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Real Talk – Tegan Robertson on striking out

Tegan Robertson is mere months into her fledgling freelance career and has already been snapped up by Pulp Riot as part of the UK education team. She spoke to us about what pushed her from the safety nest and her admin woes

It’s been a good few months now – I officially went freelance in March [2019]. It’s been amazing actually, everything’s kinda fallen into place for me which has been lucky.

My personality is really what prompted me to strike out on own. I’ve always been quite a free-spirited person, and I do find working for other people can be difficult at times, especially as a hairdresser. We work so hard and I think a lot of the time you don’t see much coming from it, if that makes sense? I was suddenly at a stage where I was able to do it – a lot of people stay back in salons because they don’t have a lot of clients, or they’re probably quite scared to take the leap.

The thing that I do miss is that salons are so sociable, I miss the camaraderie. We also like to bounce ideas off people, when you’re mixing at a colour bowl and asking other people what they’re doing… but at the moment I’m working from Hunter Collective and it’s fantastic. I can go there, do my own thing, go home when I want and still be around other amazing stylists, so it’s kind of the best of both worlds. The thing I hated most about working in a salon, or for someone else, was the repetition of it; every day you get up at the same time, you go to work, same kinda thing. Now every day is different.

Admin is a nightmare. There’s definitely things that can help you but I’m just such an unorganised, messy person in general… the good thing is that my clients kind of come through Instagram so it’s all on there, but it’s so difficult to keep tabs on things. That’s something I’m definitely struggling with, that side of things. You do really realise how lucky people who work in a salon are, just because everything is kind of given to you, including things like taxes. Keeping up with stock and equipment is also a nightmare. Because my client base is so varied, I do a lot of work with crazy rainbow colours and I feel like I’m going to the hair shop every other day. Trying to remember everything that your client needs – it’s not like you can just go to the colour bar and get a different toner. You have to have everything there… and again, when you work for someone else, you don’t realise how expensive things are, how much money I’m spending a month on just hair products.

One of my concerns is simply how a lot of the industry views freelancers. I think this is a super interesting topic at the moment and I feel like there’s a huge disconnect between freelancers and the rest of the industry. When discussing industry issues I always hear people mention the rise of the freelancer as if it’s the death of the salons and almost as if freelancers are betraying the industry! I think with the rise of ‘start up’ culture and social media people are able to take their career in their own hands and create something independently, which may be scary for some.