#HowIMadeIt: Celebrity Hair Stylist Dom Seeley
Dreaming of becoming a top celebrity hair stylist when you qualify as a hairdresser? Or do you hope to build partnerships with leading brands like Olaplex? Dom Seeley has done both, and more! As part of our #HowIMadeIt blog series, we got the lowdown from Dom about working with celebrities, taking risks and how social media transformed his career.
Making the most of your hairdressing training
“I didn’t get on with school but we had a thing where we could do a vocational subject one day a week. So, one day a week I went to hairdressing school. At that point I didn’t know what I wanted to do but I thought it was a win-win because I’d be out of school one day a week.
“When I was there they were like, ‘You’re actually really good at hair, have you thought about this as a career?’ And as I started making more of an effort and understanding hair, I just fell in love with it. I’m actually one of the youngest people to ever qualify. I was fully qualified at 16 but no-one took me seriously because I was so young.
“I stayed on an extra year to my Level Three, qualified when I was 17 and then opened my own salon. I wanted a challenge. When I knew hair was what I wanted to do I really went full pace.”
“I always say anything’s possible and you never know who is watching you, so just stay true to yourself and do honest work.”
Taking the leap into freelance hairstyling
“I built my clientele up over five years, to the point that I was so busy I either needed to employ someone else or open up a bigger space. At the time I was in a tiny studio in a village. This was when I was 23 and I was also starting to get a lot more into social media.
“I started posting and tagging brands and products. I was then getting recognised by brands and UK wholesalers and starting to make connections. So I decided to leave my salon to go freelance. That was another daunting thing. I was like, ‘Who am I to think that I can just go out into the world and do freelance hair?’ But I did it, another challenge.”
Getting your foot in the door
“I saw that ghd were looking for people on social media to go and do Milan Fashion week, so I applied online, not thinking I’d get it. They DM-ed me back asking if I wanted to go!
“I went on my own money, just to try and get my foot in the door. I made connections there, and it was like a snowball effect from that point. I started doing London Fashion Week, Milan Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week as a regular. But I was still not where I wanted to be. I also wanted my own clientele, so I started working with UK celebrities.”
Working with celebrities
“I met Guy Tang at an event and he asked if he could colour my hair. At that point I’d never had my hair coloured before. He put me on all his social media channels and overnight I went from like 400 followers to 5,000 overnight.
“Then Guy invited me to LA so I went there and he did a YouTube video with me: it became the most clicked video with a guy with balayage hair. Then more and more people and brands, including Olaplex, started to recognise me and my work.
“I then met a woman called Jen Atkin at an event in Manchester and my whole career changed. She catapulted me to heights that I wouldn’t have dreamt about. I started working for Jen’s company’s - Ouai and Mane Addicts.
“That’s when I started working for Kendall Jenner, Jessica Alba and Huda Beauty. I owe everything to Jen and Guy really, especially Jen because she wanted me to be part of her team.”
Always be authentic… and nice!
“When people ask how I did it, I say it’s being authentic, being present and just being a nice person. Even though I go all over the world and do these crazy things I always like to come back home and see my peers.
“I also learn new things and want to teach people what I’ve learnt, pass it on to the next person so they can get to where I’ve been. I always say anything’s possible and you never know who is watching you, so just stay true to yourself and do honest work.”
Play to your strengths
“If you know you love hair colour, stick to colour. If you know you love styling, stick to styling. Find your niche in the market. If you really hone in on your craft and post one thing on social media, it gets brands more aware and gets people looking at your page. I always liked being a colourist but I like styling hair — that’s what I’m really passionate about.”