In hair circles, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of years you would be familiar with the upward trajectory of pint-sized pocket rocket Brodie-Lee Stubbins and her salon Rokstar in Brisbane’s cool West End. Apart from her beautiful work, amazing collections and multitude of awards, including recently being crowned Hair Expo 2018 QLD Hairdresser of the Year, Brodie has turned the tables on the bad rep that Gen Y stylists often get by cultivating a culture that embraces their strengths and provides a unique and solid foundation for business and career growth. Here Brodie shares her hairdressing journey with MIG…
MIG: Did you always want to be a hairdresser?
BLS: It was always my dream to be either a hairdresser or a ballerina. I started hairdressing when I was only 13. I begged a local hair salon in my country town to give me a go and would you believe no one thought I was serious! I volunteered for such a long time after school and Saturdays before gaining an apprenticeship, then I was on my way
MIG: What have been some challenges you have had to face on your hairdressing journey? Did you ever think of quitting?
BLS: I’m very goal oriented and a forward thinker; it’s my personality. I was always told I was “too driven” or that my dreams were too big. Coming from a country town rather than a big name salon, not a lot of people believed in me, but the most important thing was that I believed in myself. I purchased my first salon at 18 and three salons later started Rokstar, building my dream salon from scratch. Not long after my journey began with Rokstar, my dad was diagnosed with stage four brain cancer. We are an extremely close family, so this was definitely a tough time. I was building a new salon, selling one, plus rebranding all at the same time. When dad passed it was incredibly hard. Sadly he never got to see Rokstar finished, but while he was sick I would spend all my time designing the look of the salon and telling him about it from his bedside. Despite all the challenges, I have never wanted to quit. It’s just not in my nature.
MIG: Despite the flack that Gen Y often cops, you have embraced it and made it the backbone of your business. How did that come about?
BLS: Part of my vision for Rokstar was employing and growing a team of likeminded hairdressers who wanted to be a part of the culture I was creating. Finding the right people isn’t easy and it takes time, but I’m proud of what I have created and the team we have. I’m passionate about helping Gen Y and stylists achieve their goals, particularly through training them to be time efficient on the salon floor and having a wide range of skills, techniques and tricks so they can confidently deliver on trend ‘IT Girl Hair’, which is incredibly in demand and a huge part of our business.
MIG: You have a unique brand in Rokstar – how do you present your business to the consumer?
BLS: Rokstar is all about our clients. We pride ourselves on customer service and making everybody who walks in the door feel special. We are very strong on culture and brand awareness and we are so lucky that word of mouth is our success story. I’d describe our creative handwriting as on trend and a little unique, but at the end of the day, we do beautiful hair and we are consistent.
MIG: Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
BLS: ‘Tomorrow is a new day, There’s no point worrying, it will always work out in the end.’ I tell myself this a lot; I try not to sweat the small stuff.
MIG: You’ve had great success over the past few years winning many industry awards. Was it a strategy of yours to be very visible in the awards arena?
BLS: I didn’t have a strategy for the awards, I just wanted to put Rokstar on the radar and show what I love to do. By creating amazing work that I was proud of, I hoped to get noticed and inspire others.
MIG: On that note, what inspires you creatively?
BLS: Anything and everything. I draw inspiration from things I see everyday, from fashion to nature to architecture, whatever is all around me.
MIG: Who are your favourite style stars and hair industry heroes?
BLS: Alexa Chung, Kate Moss and Bec Judd…I love their style. When it comes to hair industry heroes there are way too many to name, but Guido Palau, Eugene Souleiman and Angelo Seminara are my biggest international faves.
MIG: What do you like to do outside of hairdressing?
BLS: I love to dance, Barre and Pilates are my faves. Sweating out in a good dance session feeds my soul, and the ballet barre is the one place I switch off. I also love my home. I have a massive passion for interiors and like to relax at home with my fur babies and my husband Bill. I enjoy reading anything on psychology…the brain and business really interests me. Other than that, my fave thing to do is be in the sun by a pool or the beach.
MIG: What advice would you give to young people who look up to you in the industry?
BLS: My advice is work hard and don’t give up. Stay back without being asked, volunteer your time to show initiative and give it your all. Success doesn’t happen overnight – it’s bloody hard work – but if you work at it every day, the journey is magical.
MIG: Where do you see yourself in five years time?
BLS: Still at Rokstar #KILLINGIT!