Shaper: Daniel Galvin

Show aired on 5th December 2015

Transcript

Elliot Moss
That was Gregory Porter with Liquid Spirit here on Jazz FM. Good morning, it’s me, Elliot Moss and it is Jazz Shapers. It is the time of the week where you get to hear the very best of the people shaping the world of jazz, blues and soul, alongside their equivalents in the world of business, a Business Shaper. My Business Shaper today is none other than Daniel Galvin; he is one of the kings of the hairdressing world, he has been hairdressing to the stars for many, many years – Ewan McGregor, Nicole Kidman, The Beatles, Twiggy, Adele – just to name a few. A phenomenal roster of people that are staunch followers of this man they call Daniel Galvin. You will be hearing lots from him very shortly. In addition to hearing from Daniel, you will be hearing from our programme partners at Mishcon de Reya, some words of advice for your business and some great music of course from the shapers of jazz, blues and soul including José James, guitar great Wes Montgomery and this from Marcus Hill.

That was the tranquil sound of Marcus Hill with The Essence. Daniel Galvin is my Business Shaper today; hairdresser to the stars, business man who has created an empire, spawned a generation of people, mostly his children actually who are in the hairdressing world. Daniel it is a fantastic honour and a pleasure to have you here. Thank you for joining me.

Daniel Galvin
Thank you so much, it is really great to be here. Thank you for inviting me.

Elliot Moss
Absolute pleasure. Now, tell me a little bit about how you started in the world of hairdressing. What happened? I know that obviously your father was a hairdresser, his father before him. Did you have any choice in the matter?

Daniel Galvin
Did I have any choice in the matter? I think the best way to explain it is that being a young guy, a young boy of 13 years of age I needed pocket money and I had done all the things like paper rounds and working in sweet shops and that sort of thing but what I decided to do was to start working for my father on Saturdays which I did, you know to buy my first records, like Rock Around The Clock etc., those sort of things for six and sixpence, but I
used to work in his shops sweeping up the hair and hanging up the towels and it was absolutely incredible because I went back the second week and there was such an incredible atmosphere in the salon and all the debating going on and almost lots of arguments but they weren’t really arguments but it was quite aggressive debating, you know, with the customers and the hair stylists and I thought this was really fantastic. You know, it was just so interesting what was being spoken about and I went back the next week and it was the same thing all over again but with all different people and again the third week and I thought ‘this is really great’. Do you know there is no way I could go and work in an office and see the same people day in, day out I just thought that would be so boring. So in actual fact I did actually get the fever or whatever you want to call it to go into the hairdressing industry. So I actually did, you know, I chose to go into it. I chose to go into the ladies side, not like my father, my father was in the men’s side and he was one of the guys that started the first men’s blow drying of hair back in the sort of 50s.

Elliot Moss
And ladies were right for you. Why was that do you think? Was it just you were being different from your dad or you just thought it was more fun?

Daniel Galvin
Well I don’t know, well number one, I prefer to work with ladies actually. Men can be, men can be much more difficult than doing ladies hair that’s for sure. But I loved ladies around me, I loved their company, I am a ladies man you know, I am not one of these guys that when you go out to a party you know, end up talking to all the guys about the rugger and the football and the cricket, you know – I am more… I get involved with the ladies talking about their hair and what they are doing beauty wise and so on. That’s just the sort of thing that turns me on.

Elliot Moss
It is just who you are. Find out much more from my Business Shaper, Daniel Galvin who has, as I say, created an empire in the hairdressing world and has also involved his children. You will be hearing lots more about where they fit in to the business. Time for some music, this is José James with It’s All Over Your Body.

José James with It’s All Over Your Body. Daniel Galvin is my Business Shaper today, he is in charge of hair actually rather than the body and we were talking before about how the buzz, the vibe, the fever as you said, got into you when you started going in on a Saturday to your father’s salon and things went from there. Beyond that first buzz, because that’s the atmosphere isn’t it, you don’t know if you are going to be any good at this thing…

Daniel Galvin
No.

Elliot Moss
…you just know you enjoyed it. When did you start to realise you know, that you were going to be pretty talented, that you had something to offer beyond being enthusiastic about the atmosphere you found yourself in?

Daniel Galvin
I suppose in a way it was a little bit awkward for me because I am third generation. It started with my grandfather who worked for probably the oldest hairdressing salon in the world called Truefitt & Hills and it is still there today, just up Bond Street and my grandfather worked there between 1890 and 1910 when the Maharaja used to pull up in a coach and horses and when he did hair he had to wear a top hat, tails and white cotton gloves but he died, he was a Polish man, by the name of Ceselski. Ceselski was the last name not Galvin and he died when my father was 1 year old and it is quite incredible because when my father became 14, his mother remarried and therefore his name was Galvin then, my dad and he decided to go into men’s hairdressing as well and that is where I was obviously working on Saturdays but I chose then to go into ladies hairdressing and I went to several interviews. The first place I didn’t get a job, they said, ‘why do you want to go into ladies hairdressing? Why have you chose that?’ and I said, ‘I hear there is a lot of money in it’. Didn’t get that one.

Elliot Moss
Funnily enough.

Daniel Galvin
I didn’t get that one but I did get into a job just off Baker Street in Park Road and I started a three year apprenticeship there.

Elliot Moss
And that was with… was that the Leonard Lewis job?

Daniel Galvin
No that was with a salon called Figaro. This is where I started my hairdressing career full-time as a junior doing a three year apprenticeship.

Elliot Moss
And there you knew in yourself that you were getting better at what you did. I mean obviously that’s your first proper apprenticeship but was there a sense that you were comfortable doing what you were doing?

Daniel Galvin
Not really because I wanted to run before I could walk. I wanted to do these incredible way-out styles before I could even put a roller in the hair so I was pretty much a bit of a nightmare at that time. So after two years I thought maybe I should go out to the suburbs where I would probably get given far more of a chance of actually getting my hands dirty, getting hands on which I did and that was where myself, being a junior, that I was told what to put on to ladies hair to colour their hair. You know, the senior would tell me what to do for their client. I would mix these colours up, I’d mix two or three colours up and I would put it on their hair and I would see the hair actually change colour and that to me was complete magic. I just got a complete buzz for that I just got so fascinated I thought, ‘this is for me’ because if I was to do a bob, I would think, you’ve got a short bob, a medium bob or a long bob, if you have got twenty clients a day, it’s all the same, that’s the way I am thinking myself – boring, boring, boring. Whereas with hair colour you can actually have identical twins in, use the same colour on both of them and one will come out slightly different. This was the thing that really got me into it but that’s just the drop in the ocean to start with.

Elliot Moss
And we are going to hold it right there. That drop in the ocean is a good one because it’s a colourful one and I think people can see in their minds eye exactly why you got the buzz. We have got the latest travel in a couple of minutes and before that some words of wisdom for your business from our programme partners at Mishcon de Reya.

You are listening to Jazz Shapers with me, Elliot Moss. Every Saturday morning I am very privileged because I get the chance to meet someone who is shaping the world of business. My Business Shaper today is Daniel Galvin, he is the founder of the Daniel Galvin Hair Salon empire. They are in the Corinthia Hotel, they are in… where else you Daniel? Your original place is over in Marylebone?

Daniel Galvin
It is in George Street. That’s the biggest hair salon in Europe, it’s 9,000 ft².

Elliot Moss
A hundred and twenty people or something… is that right?

Daniel Galvin
A hundred and twenty people work in that one.

Elliot Moss
A lot of people.

Daniel Galvin
Then we just opened in Kensington.

Elliot Moss
Yes.

Daniel Galvin
We have a franchise in Beaconsfield. We have just taken over the Selfridges concession whereby we are actually having a whole new salon built in Selfridges. I think that’s it, five salons.

Elliot Moss
I think that’s enough for now?

Daniel Galvin
That’s enough that’s for sure.

Elliot Moss
Now we were talking before about the initial drop in the ocean. You said, you know, the two twins, you can get a pair of twins in, you can put colour in both their hair, it comes out differently. There is only so many ways to cut the bob. That passion for colour that you adopted, that you found. That has really been your hallmark as you have grown through the decades. You left your first job, you said you were a bit of a pain and I can imagine anyone who has got ideas and innovation, you were a young man, is going to be a pain. You eventually went through Leonard Lewis then you set your own salon up. At what point did you say, ‘I can do this myself’? And Why?

Daniel Galvin
Firstly what happened is that before I went to Leonard my brother had just returned, Joshua, from the States working in probably the biggest hair salon in New York at the time, which was the House of Revlon and he said, ‘Daniel if you really like to do colour’ which was really unheard of to specialise in colour, ‘you should write to the top ten salons in London’. I did that. Only one replied and in actual fact they said they probably wouldn’t need anyone for six months to specialise in colour but I did hear from them four days later. Went back, started the following day. And it was in this salon that I had to learn by my mistakes because being a colourist, there were two people that did colour there, that relied on sixteen hairdressers to give them work. So whenever I would ask them, ‘what shall I mix to get this colour on this client’s hair’ they would turn round to me and say, ‘well if you don’t know what to use, you shouldn’t be doing it, you know, you are not experienced enough’. So I got no help at all at that time so I had to learn by my mistakes and believe me, even though I was the guy that invented crazy colour in the late 60s, I was turning people khaki before it actually came into fashion. Nearly losing my job every week but I was learning by my mistakes. And then I ended up picking hair up off the floor and I would get black hair, I would get red hair and I would get blonde hair and I might put say, very light blonde on all three. I started to make my own shade charts to see how colour works. I actually ended up teaching myself how to do colour and all of a sudden after about one year, things started to turn around and I was very happy working in Knightsbridge at Oleson’s where I met my wife and I had two phone calls in one week. One from Vidal Sassoon and one from Vidal Sassoon’s ex-top hairstylist, Leonard who had actually opened his own salon, from both of them. So I had two interviews and they both wanted me to work for them and I actually chose Leonard. I chose Leonard for £12 a week; not Vidal for £14 because I saw the opportunity was more open. They didn’t have anyone in charge of colour and it was like you know, a great opportunity for me.

Elliot Moss
And then from Leonard… how long did you stay at Leonard for? It was a long time wasn’t it?

Daniel Galvin
I was with Leonard for 15 years.

Elliot Moss
So a proper, I mean beyond apprenticeship, real time, real solid time in a fantastic business and you obviously really learnt your trade. I mean you were making less mistakes by then I imagine?

Daniel Galvin
I, well basically I wanted to do what Vidal Sassoon did to hairstyling and changed the world, I wanted to do the same thing for hair colour.

Elliot Moss
Stay right there with me because we are going to hear what happened when Daniel changed the world of hair colour. Time for some music though before we hear that, this is Wes Montgomery with Tequila.

Wes Montgomery with the fantastic standard Tequila. Daniel, we were talking about this moment and I just feel like my world is about to be rocked. You are now on the edge of creating, as you said, ‘I wanted to do what Vidal did for hairstyles, I wanted to do that for colour’. What happened next? We were just at that point before you were going to say, ‘Elliot that’s why I started my own business up’.

Daniel Galvin
I was so frustrated back in those days because you know, I was like 18 years of age and all the hair cutters were like you know, buying nice sports cars and lovely suits and so on and I couldn’t afford any of that because everyone wanted their hair cut like Vidal Sassoon, you know was showing everyone how to do that. Colour-wise they didn’t want it. I would go to clients and say, ‘what about this, I’ve got a great idea for you’ and they ended up saying, ‘please go away Daniel, you know I just don’t need colour, this is my natural colour, this is the colour I was born with so this is the colour that suits me most of all. My boyfriend doesn’t want me to have colour, you know, just leave me alone’ and it was all that all the time and it wasn’t until I turned around to them and said, ‘how would you like your hair, I’ve got a great idea for you, how would you like your hair to look the way it did when you was like 8 or 9 years of age’ and they went, ‘well it was a bit lighter and it had lots of movement in and flashes of colour and it looked fabulous’ and I said, ‘exactly’. And this is how I really started to get a name for colour which we called like movement of colour and I actually designed a technique, the highlighter which had never been designed before. It is still used over the world, it is called brickwork technique of highlighting. Done like the way one builds a brick wall but the quick story behind that is that one day this guy brought this young girl in the salon. She had orange hair down to her shoulders and she saw Leonard and she saw me and he said, you know, ‘she would like to be a model, what do you think?’ and her hair was ginger because she had been putting this heel tone peroxide on her hair and we thought, ‘yeah she looks great but not like a model’ because she was so skinny. You know models were quite voluptuous back in those days. Anyway we took her upstairs and Leonard cut her hair to that short all over, like one inch all over. She looked like an elf and it took me eight hours to put the lights in. I had to keep putting them in and so on until we actually got it right and then she went along to the studio that night to be photographed but what happened was, first of all we called in the photographer, Barry Lategan and we called in the beauty editor, Deirdre McSherry from the Daily Express and they thought she would be great as well. So then she went along to have her pictures done that night and the next day there was a double page spread in the Daily Express of this young girl and it was the launch of the world’s first ever super model. Her name was Twiggy.

Elliot Moss
I’ve heard of her.

Daniel Galvin
Yeah exactly. So the thing was, you know like pop stars or top models, all the kids they want the clothes, they want the shoes, they want the make-up and they want the hair. So as this was a brand new technique, this brickwork technique of highlighting it was quite amazing what it was doing for me. I mean for Twiggy, she took off like a rocket ship, she was greeted in New York like the Beatles. She was greeted in Tokyo like the Beatles but the thing with the hairdressing industry, they wanted me all over the world. I was going to Canada, to Australia, to the America’s, to Scandinavia, to Europe – teaching them how to do this technique. So this was really my launch as well which was absolutely the real beginning of me bringing out all the different ideas.

Elliot Moss
And the lesson in there I guess is that you need to know your craft and then you need, I guess, also a little bit of luck with the person you happen to fix the hair of.

Daniel Galvin
You do.

Elliot Moss
And the rest sort of is history and we are going to find out a bit more about that in a moment. Final chat coming up with my guest, Daniel, plus we will be playing you a track from the young Brazilian singer, Flavio Quali, that’s after the latest traffic and travel.

The beautiful and upbeat sound of Brazil at its best, Flavio Quali with People Dancer. Daniel, how have you managed to build up this empire over the last four decades? How have you managed to ensure that the kids who are no longer kids anymore, they are still obviously nowhere fifty for Louise, I know that for sure, but how have they all, you know, Daniel Galvin junior has got his own range, has got his own salon. You’ve taken them with you. How have you managed to do that? How have you managed to build the business and still include the whole family in it in some way?

Daniel Galvin
Building the business, building the business started in ’77. Terrified, absolutely terrified. Everyone said, ‘opening a salon specialising in colour – it’s not going to work’. I put my house up as security and I was really a nervous guy for the first two or three years. But sure enough it took off and lucky enough I was right. And we only started with eleven staff. As time went on my kids came into the business like I went into the business, to earn pocket money you know, Daniel junior wanted to be a journalist, Louise wanted to be a PR and James wanted to be a car racer. But they came in and eventually they thought well we’ll stick to hairdressing and that’s how they actually got involved in it but actually became part of it and they loved every minute of it and they still do.

Elliot Moss
And running the business, I mean it’s no, it’s a pretty serious undertaking having in just one salon a hundred and twenty people. You’ve got four other places now, these concessions. They don’t just come about. You are obviously a very shrewd operator. Over the years have you… who else has advised you? Are there key people that you look to or is it all you?

Daniel Galvin
No one has advised me at all when it comes to… the one thing I didn’t want to do, I didn’t want to open chains of salons, lots of salons. I just felt if you open lots of salons the standard is going to go down. I wanted to keep everything under one roof. I can’t open anything bigger than what I have got now and then basically the Corinthia came along and that just seemed a great thing to do. It was a small salon we could really keep on top of that. The training is the most important thing. Everyone at Daniel Galvin’s salon has been trained at Daniel Galvin salon. We do not take people on that have been trained elsewhere. So all those thirty colourists alone will all work exactly the same. Once they really begin to get qualified, they might have their little tweaks that they do slightly differently because some are more artistic than others.

Elliot Moss
And is the buzz for you now, fifty years into the profession as it were, probably longer actually, over fifty years. Is the buzz for you still what you felt that first Saturday when you went in and said, ‘this is great, I am with different people, look at the buzz, look at the argy-bargy’ – is it still that?

Daniel Galvin
I love it. I love it so much. I love it, I have just got so much passion you know, for doing hair and I have done the whole thing again also in Japan, you know, we are massive out there in Japan, we have all our products out there as well for hair colour. They say I am the guy that is responsible in a nice way, for 60 million Japanese colouring their hair.

Elliot Moss
Well that’s not bad is it.

Daniel Galvin
I have got my managers, they have all been trained from being juniors so I have got managers of reception, managers of the first floor, the colourists, the styling side, head juniors, so we really share it. It’s a fantastic business to be in because everyone, they all rely really on how much money they take a week so it is really like everyone is running their own business.

Elliot Moss
They are driven. And we are going to run out of time so I am going to ask you the last question, before we ask about your song choice. The future for the business? You seem incredibly young at heart, and I should say young too, he looks very very young. But seriously, I mean, are you, at some point going to go ‘enough’ or is it just going to be ‘until I can’t get into the salon myself I am going to carry on going’. What’s it going to be Daniel? Because are you going to take a break and give yourself a pat on the back?

Daniel Galvin
Yeah I am definitely. I still love going into the salon but obviously I do far less and less so really it’s sort of being handed over to Louise and to James to really take it beyond and James obviously, you know, being married and all his responsibilities, you know, he’s going to be the guy that’s going to be there full time and it is going to be up to James to spread the name and to make it as big as he wants to or to do whatever he wants but hopefully he takes my advice and keeps on top of it and doesn’t get too big.

Elliot Moss
I imagine he is going to be pretty independently spirited like you were though so some of those things he might just say, ‘thanks dad, but I will be doing my own thing’.

Daniel Galvin
Oh he does now.

Elliot Moss
I bet he does.

Daniel Galvin
He does now.

Elliot Moss
It’s been a real pleasure chatting to you today, thank you so much for joining me. Just before I let you go as I said, what is your song choice and why have you chosen it?

Daniel Galvin
My favourite song is definitely, What A Wonderful World, Louise Armstrong. I think it is absolutely amazing. Very quickly I am a very spiritual person, I go to the Himalayas and I look at the sky and it is just magical, the blue sky and I don’t think we came from a big bang. When you see the birds flying and the clouds, to the snow, to the forest, right the way down to all the lovely people, down to scuba diving and all those wonderful colours down there in the ocean, what a beautiful world, my God has given me. I think that song says it all.

Elliot Moss
Here it is, just for you.

What A Wonderful World from Louis Armstrong, the song choice of my Business Shaper today, Daniel Galvin. What a totally colourful man with a colourful life and a colourful story to tell in all senses of the word. Utterly passionate about the hairdressing business and someone who fundamentally before it became fashionable had understood the importance of investing in future talent and indeed all his apprentices end up working in his salons; at least that’s his plan because he wants to hold on to his brilliant people that he has helped train. Fantastic stuff. Join me again, same time, same place, that’s next Saturday, 9.00am sharp here on Jazz FM. In the meantime though, stay with us because coming up next, it’s Nigel Williams.

Daniel Galvin OBE is a British hair colourist who owns the Daniel Galvin brand, which incorporates London’s largest independent salon, franchised salons, and trademark licencing agreements. Daniel is known for his celebrity clientele and is world renowned for his expertise in hair colour.

Daniel started his career in the early 1960’s as an apprentice; this is when he first became fascinated by hair colour and its power to transform the way we look. He started experimenting with colour, using various formulas and created his own colour charts in the process. Soon his artist’s eye caught the attention of both Vidal Sassoon and Leonard Lewis who invited Daniel to work at their respective salons. Daniel chose Leonard because of the bespoke hair colouring department that he wanted to make his mark within. Within just three short months Daniel was made top hair colourist and a year later his efforts were rewarded when he was made director of the company. From the 1970’s Daniel started working on films including such classics of the era as Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, Murder on the Orient Express, The Other Side of Midnight, Revolution, First Night and more recently such films as Eyes Wide Shut, Basic Instinct, Iron Lady, Moulin Rouge, War Horse and Pirates of the Caribbean to name just a few.

In 1977, Daniel left Leonard to open his first salon on George Street in Marylebone, the same street where he can be found to this day and houses 120 employees. During the 1980’s Daniel was head hunted by HOYU to introduce professional hair colour in Japan and the Far East, it is said he is now the man responsible for some 32 million Japanese women now colouring their hair. After decades of recognition and awards, he achieved the ultimate accolade in 2006 by being awarded an OBE for his contribution to hair colour and the industry.

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“I am not one of those guys that, when you go to a party, ends up talking about the rugger and the football… I get involved with the ladies talking about their hair.”

“I wanted to run before I could walk. I wanted to do these incredible way-out styles before I could even put a roller in.”

“I love it. I love it so much. I have just got so much passion for, you know, doing hair.”

“It started with my grandfather who worked for probably the oldest hairdressing salon in the world…when he did hair, he had to wear a top hat, tails and white cotton gloves.”

“The first place I didn’t get a job, they said: ‘why do you want to go into ladies hairdressing?’ and I said, ‘ I hear there is a lot of money in it.’ Didn’t get that one.”

“Everyone said, ‘opening a salon specialising in colour – it’s not going to work.’ I put my house up as security and I was a really nervous guy for the first two or three years.”

“I’d mix two or three colours up and I would put it on their hair and I would see the hair actually change colour and that to me was complete magic.”

“They say I am the guy that is responsible, in a nice way, for 60 million Japanese colouring their hair.”