POSTED IN FG Family ON 09 May, 2019
09 May Hairdressing Without Hearing – Meet Drew Udall
Meet FG Eccleshall’s Salon Manager, Who Lets His Vision Do the Talking.
Hairdressing is typically seen as an industry connected with conversation; it is widely known that many people also use their hairdresser as a therapist and confidant. But Drew Udall, Salon Manager of Francesco Group Eccleshall, is proving that there is a different way to listen and connect with clients. Undeterred by being deaf, Drew has nurtured a loyal client base who both admire and appreciate his talent.
I’ve had Drew as my hairdresser for over ten years and I have grown to know him well and we’ve become good friends. From the beginning, Drew seemed to know instinctively what I’ve wanted and what would suit me well, I trust him 100%. We’re at the point now where I usually just let Drew do what he wants because it always looks fantastic. He has taken my hair through many lengths, colours and looks and I’m happy with it every single time! He always greets me with a big smile and a hug and his positive, funny personality perks me up and we have such a laugh together! He’s an inspiration to me!
Charmaine, a loyal FG Client
Meet Drew Udall
FRANCESCO GROUP ECCLESHALL
Hi, I am Drew. It’s Deaf Awareness Week. Ever since I was young, I always wanted to be a hairdresser. I have never let my deafness stop me from doing what I want. I am so proud of what I have achieved. Deaf people can achieve anything they dream of and don’t let anyone stop you! Thank you for watching…
Drew has also cultivated success within the industry, as three-time finalist for the L’Oréal Colour Trophy. He will attend the L’Oréal Colour Trophy Grand Finals in London this June, competing for the Colour Trophy Award with his salon business partner, Lola Rizzotto.
Drew always knew that he wanted to be a hairdresser, childhood toys doubled up as his first clients and even his sister’s Troll Dolls couldn’t avoid his early attempts at refining his skills! When Drew started school, he told them that hairdressing was what he wanted to do, but he was told that because of his hearing, it wasn’t a possibility; luckily, he didn’t pay attention and continued to pursue his dream.
Now, 18 years into a successful career and to celebrate Deaf Awareness Week, we asked him to talk to us about his experiences. Drew told us about his love of hairdressing and how his vision and passion have ensured his success.
When did you decide you wanted to become a hairdresser?
Drew – I have known since I was very young that I wanted to be a hairdresser. I used to do my babysitter’s hair who had very long hair. I would also cut any dolls hair and I used to cut my sister’s troll’s hair really short! My school told me I couldn’t be a hairdresser, which made me more determined to prove myself. When I was 15, I was given the chance to spend two weeks work experience at another leading salon in Stafford. I enjoyed it so much that they offered a Saturday job, which led to a full-time job after school.
As part of my hairdressing training, I completed the City and Guilds hairdressing qualifications and I also went to a prominent academy in Manchester to do a barbering course, where I achieved Distinction in all cuts. I proved that my deafness never got in the way with the hairdressing training. After nine years with my previous salon, I went to work for FG Eccleshall as I wanted a change.
What has been the highlight of your career, so far?
Drew – The highlight of my career has to be becoming salon manager of FG Eccleshall, in joint partnership with Lola. I have learnt so much since I took the helm in November and I look forward to developing my career further. Another highlight has to be winning best North West look in the Grand Final of the L’Oréal Colour Trophy in 2008. I got through last year to the Men’s Grand Final and hope to go one step further with the Grand Final this year!
My school told me I couldn’t be a hairdresser, which made me more determined to prove myself!
You have very loyal clients, what is your secret to building such an excellent relationship with them?
Drew – Despite my deafness, I always find it so easy communicating with my clients and new clients, by being myself and making them feel welcome. I always sit down face to face with my clients, making sure that they feel relaxed with me. I tell them my ideas using my hands or photos, so we can decide together the look they want to go for, what they want for their hair and I encourage them to go for it; I always know what my clients want. One of the advantages of being deaf, is that I use my eyes more than my ears, it’s all about vision for me!
How has Francesco Group supported you during your career?
Drew – They have been fantastic throughout and always left the door open for me when I came back after moving away for one year; they made me feel part of the FG family. Ever since I became salon manager last November, they have always been there if I needed help, offering advice and assistance.
What is your favourite part of hairdressing?
Drew – I love seeing my clients leaving the salon 100% happy with their hair. I love to make them feel fabulous before, during and after a haircut. It’s important to make their salon experience a fabulous one. That is one thing I love about my job, is making people feel beautiful.
What would you tell a deaf person reading this right now who wanted to become a hairdresser?
Drew – If hairdressing is your passion, never let this stop you and go for it! I don’t believe in barriers, you can break them down if you are determined enough to achieve your dream! I think talking to my clients on a regular basis has improved my lipreading and given me confidence.