So they’ve been in their new role for a couple of months and are already starting to make their mark. After hosting the Valentine’s Ball last month, and with plenty more planned; we thought we would get to know them a little more in our blog. We posed ten questions to Samantha Grocutt and Philip Sharp, and here’s what they had to say…
How long have you been working with the charity?
SAM: I think it was 2006 when Hellen Ward invited me to join, and to become part of the committee for The Hair & Beauty Benevolent. I’ve been part of The Hairdressers’ Charity since its inception, and I was Vice-President for two years.
PHIL: I was invited over two years ago by the previous president, David Drew, to be part of the fundraising committee.
Give us one word for how it feels to be elected President.
What is it about the charity that made you sign up?
SAM: I’m a strong believer in paying it forward; we need to be aware of those less fortunate than us, and do as much as we can to help them.
PHIL: There are no final salary pensions in the world of hairdressing that I am aware of. Dedicated, creative and wonderful people work all of their lives in this industry, and on occasion they face horrendous financial and emotional hardship. The charity is a lifeline for these individuals, and if I am able to use some of my experience and contacts to benefit the lives of these people, then that is incredibly rewarding for me.
Give us a snapshot of your career in the hair industry so far.
SAM: I’ve been in the hair and beauty PR industry for over 20 years, and set up my own specialist hair and beauty PR agency in 2004. I’ve always had a passion for the hair industry – my sister is a hairdresser and my brother a barber, so it’s definitely in our blood!
PHIL: I started working on the edges of the hairdressing industry as a haircare retail buyer for Superdrug, working with celebrity hairdressers such as John Frieda, Nicky Clarke and Trevor Sorbie. Realising I had a passion for the industry, I moved across to Wella and worked with some of their largest customers.
As the Managing Director of Great Lengths Hair Extensions, myself and the team made great strides with leading salons around the UK, which resulted in incredible commercial growth for the brand. Now I’m working on Affinage’s global brand development as the Brand Director. In this role, I work closely with the hairdressing community, co-ordinating regional, national and international hairdressing events, whilst working with the leadership team on the development of our commercial objectives.
To summarise, I have worked alongside major manufacturers and had exposure to stylists and salon owners from all walks of life, many of whom have become good friends within the industry. This does give me a unique opportunity to leverage those contacts and networks for the greater good of the charity.
What fundraising have you done in the past and what would inspire someone else to do the same?
SAM: I’ve been involved in lots of fundraising over the years – from quick, simple monthly donations to organising fundraising talks with some of the most influential women in business. It’s a matter of just getting on with it and making it work for you and your time. Fundraising can be all singing, all dancing or just simply a donation – whatever works for you.
PHIL: I have done quite a few things now for the charity, many of which have involved having a little fun along the way. I organised two walking treks (the Three Yorkshire Peaks and the Brecon Beacons) with the Affinage team, which were great team building events. I attended the Mallorca bike ride in 2016, organised raffles at Affinage events for the charity whilst getting my hands dirty on the stand at Salon International, selling charity badges and lucky dip tickets. My efforts have now contributed to over £10,000 of income for the charity.
What little-known fact about the charity do you think we need to share?
SAM: We are one of the country’s oldest charities (in one guise or another!) and began as the Hairdressers’ Orphan Fund in 1853 (actually, we think it may be even older than this!). I think it’s very apt that as a giving and fulfilling industry we are actually so old. It just shows what a caring profession the hair world is.
PHIL: I think people forget about the heritage of the charity. A few weeks ago, I was privileged to see some old minutes for the charity when it was known as The Hairdressers’ Orphan Fund. This book was dated 1940. I think it is fabulous that the charity has been supporting the industry for generations, and yet our charity is as relevant today as ever.
An on a personal note:
Your guilt pleasure?
SAM: I’m in PR – it’s all about the champagne for me!
PHIL: I am originally from Harrogate, so I will have to say an excess of Yorkshire Puddings!
Last good read?
SAM: I’ve just finished a trilogy by Justin Cronin. It’s a futuristic supernatural story about humanity. Scary but un-put-downable!
PHIL: At the moment, I am midway through a book called “iGen” by Jean M. Twenge. This book is an insightful read into the generation that have grown up with iPhones and mobile devices.
What does your perfect Sunday include?
SAM: Chilling with my husband, Phillip, whilst we go for a Sunday roast in our local, and a good bottle of red wine, then heading home to read a book (and drink more wine) and snuggle with my Bengal cat, Pushka.
PHIL: A sunny day in the garden having fun with my two children, topped off with a BBQ and a few friends to catch up with.
Best piece of advice/quote to live by?
SAM: You have two ears and one mouth for a reason, remember that!
PHIL: Knowledge is power but execution is king, if you want to be successful or help others you can’t just think it, you have to go out there and do it. This is my motto and this is why I work hard at putting into practice the things I put my mind to.