Maxine Vaccine pays tribute to the genius of Vidal Sassoon and gives five reasons why the legendary hairdresser is a role model for medical sales professionals.
In my late teens I worked in a Midlands hairdressing salon. Difficult customers, bitchy colleagues, hours of random chatter – it was ideal training for a career in pharmaceutical sales. Some of us were girls, some of us just acted like we were. But we all had one hero in common. And that hero passed away this week, aged 84.
Vidal Sassoon took the mundane service industry of hairdressing and made it an art, a business and a dream. His talent, energy and sheer chutzpah make him an inspiration for anyone whose work involves contributing to the well-being of the human body.
So in tribute to Sassoon’s revolutionary five-point haircut, here is a five-point guide to true style in medical sales...
1. Start in reality. At the age of 17, Vidal Sassoon joined the 43 Group, an association of Jewish ex-soldiers dedicated to fighting fascism on the streets of East London. They took on Mosley’s Blackshirts and beat them. That toughness and refusal to be the underdog stayed with Sassoon throughout his life.
2. Keep it simple. Sassoon’s trademark hairdressing style avoided elaborate treatments. He wanted to work with the natural shape and life of human hair. The iconic ‘five-point’, inspired by Bauhaus architecture, was a clipped androgynous look whose simplicity disguised its mathematical precision.
3. Care begins at home. Like a present-day GP, Sassoon thought primarily in terms of the self-care model. No more beehives that took an hour to reconstruct each morning. His cuts were low-maintenance and robust, designed for women who had lives to lead.
4. The right words. Sassoon launched his classic range of hair products with the slogan ‘If you don’t look good, we don’t look good’ – a neat play on words that linked the worlds of fashion and business. Even in his eighties, Sassoon’s language was as sharp and elegant as his haircuts.
5. Fit for purpose. Throughout his career, Sassoon remained lean, fit and immaculately dressed. Where many of his contemporaries drank like fishes, he swam like one. His salon performances were balletic displays of controlled energy, expressing his attitude towards human health.
Maxine’s views are not necessarily those of Pharmaceutical Field.