Heather Chapman is a bridal whiz and after obsessing over her pictures on Hairbrained and instagram, we knew it was time to get super stalker and make our move. Heather talks to us about her unique take on the bridal business and how she is making her mark on the industry. Her honest, heart-felt advice is why we love her!!

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A product you would pay (gasp) retail for…

Without a doubt, I would pay retail for Big Sexy Hair Volumizing Dry Shampoo.

 

Tell us a bit about your training and “story”.

Other than advanced education, my training is self-taught. I never apprenticed anywhere & my schooling was your run of the mill, mom & pop beauty school in Oklahoma. Before that, I had always done DIY punk rock stuff to my own hair: hot pink baby bangs, short pitch black pixie cuts, dreads & shaved heads.

 

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I have to give credit to hair stylist, Jessica Bond. She was where my professional journey started. She was my first, real hair stylist & I would always be blown away by how amazing my hair looked every time she did it. But what REALLY did it for me would be how she would stop, tilt her head to the side & stare at my head. I KNEW she was seeing something in her mind. She was a visual artist & I wanted to be able to see what she saw: hair.

 

What advice would you give to a new stylist trying to break into the bridal business?

Don’t believe the hype! Brides, contrary to popular belief, are not all divas & bridezillas. They are women that are nervous, excited & stressed to the max from planning an entire wedding. My advice would be to understand that & not let their heightened energy affect your work. Most brides are beyond appreciative & sweet.

Networking is your best bet. Do a TON of free hair for the right people. Document your work (pics). Learn to take great pics of your work. People refer who they know & trust. You have to get in front of people. Not necessarily wedding shows, but they can’t hurt if you have it in the budget. A blog is also an amazing tool to rank high in SEO for brides searching for a bridal hair stylist online. And lastly, study, study, study. Practice on models in addition to practicing on mannequins. The hair textures & dimensions vary greatly.

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Often hairdressers are not very excited about bridal updos. What is it about bridal hair that motivates you to create beautiful hair each and every time?

First of all, thank you for the compliments! I think it’s just because I love it. I am not afraid of it. The motivation comes from knowing that this bride needs the best hair she’s ever had! If she was ever going to NOT have a bad hair day, that needs to be the day; her wedding day!! And that is what my job & passion is. To make sure she has the best hair day of her life on the biggest hair day of her life.

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Do you feel that bridal hair changes in different area codes?

Yes. I notice in some areas the trend will be all down or half up/half down. And in others, it will be more vintage or more soft & romantic updos.

 

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You recently shot for Sebastian What’s Next Awards…What inspired the shoot?

I did just shoot with the intention of submitting to the Sebastian WNA, but at the last minute, realized that I could not attend the live finalist show had I been a finalist. So we shot anyways & will be submitting to a publication.

The particular shoot is titled “Earth Rocker” after a song title by a favorite band of mine, Clutch. I knew I wanted to have the hair up & bound with black elastic in two different looks. I live in New Mexico & I love the idea of seeing this tough, female, lone warrior , out in the elements of wind, sun, rocks & desert. A modern Dune, if you will. This shoot has been pivotal for me mentally as I have had likes & comments on it by Johnny Lavoy & David Babaii. Like, seriously…. I die! So I have been really grateful for this particular shoot for many reasons, personal & professional.

 

You are a pretty rad chick with tattoos and an awesome personal style. What attracts you to the ultra feminine looks you create as opposed to a super geometric cut?

It is definitely an “opposites attract” moment. Ultra feminine looks are so pretty to me. I am living vicariously through feminine models or brides. I think it takes a strong woman to have tattoos & wear all black. I think it also takes a strong woman to be soft, with no tattoos & wear white. I definitely want to be the advocate & voice for these looks. I feel that they absolutely have a place in the artistic hair world. These ultra feminine looks evoke just as strong of an emotion as a geometrical cut, just not the same emotion. I find them powerful.

 

What classes have you taken that have blown your mind?

Most of my class education has been online & through DVDs. I did attend a Jon Reyman class that was outstanding. I study online on Hairbrained.me, Myhairdressers.com & I love Sharon Blain & Lizzie Liros education. (both ladies are from Australia)

 

What do you think the biggest struggle stylists are experiencing in the industry right now?

One of the things I see most often in salons is that it is “just their job”, not their passion. For stylists that do have the passion, I think they lack the understanding of documenting their work or how to document their work well. The world doesn’t know you exist if you don’t show them. You have to not only be an artist, but you have to be a bit of a sales person & definitely a marketer.

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You are a very active member on Hairbrained. How has the community enhanced your life?

I actually received my first publication from being a Hairbrained member. Helen Oppenheim with Peluquerias saw my work & approached me. I am very grateful for the exposure that Hairbrained has given me. I am also so glad it is there for me to meet other artists & to study & be inspired.

I “met” Ira Sage on Hairbrained & eventually drove to Vegas to have him cut my hair! He is amazing: What an artist! Also someone to watch & learn from when it comes to documenting your work.

 

 

If you could have dinner with one person in the industry who would it be?

It would have to be Nina Kovner from Passion Squared. OMG, this woman has helped me so much, from her webinars to late night phone calls & my branding workshop that I attended with her. It is so hard being an artist that just wants to create & then having no business direction. Nina has not only been a guiding light, but she has been a friend. I will always need her help as an independent hair artist that wants to grow.

 

Besides Hair… what else does Heather Chapman love?

We are total foodies. I love traveling with my family & eating at “ Diners, Drive Ins & Dives” locations!! Especially in Denver! I like to cook. I love Rachel Ray cookware! I like to volunteer at the Soup Kitchen in Durango, CO. I love to read. (yes, books on hair, but other books too. But those books usually lead to hair.)

 

 

I knew I was a Hair Nerd when…..

One night, my friend decided to let me “do her hair” (this was waaaay before I went to cosmetology school) I proceeded to “Dye It Black” (Black No. 1 reference by Type O Negative, please google & enjoy) & started lifting up pieces of hair & cutting them off!!!

OMG! I had no idea what I was doing technically, but artistically….. I then slapped some nice, false lashes on her & she actually looked effing cool!! I was kind of jealous! I was in love with the transformation I saw. I think that may have been the Hair Nerd moment!!

 

You can stalk Heather Chapman on instagram and hairbrained!