Jo McKay is Aveda’s European Technical Hair Specialist. I had the privilege of sitting down to chat with her recently at the Melanie Giles Apprentice Talent Competition. Here is what she had to say…
What does Aveda mean to you personally?
If I’m honest, everything. I have been working with Aveda for 12 years so it kind of means everything. The environmental side has always been massive for me, and the products are so clean in terms of that. It is like this wonderful, holistic thing where it is all included – it is much more than just the final product.
And I really absolutely love the products. I mean really the aromas and the smells are so wonderful. It is impossible not to fall in love with them. And, of course, the people. I love the people who I work with. They so inspire me to take risks.
Already this evening you have spoken about the importance of being able to keep going in the difficult moments. In the most difficult moments of your career what is the thing that kept/keeps you going?
For me it has been love for what I do. I really couldn’t walk away from it even if I wanted to. I think that having a love for the craft has kept me going – the opportunity to continuously create is a joy.
You have spoken about research as being vital to creativity. Is there anything else that you would say is absolutely fundamental to maintaining creativity?
I have always had a real love for photography. It is something that really inspires me. I am a bit of a geek in that I archive images – like a lot of images. I am constantly looking for inspiration that way. It is just the visual aspect that is so important for me. When you are looking at something – it kind of helps to tell a story.
And Aveda, I guess, is all about telling stories. The message of what we are about is communicated through stories. It helps all those involved to understand the information that we put out there.
Why did you come to Melanie Giles in Bradford-on-Avon this evening?
I had heard that Abi (manager at Melanie Giles Bath) had been following my career in hairdressing, and for me that was enough to convince me to come tonight. I had been actually looking for an opportunity to come to meet with Abi and when I heard about the Talent Competition I just felt I had to be involved. It has been such a joy to support the apprentices tonight. I hope I have been able to inspire them in some way. It is incredible for me to be able to inspire young people to do things with their lives. And inspire them to take a risk on being creative.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
Wow, that sounds amazing – why so?
I don’t know. I just think it’s amazing. It likes going to the moon. It is this wonderfully pure, beautiful and picturesque place. And the people are so kind.
What is the best cup of coffee in London?
I don’t actually drink coffee.
OK, that’s a bit awkward…
No it’s OK! I’m more of a tea person. I carry my own tea with me. And wherever I go I actually buy tea there. I sort of collect it and then take it on my travels. There are some wonderful little teahouses across London but for me it’s all about finding places I can buy my own.