Hair stylist Neil Moodie has been a leading figure in the fashion industry for nearly three decades.
He was notably a collaborator on some of the 90’s most iconic editorial visuals with renowned photographer Corinne Day at the beginning of his freelance career, which has continued ever since.
He began hairdressing in 1984 and debuted into the world of editorial styling in 1993, working with Corinne Day on an editorial for The Face magazine. This lead to a quick succession of bookings, the first being for Italian Vogue followed by his first ever advertising campaign for Miu Miu.
Neil climbed to the top of the global hairstyling arena to become one of the industry’s most applauded and well loved names, and is considered as one of the top British session stylists.
He is a regular Vogue contributor with over 50 global Vogue covers to his name. He was an international ambassador for hair brands, Aveda and Bumble & Bumble and a co-founder of the ‘Windle and Moodie’ salon & electrical hair tools ‘WAM’ in 2007 followed by the W&M product line in 2014.
In March 2019 Neil launched his own podcast series “In Bed With Neil Moodie” where he interviews friends and colleagues from the fashion and beauty industry who are trailblazing entrepreneurs, and think out side of the box.
In December 2019 Neil launched Series 2 of his podcast series where he not only interviews more friends from his industry but also people he’s met from his talks about mental health. Series 2 is subtitled “Turning a corner”.
In our interview with Neil, we explore his career as a hairstylist and Podcaster.
Thank you Neil for participating in this Q&A session. Before getting into your Podcast please tell us what originally attracted you to a career in Hairdressing?
Neil: I originally wanted to be a journalist when I was at school, but I was discouraged by my English teacher who thought I couldn't concentrate enough to do that. Because of this, I had no idea what I wanted to do. As it was the early 80's, we were in the throws of new romantic fashion and music. We were all colouring each others hair and doing outlandish make up on ourselves and each other. I constantly coloured friends hair even though I didn't know what I was doing. I suddenly came up with the idea of training to be a hairdresser. I went on to do a 3 year apprenticeship and then move to London from Birmingham. I worked in various London salons as a haircutter and then as a hair colourist, before going freelance to work on photographic shoots and fashion shows in 1994.
What would you say is the secret to your success as a renowned hairdresser and entrepreneur?
Neil: I think the secret is to never stop learning, nor feel like you know everything. I have an intuitive mind and I always want to know more, understand more and experience new things. I'm prepared to go back and train for certain things if it will improve my general repertoire and increase my skill set.
What key challenges have you faced in your career and how have you navigated these?
Neil: Three things I found challenging were;
a) Dealing with success. When my freelance career took off in 1994/5, I quickly moved to New York and suddenly found myself in very high demand. I developed a fear of saying 'no' to jobs in case I didn't work again, but it was to my own detriment in the end as I had a break down, where I suffered from severe anxiety attacks, became agoraphobic and suffered from depression. I had to take 4 months off work to recover, by having therapy, and trying out various alternative therapies, like yoga, acupuncture and meditation. My therapist taught me to be in control of my own mind, and learn how to say 'no' when I meant 'no'. I also had Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which was wonderful, and worked really well for me.
b) Leaving my company Windle and Moodie in 2018 which I co-owned. After 12 years of being in a business partnership I realised I wasn't happy, I didn't like the way the company was going, and my business partner and I were disagreeing on how the company should move forward. The situation was making me feel down and depressed so I made the decision to resign for my own piece of mind and to protect my mental well being. Again, saying 'no' was the key here.
c) Staying relevant. In fashion, it's important to stay relevant. It's easy to become complacent and rest on your laurels and success. I think the way to stay relevant is by constantly researching, looking for new ideas, thinking outside of the box and never stop learning.
Please give us an overview of your Podcast “In bed with Neil Moodie”?
Neil: Following on from doing written Q&As for my website I decided to launch my podcast after being encouraged by podcast host Jamie Day from Man Talk. Jamie interviewed me about my experiences with mental health as a man, and he said he thought I should host my own podcast. I decided to interview people within my industry who are entrepreneurial and think outside of the box. We talk about their childhood, growing up, and what made them who they are today. My Podcast also includes guests who are mental health advocates.
How would you describe the target audience and value proposition of your Podcast?
Neil: My target audience is quite varied and probably ranges between 18 -60 yrs old. I do attract a lot of fashion and beauty people , especially because of the guests I have on. Younger people like to hear the stories of people established in their chosen fields as they get inspired. I think I deliver the messages that I want to get across, especially because I choose guests that I generally know pretty well. They tend to divulge a little more than normal into what makes them tick and how they became entrepreneurs.
What steps did you take to ensure the launch of your Podcast was successful?
Neil: I had a beauty PR who helped me launch the initial series and this helped to promote it in the beginning. My guests have also been amazing at promoting their own episodes on their social media. On my personal social media I constantly remind people that episodes are available just in case they didn't realise.
What strategies have you employed to grow your Podcast audience?
Neil: Constant promotion/PR of podcast episodes and also having the right guests on. Guest with stories people want to listen to. I do my podcast in series rather than every week so that helps me to get the right guests and plan, making sure each series is as good as it can be.
Before we conclude this interview, Is there anything else you would like to add?
Neil: Creating a podcast is fairly easy, however I think you have to be very specific about what your podcast is about and then stick to the strategy. Choosing the category it sits in too is important to attract the right audience for your content.
Thank you Neil for participating in this Q&A session. It is much appreciated.
Neil: My pleasure.