Shaper: Jo Hansford

Show aired on 15th November 2014


Jo Hansford

Described by Marie Claire as “the First Lady of Colour” and hailed by American Vogue as “the best tinter on the planet”, Jo Hansford MBE is quite simply an icon in the field of hair colouring. Jo is held in the highest regard by her peers in the industry and her celebrity clientele, who include Elizabeth Hurley,  HRH Duchess of Cornwall, Erin O’Connor and Sienna Miller.

Hairdresser turned entrepreneur, Jo’s Mayfair salon is game changing. She was the first woman to put colour in the front of the salon rather than behind the scenes and was instrumental in raising the profile of hair colouring throughout the industry. The Mount Street salon initially opened in 1993 with just eight staff in the middle of the recession. Business was incredibly tough, but in her second year of opening she succeeded in making a profit and she realised she had made the right decision. Fast forward 21 years and Jo has a team of over 50 highly skilled colourists, stylists and assistants, all personally trained by Jo herself.

Jo’s reputation as the leading authority in hair colour extends far and wide – she travels extensively with her team and participates in seminars and shows around the globe. She also judges awards including the high-profile L’Oreal Colour Trophy in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, France and the UK.

With the help of Joanna Hansford, her daughter and Managing Director of the company, Jo was recognised as one of the top three businesswomen in the Everywoman Business Awards in 2005. In November 2010, Jo was delighted to have recognition for her services to the Hairdressing Industry by being awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

In conjunction with L’Oreal Professionnel, Jo launched Foundation India to help the next generation of Indian hairdressers. After judging the L’Oreal Colour Trophy in India in 2005, Jo was bowled over by how dedicated the hairdressers were to their chosen career and their innately strong work ethic.

She is a proud supporter of Everywoman, one of the UK’s largest and most influential women in business networking communities, inspiring all generations, giving them a voice and highlighting their talents. Jo and Joanna are also delighted to be part of the group of 100 founding muses for the modern muse project. Modern Muse aims to inspire the next generation of female business leaders and entrepreneurs by showcasing and engaging successful women from all walks of business life. The Modern Muse project’s immediate goal is to reach out to one million girls over the next three years. The aim is to open their eyes to the potential of business as a way of leading a fun and fulfilling life, meeting exciting people, and being more in control of their destiny. The long-term goal is to accelerate the number of women running businesses by 100,000 in the next 10 years.

Follow Jo on Twitter @johansfordsalon and Facebook.

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I absolutely loathed school. Hated it to death.

I left school at fifteen…I had nothing in my brain about hairdressing because I had never been to a hairdresser.

Working for Sassoon in the early sixties was just out of this world.

I never really wanted my own business, I never wanted the responsibility…

I had literally eight staff in two thousand square feet and we ended up having friends, family and anybody we could lay our hands on to come and sit in seats to make the place look busy.

I always believe in leading by example, because whatever you do, your staff have to know that you are capable of doing it.

…in those days everybody outside of hairdressing would say, well, if you are not a brainbox, if you can’t do anything else, then at least you can be a hairdresser – as if hairdressing was a non-career

…they just wheel me in when the need me and wheel me out again. Which is great.

I don’t have to work financially any more but I do because I really enjoy what I do and I like being part of the team. I think it is important for me to be there on the floor.

My daughter said no, you are not coming to meetings any more, you are banned.