Business Education

Andrew Barton discusses how a portfolio can build reputation

November 29, 2023

In the last of his series, celebrity hairdresser Andrew Barton discusses why keeping a portfolio of work is helpful in building your reputation – as well as the sheer joy that comes with tracking your own professional development. A portfolio is not only an archive of your work, but also a record of your creative evolution as a hairdresser.

My personal aesthetic has always been a guiding inspiration for me. It’s at the heart of everything I create, whether it’s working with clients in the salon, teaching an education seminar or creating hair imagery for a brand or a collection. When prepping for a shoot, my focus is not only on a signature style of hair, but on ensuring I tell the story of my own personal aesthetic.

Early on in my career, I realised there is nothing about me as a hair designer that is edgy or funky – it’s just not who I am and it does not fit
with my design aesthetic. But there is nothing wrong with that! Understanding what you like is part of realising your design identity – let’s call it your creative DNA check. Just like fashion designers that have a specific way of detailing their designs – think Versace or McQueen, for example – we also do this as hairdressers.

With this in mind, a portfolio is an essential tool. It allows you to take pride in the work you’ve created, providing inspiration and the increased confidence to shape your individual brand as a professional hairdresser. I’m a great believer in your personal ID as a hairdresser contributing towards your overall work happiness and business success.

As a commercial session stylist that gets booked for a whole variety of jobs – including celebrity styling, TV looks, ad campaigns and editorial work – my portfolio is so key for landing regular bookings. Equally when it comes to clients, if they regard me a good fit for their particular style of hair, it fosters the start of a beautiful, trusting and loyal relationship.

I’ve now realised that I can’t be happy doing hair that doesn’t appeal to my personal aesthetic. My clients all want the assurance that they will receive the aesthetic of hair styling that is ME!

I love it when I see other stylists showing off to their clients with pictures of beautiful hair they’ve created previously – clients love to see it as it gives them a strong idea of the exact personal aesthetic they can expect.

It is so important to capture images of your work and present them in some kind of portfolio, even if it is just digitally on your phone! Whatever your style aesthetic – be it edgy, funky or classically gorgeous – use it as a valuable tool to market yourself.

I urge you to think about your own personal aesthetic. Trust me, there is no point in simply copying the work of your hairdressing icons or in creating hair that doesn’t excite you – your portfolio is about you and no one else.

Here is a selection of my favourite portfolio images from over the years…

Follow Andrew @Andrew_barton_hair and @andrewbartonlondoneducation ABLE
Andrew is: UK Creative Ambassador for salon-only brand Keune. Creative Director for Racoon Hair Extensions
Honorary Ambassador for The Hair & Barber Council Hairdresser Ambassador for The Little Princess Trust

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