Meet Leo Izquierdo
Leo Izquierdo is the Co-Founder of IGK Hair. He is also a hairdresser to the stars with a lengthy list of A-list clients including Britney Spears, David Guetta, Cedric Gervais, J Balvin, Nikita Dragun, Gizele Oliviera, Hailey Bieber, Bella Hadid, Nicola Peltz, Vera Wang, Anastasia Karanikolaou and more. Today we had the opportunity to interview him on his routine, success and challenges…
Please describe/outline a typical week day for yourself…
A typical week day starts with a coffee from my Nespresso machine with a little almond milk,
once I’ve had that I’m ready to start the day. I like to go for a run if the weather is nice in the
morning, it helps me stay in shape and also clears my head so I’m ready for the day. I
normally head to the salon for my first client of the day at 10am and then I’m there until
about 6pm. In between clients I’m constantly replying to emails on my phone, and quite
often have conference calls for IGK Hair, I’m always having meetings with my staff either as
a group or one-on-ones to check in with them, and then of course keeping my Instagram up
to date by posting on my story throughout the day.
Sometimes I’ll have a partnership collaboration on Instagram Live where I’ll talk through
products or hair styling techniques.
Once I leave the salon I like to go home and chill with my family, catch up on some Netflix
and try to relax, or head out for a dinner with my wife or some friends. I’m trying to stay off
my phone as much as possible whilst I’m home now – I think its important to stay present
around people and learn to switch off in the evenings – but easier said than done when
you’ve got a business to run!
What has been the most satisfying moment in your career so far?
I think the day we launched IGK Hair. We had worked so hard in the lead up to the launch
that once it became a reality it was almost a surreal feeling. The time and effort that we put
into the brand really paid off and that moment will stay with me forever. Its still a surreal
feeling as we are constantly growing and achieving more goals that we set for ourselves.
What motivates you? Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Seeing the brand and salon succeeding pushes me to do more. Seeing my staff growing in
the industry, my partners success and my own really gives me the motivation. As well as
knowing my family is proud of me and behind me, it makes me feel unstoppable. I am
inspired by hard work, I love hearing people’s stories of how they began to where they are
today. I think its important to appreciate people in this industry who paved the way.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be successful in your field?
I think being creative is a vital skill for a hairstylist – to have the vision to create looks and
styles for clients and now being creative with your social media content is so key now to
You have to have good time management, because its important to not spend too much
time on one client, to get as many clients into your day as possible. And then customer
service skills like a knack for listening and also having the gift of the gab, this ensures
returning clients, because it’s important that they feel like they can trust you and almost
confide in you. The number of clients secrets I know is amazing – they use their time in the
chair like a therapy session.
If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t do anything differently because I believe in no regrets and learning from
mistakes. However, when you’re young I think there’s a lot of pressure to make decisions
and move quickly. I would encourage myself to take my time and listen to people’s advice.
Ask friends, parents, mentors for advice, listen, and don’t rush into things.
What do you find most challenging about being in the hair industry?
My first big challenge was moving to the US. I came with nothing and had left everything
behind in France. I had no money and didn’t know anyone. I was really starting from scratch,
but it was exciting. I worked hard and listened to people’s advice. I was consistent and
passionate and kept my goals in mind.
My other biggest challenge came right after we started IGK. We were doing our first brand
shoot and it was extremely stressful. When you create a brand, you have a vision and you
want to make sure you communicate it to people. You only get one shot to make that
impression so it was so important that we get it right. We spent hours preparing and were
thorough in making sure everything was perfect. It was a lot of work but it was worth it to
see the brand come to life.
IGK has had tremendous success. Not only are they a multi-chain salon but also one of the
largest hair brands in America sold across all Sephora’s nationwide. What advice would you
give to someone just starting a business?
It can be scary and difficult but don’t quit. Remember why you started. Stay passionate,
work hard and believe yourself. Don’t be scared to do your own thing, even if no one has
done anything like it before.
You can follow Leo on Instagram @leohairofficial