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Hair-raising talent: marvin francis

TAMING THOSE TRESSES: Marvin Francis with Basketball Wives star Draya Michelle

A HAIR stylist with over 10 years of experience, Marvin Francis earned widespread attention when he was crowned the winner of the BBC Three reality show Hair in 2014.

Famed for his Avante Garde designs, including his famous outfits created from hair extensions, Francis has styled a host of celebs, from R&B songstress Ciara to supermodel Iman.
Now, the skilled stylist is gearing up for the launch of his own business, Hair By Him, which will take place in London later this month.

Here, Francis talks to Life & Style about starting his own business, how best to look after natural hair and the perils of walking into an Afro-Caribbean hairdressers.

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Has it been daunting setting up your own business?
I have been in the industry for many years and have had clients who have been with me for many years. However, since winning the show last year, I have realised the importance of branding my business and myself. There is so much to do and get together, from the business plan to arranging my launch event. I am looking forward to seeing the finished product and moving on to the next goal.

The proceeds from the launch event will be going to the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust (ACLT). Why did you choose to do that?
I was at a concert recently and Orin Lewis (CEO of ACLT) was there and gave a speech, which really moved me. It was about [his late son] Daniel De-Gale and the effects of leukaemia. When I was arranging my launch event, there was an idea of doing a raffle and it was a no-brainer who I wanted to give the proceeds to. It is something that can affect our community greatly and I wanted to show my support.

What has been your career highlight to date?
The highlight has to be working with a number of celebrities I have admired over the years, but the crowning moment for me has to be working with R&B singer Ciara. She was such a humble person and a pleasure to work with. She was definitely someone I dreamt of working with and now that has become a reality.


ON THE WRITE TRACK: Francis with beauty blogger Jennie Jenkins

Were you ever teased about your passion for hair styling by anyone who viewed it as a ‘woman’s profession’?
I think a man who works in an industry that is deems by society to be a woman’s profession will always face challenges and be teased. Since winning the show, people can see and appreciate the talent I have and this has been shown by all the support I get from members of the public. I recently travelled to the Netherlands and was approached by someone at the airport congratulating me and wishing me all the luck in the future.

We recently had a debate in our office about how daunting it can be to walk into an Afro-Caribbean hairdressers, as some female stylists can be a tad unwelcoming! For that reason, have you seen a growing trend of black women who prefer to have their hair done by a male stylist?
I have a number of new clients who have come to me over the past year who have said the very same thing. There are a number of reasons that are not solely about the environment, but I know it does play a part. With my clients, I aim to provide them with an individual experience where I achieve exactly what they ask for. I guess I am doing a good job because people are still coming.

What hair tips would you offer black women who have decided to go natural?
Moisturise! This would be my one and only important tip to anyone who has decided to go natural. You have to keep the hair well moisturised and natural hair tends to go dry. Regular treatments are necessary.


MODEL BEHAVIOUR: Styling Miss Jamaica UK model Cherelle Patterson

It’s often said that clients trust their hair stylist with their secrets. Have you been told any celebrity secrets/funny stories?
As a stylist in general, people trust you with a vast amount of information. I could not disclose this. I want to keep my clients!

Have you had a hair styling disaster that you can share?
You know, I thought about this and I don’t have any disasters. I take a lot of time and pride in my work and try my hardest to achieve a high standard of work. I’m not saying I am perfect and I guess there is still time – fingers crossed it doesn’t happen though!

What was the best thing about taking part in, and winning, BBC Three’s Hair?
Hair was an amazing experience. I challenged myself in ways that I was not doing in my day-to-day work. For years, I knew my talent was good, based on the feedback I would get from my clients. The show validated my abilities in the eyes of people who are well renowned in the industry. That platform has allowed me to fulfill things I was not able to do before.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?
I want Hair By Him UK to be a worldwide-recognised company. I want to open a Hair By Him UK salon in both the UK and USA to be able to provide my service both here and in the States.
One of my biggest dreams is to open a beauty training school where people can come and train to the Hair By Him UK standards and have the opportunity to work in one of our shops across the world. I believe if you dream big, you win big.

Marvin Francis will launch Hair By Him on May 21. For more information on the company, visit www.hairbyhimuk.com

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