Ikonomakis hairdressing salons provide extremely professional and high standards of work and services. In their well-equipped and friendly salons, highly-trained staff use the latest techniques and tools to design and create unique images. The name ikonomakis, is universally recognized for its ongoing effort to upgrade the hairdressing art. Here in an exclusive interview, Theodore Ikonomakis, talks about growing up in a family of hairdressers and how his family’s passion for hairdressing continues to this very day.
Theo, tell me about the name Ikonomakis and the family members who are behind one of the most successful hairdressing businesses in Greece? I’d like to know too, what role your parent’s, Nick and Deppy played in the salons success.
The brand Ikonomakis salons has always been a synonym of luxury and high quality work as well as extreme artistic expression in the Greek hairdressing industry for the last 30 years. My mother, Deppy, along with my father, Nick, are the founders of our business.
My mother’s high quality work in geometrical cuts and very impressive blow-dries and updos managed not only to establish the brand Ikonomakis as one of the most successful ones in the Greek hairdressing industry, but also helped her win first prizes in nationwide, European as well as worldwide hairdressing contests.
On the other hand, my father Nick was a specialist in the technical field of our work. He has trained hundreds of colleagues in all the aspects of the technical part of our business, like perms, highlights, coloring hair, as well as the anatomy of skin and hair. Later on, he devoted himself to the development of the Greek hairdressing industry. He was the general secretary in the Greek Federation Of Hairdressers for many years and to this present day, he is the President of the Federation Of Hairdressers in Athens ‘’Hermes’’.
How does it feel working with Costa, Voula and Elena, all family members? Do you all have your own very distinctive styles? Do you work well as a team?
Myself, and my sister Voula have been working in the family business from a very young age. Our parents believed that each one of us had to be educated and become an expert in every aspect of the business so that we could be able to manage our own teams in the future. Since we understood in which field we were both keen on we started becoming specialists. Voula is a specialist in blow-dries and updos, but her strongest skill is bridal hair. She has won first prize among 1600 contestants in the L’Oreal Professional Colour Trophy.
Costa, my brother in law is an expert in the Technical field and he is responsible for the training of
staff at the Porto Rafti salon.
Elena, my wife is responsible for the styling and make up at the Halandri Salon.
Myself, along with cutting hair and studying the personalities of our clientele, deal with the development of our brand, the communications management and with the internal education seminars that we conduct for our associates. I also run courses in hairdressers, salon product brands, organize shows and photo shoots around Greece and Cyprus.
There are now three salons, in Pireas, Porto Rafti and Halandri. To what do you attribute their success?
I think the fact that we provide very high service standards and we are experts in what we do. That is the key for the success of all 3 salons.
What is Face Metrics Pro?
Face Metrics Pro is my baby!!! Face Metrics Pro is our answer to the question, ‘’what is in fashion this season?’’. Having spent many years traveling and working abroad as a hairdresser, I came to the conclusion that following fashion in a blind way and having your own unique style are two very different things. I realised that both exist as needs of the 21th century man/woman who is interested in his/her looks. The thing that really surprised me though was that while everyone was very busy doing fashion, nobody was working on the personalization of the individual!!!
Soon after, I started studying Facial Analysis in France and Greece and at the same time, I was having meetings with people who were specialized in makeup, clothes styling as well as orthopaedists, plastic and oral surgeons. I managed to create a unique software in which by measuring the distance of the facial characteristics, calculates and analyses the percentage of balance and harmony on somebody’s face. This software gives the opportunity to hairdressers, makeup artists as well as opticians to point out through a very analytical consultation the strong and weak characteristics of their clientele and therefore help them achieve their own unique style.
At the moment, we are working closely with Apple in order to present the complete version of Face Metrics Pro which will be ready in 2012. A demo version of Face Metrics Pro can be downloaded from the iTunes Store.
Theo, what or who inspires you personally? Is there a certain time period or style icon you look to for inspiration?
My inspiration comes from everyday life. Every woman has her own personality and ‘’part’’, so what we try to do is give her the opportunity to become more flexible and experiment with her looks. Inspiration for me doesn’t come only from fashion designers and brands. It doesn’t have to be so complicated. It comes from sounds, colours, imagination and yes, sometimes from occasional trends. Like Steve Jobs has said in the past (and it’s mentioned in his official biography by Walter Isaacson) ‘’simplicity is the ultimate sophistication’’.You have got to have an open mind and notice the simple everyday things in order to create something unique.
What is your favourite kind of hair to work with?
Unfortunately, the Greek woman hasn’t realised that she possesses one of the best types of hair. The texture, the movement and the thick density of the hair that the Mediterranean women have, is a gift for every hairdresser because the shapes and styles we can create are so many.
How does it make you feel to create looks for high profile red carpet or fashion events?
Whether it is a fashion show or another busy day in our salons, the need to create something unique for the individual is our ultimate goal. We always feel very excited when we transform somebody’s image into something better.
Do you think self-expression is important when it comes to hair?
Myself, and my associates are always trying to promote the idea of personalized work, the type of work that has identity. In Ikonomakis salons we always believed that creativity has no limits. You always have to push the boundaries in order to become better. Every Artistic Director that works in our salons after a personalized consultation with the client is free to create what suits the individual combined with very creative work at the same time.
What tips can you give us for choosing the correct hair colour and cut?
There are so many factors in order to achieve the correct hair colour or the correct cut that it is really impossible to answer in just a few words. Trust the experts in our salons and through personalized consultations and tips you will discover what’s suitable for you.
How do you think that hair relates to a person’s confidence?
I think that this is something that our mirror can ‘’answer’’, especially before a work appointment, a date or before we go out for a drink. If what we see in the mirror is not what we would like to see, our mood or confidence wouldn’t be as good as it could be if we were pleased with our reflection.
You recently had all your employees from each salon work together to show your hairstyle collection for 2012. Can you tell me what all that was about? Was it a successful event? Will you have more events like this in the future?
Every year, just before October we start planning ikonomakis salons hair collection for the following year which we present in a book, on the internet and through hairdressing portals nationwide and around the globe. When it comes to creative projects, we always operate as a team.
All the Artistic Directors of the company gather and discuss their ideas in order to create the trends for the next year. It is a very lengthy but very exciting procedure during which our collections areOur new collection for the year 2012 is called ‘’Urban Species’’. We had the joy to work with some of the most talented people in the Greek fashion industry like the photographer Andreas Sellinidis, clothes designers like Konstantinos Melis By Laskos, Evelina Litina, Vasia Kont and makeup artists like Eleni Papachristou (2nd prize in 2011 worldwide make up contest), Gianna Papachristou and Konstantinos Rouvas.
The photo shoot took place in Dream City, one of the most famous clubs in Athens. After 22 hours of shooting, 30 models and a team of 40 people working constantly, I have to say yes, it was a very successful event. The book for Urban Species Collection 2012 will be launched by the end of December and of course online. Stay tuned!!!
Do you have any exciting plans for the new year, 2012?
We are very excited because during the first month of 2012 in association with Apple, we will be launching the new version of Face Metrics Pro for the new iPhone and iPad 2 in five languages (Greek, English, French, German, Spanish). Giving that tool to hairdressers, makeup artists and beauticians, every expert will be able to create a unique look for their clientele based on their facial characteristics.
Where do you see yourself and the salons in ten year’s time?
For the last three decades that the brand Ikonomakis salons have existed in the Greek hairdressing industry, our goal was never to create many salons. We have turned down offers from several franchisees over the years and the reason is that we don’t want to create a chain of so called ‘’super market’’ salons. After feedback we constantly get from people who are being trained by us in our educational centre (which operates inside the Halandri Salon), we decided that our goal for the next decade will be to create an Academy. A place where we will be able to share all our knowledge, creativity, ideas and passion with hairdressers.
What advice would you give to young people who are training to be hairdressers in Greece today?
As far as I’m concerned, in order to become a hairdresser you have to be conscious because it’s an art. You need to have passion and flair because it’s not an easy job despite what many people believe. Some people follow hairdressing because they love it, they want to be good at it and want to inspire people with their work, while others do hair strictly as a job, whatever that means. So my advice to future hairdressers would be work hard, educate yourselves, love what you do, keep an open mind and the rest will follow.
For more information on Ikonomakis hairdressing salons: www.ikonomakis.gr, Styling Tips Experts @ikonomakis on Twitter and you can see their backstage photos of their ‘Urban Species Collection 2012’ at http://youtu.be/6QbmEfhCfuk
“I think that the most important thing a woman can have- next to talent, of
course- is her hairdresser.” ― Joan Crawford
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