Stylist Spotlight: Steven Mathew
Steven Mathew is a newly certified Great Lengths stylist working out of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Only six months into his certification and Steven has already developed an amazing reputation as a Great Lengths extension artist. Steven’s specialities include natural looking hair colour and seamless extension matching and blending. His social media presence is strong, with his personality and skills shining through in his frequent video features.
Tell us a bit about you and your career!
I'm a former professional figure skater! I got started in my hair career while on tour with a travelling ice show. I was always doing my own hair, and it wasn't long before I was being asked to do other's hair as well. Soon enough, I was doing cuts, colours and highlight work for friends and colleagues after shows in hotel rooms. My hobby turned into a fascination, and 12 years (and thankfully many classes) later, here we are!
How long have you been working with Great Lengths, what was your inspiration to join the GL network?
Though I've been working with extensions for many years, I'm new to the Great Lengths family! I’ve had the pleasure of working with Great Lengths for about six months. Several things led me to Great Lengths. Among them; the premium quality hair, Canadian distribution and pricing, and the desire to work with the original fusion bond technology. I always said that when I chose to offer fusion bonded extensions, they would have to be Great Lengths!
What impact has being a Great Lengths Artist had on you and your business?
Most importantly, it has allowed me to be able to help guests I was previously unable to service with other methods of extensions. Great Lengths is a truly customizable experience; allowing stylists to safely and discretely perform extension services for any and all reasons. Having over 70 shades to choose from makes me feel as though I have limitless creative potential. It's a very freeing feeling as an artist.
What do you love about Great Lengths?
You know you are working with something elite and luxurious. From the meticulous training I've received, to the ethically sourced premium hair, down to the fine detail of the beautifully embroidered capes (for example), the premium quality is obvious. It's a pleasure to be able to share that experience with our guests and to know that we are setting them up for worry free successful wear.
What advice would you offer newly certified stylists to best take advantage of their GL skillset?
I received some excellent advice from my trainer, Celeste, who encouraged us to look to our current clientele to introduce Great Lengths as an add-on service. Typically, we think extensions are just for women looking to become "mermaids", but the truth is anyone can wear Great Lengths. They might need a little extra volume with their current cut, or a flash of colour without chemicals. The client sitting in your chair might be more curious to try them than you'd think!
Do you have any Great Lengths do's and don’ts?
Do practice! When I returned home from training, I spent a few moments almost daily applying bonds and working to perfect my application.
Don't rush your applications. Neat and tidy work with clean sections performed safely is far more important than finishing quickly. Your client may have to spend the entire day with you to get the hair of their dreams, but the trade-off is beautiful, long lasting wear for several months and no maintenance visits needed!
On your site you mention you’ve worked on photo shoots. Can you tell us a bit about that experience?
I've been lucky enough to work with talented local photographers on various projects and campaigns. Often hair extensions are used to enhance a look during these styling sessions. Though I am certainly no expert at photography, I can tell you that every model in those photos looks better with more hair!
What is your personal favourite hair trend right now?
I have a love/hate with the word "trend". In one respect, it is our duty in the beauty industry to guide our guests and help them to be current. On the other hand, I always think, "Why would you want to do what everyone else is doing?" I believe that the best "trend" right now is that anything and everything goes. I try to give my guests timeless hair that looks beautiful and current, but most importantly suits them.
Do you have any colour or style predictions for Spring 2018?
I think we will continue to see more rich and opulent tones moving into Spring and Summer. We seem to be moving away from cooler tones and toward warmer, sparkly shades instead. Bold placement also seems to be making a bit of a return. I think people are going to continue to play with colours like pastels, and deeper jewel tones, but on a more sophisticated level. I love the idea of being able to introduce these with Great Lengths. It's a fantastic way to achieve chemical-free highlights while maintaining the natural hair's integrity.
Do you have a style icon? Or a hair hero?
I have several that inspire me all the time! I love anyone who is able to communicate why they're passionate about what they do. One of my favourite hair heroes right now is my friend and fellow Great Lengths artist, Ashley Diana (@missashleyhair). Not only is she an amazing technician and social media maven, but she wants to see others succeed by encouraging them to step up their game and their services.
If you could pick a celebrity, a public figure, anyone at all - whose hair would you love to work on?
Someone who is down to earth! I believe everyone deserves to look and feel like a VIP, celebrity or not.
What or who do you look to for inspiration?
My swatch rings! I know that sounds silly, but one of my favourite ways to find inspiration is by coming up with different combinations of tones, and then saving those ideas for future looks. This then inspires me to think about certain guests I can picture wearing these combinations.
What personality traits do you feel are most beneficial to your success?
I think being authentic and confident has played into in my success as a hair extension artist. People are generally attracted to those who offer up or stand for something and have the goods to back it up. I only ever promote brands I believe in and educate others with knowledge and techniques I know to be useful.
What is your favourite part of being a stylist?
I have the need to create something beautiful and artistic in my day to day! Crafting, or creating something by hand, gives me a great sense of fulfilment. Being able to change someone's life by enhancing their look is a very rewarding feeling. That being said, you have to get it right! After all, we as hairstylists are dealing with the two things that people hold dearest to them– their looks and their money!
Do you have a favourite mantra, a quote or a saying you like to keep in mind?
"It's not the product, it's the process"
I say this a lot when consulting with apprehensive guests to dispel any stigma about extensions being damaging to hair. A meticulous and careful application process yields success for the wearer. I like to post visuals on social not only of the finished product [on the outside], but also the inside view of the hair extensions. I think if your extensions look as good on the inside as they do on the outside, your guest is set to enjoy long lasting, damage free wear.
WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS AND ASPIRATIONS MOVING FORWARD?
I'd like to continue to focus on the unique one-on-one experience for my Great Lengths wearers in a VIP setting. I’d also love to be able to travel to meet new guests, and the many hairstylists that reach out to me on social media for advice and education.