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How we work now – Lacey Hunter-Felton, Hunter Collective

As Lacey Hunter-Felton turned 30, her focus changed and she strived for a better balance between the chair and home. As part of our How We Work Now special, she explains why she launched Hunter Collective

I have worked in the hair industry for 18 years, and love the creativity and opportunities it has given me. As I turned 30 I was looking to evolve my work/life balance. I wanted more freedom, independence and flexibility regarding my work. I decided to take a break from the salon, and looked at how I might bring my ideas together. I travelled to America, and spoke with a mixture of friends around the UK to share my thoughts – it was an intense time.

Slowly I found the right structures and plans to put in place the foundations to build Hunter Collective. I created it to bring a new life style focused way of working to me, and the exceptional talent of the freelance hair industry.

We call all stylists that join our collective ‘members’. All new members start with a trial day and a simple induction process to experience our space and give us feedback. They sign a member agreement, which outlines the responsibilities we have to each other and the vibe and professionalism we promote at our space. Each member has their own insurance and kit. Dryers, gowns and towels are provided to all. Hunter Collective creates a beautiful, clean workspace for members and their clients to love and feel comfortable in.

From the beginning I knew it was a very new way of working, and our focus has been to listen to feedback and grow our ideas with our members. We’re proud to be brand neutral and have diversity on our floor, bringing so many new ideas and faces to our collective. Of course at first our ideas might have seemed crazy and impossible but our members and the exceptional brands that share Hunter Collective have found our space to work, educate and create a place for them to be individual and yet part of some thing bigger.

Hunter Collective has changed in many ways since we opened, and yet the core and reasons behind why we started this journey have never changed. Wanting to work for yourself, build the work/life balance you need for your family and create possibilities to learn and develop your skills are connections our members share. Hunter Collective celebrates education and community. Our members want the best for their clients and love being around exceptional experts who are excited to share their skills and ideas.

Hunter Collective is a co-work space for professionals, so all members have their own insurance and are independent businesses. Factors to consider when going freelance are being super organised, continuing to learn, developing your skills and being fearless. We’re run by the hour, so members pay for the hours their clients are sat in our chairs. I believe this is an important element of how we work, with our members in mind. The earning potential is also a big factor, as Hunter Collective doesn’t charge commission, our membership and hourly rate is consistent. The community, which is growing around us, is a strong focus and it’s an incredible time to be a part of our collective.

I believe the hair industry is changing. I hope to see more variety in the way stylists are able to work and express themselves. The future is open and very exciting. I feel now is the time to shout about the hair industry and encourage more young people to be apart of it. Becoming a hairdresser is the best decision I ever made.