Choose Beauty: Sue Pemberton
Pemberton's NAHA submissionPhoto 3 of 5
Pemberton's NAHA submissionPhoto 4 of 5
Pemberton workingPhoto 5 of 5
Career other than hairdresser: I think something to do with fashion design or photography.
Industry icons: Vivienne Mackinder, Vidal Sassoon, Trevor Sorbie
On your iPod: I like Adele, I think she’s great
Now reading: I’m always reading, always researching, and it’s usually about art, hair, color or fashion.
Favorite day off pursuit: I’m an X-box, PlayStation, and Wii junkie
Sign: Double Leo. It’s my rising sign, too.
Most often asked question: What comes first, cut or color? The cut has to be done first. I must go in there with a concept, but I place the color to emphasize the hair cut.
Sue Pemberton, Joico Vero K-PAK Color International Artistic Director and NAHA winner, knows color.
Sue Pemberton is always thinking about color. “I just love hair coloring,” says Pemberton, Vero K-PAK Color International Artistic Director for Joico and North American Hairstyling Awards (NAHA) winner.
An educator and artist known worldwide, her career began in her native England, where she started as a salon’s “Saturday girl” doing roller sets, sweeping and making tea. Creative but shy, she thought the salon environment would draw her out. “I found I loved talking to people, just chatting.” Five years later, at the same salon, and now trained and licensed, she felt prepared to act on her dreams.
She bought a ticket to Los Angeles and had just $600 left over to live on. Before her money ran out, she found work in a salon, passed her California State Boards and one fateful day, a customer asked for K-PAK Deep Penetrating Reconstructor by Joico.
“I had to call Joico to get it and they sent in an educator to talk to me about the product and the hair repair system. It made sense to me. It was what I was taught.”
When Joico asked her to be a local educator, she started teaching. And on the recommendation of Sid Cook, now Vice President of International Sales, Pemberton became the tester for the color as it came in from Italy, working directly with the chemist. She launched Vero K-Pak Hair Color worldwide and soon Pemberton began traveling the world.
At Hong Kong Cosmoprof, she met Damien Carney, Joico’s International Artistic Director, and they formed a team. Today, they are professional partners, a dynamic duo, working to create Joico’s seasonal collections, photo shoots and training the education team.
“I like to walk and when I walk, I take a camera,” says Pemberton, talking about where she finds inspiration. “I take shots of flowers, plants, leaves, tree bark, stone, and then I’ll see a plant or color combination and I think, ‘I’ll do that on hair.’
“I also tear pages out of magazines and usually, a pattern will emerge. I realize I’ve collected a lot of one thing and then think, ‘I must be into teal and purple right now.”
She also tears up routine. “I tell stylists, “If you’re bored, do the opposite— if you’re weaving, start slicing. If you’re doing vertical, do horizontal. Shake things up.”
Nominated multiple times and a 2007 NAHA winner in the Color Category, Pemberton encourages everyone to enter and attend NAHA.
“I think NAHA elevates our industry,” says Pemberton. “With NAHA, we’re not representing a company, we’re representing an industry and we have a mutual respect for each other.”
Other Pemberton projects include educational DVDs, CLICK, a photographic course, and many upcoming plans inspired by stylists.
“When I create a technique or program it usually comes from stylist’s questions,” says Pemberton. “After traveling the world and getting the same questions, I realized that there are rules to hair color and once you know them, you know color.”