Phorest FM Episode 193: Ashleigh Hodges On Navigating Wellness, Career Goals & Salon Life

For many of us, 2021 will be a year of rebirth — a year in which we find new ways to connect and take care of both ourselves and our communities after grief and loss left several of our wellbeing spheres in distress. The hard thing about wellness is that we must find what works for us and our journey. Whether that's making our routine more like self-care, getting better sleep, prioritising our happiness, eating cleaner, or learning how to wind down, we need to accept that we might not always get it right (at least not at first). In this episode, we dive into how Ashleigh's dealt with wellness throughout her life and career, discuss how it can look different for each of us, the implicit weight of the word "should," and question whether salons do enough to support staff wellbeing.


Ashleigh Hodges

Stylist and colourist Ashleigh Hodges is sought after the world over, from photoshoots in New York, creating chic styles for TV (currently resident hairdresser on The Voice UK and Little Mix The Search) to presenting to packed arenas globally or looking after clients in the salon.

Ashleigh brings creativity and inspiration to everything she does. The multiple award-winning, previous IT Girl winner is making new waves in the industry as co-director of the HAIRDOTCOM Art Team, nominated for British Hairdressing Awards Artistic Team of the Year. 2020 saw Ashleigh win Colourtastic Genius award at the Colour Genius Awards, as well as a nomination for Colour Expert at the Creative Head Awards. Sustainability & Wellbeing is extremely important to Ashleigh, creating #12monthsofsustainability and #WellbeingWednesdays in 2020. Ashleigh has partnered with Davines as their Global colour ambassador, a brand very aligned with her own values. The role sees her support Hair Art Director Tom Connell on collections, education, and show work. Ashleigh likes to spend her time investing back into the industry and was honoured to become The Fellowship for British Hairdressing’s Chancellor.


Killian Vigna: And we’re back. Thank you so much for joining us on the fifth season and year, really, of Phorest FM. And to all our new listeners out there, welcome! We’ve got some amazing guests lined up for the first quarter of 2021 already, and we can’t wait to share all of those conversations with you.

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: A couple of things before we get started, you’ll be pleased to hear that, first, we’re bringing back the weekly transcripts of our episodes. Those will be available on, and our first question of the year: how can we get you more involved? This is the question that’s been on our minds for the past couple of months, especially during January when we were planning the season. And there’s a reason why — actually, there’s a couple:

  1. We’d like to get some of your questions featured in our episodes.
  2. We want to discuss the episodes and topics further, and we’re trying to figure out a way to do that.
  3. As always, we want to see how we can better tailor the show to your needs.

At the minute, we’re toying with the idea of joining Clubhouse, the new audio, social media app.

Another idea we had, was to make it possible for you guys to engage with us by text messaging. Now, this would only be available for North American listeners for the moment, but it would soon be available worldwide. And so, those are the ideas we’re playing with at the minute. If any of these options is of interest to you, or if you have another idea, please do send us a DM on Instagram at @phorestsalonsoftware, to let us know your thoughts. We’re really eager to get this going this year. So please don’t hesitate; we’re only a click away.

The "aha" moment [02:03]

Ashleigh Hodges: As soon as the word “should” comes into your head, it’s because it’s coming from an external point; it’s not coming from inside you. So it’s not very authentic to you at all. So whatever it is that you end up doing, that’s had that word in it, you’re either not going to follow through on it, or when you do follow through on it, you’re not going to feel the reward that you hoped that you would. You need to be doing something because it feels right, not because you should do it.

Introducing Ashleigh Hodges [02:28]

Killian Vigna: On the show with us today, we have a stylist and colourist who brings creativity and inspiration to everything she does. Davines Global colour ambassador, director of the HAIRDOTCOM Art Team, and Chancellor of The Fellowship for British Hairdressing, Ashleigh Hodges, is sought after the world over, from photoshoots to New York, creating chic styles for TV, to presenting packed arenas globally, or looking after clients in the salon. So without further ado, welcome to the Phorest FM, Ashleigh; it’s good to have you here with us today.

Ashleigh Hodges: Thank you so much for having me! I’m really excited to be chatting to you.

Killian Vigna: It’s a pleasure. You’re kicking off the year in style for us here.

Ashleigh Hodges: Thank you — what a year to be kicking off!

Killian Vigna: Onwards and upwards!

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: Absolutely. Yeah. Well, actually, before we start talking about what we can do this year, I guess, to keep spirits up and keep a balanced life and all of that, what do you think needs to be acknowledged about 2020?

Ashleigh Hodges: To be acknowledged about 2020? I feel there’s so much to be acknowledged about 2020. It was the start of a new decade, and it was kind of… Almost like a rebirth of everything, from everything that’s been going on with the environment, the pandemic, the economy, for everyone around the world. And I think, weirdly, everyone felt like they come together.

Because normally, it’s one country that’s dealing with something, but actually, this has been dealt with on a global scale and even some of the other issues compared to the pandemic when we look at Black Lives Matter and things like that, again, it becomes a more global thing.

So actually, in a weird way, I feel like all of these crazy things have brought everyone together as a community. And I think that’s what we need to bring into this year, and rather than bringing in that… Of course, we’re bringing in the intense feelings and the emotions from last year, but if we can bring the community spirit into this year, I feel like we can start actually rebuilding in a really beautiful way.

Killian Vigna: It is really interesting, looking back on it, how it takes a pandemic where the key phrases that we hear is “social distance,” “stay away.” With all of that being told, it’s almost like we’ve become closer right down to the whole shopping local, relationships have strengthened, even though it might all be done from a safe distance on screen. So I think it’s a case of, once the restrictions all lift down, everyone’s just going to run out, and it’s just going to be mass hugs everywhere.

Ashleigh Hodges: Definitely.

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: Really excited for that moment.

Ashleigh Hodges: I know, me too! I can’t wait!

Ashleigh's relationship with wellness [05:08]

Killian Vigna: So, listen, today, we’re going to be talking about wellness and looking after yourself and what’s involved in that. For you, where did this start coming about? Like, when I think of myself, my first experience of that, it’s a story I’m ashamed to tell, nearly, because my first experience of mental health and wellness was in school. We were 16, and it was a class that we had to take.

Now, picture 30, 16-year-old males in a Christian brother school; it did not go down well at all. And it was basically like a joke class, a fun class. Looking back on it, in hindsight, you’re going, “It was actually so important, and I wish I took it more seriously,” and it’s not until the working world that I did start to… But you’re so passionate about this. How did you fall into this and start realising, actually, this is much bigger than just a topic that we hear about?

Ashleigh Hodges: To be honest, I probably skirted around my mental health for the majority of my life and skirted… Although I’d heard of different things, wellbeing related and… It had just become a buzzword for people to start meditating and things like that. I don’t think I started truly looking at it until I had my own problems. And at the end of 2017, I’d fully burnt myself out to the point of breakdown. And I had to… There was literally no way for me to keep pushing through. I’d spent so many years getting to the point where I would lose my voice, and I wasn’t well, because I’d been traveling too much or doing too much work and… And you can kind of push through physical things, I feel, you rest for a little bit, and then you’re fine. But I think when anything happens with your mental health, it takes a lot longer to bounce back from something like that.

So that’s when I started to truly take note. And then, in 2018, that’s when I went completely freelance because I had to just take a step back because I didn’t really know what I wanted anymore. I’d been running and running towards all these career goals, and I didn’t even know if they were the things that I even wanted in my life. So rather than just going, “Right, I’m just quitting.” I just decided, “I just need to pause and realign.” So I spent the whole of that year just trying to figure out… And saying yes and no to things with more intention. So rather than just saying yes to everything because that opportunity was going to potentially get passed on to somebody else, or because I had a fear of losing out on the money or anything like that, it was really about thinking about whether it was right for me.

And if the word “should” came up, if I felt like I should do it, then it was an instant no, because if you feel like you should do something, you actually probably shouldn’t. You need to be doing something because it feels right, not because you should do it.

Killian Vigna: That’s really interesting actually, because… And the reason I say that is, when the first lockdown came in, everyone just went straight to Twitter and was like, “Oh, you should make the most of this time, and you should try and learn a new skill or learn a language or learn an instrument.” So in my head, I’m like, “Actually, yeah, that’s a good idea. I’m going to learn how to play the keyboard. I’m going to learn how to do photography, and I’m going to learn X, Y, and Z.” And there was so much stuff that I felt like I should have put my spare time to, that it actually had a flip side and then you had this… I don’t even know how to describe it, but then you started feeling like…

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: Huge pressure.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, pressure and overwhelm because you’re like, “Well, people are telling me I should do this. I feel like I should.” So I’m absolutely taking that bit of advice already, straight off the bat, if I say should, it’s a no.

Ashleigh Hodges: Yeah, the thing is, as soon as the word should comes into your head, it’s because it’s coming from an external point. It’s not coming from inside you. So it’s not very authentic to you at all. So whatever it is that you end up doing, that’s had that word in it, you’re either not going to follow through on it, or when you do follow through on it, you’re not going to feel the reward that you hoped that you would.

Killian Vigna: It’s like you’re not doing it for yourself.

Ashleigh Hodges: Yeah, exactly.

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: So, during that year of transition, of putting your boundaries and deciding yes, no to different things, did you find something in particular was more difficult? Like, did you just start saying no to loads of things that, in hindsight, you went, “Hmm, maybe I could have said yes to this actually”? Or was it… Was it easy for you to manage that work-life balance?

Ashleigh Hodges: No, it was hard. It still is. Even after that, I’m not perfect at it. There’s still things that I do, and in reflection, I go, “I really, probably shouldn’t have done that.” Or, “That wasn’t as right as I felt like it was.” So nobody’s perfect with any of this. I got better. I got so much better, but I still have dips and dives where I’m like, “Oh, I’ve let myself down there.” But that year, in particular, I… Hairdressers, in general, we’re people-pleasers, and we’re bought into an industry… And the reason why we’re in the industry in the first place is because that aligns with us. And we want to make people happy, no matter whether it’s your clients, the brands that you’re working with, the people in general that you’re working within your community, the reason why you’re there is to make them happy.

And it’s really hard to flip that and try and make yourself happy in the same way, because quite often, saying no to someone, you know that’s not going to make them happy, but it’s going to be good for you. So it’s a really, really hard thing to get your head around. And there was one job, actually, in particular, that I took that year, that sounded really cool, and in reflection, it wasn’t right at all and, actually, I almost relapsed back to… It was just awful. And I took that job because I liked the person. So I was like, “Oh, I’ll do that. That’s fine.” And then I did it, and afterwards, I was like, “This is the worst job I think I’ve ever worked on.” But we need those lessons. We need to make those mistakes to realise what is right and what isn’t right.

Making space for check-in moments [11:28]

Killian Vigna: I get the feeling that when we talk about taking care of ourselves, it’s something that we take for granted, really. Like, we know we’re supposed to exercise, we’re supposed to eat clean, we’re supposed to get a good night’s sleep. Reality is…

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: We should?

Killian Vigna: We’re not able to do that… [laughs] Yeah, we should! But I feel like, when it comes to the realisation that you go, “Oh, I need to actually start taking care of myself.” It’s probably because it’s ad hoc and something in your life has happened. So do you have a process in place where you’re not reactive, you’re more proactive? So let’s say, do you evaluate your life every couple of days or every week or something? Do you force yourself to have a re-evaluation or check-in moments?

Ashleigh Hodges: Yeah. I think check-in moments are really important. I don’t necessarily… I think… I do many check-ins on a daily basis. And to allow… And not to, like you were saying, where you feel like, if you’re not feeling a hundred percent, quite often, we want to just flip that, and we want to feel better straight away. And we always have this… How do I want to explain it? There’s almost a negative-positive, so it’s detrimental for us to want to be positive all the time because that’s not healthy for us.

So quite often, when we are feeling low, we won’t allow ourselves to sit in that; we won’t allow ourselves to understand these feelings. We will instantly want to go out for an exercise, to kick up the endorphins, we’ll feel like, “Oh, we should be meditating because that’s going to make us feel better.” Or, “Actually, I should have a really healthy smoothie, and that’s going to boost me.” Or… There’s all these things, like we said, that you should be doing. And actually, sometimes we have to just…

During that check-in, we just have to absorb how we feel, rather than checking in and trying to fix it. So during those check-ins, you should absorb how you’re feeling and start working through it, rather than trying to instantly fix it. So I’ll do those. And then, just generally throughout the year, if I’ve got goals or if I’ve got something, I will check in with those goals to make sure that they’re still right for me. Because quite often…

Like what happened to me is, I’d started making all these goals for my life, and I was like 18. And I got to 27, and I’d hit a load of those goals, but then I was like, “Actually, 18-year-old me had a completely different mindset to how I am now. So why am I still trying to get the same thing?”

So it’s really important for us to check in with all of those elements of our life so that we make sure we’re still on the path that benefits us.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, absolutely.

Finding the tools that work for each of us [14:25]

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: You mentioned something there about sitting with the pain and sitting with the emotion and absorbing it. And it’s interesting you say that because it’s been twice now this week, that I’ve been listening to Instagram stories of people saying you have to essentially do that. And then there was one person who was kind of like a health coach, meditation — wellness coach, I guess. She said that essentially, when you think about negative thoughts or what you label, anyways, as negative thoughts, it’s much harder to disassociate from that and manage the pain, I guess, of those thoughts. And so, if you start to… I guess it’s a bit of a meditation technique, but if you try to embody those thoughts and just listen to your body, where is it causing tension, essentially.

So maybe those thoughts are linking to tension in your abdomen, for instance. Well, then you sit, and you breathe into your abdomen, and it’s easier to process the physical pain than it is to process the mental pain. So if you try to focus, you get a little bit of relief for even just maybe an hour or so, and you can come back to that exercise. And I thought it was really interesting. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of that or tried it yourself.

Ashleigh Hodges: Yeah, definitely. It’s interesting because I used to go to have acupuncture, and my acupuncturist used to say that within Chinese medicine, they highly believe that any form of physical pain also has emotional pain linked to it. So you can’t fully heal unless you heel both sides of the coin, so to speak. And that’s 100% it. And everyone has their own way of sitting with their emotions and breaking it down, so I think, for those… Because it is easier for us to work through physical pain than it is emotional pain, that’s a brilliant technique to use. And I think we all need to find the tools to keep in our back pocket that work for us. And sometimes something will work for you at one point and then potentially might stop working, so you flip it, and you do something else.

But I think when you sit with your emotions, whether you’re breathing through into the physical pain of it or whether you’re trying to break down your emotions yourself, we have a base of what our emotions are. So there’s an umbrella emotion, so to speak. So feeling sad is an overall emotion, but it’s when you break that down to figure out where’s that sadness coming from? Is it grief? Is it… I don’t know. Is it actually coming from a form of jealousy? You have to break that down because being sad isn’t just an overall emotion; there’ll be a reason for it. So once you start breaking that down, that’s when you can go, “Okay, that’s actually how I’m genuinely feeling.” And that’s when you can start going, “Oh, let’s go for a run now. Now I understand what is going on with me; I can now start shifting the emotion.”

So whether you want to shift it with a run or yoga, exercise or cooking something nice, or whatever it is that you do to make yourself feel happy, you have to break those emotions down before you can even shift them because otherwise, you’re shifting an umbrella emotion. You’re trying to shift something that’s way too big.

Killian Vigna: Does it take a lot of work and discipline? Because I’m sure your mind… Your mind is like a muscle, where you need to work it out to get it stronger and get it bigger. So what you’re saying there, where it’s almost like, “Oh, I’m sad.” Don’t run away from being sad. Don’t try and find distractions. Actually, delve into the problem. But I feel like if we were to pitch that idea to… We’ll say someone that’s now working at home, who’s dealing with kids who are homeschooling, and just about everything else around. That sounds like it’s a lot of work, I suppose to…

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: Overwhelming in itself.

Killian Vigna: Yeah, like overwhelming, you’re going, “Hang on now, I’m trying to work, trying to cook the dinner and do homeschooling. Where am I going to get five, 10 minutes to work this?” So how do you work this into your life?

Ashleigh Hodges: It’s just one of those things. Like, we work in brushing our teeth, don’t we? And there’s all these things that we work into our life so that we are presentable to the rest of society, and that’s exactly the same thing. We have to just slowly work little things into our life to make it so that you’re presentable for yourself so that you look after yourself and not just the exterior of everything.

So a little tip that I was taught at the very beginning was to put little stickers where you know that your eye is always going to look. So on your phone, on the mirror where you do brush your teeth, or perhaps where you put your makeup on or something like that. Just put these little stickers up, and every time you see a sticker, you stop, and you take three deep breaths. Because that’s not really going to take that much of your day out. Just every time you look at a sticker, you take three deep breaths, and that’s instantly going to ground you back into your own body and calm your thoughts so that you’re not feeling that overwhelm or that stress of everything.

And the same with meditation, I love… Like Oprah always says, “For people that can’t meditate, meditation is just being in the present.” So rather than, “Right, okay. I need to take a whole hour to meditate and do this crazy journey into myself…” You don’t need to do that. You could just, when you walk up the stairs, think, “Oh, wow, this is amazing. I’m walking up the stairs.” And absorb the feeling of it on your feet and absorb the fact that you’ve got these legs that can make you walk up the stairs. Just, in those small moments that we have throughout the day, we can be present, and that’s going to instantly ground you into the day and stop you from feeling that overwhelm.

Killian Vigna: Yeah. It is… We hear meditation a lot, and it does sound scary at first, where you’re thinking, “Oh yeah, that’s an hour of just sitting in silence.” It sounds intimidating, but I’ve started giving it a bash myself there recently. And it… Literally 3 to 10 minutes. That’s all it takes. I did a 10-minute session just before this recording because… I don’t know if I was anxious that it was the first recording of the year and I was excited, or I just had an incredibly strong coffee, but either way, I was really jittery and couldn’t focus. So I just lay in bed for 10 minutes after lunch, and I just felt so chill after. It was so nice. Now, I don’t have kids or homeschooling to deal with, so sorry, guys.

The various spheres of wellness [21:09]

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: Yeah, no, I think there’s a lot of it that comes back to breathing and how intentional you are with breathing as well. And I love the sticker trick there. I think I might try it myself. When we hear about wellness, automatically, we think about mental health and physical health. But there’s actually a lot of spheres that touch upon wellness. So, if you think of, say, career, social, creative, or financial wellness, all of these different things… For you, which ones are most important to keep a closer eye on, would you say?

Ashleigh Hodges: I think it changes all the time for each individual person and for how you are at that moment. So a couple of years ago, for me, I had to really look after my mental health. And then I spent so long getting the right tools and learning the right lessons to do that, and then I started having to look after other elements of my wellbeing.

Like money is one that I constantly have to learn to look after within my wellbeing, because I run two businesses and money is a stress if I allow it to be a stress because I am useless at keeping on top of things. So for my own personal wellbeing, I have to try and think, “Right. I need to look after future Ashleigh. If I just sort out my bills and if I sort everything out at the end of every month, by the time the tax man needs my money, it’s sorted.”

Do I do that every month? No, probably not. That’s the thing. I always kick myself because it gets to the end of the tax year, and I’m like, “Oh, I really should have done the last six months worth of accounts for my accountant,” and I haven’t, which means now I’ve got to spend a week doing it, which is detrimental to my wellbeing. But that’s something that I’m trying to work on. And then, during the pandemic, you’ve got to start looking after your mental health again. So you’ve got to start thinking of that… So at different elements of your life and different timings throughout the year, even throughout the week, different things come up for you that you need to look at. And you just need to give yourself a break, I think, and not try to fix everything straight away and just know that you’re on a journey and it’s fine. Nothing’s linear; we’re all just spiralling around life in the best way we can.

Finding the strength to get past the harder days [23:39]

Killian Vigna: A thing just to touch off what you were saying there, you may have heard of it. I only know about it because I’m in the education department. So it’s all about the four stages of competence or conscious competence, where you start off… It’s like learning a new skill, and you’re going, “Oh, this is new, but I’m kind of getting the hang of it. It’s easy.” And then you essentially start going through phases of, “Oh yeah, real cocky; I know what I’m doing.” But then you hit this drop where you’re going, “Oh my God.” It’s like you’ve kind of gone on to the next level of learning that skill and going, “Oh my God, I don’t know anything.” And you start feeling overwhelmed. Essentially, to put short what I’m saying is, you’re going through a journey where it starts off well, but there’s always going to be dips and inclines, but inevitably it gets higher as we go on. How do you get over those humps? How do you recognise when, “Alright, this is a bad week, but if I can get through this week, next week might be a good week?”

Ashleigh Hodges: I had a thing a while back, and it’s stuck with me that, on our good days, we build ourselves up so that on our bad days, we don’t fall down as far. So that’s what I think of. And I’ll be totally honest, I’m having a really bad time right now. My cat, who’s like my baby, has cancer.

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: Oh, I’m so sorry to hear.

Killian Vigna: Oh no, yeah.

Ashleigh Hodges: So it’s hard to shift through that, as well as the fact that we’re in another lockdown, and for us, we live in London, so we’ve actually been in a lockdown since middle of December. So you start to get that kind of… I always think of the TV show Big Brother, where you’re cabin fever crazy sort of thing. And then the walls feel like they’re closing in because you’re really emotional, and I’ve got no release for that because I can’t see anybody to perk myself up.

But I’m not trying to make myself better right now. What I do know is that I’ve spent so long during the good times to build myself up, so I won’t fall back down to that breakdown period. So when I’m feeling good, I’ll wake up and I’ll eat something healthy, I’ll do yoga or I might go for a run, or I’ll do my meditations, but I then don’t make myself do anything when I’m not feeling great. If I’m not feeling great, then I’ll just sit and read a book, and I’ll absorb, and I’ll just allow myself to feel however I’m meant to feel, with the knowledge that I’m going to feel better again, and I can build myself back up again.

It’s like… I’m sure you guys get it where you live, the weather in London, in particular, changes on an hourly basis sometimes.

Killian Vigna: I’m in Ireland…!

Ashleigh Hodges: [Laughs] And that’s exactly how our feelings are. So when it’s dark and cloudy and rainy, we know that it’s not going to be like that every single day for the rest of the year. We know that there’s going to be sunny days again. And that’s exactly it. You just have to know that you’ve looked after yourself enough for those sunny days to come sooner.

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: I think it’s Headspace, the app that just, I think, uses the analogy where you’re on the side of the highway, and you watch the cars go. You watch the clouds, and those are your emotions and your feelings, but they pass and go, and you don’t actually have to live through them constantly at a very intense level. You just kind of acknowledge them and let them go.

Ashleigh Hodges: Yeah, 100%.

Killian Vigna: So you’re essentially embracing those bad days. Like if you’re sad, be sad. If you’re angry, be angry. I suppose it’s better to just get it out of your system, embrace it, get it out of your system, rather than trying to compress it and it builds up?

Ashleigh Hodges: Yeah, 100%. Because if you try and repress it if you try and become fake positive, then it’s just going to come and get you in a stronger way. It’s like, if you have a cold and you try and push through it, you’re going to end up with that cold for longer. If you actually just go, “Right. I’m actually not feeling very well. I’m going to take some extra vitamins, I’m just going to sit and relax.” You’ll get over that cold quicker. And it’s exactly the same with our mental health. If we try and push through things and don’t just allow yourself to feel them, you’re going to end up coming back to it in a stronger way down the line, and sometimes when you’re least expecting it and sometimes in a physical manner, just like Zoé had said earlier, it’ll reflect back to you in some way. So if you actually just allow yourself to ride through the emotions, then hopefully, in the long run, it’s going to be healthier for you.

Encouraging others to show up for themselves [28:14]

Killian Vigna: So while you’re taking care of yourself and your own wellness, do you do anything to encourage or influence those around you? So whether it’s people you’re working with on a shoot, your colleagues in the workplace, do you do anything to promote wellness with people around you too?

Ashleigh Hodges: Yeah, definitely. So I teach a lot, I’m an ambassador for Davines, so I teach a lot for them. And every single class, I start, I start the day with us all doing some body tapping, to wake ourselves up and we stretch and…

Killian Vigna: What’s body tapping?

Ashleigh Hodges: So it looks really weird… And for those of you that are listening to this, I’m showing them how to do it right now.

Killian Vigna: Hands are going everywhere at the moment!

Ashleigh Hodges: Yeah. So you have to tap with your fingers, up and down your body, basically, to wake up all your muscles. And it’s a good thing to start and end your day with because it wakes your muscles up, but it also helps release at the end. So especially for like… I mean, if I’ve been in the salon and I’ve done some massive highlights and things like that, you lock your body in that position.

So it’s really hard to go from that to lying in bed at the end of the day. And quite often… I mean, a lot of the stylists out there listening will understand this, that when you lay in bed sometimes, your back will then seize up, and you’re like, “Oh my God, I’m in so much pain.” It’s because we’ve not allowed our muscles to release itself again. So we body tap that or stretch or wherever it is, to tell your body it’s time to relax. Otherwise, it’s going to want to continually be in that stressed state

So I start all my classes like that, and again, it’s about allowing yourself… So whenever we’re on a shoot or if my art team and us, we’re doing anything, make sure you give yourself breaks to have food, breaks to be able to just check in with each other and all of that sort of thing, rather than feeling like you have to push through everything all the time.

Do salons do enough to support staff wellbeing? [30:30]

Killian Vigna: Currently, do you think businesses do enough to encourage this state of mind?

Ashleigh Hodges: I think it’s really hard for businesses because you instantly… You can get put into a fear mindset so easily, and I do it to myself with both my businesses and I have to tell myself off for it because you get very… If you work from a fear-based manner, then you’re never going to manifest what you want. So if you’re feeling like, “Oh, I should just take that client on.” There’s that word again. “I should just take that client on because it means that I’m going to earn more money that week, which means I’m going to hit the commission I want, and I’m going to hit my targets.” But if that means that you lose your lunch break, then actually, the rest of the day, you’re never going to do as good a work as you would’ve done if you’d allowed yourself to have that rest, which means you actually might lose money. Because if you’d done that good work, you would have probably been able to talk to your client into upselling something.

But because you’ve ended up squeezing yourself so tight, you now don’t have the brain space to look after them the way that you should be or the way that you know that you can.

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: That’s so true.

Killian Vigna: It just becomes like a conveyor belt, nearly, where you’re just like, “Right, client in, out. Client in, out.” You’re not taking that time to actually bond, get to know them, and like you said, inevitably upsell, which is key.

Ashleigh Hodges: Yeah, exactly, 100%. And, I mean, we’ve all done it where we’ve squeezed people in, and then we’re like, “Right, well, that’s fine because we know that they just have that root touch, and then they have their plane bob. That means I can mix that colour up before they’re even in the chair, which means I can get them in and out quicker, which means that money was a nice, easy thing to do.”

Actually, if we hadn’t squeezed them in, when they come in, we could have spoken to them, done a full consultation, and realised that they wanted something more than a root colour, and we could have played around with adding a face frame or changing up their bob to a shorter haircut and restyling it, which meant that they’d need more products. And all of these things, if we allow ourselves to relax and give ourselves time to breathe, we’re going to work at a higher level. And it’s about working smart, not working under that fear-based feeling.

Killian Vigna: Absolutely.

Reflections, upcoming events & final words [32:50]

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: Well, Ashleigh, this has been absolutely fantastic. And for anyone listening today, Ashleigh’s coming back to the UK UpLift! event, so she’ll be with us again on February 8th, and you’ll be talking about setting wellness goals for 2021, aren’t you?

Ashleigh Hodges: Yes. I’m looking forward to it.

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: Perfect. And the last thing…

Killian Vigna: And that event isn’t something that you should attend; it’s something that you must attend!

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: Exactly.

Ashleigh Hodges: Yeah! You know in your gut, it’s the right thing to do.

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: Exactly. Yeah. And before we end today’s conversation, I have these thought starter cards. They’re all mixed. I’m going to flip the first one. I have no idea what’s on the top, and hopefully, we can get this conversation going with our listeners out there and push this further on social as well. So here we go. Are you ready? What do you want your legacy to be?

Ashleigh Hodges: That’s an interesting thing. Isn’t it?

Killian Vigna: I’m stumped as well.

Ashleigh Hodges: Do you want me to answer it, Zoé?

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: Yeah, absolutely! Go for it.

Ashleigh Hodges: I’m trying to think. What do I want my legacy to be? I just always think, for me, and I feel like people should, in general, just always leave the earth a better place than it was when you started. So no matter whether that’s a small thing or a big thing because some of us have big energy, some of us have small energy, as long as it’s left with something more special, I think that is what I would like my legacy to be.

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: That’s beautiful! I love that.

That is very nice, yeah.

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: Ashleigh, thank you so much for being on the show with us today and for people looking to get in touch with you or learn more about anything that you do; where can people find you online?

Ashleigh Hodges: So you can find me… The best place to find me is Instagram @Ashleigh_hodges_hair. So it’s underscore between each word. So yeah, find me on Instagram.

Killian Vigna: Ashleigh, it’s been fantastic having you on the show! Thank you so much.

Ashleigh Hodges: Thank you for having me; lovely to chat to you both!

Zoé Bélisle-Springer: So we mentioned UpLift! earlier, and I wanted to give a bit more context as to what that event is. UpLift! powered by Phorest is a virtual event, and the salon owners kickstart to 2021. We have exclusive reveals of product features that will get your team into peak performance for the year ahead. And we’ve also got loads of interactive sessions to let you in on what’s next in-salon tech. Tickets are no longer on sale, but if you had tickets for the original date on January 25th, please keep an eye out in your emails for information on the rescheduled date, Monday, February 8th. We appreciate you blocking off time out of your calendar to come hang out with us and truly hope you can make it on the eighth.

One last thing before we sign off! Don’t forget to head over to for two things. First, that’s where you can access the transcripts, as we mentioned at the very start of the show. Second, you want to subscribe to the show’s email newsletter to get all the updates, the guests’ downloadable content, any resources or webinars, events coming up, and that’ll be delivered straight to your inbox weekly. For now, it’s on Wednesdays. If you have any suggestions or would rather have it on another day, please let us know, we’re open to suggestions. But otherwise, it’s delivered straight to your inbox on Wednesdays. As always, if you want to share your thoughts on Phorest FM or this episode specifically, you can send us an email at or leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. We’d love to hear from you. Otherwise, stay safe, and we’ll catch you next Monday.

Killian Vigna: All the best!

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This episode was edited and mixed by Audio Z: Montreal’s cutting-edge post-production studio for creative minds looking to have their vision professionally produced and mixed. Great music makes great moments. Tune in every Monday as Phorest FM brings you an inspirational mix of interviews with salon business leaders, marketing tips and salon growth insights. For your industry, by your industry.

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