Meet Nick Arrojo, he is another industry icon, award-winning hair designer, and creative visionary. This is what he has to say about his journey:
Q: What are some of your biggest accomplishments?
In the UK, I won the iconic “Young Hairdresser of the Year” award. In America, opening and growing ARROJO NYC into a wholly independent multi-million dollar brand; winning the Global Salon Business Awards, “Salon Entrepreneur of the Year” award; authoring the first and only razor cutting workbook for the Milady’s national cosmetology curriculum; raising twin boys, now aged 11.
Q: Who influenced you the most when learning your craft?
Mark Hayes. When I joined Sassoon’s in Manchester UK as an apprentice, Mark was the Creative Director of that salon location. Today he is the Global Creative Director for Vidal Sassoon. I was incredibly lucky to get to learn from such a knowledgeable, passionate, and skilled stylist.
Q: Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Music, art and fashion inspire fresh thinking and new directions. What inspires me the most, though, is seeing the growth of a young stylist. Seeing the light bulb switch on in those a-ha moments is a great feeling.
Q: What would you say to new future professionals entering this industry?
Have strong focus, plenty of ambition, and strive to be the best. Be prepared to work hard and take ownership of your career. I recommend finding a hair salon where the focus is on the team, not individuals who simply rent a chair in a space. If you become part of a team, you can learn from the people around you, and you can use the more experienced stylists as mentors. Team-centered salons are also likely to have a structured training program for young stylists and that is the best option––absorb all the education you can, especially in the early part of your career.
Q: Where did you attend school or train?
I didn’t go to beauty school but I was fortunate for the foundations I was given by Vidal Sassoon. They had a strong and dynamic apprentice structure and I learnt a lot as a young stylist.
Q: What was the turning point of your career?
When I was starting out, I felt there were many people who had more natural talent than I did. But that became my inspiration––I realized that, to be the best, I had to work harder than anybody else. Ever since, hard work is the rock on which I have built my success.
Q: What is the best advice you have received?
Many years ago I met Jean Louis David in Paris. He said the future of hairdressing was the fusion of precision and creativity, that the industry’s future champions would blend artistic flair with technical mastery. It made me think about how I could achieve this synthesis, which led me to pick up the straightedge razor. Now razor cutting is the signature of my career, and my brand.
Q: What is your opinion around online video training?
It’s an excellent tool and, in the age of global pandemics, it is something we should be incredibly grateful for. At ARROJO NYC, we recently created a 5 camera studio to make online learning the best it can be. I do not believe online learning matches the value of hands-on in-person education but it is the best alternative to being there in person.
Q: In a perfect world, how would you like to see the industry grow?
A lot of people consider hairdressing a low-end job and I think that was confirmed when our work was deemed “non-essential” by the government. I consider hairdressing a high-end career where you can earn a high salary, travel, make your own hours, work in a variety of fields, from film and tv to fashion, education, manufacturing, or business ownership. It’s also a career where we make people feel better about themselves and I don’t think a price can be put on that, especially in a world where more and more people are suffering from mental illness or depression.
I would love our industry grow into one that is valued as much as any other profession.
Q: What is the best technique you have learned?
Razor cutting with a straightedge blade. I taught myself, established my own technique, and now I have shared it with ten’s of thousands of fellow hairdressers.
Q: What is the secret to your success?
Hard work and a never say die attitude.