The brains behind the membership based freelance community, Hunter Collective’s Lacey Hunter-Felton spills the tea on what freelancers need to be successful in her space and beyond…
Going freelance is intimidating; there’s the nuts and bolts like cashflow and doing the accounts, but there’s also the loneliness and the burning question, who are you going to learn from when you’re not in a salon environment?
Here to allay those freelancer fears is Lacey Hunter-Felton, co-founder and chief executive of the Hunter Collective, a membership-based space for freelance hair stylists and beauty experts.
Creative HEAD sits down with Lacey at her smart new Rosebery Avenue space, (with some stunning views of Central London treetops), to discover what freelancers need to get their foot in the door of Hunter Collective (HC) and in the hairdressing world at large…
CH: When going independent, what should would-be freelancers be thinking about?
LHF: Know your numbers, are they correct? Do you know how much revenue you need to make? Do you know what you need to cover your costs? Do you know if you have the right client base and skill set to deliver and be successful? Are you confident or are you still learning? Do you know how to position yourself from a commercial perspective? Can you communicate well with your clients? Are you marketing yourself? Are you talking to your clients? Are you growing your conversations with your current clientele?
CH: What kinds of attitudes do you welcome at HC?
LHF: Professionalism is most welcome. Here, every member takes their craft incredibly seriously and they’re passionate. We love being here. I think when you’re not ready to be freelancer or an independent business is when you don’t take seriously how tough it is, and how professional and organised you really need to be if you want to be successful.
CH: Tell me about the workplace culture at HC? How does it differ from a salon environment? How does being a ‘community’ make it unique?
LHF: What’s unique about HC is that we have a flat structure so there’s no favouritism. We champion everybody because every member is important to us.
When you’re in a community environment you must be that way.
For any member that joins, we’re screaming from the rooftops. We’re so happy about it.
They get welcomed by the entire community and everyone is introduced to each other.
We are supportive because if someone has decided to join us, then we know that we are on the same page.
CH: When I visited HC, it was full but there were no client queues, how come?
LHF: That’s because HC stylists have absolute control and flexibility with their diaries, so they control how long their services take and what services they offer. This includes what time they start, when they take a break, when they finish, and how much they charge. One person’s haircut could take 45 minutes, another could take 90, it’s on them.
You walk in and every station can be full for the entire day, and each member is fully booked. But there won’t be a lot of stress, it will be consistently calm the entire day. That’s because every member is running their day how they want in order to be the most productive, the most efficient, and how they enjoy it the most. It’s not just ‘fit in as many people to make as much money as possible.’
CH: Being a freelancer can be isolating, how can they motivate themselves as solo agents?
LHF: Any freelancer or small business owner must be prepared for the isolation because everything that you do is on is on you, and it can be a very lonely position to be in.
However, allowing time to educate yourself will help you constantly push your own boundaries. That’s how you stay stimulated and interested and will help you remove some of the fear that can be associated with being on your own. Connecting with others and collaborating matters too. Regardless of if you’re a member of Hunter Collective or not, it’s open to everyone so I would welcome people reaching out, asking questions, and wanting to collaborate.
CH: Can freelancers learn from each other at HC?
LHF: It’s fundamental. Here, when you’re good at something, you are happy to share. Recently, someone was doing a big colour correction, and they were like, ‘how do I do it’? They knew it was going to be fine, but they just wanted to talk it through with someone. That’s why we’ve got two colour mixing areas at the back of the space, it’s a hive of chat.