Jenny Pelter has been setting the tone for the Westrow Artistic Team, fast becoming a colour afficionado since she joined the company at the age of 18. Since then, and under the tutelage of Creative Director Steve Rowbottom, Jenny has gone from strength to strength, finding a colour niche that has helped position the Westrow brand at the forefront of creativity and innovation.
Jenny is now co-franchisee of Westrow’s eighth salon on Street Lane, North Leeds, with business partner Amy Lopez. She is also Technical Director of the Westrow Artistic Team and is constantly honing and toning her colour skills at a whole host of industry initiatives, including the L’Oréal Professionel Colour Trophy awards, where she won the North East region category in 2010, and was a finalist in the North East region in both 2011 and 2012.
In 2011, Jenny also gained a place representing the North East on the L’Oréal i-D Artist Team, a two-year educational programme that celebrates younger colourists with an eye for the creative and the niche. Describing herself as hardworking, loyal and creative, Jenny’s forté is her versatility, her vocation creating colour that truly complements the hair’s shapes and textures, bringing it to life: “a good colour has to work in synergy with the haircut,” she says. Not afraid to make mistakes, she loves breaking free from her comfort zone, and takes her inspiration from the Fashion Weeks around the globe: “I love seeing catwalk trends, and working on colour techniques to accompany them is a great motivator,” she says.
A self-confessed fashion-lover, she cites Poppy Delevingne as having effortlessly chic style, and thinks Gisele Bündchen’s locks rock. She loves creating seamless, beautiful colours using the French freehand Balayage technique to create the inner Gisele in everyone.
After completing two years at college, and just about to start studying nursing at university, I did a complete u-turn and, much to my parents annoyance, applied for a job to train as an apprentice at Westrow. I was 18 at the time and, after eight years with the brand, I have never looked back. My mum has since said she is glad I rebelled as she loves that I love my job.
After completing the L’Oréal Professionel Colour Specialist Degree, I spent a year working in the salon using my new-found colour knowledge on my clientele, but it wasn’t enough for me. Auditioning for L’Oréal Professionel Colour i-D and getting on the team gave me the confidence to help out with the colouring opportunities on the Westrow Artistic Team. As no one had taken leadership of the colour role within the team, it was the perfect platform for me to develop my creativity outside of the salon. I love taking charge of helping the team create beautiful, fashion-forward colour for shows, or to educate on platform. It’s the perfect complement to working in the salon.
I have been on the team for almost three years – and I’ve had the most incredible time. I have been fortunate enough to travel the UK and overseas working on platform delivering colour techniques that we have developed for the new seasons. We do so much, but the highlight was working in Milan – it was such a wonderful experience.
I love being part of such an incredible team, and creating the looks and concepts for the shows we work on is amazing. I’ve learnt so much from everyone since I joined, which is great in itself, but we also get to travel around the country doing something we love, which is a bonus. It’s hard work and can be challenging, but it’s so rewarding to see the finished looks on stage and the memories are one of the best things.
We’re constantly working on shows and developing concepts for our photographic shoots, and we will hopefully be entering a few competitions this year too.
I have been fortunate enough to be trained by some of the lead colourists in the industry, who have each inspired me, but for me the other members of the Artistic Team have offered me the most inspiration and encouragement. Leanne (Brown) has so much experience. Her ideas and techniques are amazing.
Steve (Rowbottom) has given me such amazing opportunities. He took a chance on me – I had never worked on shows before so didn’t have a proven track record. My hard work seriously paid off though, as after doing shows in Leeds, Manchester and London, he asked me to take on the job of lead colourist for the eight models we worked on at the Creative Crash show we did in Milan, which was amazing.
My confidence has grown rapidly and I truly feel like a colourist now. My creative side has also had a chance to flourish; I’m not as safe with my colour as I used to be, and I have the confidence to experiment and try new techniques. I have also recently launched a dedicated Westrow Colour Specialist salon on Street Lane, North Leeds, with my business partner, Amy Lopez.
Winning the L’Oréal Colour Trophy for the North East region in 2010 is definitely one of my highlights, as is gaining a place on the L’Oréal Colour i-D team in 2011, which was such an achievement. With the Westrow Artistic Team, the highlight was working in Milan. It was great to feel that Steve had put his trust in me creatively; it was a huge responsibility, but I loved every second, and ended the year on such a high.
The past few years have been amazing, so my aim is to continue working as part of the Westrow Artistic Team and to enjoy the opportunities it has to offer. I want to develop my techniques and the new salon business – and maybe another little trip to Europe would be nice!