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Village Fashion

Stylist to the stars

Posted on January 31 2005 at 2:32:12 0 comments

Model

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Sally Oldaker makes a return visit to the Barnt Green salon whose boss has become a big name in the world of hair extensions.

When I last visited Scandals, manager Michelle Griffin was already a Midlands Regional Trainer for the Racoon hair extensions system, travelling around the UK to pass on her skills to fellow stylists.

Now she is working alongside top hairdressers, appearing at international shows and building a major reputation for herself.

“The last year has been amazing,” Michelle reflects. “In the summer I entered a competition and was chosen to join Racoon’s artistic team – we’re called the Rat Pack!”

The nine-strong team (whose name derives from the initial letters of Racoon Artistic Team) was picked from the company’s 1300 UK salons to bring new talent to the field of hair extensions, and is headed up by Stephen Messias, who for five years was Chairman of the Fellowship for British Hairdressing.

Michelle’s “audition” involved developing mood boards and designing two hairstyles, one avant-garde and one commercial, for a photo shoot.

The final took place in London, followed by a media launch for the team at top West End venue Sketch.

“The Rat Pack will be travelling all over the world doing shows, photo shoots and demos,” says Michelle, who is one of two trainers as well as the Midlands’ only representative on the team.

She has already been “whisked off” to Rome at the behest of Anthony Mascolo, head of TiGi, who wanted her to work with him at a big international show.

“He flew me out there first class and I stayed in a top hotel,” Michelle says excitedly. “I did the models’ extensions and he and his team did the styling.”

In March Michelle will be heading to Cyprus in her role as the Rat Pack’s head technical educator to train stylists at Toni & Guy salons, but there’s plenty of work coming up in Britain as well.

Members of the Rat Pack can be called upon if a celebrity makes an appointment for hair extensions at Richard Ward’s Sloane Street salon – Michelle has already “done” Lady Isabella Hervey as well as various TV personalities.

And TV hairdresser Lee Stafford invited her to train staff at his Brighton salon.

Michelle will also be developing placement courses for hair extensions and continuing to work with top name Beverley Cabella to develop new styling products specifically designed for extensions.

She has produced education videos with Anthony Mascolo and will collaborate with him this year for a collection of new hair techniques.

Meanwhile, what about Scandals, where it all began? “We’re really busy – we’ve been in Barnt Green for nearly five years now,” says Michelle, with an astonished expression at how quickly the time has sped by.

Since she is often working in London or abroad and only sees clients in Barnt Green at weekends, the day-to-day running of Scandals is in the capable hands of an expert team.

Her husband Rob – who rather incongruously still continues to run his gas engineering company – has stepped into the role of manager, while Emma is head of training. The other three stylists have all been trained to offer hair extensions.

Michelle wants to make Scandals a training academy for stylists, and a refurbishment is planned for this year.

She also aims to take the whole salon into the Fellowship for British Hairdresssing, so that the whole Scandals team will be able to attend shows and competitions.

“When I’ve established enough of a reputation, I’ll open a big salon in Birmingham as well,” Michelle says.

As well as offering all kinds of hair and beauty treatments, Scandals now provides something out of the ordinary – a resident clairvoyant.

Samantha Peyton, who met Michelle when she and her staff went for a reading, gives readings at the salon on the first Friday in every month.

“I’ve been here for about 12 months now, and I’m really busy,” says Sam, who is usually based in Lickey. “It seems to be a bit of a talking point for locals!”

Sam has worked as a clairvoyant and medium for several national newspapers and TV programmes, and says she offers a high standard in keeping with the lofty aims of the salon as a whole.

These include putting on a big hairdressing show to boost the salon’s reputation, which is currently being organised by Rob and Emma and scheduled to take place in the late spring in an as yet undisclosed Birmingham venue.

Michelle is also looking to boost the team at Scandals by employing another stylist and a trainee. If you are interested or would like to be a model for the show, give Michelle a call.


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