Harriet Stokes on changing plans – and going with it

by | Feb 16, 2021 | Self Employment

Freelance work wasn’t originally on the cards for Harriet Stokes. Her plans of moving down under to Australia were scattered to the winds thanks to Covid-19, and she was forced to hit pause and radically re-assess. So she formulated a new plan, which has seen her thriving and reaching new heights.

Fresh off her first guest artist gig for L’Oréal Professionnel Paris, leading a brilliant French Balayage Masterclass for SELF/STYLED Sunday, we caught up for a deep-dive into what she’s learned about pivoting to react to unplanned changes.

 

I had planned to take a complete timeout from the salon life, to travel on the way to Australia and then settle there for a year or two. I wanted to work for a salon that potentially specialised in cutting and take things in a new direction; yes, I love colour, really love colour. But my cutting had taken a backseat in London, and I wanted to refocus on that again. I hadn’t planned on going freelance in Melbourne as I wouldn’t have had a clientele, but I was really looking forward to seeing how the salons and hair industry works out there.

Covid-19 was a complete curveball, as it was for everyone, but I had to change all my plans – change literally everything. I hadn’t yet reached my final day in my old salon, and actually went into lockdown employed. This gave me space, and obviously financial security being furloughed, which meant I was able to spend time really thinking about where I wanted to go next now that everything had changed.

If I’m honest, I was actually completely burnt out going into the first lockdown. Having that down time, for the first time in 10 or 11 years of being the industry, forced me to pause and really acknowledge the effect that working so hard had had on my mental and physical health. It gave me time to think about moving forward, but also about how I could continue at a pace that was good for me. That’s how the decision to go freelance came around; I realised that I need to be more in control of my own life. I already knew that I wanted a big change, having planning to move countries, so the scariness of going freelance probably didn’t hit quite so hard.

I had lockdown to sit and think about what direction I wanted to go in. It gave me so much time to actually plan, to do proper research and come to terms with the realities of making such a big change. I officially left employment in May, so I was no longer furloughed, which enabled me to start promoting myself as a freelancer and no longer connected to a brand. Once we came out of lockdown I could hit the ground running.

I knew that I wanted to continue being an educator, but I didn’t have time to set up my freelance business with clients and set up another for education. Once I had settled into my new daily freelance life, looking after clients and getting used to the admin, I felt that I had enough head space to take on my next venture… Humankind Hair. Myself and Anneliese Hesse – my now business partner – were loosely making plans throughout 2020 but we chose to start putting those plans into action in August. We officially launched Humankind Hair in October, selling out two courses within 36 hours. Cue lockdown 2.0 – which meant we had to cancel both of those in-person courses and completely remodel our business to go online, immediately… Perfect. Thankfully this meant I was able to keep busy during that month of lockdown, and able to earn some money to keep me going.

During that time out of the salon in lockdown 2.0 I was able to continue working and trying different things. I had the opportunity to work on The Search, Little Mix’s TV show, with the HairDotCom Art Team and then I assisted James Earnshaw on a ghd campaign. Both of these events made me realise that there are other ways to make money than solely doing clients, and that I needed to have more availability in my diary moving forward to allow for other exciting opportunities.

My first introduction to L’Oréal Professionnel Paris was when I started working at my previous salon in London. I went on to audition to be part of the L’Oréal Professionnel ID Team back in 2016 and was on that team for two years, during which I learned a wealth of knowledge about hair, but also presenting skills and experience. This led to me building connections with them and getting to know the team. From there, I went on to win the L’Oréal Colour Trophy Star Award, with a prize of a year of free education, and obtained my Colour Specialist degree, where I was able to really get to know the brand inside and out.

L’Oréal Professionnel Paris has since reached out and asked me to educate for them as a guest artist for 2021, which was a really big moment for me – especially as a freelance artist. It’s so nice to know that a brand wants to work with you, but it felt like a real achievement to know that the years of hard work, working with the brand and loving their products, had led to this. It was really a good feeling.

Harriet’s work for Self/Styled Sunday’s L’Oréal Professionnel Paris Masterclass on French Balayage


We’ll be checking back in with Harriet throughout the year as she navigates her new freelance career. You can find her on Instagram here, and discover more about her education brand, Humankind Hair, here.

You can find more information on L’Oréal Professionnel’s variety of education at L’Oréal Access, with the opportunity to learn when it suits you, or on Instagram at @lorealpro.

Read more first-hand Real Talk stories here >>

Sign up for FREE access to the Salon Smart HUB

Creative HEAD on Instagram

Did somebody say disco? All will be unveiled on Monday🤫 🪩 #hair #hairdressing #hairdresser #editorialshoot #covershoot #teaser #comingsoon #disco #discohair
Did somebody say disco? All will be unveiled on Monday🤫 🪩   #hair #hairdressing #hairdresser #editorialshoot #covershoot #teaser #comingsoon #disco #discohair
14 hours ago
View on Instagram |
1/9
'50s details with a 2023 twist 🔀Think modern flapper meets badass Betty Boop from @titan_barber 🤩 Sharp silhouette, clean lines and a fresh finish. It is PERFECTION.#hair #hairdressing #hairdresser #barbering #barber #shorthair #50shair #fiftieshair #skinfade #taperfade #shorthair #shorthairexpert #clipperwork #wetlookhair
'50s details with a 2023 twist 🔀 Think modern flapper meets badass Betty Boop from @titan_barber 🤩 Sharp silhouette, clean lines and a fresh finish. It is PERFECTION. #hair #hairdressing #hairdresser #barbering #barber #shorthair #50shair #fiftieshair #skinfade #taperfade #shorthair #shorthairexpert #clipperwork #wetlookhair
16 hours ago
View on Instagram |
2/9
Introducing the hair trend of the season: the #WellaColourBlocking collection 😍From high contrast #Blondes to tonal #Brunettes, perfect pastels to peek-a-boo pops, colour is @wellaprofessionaluki's art  and hair is your canvas. We would love to see your creations! #AD #WellaProfessionals #CreativeHEAD #KolestonPerfect #WellaFamily #ColourTechnique #Haircolourist
Introducing the hair trend of the season: the #WellaColourBlocking collection 😍 From high contrast #Blondes to tonal #Brunettes, perfect pastels to peek-a-boo pops, colour is @wellaprofessionaluki's art and hair is your canvas. We would love to see your creations! #AD #WellaProfessionals #CreativeHEAD #KolestonPerfect #WellaFamily #ColourTechnique #Haircolourist
22 hours ago
View on Instagram |
3/9
In the moment 📸A closer look at the creative process from @laurenbellhair and @byron_london, who created this epic look for @biminibabes for @erdem.#hair #hairdressing #hairdresser #bts #behindthescenes #hairbysammcknight #biminibabes #editorialstylist #editorialhair #straighthair #sleekhair #glamsquad
In the moment 📸A closer look at the creative process from @laurenbellhair and @byron_london, who created this epic look for @biminibabes for @erdem.#hair #hairdressing #hairdresser #bts #behindthescenes #hairbysammcknight #biminibabes #editorialstylist #editorialhair #straighthair #sleekhair #glamsquad
In the moment 📸A closer look at the creative process from @laurenbellhair and @byron_london, who created this epic look for @biminibabes for @erdem.#hair #hairdressing #hairdresser #bts #behindthescenes #hairbysammcknight #biminibabes #editorialstylist #editorialhair #straighthair #sleekhair #glamsquad
In the moment 📸A closer look at the creative process from @laurenbellhair and @byron_london, who created this epic look for @biminibabes for @erdem.#hair #hairdressing #hairdresser #bts #behindthescenes #hairbysammcknight #biminibabes #editorialstylist #editorialhair #straighthair #sleekhair #glamsquad
In the moment 📸 A closer look at the creative process from @laurenbellhair and @byron_london, who created this epic look for @biminibabes for @erdem. #hair #hairdressing #hairdresser #bts #behindthescenes #hairbysammcknight #biminibabes #editorialstylist #editorialhair #straighthair #sleekhair #glamsquad
1 day ago
View on Instagram |
4/9
A session stalwart with an exceptional creative vision, this season of London Fashion Week @nickirwinhair conceptualised a whole host of hair looks for shows including KWK by Kay Kwok and NOKI. Armed with Session Label styling heroes from @schwarzkopfprouk and supported by an awesome hair team, including members of @skpyat and @skp_collective, the two shows were a visual feast for the eyes. Inspiring, forward-thinking and with truly artistic outcomes, join Nick in his backstage takeover from London Fashion Week. Ready for more backstage action? Head to our Stories for further glimpses of Nick Irwin’s work at #LFW. #AD #SchwarkopfProfessional #SessionLabel #SessionStylist #LFW #LondonFashionWeek #Noki #KayKwok #backstage #bts #behindthescenes #sessionhair #runwayhair #fashionweek
A session stalwart with an exceptional creative vision, this season of London Fashion Week @nickirwinhair conceptualised a whole host of hair looks for shows including KWK by Kay Kwok and NOKI. Armed with Session Label styling heroes from @schwarzkopfprouk and supported by an awesome hair team, including members of @skpyat and @skp_collective, the two shows were a visual feast for the eyes. Inspiring, forward-thinking and with truly artistic outcomes, join Nick in his backstage takeover from London Fashion Week. Ready for more backstage action? Head to our Stories for further glimpses of Nick Irwin’s work at #LFW. #AD #SchwarkopfProfessional #SessionLabel #SessionStylist #LFW #LondonFashionWeek #Noki #KayKwok #backstage #bts #behindthescenes #sessionhair #runwayhair #fashionweek
A session stalwart with an exceptional creative vision, this season of London Fashion Week @nickirwinhair conceptualised a whole host of hair looks for shows including KWK by Kay Kwok and NOKI. Armed with Session Label styling heroes from @schwarzkopfprouk and supported by an awesome hair team, including members of @skpyat and @skp_collective, the two shows were a visual feast for the eyes. Inspiring, forward-thinking and with truly artistic outcomes, join Nick in his backstage takeover from London Fashion Week. Ready for more backstage action? Head to our Stories for further glimpses of Nick Irwin’s work at #LFW. #AD #SchwarkopfProfessional #SessionLabel #SessionStylist #LFW #LondonFashionWeek #Noki #KayKwok #backstage #bts #behindthescenes #sessionhair #runwayhair #fashionweek
A session stalwart with an exceptional creative vision, this season of London Fashion Week @nickirwinhair conceptualised a whole host of hair looks for shows including KWK by Kay Kwok and NOKI. Armed with Session Label styling heroes from @schwarzkopfprouk and supported by an awesome hair team, including members of @skpyat and @skp_collective, the two shows were a visual feast for the eyes. Inspiring, forward-thinking and with truly artistic outcomes, join Nick in his backstage takeover from London Fashion Week. Ready for more backstage action? Head to our Stories for further glimpses of Nick Irwin’s work at #LFW. #AD #SchwarkopfProfessional #SessionLabel #SessionStylist #LFW #LondonFashionWeek #Noki #KayKwok #backstage #bts #behindthescenes #sessionhair #runwayhair #fashionweek
A session stalwart with an exceptional creative vision, this season of London Fashion Week @nickirwinhair conceptualised a whole host of hair looks for shows including KWK by Kay Kwok and NOKI. Armed with Session Label styling heroes from @schwarzkopfprouk and supported by an awesome hair team, including members of @skpyat and @skp_collective, the two shows were a visual feast for the eyes. Inspiring, forward-thinking and with truly artistic outcomes, join Nick in his backstage takeover from London Fashion Week. Ready for more backstage action? Head to our Stories for further glimpses of Nick Irwin’s work at #LFW. #AD #SchwarkopfProfessional #SessionLabel #SessionStylist #LFW #LondonFashionWeek #Noki #KayKwok #backstage #bts #behindthescenes #sessionhair #runwayhair #fashionweek
A session stalwart with an exceptional creative vision, this season of London Fashion Week @nickirwinhair conceptualised a whole host of hair looks for shows including KWK by Kay Kwok and NOKI. Armed with Session Label styling heroes from @schwarzkopfprouk and supported by an awesome hair team, including members of @skpyat and @skp_collective, the two shows were a visual feast for the eyes. Inspiring, forward-thinking and with truly artistic outcomes, join Nick in his backstage takeover from London Fashion Week. Ready for more backstage action? Head to our Stories for further glimpses of Nick Irwin’s work at #LFW. #AD #SchwarkopfProfessional #SessionLabel #SessionStylist #LFW #LondonFashionWeek #Noki #KayKwok #backstage #bts #behindthescenes #sessionhair #runwayhair #fashionweek
A session stalwart with an exceptional creative vision, this season of London Fashion Week @nickirwinhair conceptualised a whole host of hair looks for shows including KWK by Kay Kwok and NOKI. Armed with Session Label styling heroes from @schwarzkopfprouk and supported by an awesome hair team, including members of @skpyat and @skp_collective, the two shows were a visual feast for the eyes. Inspiring, forward-thinking and with truly artistic outcomes, join Nick in his backstage takeover from London Fashion Week. Ready for more backstage action? Head to our Stories for further glimpses of Nick Irwin’s work at #LFW. #AD #SchwarkopfProfessional #SessionLabel #SessionStylist #LFW #LondonFashionWeek #Noki #KayKwok #backstage #bts #behindthescenes #sessionhair #runwayhair #fashionweek
A session stalwart with an exceptional creative vision, this season of London Fashion Week @nickirwinhair conceptualised a whole host of hair looks for shows including KWK by Kay Kwok and NOKI. Armed with Session Label styling heroes from @schwarzkopfprouk and supported by an awesome hair team, including members of @skpyat and @skp_collective, the two shows were a visual feast for the eyes. Inspiring, forward-thinking and with truly artistic outcomes, join Nick in his backstage takeover from London Fashion Week. Ready for more backstage action? Head to our Stories for further glimpses of Nick Irwin’s work at #LFW. #AD #SchwarkopfProfessional #SessionLabel #SessionStylist #LFW #LondonFashionWeek #Noki #KayKwok #backstage #bts #behindthescenes #sessionhair #runwayhair #fashionweek
2 days ago
View on Instagram |
5/9
A frequent collaborator for the NOKI runway shows, this season @nickirwinhair turned the typical hairdressing process on its head, delivering a deconstructed salon experience that hair pros across the globe can relate to. From the layering of foils to half-finished cuts, styling clips and dripping colour, the variety of looks to hit the runway truly took the art of hairdressing to new heights. As well as Nick’s core team, members of the @schwarzkopfprouk 2023 @skpyat team were on hand to get the models runway ready. An exciting experience which immersed them in the world of Fashion Week, we have no doubt that memories of the show will stay with them for a long time to come!  Ready for more backstage action? Head to our Stories for further glimpses of Nick Irwin’s work at London Fashion Week. #AD #SchwarkopfProfessional #SessionLabel #SessionStylist #LFW #LondonFashionWeek #Noki #backstage #bts #behindthescenes #sessionhair #runwayhair #fashionweek
A frequent collaborator for the NOKI runway shows, this season @nickirwinhair turned the typical hairdressing process on its head, delivering a deconstructed salon experience that hair pros across the globe can relate to.   From the layering of foils to half-finished cuts, styling clips and dripping colour, the variety of looks to hit the runway truly took the art of hairdressing to new heights.   As well as Nick’s core team, members of the @schwarzkopfprouk 2023 @skpyat team were on hand to get the models runway ready. An exciting experience which immersed them in the world of Fashion Week, we have no doubt that memories of the show will stay with them for a long time to come!   Ready for more backstage action? Head to our Stories for further glimpses of Nick Irwin’s work at London Fashion Week.   #AD #SchwarkopfProfessional #SessionLabel #SessionStylist #LFW #LondonFashionWeek #Noki #backstage #bts #behindthescenes #sessionhair #runwayhair #fashionweek
2 days ago
View on Instagram |
6/9
Come behind the scenes with @nickirwinhair hair at KWK by Kay Kwok S/S24 👀Transporting us to another planet, Nick used the otherworldly clothing as inspiration for the concept of hair barcoding. A futuristic styling detail which was perfect for the group of cool kids which hit the runway, a small gel strip was added in just one area of the hair. The gel ‘barcode’ was then dialled up or down to suit the model’s individual style. If you’re looking to jump on the trend, reach for The Jelly, The Coat and The Strong from Session Label by @schwarzkopfprouk to bring the look to life.Ready for more backstage action? Head to our Stories for further glimpses of Nick Irwin’s work at London Fashion Week.#AD #SchwarkopfProfessional #SessionLabel #SessionStylist #LFW #LondonFashionWeek #KayKwok #backstage #bts #behindthescenes #sessionhair #runwayhair #fashionweek
Come behind the scenes with @nickirwinhair hair at KWK by Kay Kwok S/S24 👀 Transporting us to another planet, Nick used the otherworldly clothing as inspiration for the concept of hair barcoding. A futuristic styling detail which was perfect for the group of cool kids which hit the runway, a small gel strip was added in just one area of the hair. The gel ‘barcode’ was then dialled up or down to suit the model’s individual style. If you’re looking to jump on the trend, reach for The Jelly, The Coat and The Strong from Session Label by @schwarzkopfprouk to bring the look to life. Ready for more backstage action? Head to our Stories for further glimpses of Nick Irwin’s work at London Fashion Week. #AD #SchwarkopfProfessional #SessionLabel #SessionStylist #LFW #LondonFashionWeek #KayKwok #backstage #bts #behindthescenes #sessionhair #runwayhair #fashionweek
2 days ago
View on Instagram |
7/9
Think you know ‘70s hair? Think again.  Join us on the dance floor on 2 October🪩 #hair #hairdressing #hairdresser #editorialshoot #covershoot #teaser #comingsoon #disco #discohair
Think you know ‘70s hair? Think again. Join us on the dance floor on 2 October🪩   #hair #hairdressing #hairdresser #editorialshoot #covershoot #teaser #comingsoon #disco #discohair
2 days ago
View on Instagram |
8/9
How can YOU create an inclusive workspace?  Fresh from the @nhbfsocial’s latest blog post, find out the do’s and don'ts for employers when it comes to best supporting your team and embracing neurodiversity.  Packed with top tips and need-to-know advice, discover how to adapt to staff needs while encouraging a diverse pool of talent that makes everyone feel included and safe to share their perspectives ❤️   #AD #neuodiversity #salonteam #salonowner #salonmanager #nhbf #inclusiveworkplace #inclusivity #nhbf #barbershop #barbershopowner
How can YOU create an inclusive workspace?  Fresh from the @nhbfsocial’s latest blog post, find out the do’s and don'ts for employers when it comes to best supporting your team and embracing neurodiversity.  Packed with top tips and need-to-know advice, discover how to adapt to staff needs while encouraging a diverse pool of talent that makes everyone feel included and safe to share their perspectives ❤️   #AD #neuodiversity #salonteam #salonowner #salonmanager #nhbf #inclusiveworkplace #inclusivity #nhbf #barbershop #barbershopowner
How can YOU create an inclusive workspace?  Fresh from the @nhbfsocial’s latest blog post, find out the do’s and don'ts for employers when it comes to best supporting your team and embracing neurodiversity.  Packed with top tips and need-to-know advice, discover how to adapt to staff needs while encouraging a diverse pool of talent that makes everyone feel included and safe to share their perspectives ❤️   #AD #neuodiversity #salonteam #salonowner #salonmanager #nhbf #inclusiveworkplace #inclusivity #nhbf #barbershop #barbershopowner
How can YOU create an inclusive workspace?  Fresh from the @nhbfsocial’s latest blog post, find out the do’s and don'ts for employers when it comes to best supporting your team and embracing neurodiversity.  Packed with top tips and need-to-know advice, discover how to adapt to staff needs while encouraging a diverse pool of talent that makes everyone feel included and safe to share their perspectives ❤️   #AD #neuodiversity #salonteam #salonowner #salonmanager #nhbf #inclusiveworkplace #inclusivity #nhbf #barbershop #barbershopowner
How can YOU create an inclusive workspace?  Fresh from the @nhbfsocial’s latest blog post, find out the do’s and don'ts for employers when it comes to best supporting your team and embracing neurodiversity.  Packed with top tips and need-to-know advice, discover how to adapt to staff needs while encouraging a diverse pool of talent that makes everyone feel included and safe to share their perspectives ❤️   #AD #neuodiversity #salonteam #salonowner #salonmanager #nhbf #inclusiveworkplace #inclusivity #nhbf #barbershop #barbershopowner
How can YOU create an inclusive workspace? Fresh from the @nhbfsocial’s latest blog post, find out the do’s and don'ts for employers when it comes to best supporting your team and embracing neurodiversity. Packed with top tips and need-to-know advice, discover how to adapt to staff needs while encouraging a diverse pool of talent that makes everyone feel included and safe to share their perspectives ❤️ #AD #neuodiversity #salonteam #salonowner #salonmanager #nhbf #inclusiveworkplace #inclusivity #nhbf #barbershop #barbershopowner
2 days ago
View on Instagram |
9/9
Loading...