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Career Files: Dan Spiller, Colour Technician

Dan Spiller is the Current Schwarzkopf Colour Technician of the Year. He proudly speaks to us about his career from starting as an apprentice, working his way up to an award winning stylist. He currently works for Marc Antoni and is an ambassador for Joico. Joico is salon hair product brand, who claim to return hair to its ‘strongest, shiniest, healthiest state with each and every use’.

What inspired you to do the career that you’re doing now?

I knew deep down from a young age that I wanted to work with hair. Every time I had my own haircut, whether it was somebody coming into the house, such as a mobile hairdresser or going to the barbers or local salon, I’d always wonder how they train and get to that point.

When you’re at school doing your GCSE’s and people are asking you what your next step is, and you think about what your peers are doing, it felt like an obvious choice – go on to do your A levels, in sixth form or college. However, I knew that education in that group just wasn’t for me. I was a people person. I wanted to spend time with people. I enjoyed art. Fashion was something that I was interested in and I just know I couldn’t be at a desk. Quite early on I thought that sort of creative vibe would be a really cool environment for me.

What did you want to do when you were younger?

I think every young lad has a similar sort of idea of what they want to be when they’re younger. It was either become a football player or in my case, BMX or skateboarding. But I rapidly realised that it was going to hurt a lot if that was going to be my career!

In some ways that was a creative way to express myself and I think hairdressing came to me just as naturally.

What advice would you give to a young person embarking on a similar career?

It’s a relationship industry that you’ll be depending on, at all levels. So that’s with your colleagues, with your clientele as you’re training, working with models, as you’re training trying to communicate with them and get the most out of the time with them.

So invest in communication. I know it’s hard and a lot of people will say this to you at some point, but put your phone down.

The best thing you can do if you’re looking to get into the industry, is to not be in the staff room on breaks and in between clients, but to be present and mirror every single stylist, not just one but as many as you can. So you get as much of a variation within the industry and within the trade. So then you’re picking up from everyone else, and learning from them and eventually you come in to your own and develop your own style.

So following on from that, then, what do you think has been your biggest influence?

I’m incredibly fortunate at home – I’ve got an amazing family. My parents were amazing growing up, they gave us lots of support and I would say that I have landed on my feet. I’ve got two great mentors. I’ve got Bruno (Marc Giamattei, JOICO Creative Director UK & EMEA), who when I was sixteen, took me under his wing and I’m still there. His brother Marcus, who within the brand of Marc Anthony, takes care of the NVQ, would also be a huge influence.

He educates the up and coming talent within the brand and he’s great at nurturing people. So I was just so fortunate to find mentors.

And what do you think the future for those embarking on a career in your industry looks like? And are there any skills you think are particularly important in the industry today?

Communication is such as important skill. I think moving forward, the industry is always going to be fun. It’s full of characters, full of personalities, so it’s never going to be the same day twice.

So invest in communication and try to mirror your peers is what I’d say.

What would you tell your younger self? Was there anything you wish you’d known earlier or would have done differently?

I would tell myself to relax a little bit. I knew from an early age that I wanted to do this and do it to the best of my ability and I guess there are at times where I was a little bit intense. So try to relax and enjoy it a little bit more is all I would say, because I couldn’t have been any more focused. So yeah if anything relax and enjoy the processes. It’s fun and I’m still learning now, that’s the beauty of the job!