What does it take to become a Global Marketing Director of a major hair brand? Journeys to the top don’t come more motivating than that of Susie Mutch, having started as a receptionist for Sassoon Salons & Academies 30 years ago and rising through the ranks to the position she’s in today.
From talking strategy to new launches, working with today’s most exciting talent to the legendary Vidal himself, her career has thrown all manner of challenges, projects and tasks her way, with a looming deadline never spotted too far from the horizon. So what are her top job tips for staying ahead of the curve? We caught up with Susie to ask her how best to break into the business, her recommendations for career success and her secrets for getting the most out of her working day.
GTG: Could you describe for us what your job entails? What does a typical day look like for you?
SM: As Global Marketing Director for Sassoon Salons & Academies, I oversee all aspects of the business involving our in-house PR and marketing team, as well as supporting a whole host of consumer and professional activities of this iconic hair brand.
Sassoon is a far bigger company than many people realise; we have 30 salons and 5 academies across Europe, North America and China. Lots of stuff going on and no two days are ever the same at Sassoon! To brace myself for what’s invariably a full-on day, I start bright and early at 6.30am by walking Dougal – my gorgeous Cavapoo dog – in Parsons Green (where I live), followed by whisking up a super juice in my ‘can’t live without’ Nutribullet when we get home. A typical day is usually a hectic mix of in-house strategic meetings, conference calls, signing off artwork for the international press, evaluating promotions, attending a photo shoot or appraising team ideas. I’ve just spent the last year working with my PR manager, Sandeep Jandu, on an innovative new menu of hair looks, which will launch globally in the salons in 2015 – something I’m very excited about.
The hairdressing world is also choc-full of award events, dinners, shows and seminars, many of which I attend, which is fabulous as that’s where I get the chance to indulge my love of fashion.
GTG: Your journey to your position sounds incredible. Could you talk us through it and the highlights of your career so far?
SM: This year sees me celebrate my 30th anniversary with Sassoon, so obviously the company is now part of my DNA. I started all those years ago as the HQ receptionist in Brook Street, Mayfair a passion for the business and a deepening understanding of how it operates, saw my career develop and I zig-zagged my way through numerous positions.
Highlights; gosh, it’s hard to know where to begin. I guess an early one is being flown to the South of France to have all my hair cropped for a trade show in Beziers in front of thousands of hairdressers, being part of the ‘Sassoon 30 Years Ahead’ exhibition at Hamiltons Gallery, being lucky enough to travel the world with Sassoon to visit our global locations and appreciating the launch of our brand in China – that was quite something, a cultural breakthrough.
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GTG: What’s the most challenging project you have worked on?
SM: As well as producing four seasonal collections a year, during the past decade I’ve been working alongside International Creative Director, Mark Hayes, on definitive guides: Cutting Hair the Sassoon Way, Colouring Hair the Sassoon Way and Cutting Hair the Sassoon Way, Men. These are published as manuals and in DVD format for our academies. Agreeing the content, the planning, organisation and execution behind these ‘how to’ projects for the global hair industry was scheduled with overwhelming military precision; each project took 18 months to develop, create and produce. The reward though is knowing how pivotal they are to the education of hairdressers across the world.
GTG: What motivates you?
SM: Three decades at Sassoon means I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with – and still work with – some of the most incredibly talented hair professionals in the industry – Vidal included. And like Vidal, I love witnessing new emerging talent, watching individuals grow, see them working on their first fashion or trade show; it’s immensely exciting and hugely motivating. But working with my team is the best. I have an awesome team of people around me who I trust implicitly. They keep me motivated with their ideas, energy and passion. Working with likeminded people keeps your spirit young – I still think I am in my 20s. I love a challenge or a deadline; it keeps you on your toes.
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GTG: How do you organise yourself?
SM: A list, a list and oh – another list. My life is made up of lists. I’m incredibly organised to the point of obsession – good or bad whichever way you choose to look at it. For me, it’s all in the detail; Vidal always said: ‘the difference is in the detail.’ Whenever an idea pops into my head, I write it down immediately. Sometimes just as I’m about to go to sleep, I’ll think of something and email myself to add the thought to the list of things to do the next day. Luckily I’m one of those people who accomplish much more spinning 20 plates rather than two. I’ve heard it said if you want a job done – give it to a busy person!
GTG: What advice would you give to anyone wanting to do what you do and to get into marketing?
SM: You really have to live, eat and breathe what you do. And crucially have an unconditional passion and love for what you do. Be prepared at the beginning of your career to do anything and everything – and with good grace. I remember wondering when I would ever get beyond making the coffee and taking notes at endless meetings, but a strong work ethic and tenacity paid off. Be prepared to go the extra mile, show just how willing and capable you are. Hard work, drive and determination will get you everywhere.