Angela Hutchison is the founder and owner of Alchemy The Studio, a private one-on-one studio space located in Oakville, Ontario. The word “alchemy” is defined as a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination, and is also a pretty accurate description of the styling that Angela does in the Studio. Certified with Great Lengths for 17(!) years, Angela works magic with Great Lengths extensions, giving her clients consistently beautiful results. (Seriously, check out the before and afters on her Insta!) We were so excited to get to know a little more about Angela for our Stylist Spotlight this month.
Tell us a bit about you and your career! How did you get your start, and what has led you to where you are today?
I knew I wanted to do hair at a very young age. I got my education immediately after high school and couldn’t wait to start my career! I quickly realized how important it is to surround yourself with strong leadership and passionate stylists and found myself working for and with inspiring people that helped shape my career. Their mentorship helped me find my own style and create a strong foundation to open my own hair studio in 2018. Great Lengths has always been part of my career and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
You’ve been Great Lengths certified for 17(!) years- what was your inspiration to join the GL network?
I was approached by a salon owner while I was still in school. He told me all about Great lengths and provided the opportunity to get certified through their salon after my apprenticeship. I feel so lucky that I was I introduced to such an ethical and superior brand right from the start. It’s still the only extension brand I work with.
This year has been unlike any other and many salons have been or continue to be temporarily closed across the country. Have you faced any challenges as a stylist or salon owner due to the current situation?
In Oakville where Alchemy the Studio is located, salons were closed for 13 weeks and the area is currently in a red zone. Being a GL artist has had some extra difficulties beyond being a stylist and owner during the closure. Some of my clients needed their extensions removed during that closure, but there was no way to safely do so at the time. Instead, there were plenty of FaceTimes and lots of communication to problem solve and check in. Luckily, my clients are the absolute best and couldn’t have taken better care of their hair. Since Great Lengths never damage hair when properly installed and taken care of, these client’s extensions were totally fine when they came back to see me (just extremely grown out!).
What advice would you give other Great Lengths stylists going through similar things?
My advice would be to take care of yourself and focus on your physical and mental health. Our industry requires us to give a lot of ourselves, and times have never been so tense and emotional. Our clients need us more than ever because of the relationships we’ve cultivated with them and how we can make them feel. Also, I highly recommend absorbing all of the free incredible educational content on social media right now!
Do you think the current situation will impact the industry as a whole in the future?
I really do. I lease a studio in a Sola Salons and the space and business model is ideal for our current situation. A one-on-one private studio space allows for a more calm, controlled and safe environment for everyone. I worry that new talent won’t be starting their education and apprenticeships for a few years but I’m hopeful for our industries future!
What impact has being a Great Lengths Artist had on you and your business?
Great Lengths has allowed me to have an impact on my clients, one that would not be possible through only colouring and cutting. Seeing the confidence created with every new installation will never get old for me. It makes me as happy as the client every single time.
What do you love about Great Lengths?
I love everything about Great Lengths! It’s such a professional brand. Because it is ethically sourced and traceable, it is the only option I could ever work with. The fact that I know there will be no issue with the hair quality or patented bond allows me to feel confident providing the service. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night otherwise! Seriously. My clients trust is everything to me. My end goal is to always improve the integrity of their hair. Great Lengths allows me to do that.
Over the 17 years you’ve been doing Great Lengths you must have noticed a lot of changes in trends and market. Tell us about some of those changes over the years
Social media has changed how people can see our work, as well as the products we use. It definitely allows us to share with the public the possibilities that extensions can provide. They are not as exclusive as they once were and I love that. There are options for everyone!
There are so many new extension methods and brands since I started my career, but I still personally love the classic hot fusion keratin bonds. They are the best in my opinion.
What is your personal favourite hair trend right now? Why do you love it?
I’m obsessed with creating a damage free/no maintenance colour change with the use of extensions. Especially right now with the pandemic, my clients want low maintenance hair colour, and still want their extensions. It’s the perfect way to achieve colour longevity and it keeps it fun!
Do you have any colour or style trend predictions for Winter 2020-2021?
Colour blocking! And I’m so happy about it. I’ve always been a huge fan of it. It’s also so perfect to create with extensions.
Do you have a style icon? Or a hair hero?
I worked at Toni & Guy for a few years in Toronto and got to know the creatives and leaders. I love their vibe and the hair culture they have created.
If you could pick a celebrity, a public figure, anyone at all - whose hair would you love to work on?
I’d love to do Betty White’s hair. Just to meet her! I clearly binge watched Golden Girls recently.
What or who do you look to for inspiration?
Honestly, my clients. They inspire me with their personal style and push me to create the perfect customized look that’s right for them. And I’m always so inspired by my peers. I’m so lucky to have always been surrounded by so much talent.
What personality traits do you feel are most beneficial to your ongoing success?
My professionalism and consistency have definitely been key, as well as my willingness to learn and my drive to give the best experience for my clients.
What advice would you offer newly certified stylists to best take advantage of their GL skillset?
My advice would be to really perfect the art of consultation. It’s the foundation to providing a superior service. You can be technically perfect but still not deliver what they want if you’re not asking the right questions or are not really listening. Also, I suggest finding yourself great mentors, even if it’s through social media. Surround yourself with people that are professional, passionate and motivated.
Do you have any Great Lengths do's and don’ts?
My dos are to install the last bond with as much care as the first. Always do thorough consultations with every new set of extensions even if they have been with you for years.
My don’ts are: Do not work on people that are not a good fit. If they are being demanding, wanting something unreasonable that goes against what you think is proper, don’t do their hair.
What is your favourite part of being a stylist?
I’m a creative so I feel so lucky to work with my hands for a career. I love to impact people and make them feel good. This really is a dream job for me.
Do you have a favourite mantra, quote or saying you like to keep in mind?
Ha. We need all the mantras for 2020. A simple one I like is “Keep going, you’ve got this.”
After such a wild year in 2020- what are your hopes and aspirations for the new year?
My hopes for the hair industry in 2021 are that we are able to continue to provide safe service, and for businesses and stylists to thrive. My hope for everyone is health and happiness.