“Your training is essential to the path of your career, listen, see, learn and experience all things and then decide where and how you use that information and talents.”

Damien Carney

What country are you from and where do you live?

I’m from the UK born in Birmingham.  I moved to London when I was sixteen to pursue my hairdressing training. I now live in NYC and London. I travel between the two cities.  

Title of what you do and the company you work with?

I’m a “Creative Director” in the hairdressing industry.  What does that mean?… Anything and everything to do with hair.  I conduct, training programs, mentoring, coaching, photo shoots, seminars and shows worldwide.  My goal is to inspire hairdressers to grow and develop through educational programs. In addition I’ve worked with some manufacturers to help develop all of the above. 

Currently I am not with a brand.  Anyone can hire me for a day, a week, a month, a year, lol!  I pack my hair kit and travel anywhere worldwide. I develop training programs for any individual, salon and or manufacturer.  The same applies to my photography offerings.  

I work for myself.  There is no set working routine or timetable, no set project, no set location.  That’s what I truly love. I love the freedom and flexibility. I find it important to be with other like minded hairdressers at any level that strive to learn, grow, develop and constantly move forward with our industry.    

Education background (hair school, art school, no school)?

When I left school I knew without a doubt that the hair world was for me.  I was laser focused. I only wanted to pursue a career in hair. Like most hairdressers I went to beauty school in the UK.  I enrolled in a two year full time program and during that time I got a job as a Saturday assistant in a high profile salon.  To me this was very important to marry my beauty school course with real hair time experience in the salon. At the end of my two year beauty school coarse I continued training in the salon to polish, perfect and be the best I could be.  Eventually I became a stylist on the salon floor, cutting and styling hair.  

What is your signature style/artistic expression? 

Individual, interesting, personal, eye catching, unique, memorable.  I find it hard to describe my personal work, as I’m so wrapped up in it.  However, the description is what other people tell me or see in me. So I guess there is some truth behind the words.

I do what “I” want to do when it comes to style or artistic expression.  I don’t mean that in a selfish way. It takes time to discover who you are and what really gets you inspired to develop your own look and or signature. There’s room for everyone in this industry.  I simply want to be Damien. I love to try things I’ve not done before, I fail often and will most likely continue to fail at some things. Yet there are many successes, and magical moments to cherish.

What was your career turning point?

My career turning point was when I attended a show called Wella/Vogue which was a photographic competition.  There were several presentations on a large theatrical stage from some well known hair icons at that time. It was the “Trevor Sorbie” presentation that got me!  I didn’t understand how Trevor created the looks and if there was any commercial value. What Trevor presented was over my head ! It impacted me so much I plucked up the courage to apply for a job at his salon in Covent Garden.  

I wrote him a letter and managed to get an interview which required me to present models with my cutting work to him.  I went back to present to him twice over a three month timeframe and got the job! At Trevor’s training was always on going and I believe in that so much. The time, detail, traveling, conversations, photo shoots, etc were all simply amazing.

As I became familiar with the “Trevor Sorbie” Culture I moved from the salon in covent Garden to  “The Trevor Sorbie Academy Of Hair” where I was a teacher, conducting seminars, shows world wide. All of this happened because of the Wella/Vogue hair event I attended.  I ask myself, what would have happened if I had not gone. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity. 

What was your scariest and proudest moment in your career?

My scariest and proudest moment was the first time I demonstrated a haircut in front of a small, intimate audience.  I felt nervous, shy, incapable and more. I was paired with two other artists who were more experienced than myself. They helped and supported me during the demo thankfully !!!  Like any goal or scary moment we have to face it full on, all or nothing. 

The reality is that I had the skills but I didn’t quite know how to use them.  

What is next for your career goals?

I will continue doing what I have always loved doing, which is hands-on hair education programs of all kinds.  I create unique experiences tailored to the hairdresser’s needs. My clients can determine what they want to learn. They can choose the content and format which makes it personal for them.  I find it’s so important because many questions, situations, scenarios come up during the live experience process. We can learn in many ways but it’s the live hands-on experience that really matters

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the beauty business?

Be clear about what you want from your career.  Be prepared to put your heart and soul into what you do.  Love, love, love what you do. Surround yourself and work with the “best”.  Do your research in your area on jobs, salons, etc. It’s relatively easy to do so today, get researching.  Never be scared to say “no”. No, I don’t want this, no this is not working for me, no I need to find a better salon that cares about their culture and training.  

Your training is essential to the path of your career, listen, see, learn and experience all things and then decide where and how you use that information and talents.  Most importantly have some fun, learn from your mistakes and move on. Remember you’re special, dedicated and love your craft. These words will serve you well. What we put out there is what we get back.

Instagram:  @damiencarneypro

Website:  www.damiencarney.com