With nearly four decades of experience behind her, Lina Brocklehurst has experienced and dressed every major hair style change since the early 70s. She remembers the bobs and beehives of the disco era.
Arriving in Montreal as an immigrant in the 70s, Lina spoke French at school, Italian at home and English in the workplace. Add in her birthday being April 23rd and she wound up being a year behind the other students academically. Needless to say, there was a fair sized challenge ahead of her.
So at 16, after moving to Hamilton, she said “I’m not going back to high school” to her mother, who dutifully replied “choose a trade because if you ever get married and have children and heaven forbid if something happens to your husband, you need to support your children.” Smart lady, eh?
Lina set out and pored over various different trades and when hairdressing came up, it was exciting and ambitious and she knew she could do well in that field.
TThe eldest of three children, her father was encouraging of her decision but said, in a very responsible way, “let’s enroll you in a program that’s month to month to make sure it’s a good practical fit for you,” to which Lina agreed.
It was love at first class at Bruno’s Schools of Hair Design. The excitement level for Lina was unlike anything she’d experienced prior. She loved the theory and practical aspects and month to month quickly transformed into completing a seven month course, which led her into a burgeoning multi-billion dollar industry. Lina points out that in the 70s, the school was completely focused on hair. No nails or makeup, only hair.
Of course, I had to ask her about her first customer after graduating. “It was one of my mom’s friends and I did her hair in my house. I cut her hair in the middle of the summer and every time I saw that friend of my mom’s afterward, she wore a hat...and it was hot outside! I asked my mom, “why is she wearing a hat so often? Isn’t she hot?” and my mom replied “yeah, well, you know, she’s, umm, growing her hair.” Lina laughs heartily at her early days, knowing that everyone has to find a starting point for a career of greatness.
Looking back, Lina sees now that school will give you a solid baseline to start from but it’s the practical in-salon experience that will advance budding stylists to the next level. And really, it’s a lifelong commitment to constantly learn and improve the technique as well as keep up to date on current and upcoming styles.
After spending several years in Hamilton, she moved her salon, Manhattan, eastward to Burlington and then with a life change occurring in 2011, she found a new home in beautiful Mississauga. Sadly, the father of her two children passed away in the Spring of 2015 and instantly, Lina remembered her mom’s words of wisdom about finding a trade that would fully support her children; she is ever thankful for following through with that. Her wealth of experience has led her to become part of the Master Judges Program, where she helps judge various hairstyling competitions, which she’s been doing now for several years.
The decision to open up Lina Brocklehurst Design in Port Credit in 2012 was easy, she says: “I love, love, love Port Credit, I live down the street, it’s close to my father in Hamilton, it’s close to Toronto for my clients and Mississauga overall is wonderful and lovely!”
She speaks fondly and humbly of both her loyal and new clients, recognizing that without them, she wouldn’t have had such a successful career, and her clients have certainly been loyal to her. The most rewarding part of having her own salon in Port Credit has been getting to know and interact within the community. She had such sincerity during our entire conversation, more so when she spoke of how welcome she’s felt and how she’s made a plethora of friends, acquaintances and clients.
Her advice for the younger generation of up and coming stylists? “Do your homework thoroughly before selecting a hairdressing school and apprenticeship but most of all, enjoy and love what you do. The sky is the limit and never settle for anything, career or personal wise.”
"Try a lot of different things. Times are different now."
Lina, the ambitious entrepreneur that she is, has released her own line of hair styling products, called “LBD Professional” recently, which is kind of a huge deal. Well, it’s really a huge deal. She has nearly 20 products in total for nearly every hair type/style for both women and men. She’s looking to launch a men’s line, including shaving products, in the future since the equilibrium has shifted in recent years, with a trend that sees guys spending more time and care on their hair and appearance.
Her biggest challenge, as can be said for anyone in her field, has been keeping up to date with the quick pace of the industry. As there are an array of courses being offered by so many companies, Lina has to intensively research where her investment dollars are best utilized.
After speaking with Lina, a 2016 MARTY nominee for Beauty and Fashion, for a couple of hours, it’s evident that she’s passionate about her career and is very modest about her success. She acknowledges her roots and is thankful for every day she’s able to combine her passion and profession successfully.
It’s been a long road forward for Lina and one she has no regrets about. With no signs of slowing down, she’s proven that hard work, humility and dedication can yield a fulfilling, happy and rewarding life.