Upon first meeting Sunnie Brook in 2011, she shared a vision with me for how she wished to meet her client’s needs and demands for finding products in a whole new way. Sunnie isn’t just a celebrity hairdresser, she’s also a beauty blogger, and one of the most inspiring and humble female entrepreneurs. With an e-commerce shop of personalized kits to accompany the most coveted looks from her video tutorials, Sunnie is truely able to help people in all that she does, in and outside of her profession. It’s that same forthright vision and innovative creativity that keep celebrity clients Carly Rae Jensen, Bridgit Mendler, and Imagine Dragons coming back for more.
How did you get your start in the industry?
Growing up my dad would always ask me what I wanted to do with my life and all I could ever say was “help people and be creative.” It was my mom who noticed my passions and helped me see that the beauty industry was a good fit for me. I thought it would be a stepping stone to help me get through college to be a counselor, but as I started my career I soon realized how much I enjoyed working with my hands and spending time helping people feel good. After finishing beauty school I apprenticed for a few years and then moved to England. And through a serendipitous experience met the British hairdresser of the year at the time, Craig Mason. A year later I moved back to San Luis Obispo, California and after working there for a year, decided to open my own salon. During those 5 years as a salon owner I became a national color and cutting educator for Paul Mitchell. Through working with them and winning a photoshoot contest I was introduced to Lucie Doughty, the editorial director for Paul Mitchell. She took me under her wing and introduced me to the print, ad, and celebrity world of hairstyling. A year later, after building a clientele in LA, I decided to sell my salon and move to LA to pursue a freelance career.
What was one of your biggest career challenges and how did you overcome it?
There have been a few and they happen every day, even 17 years into my career! I think the hardest were those first 3 years of my career. Building a reputation and realizing how much time it takes to build a consistent business, and working on head after head of hair and learning that my mistakes were discoveries that would develop me into a great hairstylist.
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Who are some role models who have inspired you?
I have a variety of role models in my life. My “Oprah” as I like to call her, who has believed in me since beauty school and brought a lot of wisdom into my life to help me discover and navigate the next chapters in my career.
Lucie Doughty. Meeting her changed my life. She challenged me in the details of my craft and helped me discover the next stage of my career.
Elizabeth, my business coach, who challenges me and helps me define my career goals as I grow and as my industry continues to evolve and change.
Diana Schmidtke who was one of the first male groomers in the freelance industry, and has a plethora of knowledge along with a heart to give back to the next generation of artists.
Do you have a signature look or style that you are known for?
In the salon I’m known for my “Sunnie Lights” – those kisses of haircolor and seamless layers that give hair versatility and movement. On the red carpet, I’m known for my effortless and ethereal silhouettes.
Which hair products or tools are always in your kit?
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
Stop wearing those crazy haircuts and color! Take more risks!
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
“You build your business one person at a time.” – Robert Cromeans
In regards to art, I’ll never forget someone saying to me: First – learn the rules. Then bend them. Then break them. That is a true master of his/her craft.
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What is the next chapter for you?
Continuing to grow my own brand and launching new business collaborations.
How would you describe your beauty and hair philosophy?
I believe every woman can be empowered to express her unique beauty as a means to inspire the world.