Honza Kořínek is known as one of the best hairdressers in the Czech Republic. And for a good reason. Thanks to his golden hands, clients from all over the country flock to his salon, and celebrities are no exception. In our interview, you can read how he handled the coronavirus crisis and what he is most excited about at the moment.
How long has it been since you were allowed to go back to work?
We‘ve been working since May 11, which is more than a month. I feel good, but in all honesty, very tired too. It's a challenging period.
Aren't you afraid you might be overestimating your stamina to satisfy all your customers? Your health might suffer from it…
Good question. I haven‘t thought about it that way. But I know that sometimes you have to tell yourself enough is enough and slow down. We‘ll see how it goes. So far, of course, I am indeed trying to satisfy everyone, but it can happen that I‘ll run out of juice and it will no longer be possible.
How many poeple came with their hair destroyed by at-home dye jobs? How many times have you been in shock?
Thankfully, touch wood, I haven‘t had a single shock. Speaking strictly about my own clients, only two of them had slapped some hair dye on their head. It wasn't horrible, it didn‘t take me long to fix it.
The coronavirus crisis was long. What did it mean for you specifically and for hairdressers in general in terms of business?
I honestly think that everyone who does business, and even those who don‘t, probably should have a backup plan and a financial buffer. Fortunately, we had it. But let‘s be honest with each other, buffers are not bottomless. And had it lasted longer, I would probably be saying something else now. But luckily, we made it through.
Of course, I‘ve only mentioned financial losses so far. For me, the situation was also mentally demanding, because I am the type of person who is used to being at work daily, I work ten to twelve hours a day. Suddenly, they lock you up at home and there‘s not much left for you to do, except for cleaning and cooking. But you get bored with that soon.
Weren‘t your customers trying to persuade you to give them a haircut at home?
Of course, I stayed in contact with our customers, we were helping them and giving them tips on how to survive it, we prepared a couple of packages for at-home dye jobs. We were doing our best, like a lot of other hairdressers and hair salons.
Did you come up with any projects during that time? I know you're involved in charity and the like.
We're coming up with new things all the time. During the forced closing of the salon, for example, we were making more Instagram videos for our IGTV. They are quite successful, so that‘s one thing we want to continue with. Otherwise, we had a lot of plans for 2020, so we look forward to being able to return to them.
What exactly are you talking about?
We were supposed to take part in several foreign events, we were about to go abroad to shoot our other collections. Everything was already scheduled and planned. We were supposed to publish another issue of our own magazine. We wanted to take part in several hairdressing competitions. And we were also preparing one big surprise for our clients, but I'll keep that to myself for now, because the right time is evidently yet to come.
How does one become publicly known as one of the best hairdressers in the country?
What I‘m going to say will probably be unexpected, but I don‘t feel like this is what happened. Of course, we try to do a lot of projects, photography, we work on marketing, but as I said, I don't feel like I have made such a mark.
How so? Everyone associates hair salon Kořínek with quality…
Well, I always think it is a coincidence that this one person has heard of me. But at the end of the day, I‘m not that much of a big deal.
But even celebrities seek you out!
A great lot of celebrities! And do you know why? Because for us, all clients are celebrities. We make no difference there. Not only actresses and singers, but also moms on maternity leave or managers of various companies are stars for us. But I understand where you‘re coming from with this question, let's say that there is no need to brag with big names, the hair that you can see in various shows on all TV stations in the Czech Republic speaks for us.
But you had to build a name for yourself, didn‘t you, otherwise they wouldn't come to you, if you weren't good.
Probably yes, I‘m convinced that if they weren‘t satisfied with my services, they would go someplace else. I know some of them from the time before I had a salon. It's already a friendship with some people. I hope that they come to me because they are pleased with my work and that they see me as both a good hairdresser and a a good person.
Do you have to continue educating yourself in hairdressing? Do you attend any trade fairs and similar events?
Definitely. Trends are always moving forward, and I think that if you stop learning, you won't enjoy it. You may get stuck in one place and never move past it, which then shows on your work. Of course, every hairdresser has their own signature, but it's always good to watch what's going on.
What is your signature?
I believe it‘s nice, clean, durable cuts. And also beautiful and above all healthy hair.
Is it hard to tell a client that her dream hairstyle from a photo wouldn't fit her? Do they come here with this kind of requests?
They do. I'm not against photos at all, sometimes I actually think they can help a lot. I think it depends on the particular person, how difficult it is, naturally, each client is different. The longer I‘ve beeing doing it and the more experience I‘ve accumulated, the less it bothers me. In the beginning, when you don't have that much experience, it's always hard. But when I'm absolutely certain that something won't work, it's not hard for me to explain it to the customer and present it in a nice way.
How many years have you been a hairdresser?
Twenty years. Time really flies! That's more than half my life.
Have you ever wanted to do something else for a living?
In first grade, I thought I would like to be a bartender. In the end, mom and I came up with the hairdresser idea, that I‘d try it. When I finished my apprenticeship, I was thinking about follow-up studies. Next to the career of a hairdresser, I was also thinking about becoming a social worker. I was very interested in the social sphere and wanted to look after the elderly in retirement homes or people with disabilities. Eventually my preferences shifted and now I‘m a hairdresser.
When I was asking you questiones aimed specifically at you during the interview, you answered in the plural. Why?
I don't think everything revolves around me, the salon also rests on the shoulders of my husband Honza, who works as the salon‘s manager. And the team we have here is equally important. If it were just the two of us, we would have had a harder time getting into the public consciousness. It's about Honza and the girls we have here. We are team, we‘re in it together, it‘s definitely not just me.
How long have you been married?
We‘ve been in a 10-year relationship first, and this summer, we‘ll have been married for five years.
Can you imagine it without him?
Not at all.
How important is his work to you?
I can‘t really say, a whole lot. I have female friends, who are not just hairdressers, but also do their own marketing and all things related to it, which I really admire. I couldn‘t do it, I have no organisation skills and I‘m incapable of making arrangments. I'm a hairdresser, really, I'm more of a creative person who doesn‘t mind spending twelve hours on his feet in the salon, but I‘m useless when it comes to all the other things.
I honestly can't imagine that I should be doing it all on my own. I could imagine it if I only had a tiny room where I‘d be working alone, for my own pleasure. But since we are trying to build a name and attract VIP clients... I definitely can't imagine that.
What do you do with your husband when you're not here?
The salon takes up a lot of our time. It‘s not just that we‘re here physically, but we talk about it a lot, about what we will and will not do. We try to keep moving forward and help the girls move forward too, which means work represents a huge part of our lives. When we‘re not at Sázavská, we both like to relax and eat. I also like to drink wine, but Honza quit several years ago. Aside of that, we definitely love to travel.
And how do you see it this year? Are you going to go somewhere?
To Croatia - we like the country, we have been going there regularly for several years, so we are looking forward to it. And we'll see where else these strange times will allow us to go. I'm still planning Florence in September, I want to take Italian lessons.
Yes, I got it as a Christmas present, it was my dream. I was originally supposed to fly in mid-March, but unfortunately it didn't work out.
What will follow after this coronavirus crisis?
No one knows, we have to wait and see. But one thing is for sure, all of us need to think about ourselves - our business - and take certain steps. It‘s probably true that a lot of things will change. We have already decided to do some things differently. Now is the time to put it into practice.
Do you have a specific example?
Yes, we used to do regular photoshoots of our hairstyle collections, twice a year - that certainly won't be the case for a while now. We want to change direction in this respect. Several big fashion houses have canceled the seasons and we will adjust in a similar way.
And what does a hair style collection actually look like?
Just like any other collection. It presents your idea of upcoming trends. It promotes you, your ideas and thoughts. We try to put all this in our collections.
Up until now, we have been making collections for spring and summer and then also for autumn and winter. Sometimes they‘re more classic, other times more extravagant, we‘ve also tried a collection based on emotions, we‘ve done photoshoots abroad several times. It's very diverse. In these moments, imagination is running at full speed, creating collections together with the team down to the smallest details, including make-up and clothes, is a completely different kind of work than cutting someone‘s hair at the salon.
Honza, thank you very much for the interview.
Your biggest success as a hairdresser?
The most famous head you've had the chance beautify?
Whose hair would you refuse to style?
A tip for a radiant mane?
Are bald men sexy?
Who do you consider the best hairdresser in the world?
How many days off did you have once the coronavirus measures were lifted?
Which customers are more demanding, men or women?
Which hairstyle is a hit for summer 2020?
How much was the most expensive pair of scissors you own?
What do you do when you're not doing hair?
What is your life motto?
Face masks at work, yes or no?
What is the great dread of a hairdresser?
Why did you choose me for the interview?