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Interview with Charles Marcus

Ranked as one of the Top 60 Motivational Speakers and Educators In The World by hunger2succeed, Charles Marcus, originally from England, now a resident of Toronto, Canada, has many years of international experience and a track record of success in the salon and beauty industry as a stylist, educator, platform artist and salon manager and owner. He started his career working with the world-famous Vidal Sassoon Company, he moved on to work for the Bruce of Crescendo Hair Salons in Toronto, Canada before opening his own highly successful hair salons in Manchester, England. 

Later he took his experience in a different direction, moving into the sales and service side of the hair and beauty industry first as a sales consultant, national educator then as a national sales manager with major manufacturers including Nexus Products Company. Over the years, Charles has represented several international companies, as a salon consultant, where he won many awards for sales and service excellence. He was always in the top 1% of sales achievers for his companies. In one 18 month period he opened 246 new accounts and increased sales in his territory by 328%.

What is truly remarkable about Charles is where he came from. For 25 years, he lived with a severe stuttering disability, suffering much ridicule, rejection and prejudice. He sometimes went for long periods of not being able to speak at all, living in a world of silence and dreaming of one day speaking fluently in public.

Charles realised his dream after making an important decision: to take full responsibility for his life and to confront his challenges and fears head-on by taking action. His powerful story of refusing to give up in the face of adversity, overcoming obstacles and winning against the odds has special meaning in the hair industry as it was the place where Charles found his true voice and his story encourages hairdressers to reach for their dreams and to realise nothing is impossible. He has instant credibility with a salon audience, hairdressers and owners relate to his presentation and it resonates with them in a very special way.

In 2000, Charles shifted his focus again and started a professional speaking and training business, delivering customised, customer service, leadership, salon business building and motivational keynote presentations and seminar/workshop programs and masterclasses. The value of his message was soon recognised by organisations within and outside of the salon and beauty industry, and today as a sought-after business educator, success strategist and world-class motivator, he speaks to corporations, organisations and associations in a variety of industries worldwide. However his first love remains speaking in the salon and hair industry to hairdressers, salon owners/managers, stylists, students, educators and platform artists.

He has worked at major shows in North America and Australia where he is invited back time and time again including International Beauty Shows (IBS) in New York and Las Vegas, Premiere Shows in Orlando and Columbus, Ohio, Americas Beauty Show (ABS) in Chicago, Professional Beauty Association (PBA) in Long Beach, CA, Chicago and Las Vegas, AlBA (Canada) in all major cities, and companies such as P&G Wella Salon Professional, Sweden Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, Finland, Norway, Vidal Sassoon, Ratner Salons, Great Clips, Fantastic Sams, Goldwell and KMS, Millennium Software USA, Regis, Great Clips, AHC, Schwarzkopf Canada and Australia, Paul Mitchell, Chromastics, The Millennium Experience, De Lorenzo, Hair Expo, Top Salon Summit, and numerous hair salons globally etc. He was most recently honored to be selected international business judge for Hair Expo, Australia 2019 Awards.

  1. As a global traveller and educator, what are the three things across the world that you constantly see arising with hairdressers of all nations?

The first thing that stands out for me as an educator and speaker of what hairdressers are facing globally today, especially owners and managers, is truly understanding what it takes today to engage, recruit, retain and motivate their staff. How to be a great leader, understanding how to create that environment that is critical to their salons success. Secondly its realising how important the business and social media side of our industry is today and how it is constantly changing. We as an industry have to evolve and have the vision and courage to change and adapt and be able to relate and communicate effectively with all the different generational age groups, especially Generations Y and Z and what they expect from us regarding hours of operation, what we stand for as a salon etc. Thirdly is how passionate hairdressers are, there are no finer or more caring people. This is a noble industry.

2. Who is the one person who has inspired you the most in your hair industry career ?

For those of you who do not know my personal story, when I started as a young 17 year old hairdresser, I had a very severe speech impediment, yet the world famous Vidal Sassoon company were prepared to take a chance on a raw kid like me with a disability and judged me on my talent, smile and attitude rather than my disability. I will never forgot that. What does that say about our amazing compassionate industry? It’s the very best!

I was at VS for about six months and we heard the great man himself Vidal Sassoon was coming to visit all the staff. We were so excited. I was known as the quiet one at the salon. I went about my business washing the hair, making the coffee, sweeping the floor, in those days quietly and without fuss. When Mr Sassoon came in the salon to meet us all, he went around to every staff member asking us our names and how long we had worked for the company. When it came to my turn to answer, I was so nervous and overwhelmed I could not get a word out and started to stutter very badly. The salon was in silence, it freaked everyone out except one person. Who do you think that was? Vidal Sassoon. He never took his eyes off me, he knelt down, took my right hand and so no one else could hear he said, “It’s okay young man, I have got all the time in the world.”

That was a memorable moment and changed my life for sure. I have never forgotten his compassion on that day. So for me, many amazing people have impacted and inspired me in our industry, but no one quite like Vidal Sassoon. 

3. What is one message that you would like to tell the Australian hair industry?

The Australian hair industry ROCKS! And I say that from first hand experience over five visits. The calibre and standard is incredibly high and impressive and your passion to learn and develop yourself moving forward is a joy to behold.