“Be kind to your hair.” With Brian O’Connor

Be kind to your hair. Take care of it and invest in your hair with good nourishing products as part of your healthy hair care routine. Your hair is your #1 accessory that you wear every single day! I had the pleasure of interviewing Brian O’ Connor, a staple in the styling scene in the […]

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Be kind to your hair. Take care of it and invest in your hair with good nourishing products as part of your healthy hair care routine. Your hair is your #1 accessory that you wear every single day!

I had the pleasure of interviewing Brian O’ Connor, a staple in the styling scene in the South’s entertainment capital, Nashville. He is the Artistic Director/Co-Founder of Good Dye Young and Hayley Williams of Paramore’s personal hairstylist. His expertise in color and style has helped shape GDY’s products. Focused on quality ingredients and product performance, Brian sets a high standard for all of the brand’s offerings.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

That’s a tough one! There are so many great stories. One of my favorites was when Hayley Williams and I were at the European Music Awards. Hayley had just finished doing a set that I styled her look for, and we were regrouping back stage. When Rhianna herself came into our dressing room and said to Hayley “Your hair looks amazing wow, who did that?” to which Hayley pointed and me and she complimented my work! It was amazing to say the least, it made me feel like I must be doing something right.

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?

For me, about 4 years into my career I finally started to work smarter instead of harder. I started off my career as a “yes” man, saying yes to every single opportunity whether I wanted to or not. Being a creative, it’s so easy to deplete your energy into too many things that aren’t worth your investment. Once I started saying no to things that no longer served me, and yes to the right things my whole career changed. I made decisions based on where I wanted my career to go, rather than use all my creative energy to grind away 24.7. Always keep your future at the top of your mind.

In your experience what were the most effective ways for your business to generate leads and sales? Can you share a story or give an example?

Of course a good referral goes a long way when it comes to hair and beauty. That stays true for both myself and Good Dye Young. For GDY, our digital presence is the most important thing to us. While we can’t always control how our retailers present us to customers, we can make sure we’re showcasing our best selves on our platforms. We did a rebrand in March of this year — and it elevated the whole brand. But, we won’t stop there. We constantly change with the times, and our small but hard working team all comes together to change it up a moment’s notice.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

That of course is my best friend, Hayley. We’ve known each other for 15 years, we work so well together both creatively and in our business. We created iconic looks in color that became her brand and helped mold the fashion color industry. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her, Good Dye Young is a product of our relationship and creative dreams together.

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

Gosh, I would say more scary than humorous! Bleach can be a tricky beast — and I’ve had some reactions with bleach in my early days that taught me to preach there’s never a stupid question. From previously chemically treated hair, to treatments and everything in between, it’s important to know the background of your client before you get started.

You have been blessed with great success in a career path that many have attempted, but eventually gave up on. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path but know that their dreams might be dashed?

For me, I always knew what I wanted to do — hair and makeup. I tried other professions when I was young, and knew right away it wasn’t for me. Truly follow your dreams — listen to your gut and don’t be afraid to take leaps. People will try and suppress your dreams and dim your light, and make you fearful of your dreams. Don’t listen to them and stick to your guns. This is your story, and you get to be the author of your life. Dreams do come true!

Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you please share “Five Things Anyone Can Do To Have Fabulous Hair”. Please share a story or an example, for each.

  1. Make sure you have a regular washing routine. It’s trendy to not wash your hair often, but it can have repercussions. Washing only weekly or less can cause product buildup, breakage and even hair loss. I recommend at least 2x a week.
  2. Sleep in a low loose braid to prevent breakage while you sleep. It eliminates breakage, tangles and movement in the hair while you sleep. Better bed head means better hair days!
  3. Avoid wearing a tight high ponytail as your daily go-to. It can seem easy to throw your hair up — but doing this all the time can cause breakage and cause tension to the hair follicles.
  4. Be kind to your hair. Take care of it and invest in your hair with good nourishing products as part of your healthy hair care routine. Your hair is your #1 accessory that you wear every single day!
  5. Don’t forget about your scalp! GDY’s PreWash is a detox and stimulates growth starting at the root. Use this once a week to remove product buildup and give your scalp a facial!

Can you share 3 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Invest in a routine for your hair. If you have healthy, shiny hair — will always make you feel better.
  2. Invest in a good skin care routine. Great skin and makeup looks start with a healthy glow!
  3. Be confident in yourself! But on something that makes you feel beautiful. Maybe it’s an old pair of jeans, or a pair of earrings. Be you, and be proud!

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Doing an act of kindness a day that you don’t get anything in return. We need this world to be a better place, and we can all take part in that. Even in the darkest of times, doing a small act of kindness can make all the difference.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Work smarter, not harder” I heard this once in a hair class I was taking when I was young, and it always carried with me throughout life. It’s about what you want to achieve, where you want to be and what decisions you need to make to get there without making it too hard on yourself!

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you’d like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. 🙂

Viola Davis. I think she’s a phenomenal actress and person. As a person of color, she didn’t have the same opportunities as other women in her industry, yet still prevailed. I really look up to her both personally and professionally.

How can our readers follow you online?

You can follow me on my Instagram @colormebrian!

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