Women of Style: Ellen Lawlor
Freelance hairdresser and editorial stylist
Redken Global Artist
Price point: $200 hair cut; color starts at $150
Why did you choose beauty? I started as an artist (oil painting, sketching etc.) I wasn’t making much money, so after traveling and living on the west coast, I moved back to NY and needed to start a career that was artistic and that I could make a living at. I loved going to the hairdresser and loved watching the cuts and colors being done. This was enough to pique my interest and I started cosmetology school.
Milestones: Going to London and seeing the Vidal Sassoon and Jingles schools really opened my eyes to what was out there; trying out for the Trevor Sorbie USA Artist Program and squeaking in with my positive attitude; being invited to try out for the Redken Artistic Team and making it in 1996.
Big break: Working on the Trevor Sorbie Team. This really changed my path.
Career advice you’ve received: When you see what isn’t working, change it and learn a new way to do it.
Career advice you’ve given: Don’t forget to stop and look at what you have accomplished.
Your mentors: Christine Schuster, Bobbi Foster Kelly, Trevor Sorbie, Kris Sorbie, Ruth Roche, Vidal Sassoon, Guido, Odile Gilbert, Chris Baran, Sam Villa, Brent Borreson, Hugo Urias, Vivienne Mckinder, Mary Brunetti
You mentor: Hairdressers of all ages who do not put limitations on themselves.
Are there benefits to being a woman in beauty? I believe women drive this industry, when I look out into an audience I see more women’s faces than men’s. I believe we need to mentor women in the industry differently than men. We all need to help each other to grow and not use our sexuality as an obstacle to growth. There is a different dynamic when women look at other women, and we need to be aware of our feelings and get past any negativity and grow from it.
Are there challenges for women in beauty? Women are good multitaskers, and can sometimes take on a lot more than they can do. It is hard to balance home and career, so sometimes they don’t take on the challenges of platform work and editorial work that require travel.
Sacrifice and reward: I have spent a lot of time and money enhancing my skills, but don’t really look at it as sacrificial.
Risk and lesson: I moved from a safe and profitable salon business to NYC mid-life, and made a successful career there for more than 16 years. Now I am moving again, to Florida, to create new experiences and growth. I find moving and changing is easier than staying in the same place in your head and letting fear take over.
To follow in your footsteps, a woman would have to: Learn to know herself; it’s a daily endeavor, never give up.
Famous woman you would like to style? Madonna. She is a strong personality who grows in beauty as she ages.
Reading: Them: A Memoir of Parents, by Francine du Plessix Grey
Playlist: “It’s Only Love that Gets You Through” by Sade; “I’ll be Your Mirror” by the Velvet Underground & Nico
Every day, just for you: Take an hour to walk or just sit and listen to the world around me.
Working on: I have so many projects; every job is different, so creating different looks that work for each project.