the various categories. The categories are formulated to encourage all levels of stylist to participate and range from Level 1 - Apprentice, to Post year 3 which then splits into categories such as: Mens Image, Hair trend or Afro Image.

I love that I have the opportunity to be able to submit photoshoot work regularly into different competitions. These opportunities allow me to drive my creativity into new territory by submitting looks that you wouldn't see everyday. It allows me to expand my creative skills by making bespoke wigs and showcasing my interpretations of current hair trends.

After you have submitted an entry it is judged by a panel and the results are revealed at the annual awards night. In 2016 I decided to enter two categories, Hair Trend and Afro Image.


Francesco Group Awards Night:

I attended the awards night not expecting to have placed with either of my entries, and I was astounded when my image came up on the big screen for 2nd place in the Afro Image category.

I couldn't believe it, ME, 2nd place! I was so shocked but so happy to have placed. I was so proud of myself and felt fulfilled that my hard work and determination had resulted in such recognition from the Francesco Group Team.

Receiving the award really spurred me on to continue doing what I love and made me want to compete with my creative work all the more!


Little did I know, a new professional challenge was just around the corner......

BONDS Hair & Beauty

In March 2018 I found that I had been highly recommended by someone, which led to me being approached by one of the owners of BONDS. She offered me the chance to take her up on an exciting new challenge within an established independent salon. In April 2018 I decided to take the position of Salon Manager at BONDS. Throughout 2018 myself and the corporate manager of the business took leadership of the salon and began to drive it forward by rebranding, redecorating and restyling the salon.

Meet The Team:

I felt it was time to introduce the BONDS Team to the world and showcase the humanistic approach I had envisioned for the salon going forward. Meet the team allowed the clientele to understand the level of experience each team member had, the speciality of that person and then furthermore gave the client just enough information about them to show the team members unique personality.

Image by Farouk Mechedal



In my new role I found new confidence, passion and creativity, I unleashed all of this into my hairdressing and produced some outstanding work! My attitudes towards both hairdressing and business completely changed allowing new appreciation of the profession which is “Hairdressing”.

EASILOCKS Hair Extension Systems:

I wanted the salon to offer additional services from a premium high-quality hair extension brand. I therefore researched, trained and began to offer Easilocks hair extension systems within the salon. The results in some parts were life changing for clients, providing new found confidence in their appearances.

Image by Farouk Mechedal

Refocused & Recharged.... Im Back!!

Creative Director - Francesco Group Derby:

Image by Farouk Mechedal


Moving On & Moving Up:

On Thursday 28th March 2019, I made the decision to re-join the Francesco Group Derby team in the role of the salons Creative Director. The role has familiar but adapted managerial responsibilities, but also allows me to have more direction with regards to education, team leadership and business development.


Francesco Group Derby - Stunning New Salon:

During my year away from the Francesco Group salon, Chris the salons owner has made a lot of changes of which have all been vastly for the better!

Firstly the most noticeable change from the outside is that the salon has moved, not only away from the old and dated salon in Victoria street, but it now presents as this amazingly stylist but welcoming salon nestled amongst a vast array of popular boutique shops.

The new salon comes equipped with an amazing courtyard garden where (weather permitting) clients will be able to leisurely relax whilst their colours develop or to simply enjoy a complimentary drink in the sunshine. On the subject of complimentary drinks there has been some amazing changes to the menu, the new salon is now licensed to offer complimentary alcoholic refreshments on premises.


To celebrate this Francesco Group Derby now has a fully functioning Gin Bar, hosting an amazing selection of Gins. Don’t like gin…. Not to worry, there is also processco as well as a host of other soft drink and hot drink options.

Image by Farouk Mechedal



Meet The Team - Francesco Group Derby

Who really wants to see stale lifeless images that show no personality?


We all decided at Francesco Group Derby that we didn't just want to show you how welcoming we can be with a smile, but how different, lovable and quirky our personalities are!

These guys to me are not just my team, they are my work family! We have supported each other through almost everything right from training, hair successes and sometimes even failures. We have popped the processco and celebrated together on each others life events and been that shoulder of support when life has been more difficult!

Our Francesco Group Family.... Couldn't have a stronger bond.

Image by Farouk Mechedal

Francesco Group Photographic Awards 2019

Knowing that the annual awards night was looming, to be able to compete this year entries were required from our fantastic Derby team!

At this point I had only been back in the salon for a couple of weeks but knew I really wanted to be a part of this years celebrations and couldn't wait for the opportunity to compete professionally again.

I really wanted all of the Francesco Group Derby team to enter the awards to showcase their amazing creative hairdressing abilities.

Francesco Group host a fantastic opportunity each year for the entire FG family to come together and showcase hair creations from each entrant. The applicant creatives an image and enters it into set categories with the opportunity to win an awards for their creations.


The Categories are:

  • Afro Image.

  • Colour Image.

  • Creative Editorial Collection.

  • Hair Trend Image.

  • Men’s Image.

  • Apprentice Year 1 - Style & Finish.

  • Apprentice Year 2 - Commercial Cut & Colour.

  • Apprentice Year 3 - Creative Cut & Colour.

This year also celebrated 50 years of the Francesco Group name and therefore was even more important to me that our salon team ensured our entries for the awards night.

Models found, Hair and Make up complete, Photographer on set.... Heres the Francesco Group Derby 2019 Awards collection!


Awards Collection 2019

Image by Farouk Mechedal
Image by Farouk Mechedal

The Awards Night

Francesco Group Derby stepped out in style this year to attend the annual Francesco Group Photographic Awards. We were not only there to celebrate 50 years of the fantastic Francesco Group brand, but to celebrate our amazing work family and our accomplishments as a team for the year!

The Photographic Awards

As the evening progressed it was time to announce this years winners of the photographic awards.

I remained apprehensive of my entries, as I had not competed professionally since the 2016 FG Awards and as I had also only returned to the Francesco Group family 3 months prior.... I didn't anticipate what was about to happen!


Afro Image 2019 - Third Place!

To receive third place at the 2019 awards meant so much to me! It completely reaffirmed that I am exactly where I want to be and it furthermore reminded me that I had missed competing professionally so much!

On greeting Anya and Mia on stage to receive my award it was amazing to have been welcomed back to the Francesco Group family and to know that my presence has been greatly missed during the last year.

The entire salon team were buzzing from the atmosphere that the awards night creates and this has continued in the salon thereafter.

It may have only been a short time from this years awards, but myself and Chris have already started planning the Francesco Group Derby’s collection for the 2020 awards.

Watch this space! We plan to put Derby massively on the map in the 2020 awards!

Image by Farouk Mechedal



The Eye Of The Storm:

In November 2018 the salon had gotten really busy, the Christmas rush had come a month early and I was starting to struggle to be able to get all my clients booked in for their pre-Christmas appointments. The decision was made between the managerial team to suspend all educational sessions to allow clients to have further availability to book appointments. After the Christmas rush….. the rush didn’t stop which resulted in the educational sessions never re-establishing.

In January 2019 myself and my partner suffered a devastating bereavement in the family which forced me to re-evaluate where my career path was leading me. My late father in law had always shown a great interest in my career and had been extremely proud of me and all of my accomplishments so far. He often commented lovingly about my bold choices and how creative I was.

I later found out that he had also spoke with my partner about this on many occasions and he felt I was only limiting my true potential in the role I was currently in. After a period of reflection, I made the difficult decision that my role within the BONDS team was coming to an end. I felt that I needed to find myself a new challenge which would allow my creativity to thrive whilst having the ability to continue my professional training, Impart my knowledge & skills on others through education and further channel my creativity not only through my daily work, but also competitively.

Weeks later this happens.....


Lead Salon Educator:

Part of my managerial role at BONDS and also one role I unexpectedly enjoyed the most was taking the lead on education within the salon, alongside teaching and managing the salons hairdressing apprentices. This meant I was finally able to impart my privileged training history and my advanced hairdressing skills on others, creating new empowered hairdressers of the future!

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