A session styling conversation with Brendan

Many hairdressers aspire to become a Session Stylist and long to work backstage at Fashion Week, style Celebrities and be assigned to Fashion Shoots. It’s not for the faint-hearted and can be a tough world to get into.

Brendan’s session work has flourished as much as his salon - he now works on commercial and editorial projects worldwide across the fashion, beauty and music sectors. Brendan draws on his expertise and knowledge gained from decades of experience, skilled in all areas of hair design.

From his work with international publications like Cosmopolitan, Vogue Italia, Paris L’Official, Velvet, Elle, and Tattler to his styling at fashion weeks worldwide, to events like the Cannes Film Festival, he has done it all. Designers like Cynthia Rowley, Vivienne Westwood and Paul Smith have used Brendan to complete their runway looks.

Often asked for advice on Session Styling and what he loves most about it, Brendan was recently interviewed for an industry article. “What I like most is collaborating with the designer. Looking for current and future trends. It’s not just about following the trends; it’s about creating them and that’s really exciting.”

“While my heart will always be in session, opening my salon allowed me to have some stability. I still love working with my day-to-day clients, being part of a team and helping them progress in their careers really keeps me going.”

Read the full industry article and watch Brendan in action here.

How does he do it?

17 years is a long time, and Brendan O’Sullivan Hair and Beauty has sailed through it beautifully. Reflecting on the reasons for his continued success, Brendan says:

“Maintaining key values within the business has meant we’ve kept growing and improving. Whatever challenges you face over the years, it’s important to keep your thoughts firmly on the future.

Our vision has always been clear – to make every customer look and feel fantastic. We make sure all our plans and actions support this vision. Constantly measuring ourselves against our vision means it has become part of everything we do. Customer feedback is vital to us; we really do read every review, always thrilled by the five-star feedback clients leave for us. Recently we were voted ‘Best Hairdressing Salon’ in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire in the Muddy Stilettos Awards; it meant the world to us all.

No matter how experienced, I think there’s always room for growth; you should never stop learning. We have regular development meetings with all our team members, with both individual and BOS team training plans. I believe you can get better at things you’re already good at. For instance, we are known for being a great colour salon; to make us even better, we recently had a full day of training with industry colour coach Carolyn Newman – team members at every level gained something new.

It’s no secret that I love fashion and session work. Involving the team in fashion and backstage work encourages their thirst for continued learning and discovering trends. This offers more options to our customers, so everyone’s a winner. We regularly send team members on the UNITE Runway Ready course to help prepare them for backstage work at London Fashion Week.

I learned long ago that if you struggle to find time for something, or you know it’s not your strength, get someone else to do it! My Business Partner Wendy is amazing; we work together on future strategies; she takes care of day-to-day business and has a huge depth of experience. It means I can take time out for session projects without worrying. We have a wonderful Salon Manager and Receptionist who also helps the salon run smoothly. I outsource marketing and social media; being on top of all these management functions means we can support the business well. I’m immensely proud of our team.”

The future? I’m so excited about what’s to come! It’s great to achieve our 17-year milestone in 2022, and I look forward to implementing plans to make 2023 and beyond even better.”

Read more in a recent industry interview with Brendan.

BOS supporting Chiltern Foodbank

Brendan and his Business Partner Wendy have always been keen to support the community, getting involved in many local charity events over the years. The arrival of Covid stopped events, so Brendan and Wendy considered how they could continue contributing to the local community.

“We love living and working in Amersham, so giving something back to the community feels important to us,” says Brendan. “Since 2021, we’ve been raising money for Chiltern Foodbank. We’ve had wonderful customer support, and our team is more than happy to help. Through various salon activities last year, we managed to raise nearly £700; we all felt proud to present a cheque to Chiltern Foodbank Partnerships Co-ordinator Kate Turnock. We hope our fundraising reaches £1,000 throughout 2022 and are excited to launch our summer fundraiser for Chiltern Foodbank.”

Chiltern Foodbank is a local charity supporting families in crisis. Everyone should be able to afford their own food, but as families face the biggest income squeeze in a generation, people have to make impossible decisions between heating and eating and being forced to turn to food banks to feed themselves. The latest report reveals the extreme poverty people face at food banks, with just £248 a month on average to survive on after housing costs. The crisis is no longer about the cost of living but rather the cost of surviving - a rising emergency. Compared to 5 years ago, the need for food banks has increased by 128%.

Speaking about the support from Brendan O'Sullivan Hair and Beauty, Kate Turnock says, "This partnership and support helps ensure no one goes hungry this summer. Your money goes directly to local people and the money raised by you now and last year provides three days of nutritionally balanced emergency food and support to people who are referred to us in crisis."

The salon has launched a Summer Draw to raise funds for Chiltern Foodbank. Anyone can enter, and a whopping £750 worth of prizes are up for grabs. All money raised goes directly to the charity.

To enter, visit the Brendan O’Sullivan Just Giving Page for Chiltern Foodbank


First Prize

A UNITE Haircare & Styling backpack worth over £300 containing UNITE Hair U Luxury Shampoo & Conditioner, 7Seconds Detangler, Texturizer Finishing Foam, Boosta Spray, Elite Pro Slim Styling Iron, Manta Healthy Hairbrush, Mi Salon Series Vent Brush & Paddle Brush

Second Prize

A hamper of L’Oreal Haircare products worth over £250

Third Prize

A Brendan O’Sullivan Hair/Beauty makeover to the value of £200. You’ll be indulged in a pamper session with our experts, and whether you choose hair, beauty, or a mix of services, our Stylists and Beauty therapists will make sure you look and feel fantastic.