It has been a year since Bradley Smith won the London College of Beauty Therapy (LCBT) 2010 Student of the Year Award, and left college as a qualified Level 3 Therapist. LCBT caught up with him to see what life is like post LCBT and how he has found being a male in such a female dominated industry.
LCBT: So Brad what have you been up to in the past 12 months since you left LCBT?
Brad: I started my Foundation Degree in Salon Business Management in
last September and I’m really enjoying it! I came back to LCBT for a few weeks to do some work experience, but now I am employed as a Temp over the summer holiday which is great; although it is a bit strange being the other side of the fence! Birmingham
LCBT: What has been your favourite part of your new course?
Brad: I’ve really enjoyed learning more about the business side of running a salon. LCBT gave me all the practical skills I need as a therapist, and the Level 4 Foundation Degree adds a new dimension looking more in depth at management, marketing and business development.
I also have a job working at a hair and beauty salon in
along side my studies. Birmingham
LCBT: You have obviously come a long way since you started studying at LCBT when you were 15! But how have you found it being a male entering such a female dominated industry?
Brad: It can be really challenging at times, but it does feel like each year it gets a little bit easier as the industry becomes more accepting and open. I have found it difficult at times as some female clients feel uncomfortable with a male therapist. It is also difficult sometimes working in an all female environment as there often aren’t facilities (like changing rooms) set up for male employees or students.
I would definitely say that finding a job in
was a real challenge as many salons hadn’t ever heard of a male beauty therapist and couldn’t believe that I was already a qualified therapist looking for a job! There is definitely a long way to go before the industry is totally accepting of male therapists. Birmingham
LCBT: What advice would you give to other men thinking about entering the beauty industry?
Brad: The best advice I could give would be to make yourself the best therapist you can be. You have to stand out as a male therapist so make sure you have as many skills as possible by completing lots of short courses outside of your formal qualification. If you are a good therapist it wont matter if you are male or female…. And don’t give up!
LCBT: You work in a hair and beauty salon at the moment. Do you think there are differences in the two industries?
Brad: Definitely, the majority of my colleagues are men as they are hairdressers, but there are no male beauty therapists where I work. The beauty industry has a totally different feel to it; it’s much calmer and therapeutic too!
LCBT: As there are fewer men in the beauty industry do you have any role models that have inspired you?
Brad: Andy Rouillard is definitely an inspiration to me. He is a world renowned male waxing trainer, and I was really lucky to meet him when he came to do a training session at my salon. He is definitely my idol within the industry!
LCBT: So what do you love most about the beauty industry?
Brad: I love that there is so much more to the beauty industry than meets the eye! It really is like a hobby and way of life to me. There is a real community with amazing beauty trade shows and magazines which I love!
Bradley pictured above at LCBT, performing a manicure
For more information on studying at London College of Beauty Therapy visit www.lcbt.co.uk
Words by Claire Winstanley.