Career Path: Catherine Hawkes

Find out what the hair artistic director at Tips & Toes has to say about her journey


Catherine Hawkes shares her career journey

The hairstylist shares hwo she got started in the industry, as well as some tips on how manage a busniess


I grew up in Surrey in the UK and started working with my grandfather’s best friend’s salon at 12 years old. I was lucky enough to get a job at the age of 14 with an award-winning salon ‘John Jenkins’, which allowed me to join the training nights with the trainees who were already in college. At 16, I joined the London College of Fashion which gave me a huge opportunity to meet different people in the industry and allowed me to start working with magazines and back stage at fashion shows, styling hair.

Big Break

I would say my big break was when I opened my own salon in London aged 21, it was there that I gained so much experience and learned so much from my clients. I was based in an area full of music industry professionals, which gave me the opportunity to continue working backstage at fashion shows, on big shoots and I was even able to work on different TV shows which gave me great exposure in my career.


I would say a professional mentor of mine would be Peter Lunn, a business coach that I hired when I opened my own salon - he really helped me learn about running a business and he also inspired me to be a better stylist and salon owner.


My biggest career challenge would be learning to balance my professional and personal life – my work is my life, so it can be tough having to focus on other things, however being a mother, I always make time for family. Another challenge in my career would be when I was running my own salon, that was tough – being the head stylist always makes you a slave to your business and it’s a challenge learning to balance a day-to-day schedule at the same time. Moving to the UAE was a huge learning curve for me, I had to become very disciplined in order to run a business yet remain creative with my work at the same time.


Winning the Middle East ‘Colourist of the Year’ award for Professional Beauty was an amazing feeling, although it was the first year and a small award, it was a proud moment for me. I felt that the industry was changing in the UAE and it gave me an enormous sense of excitement to be part of the growth.

Best Advice

Always be true to yourself, believe in yourself and never give up on your passion no matter how hard things get. You have to power through the tough times and always believe in your dreams, they will come true!

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