Stylist Spotlight: Dawn Bradley
Dawn Bradley is an accomplished stylist, educator, blogger, a mental health advocate and as of January, the host of her own podcast, The Anxious Creative, where she discusses everything and anything; hair, business, mental health and more. Dawn has lived, worked and trained all over the globe, and can now be found in Calgary, Alberta, where she focuses on creating relaxing experiences and beautiful results.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your career!
I got my start with hair in my Grade 10 Cosmetology class, thinking it would be easy as I always enjoyed playing with my own hair. Immediately after high school, I went to hair school. I didn't have an interest in anything else and figured I could cut my friend's and family's hair. From there everything kind of snowballed! I moved to the UK in 2005 where I worked for the AVEDA Institute. I worked in Sydney, Australia, where I worked under the winner of the Australian Hairstylist of the year, and in 2010, I made the shift to self-employment and opened my own salon. In 2014, I moved to Calgary and made a complete restart, solely using social media.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING WITH GREAT LENGTHS, WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION TO JOIN THE GL NETWORK?
I've been with Great Lengths since 2012. I had always known they were the best in the biz and wanted to work exclusively with them.
WHAT IMPACT HAS BEING A GREAT LENGTHS ARTIST HAD ON YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS?
Great Lengths has had a huge impact! As a fine haired gal myself, it was a game changer and being able to offer my clients solutions to their lack of hair growth and volume is very rewarding.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT GREAT LENGTHS?
I love how natural they look; that they don't look like you are wearing extensions, and that they feel like your own hair.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU OFFER NEWLY CERTIFIED STYLISTS TO BEST TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEIR GL SKILLSET?
Just as a good camera won't make you a good photographer, or a good oven won't make you a chef, it’s super important to use your skills and to keep adapting and learning with Great Lengths. The course will give you the foundation, but remember to practice, practice, practice.
DO YOU HAVE ANY GREAT LENGTHS DO'S AND DON’TS?
Don't order hair without first taking a deposit!
Do: When colour matching I like to take just a small piece of the swatch, the size of a bond, and put it against the hair, rather than using the entire swatch. Using a small piece of the swatch makes it easy to see how extensions will blend into the client’s natural hair.
On top of being a stylist, you also maintain a regular blog, teach classes and host a podcast- how do you manage to do it all? Do you have any advice or time management tips for those trying to juggle a number of things on the go?
I don’t manage it very well, haha! I have learned I need to hire out and pace myself. I definitely tend to bite off more than I can chew sometimes, because I get so excited about sharing with people.
What inspired you to create your podcast, The Anxious Creative?
As someone who has struggled with mental health since my teens, I've found that there are so many “creatives” out there that silently struggle as well. I wanted to create a space where people can feel understood, valued, and take something away from it.
You often discuss mental health and anxiety. Why is this important to you, and do you have any go-to techniques for dealing with anxiety?
Similar to why I started the podcast, mental health is something people are often scared to share and so they silently struggle. I figure if I can be open about my personal struggle, it may encourage others to push through and to be gentle on themselves. Community is big for me. I want to create a safe space, be it online or in my salon, where people can express themselves and be 100% real. My go-to technique for dealing with anxiety is slowing down. I’ve realized that I can't do as much as I want to, as quickly as I want to, and that practicing self-care will help me to achieve my goals quicker than overworking myself and burning out.
What is your personal favourite hair trend right now?
I love low maintenance, natural looking hair. Something that draws the eye to the person wearing the hair.
Do you have any colour or style predictions for Spring 2018?
I think balayage and hair painting are here to stay for a while longer!
Do you have a style icon? Or a hair hero?
I don't really have a style icon! With social media the way it is, I really admire many people for different reasons.
What or who do you look to for inspiration?
I gain inspiration from conversations I have with others, hearing how they speak and what they feel and how they express themselves is very inspirational for me. I also find inspiration in getting out into nature, turning off my phone, and being still. It's amazing what can happen when we do!
What personality traits do you feel are most beneficial to your success?
My ability to hear beyond the words of what someone is saying. To hear what's behind it. Often times, people project internal things onto their hair and once I am able to figure out what that might be; I can help them love their hair and themselves a bit more.
What is your favourite part of being a stylist?
Connecting with other women and helping them better understand their worth and value. Hair is just the medium that I use to connect.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE MANTRA, A QUOTE OR A SAYING YOU LIKE TO KEEP IN MIND?
“What other people think of me is none of my business."
This has helped me a lot with my anxiety. I can't control what others think, so why concern myself with it?
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS AND ASPIRATIONS MOVING FORWARD?
I’d really love to have more freedom with my time. I don't want to stop doing hair, but having the ability to have a more flexible schedule is definitely something I’d like to work towards.
CHECK OUT DAWN ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER AND INSTAGRAM, AND BE SURE TO CHECK OUT HER PODCAST, THE ANXIOUS CREATIVE.