Nicky Clarke reveals all about his celebrity hairdressing career

Nicky Clarke reveals all about his celebrity hairdressing career

Cut above: Nicky Clarke also has a property empireNicky Clarke earned just £12 a week when he started out as a hairdresser. Now, he can comma

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Cut above: Nicky Clarke also has a property empire

Cut above: Nicky Clarke also has a property empire

Cut above: Nicky Clarke also has a property empire

Nicky Clarke earned just £12 a week when he started out as a hairdresser. Now, he can command thousands of pounds a day. But his best money decision, he says, was investing in property. 

He recently sold a five-bedroom house in St John’s Wood, North-West London, for just under £11million and owns five buy-to-let properties as well as a holiday home in Majorca. 

The 62-year-old spoke to DONNA FERGUSON from his home in North-West London, where he lives with girlfriend Kelly Simpkin, 39, and their two children, Nico, three, and one-year-old Cecee. 

What did your parents teach you about money? 

Not to get into debt. My parents had a fairly working class work ethic and they believed in saving for the things they needed to buy. My father was a turbine operator at Bankside Power Station in South-East London. He left school at 14 and had one job all his life. Mum was a Greek immigrant – they met during the war when my father was stationed in Greece. She was a seamstress and earned her own money. 

Money was tight. They had six of us children to feed and we lived in a two-bedroom house with no bathroom, just an outside toilet. We used to go to the local baths to bathe. But it sounds worse than it was. We never felt poor. My mother was a good cook and we never went without. Nothing was wasted and there were never extravagances, but we always had Christmas and birthday presents. We just knew we couldn’t have whatever we wanted.

How much did you get paid when you began as a hairdresser? 

Just £12 a week. I was interested in fashion and did worse in my O-levels than expected. So I left school at 16 and got a job as a junior at the best salon I could find. At the time, it was unusual for a man to go into hairdressing. The look on my father’s face said it all. He was disappointed. But it was the start of a great career. 

Have you ever struggled to make ends meet? 

Yes, in the early 1980s. I pushed myself to buy my first flat in 1981 when I was 23. My mortgage was similar to what my wages were, so I relied on tips to make ends meet. It was a two-bedroom flat in North London and it cost £23,000 – amazing given where prices are now. 

Have you ever been paid silly money? 

Yes. One occasion that sticks in my mind was when Isabella Rossellini was the face of L’Oreal and it asked me to do her hair. She was filming for three days and I was paid around £15,000 to be on set the whole time. I did blow dry her hair every morning, but most of the time I just sat around. A normal day rate for me then was £5,000 a day – that wasn’t bad for a few blow drys. The most expensive haircut I have ever given anyone cost £27,000. It was part of a pampering package sold at a charity auction.

What was the best year of your financial life? 

I’m not sure because my ex-wife and business partner has always handled that side of things. It probably would have been 2000 when we sold our shampoo and conditioner company. We had a fair amount of money coming in then – in the millions of pounds. We have since bought that company back. 

What is your biggest money mistake? 

Not keeping my eye on the ball when I was renovating my home in the early 2000s. I trusted people to do things which I should really have been on top of myself. 

There are things that are just silly. For example, the mirror on the wall of a tiny toilet is antique smoked glass which cost £18,000. Some people think it looks nice while others think it just appears dirty. I was also badly advised with regard to the cost of the renovation. I initially had a budget of £500,000, but every quote came in at £700,000. 

Instead of trying to whittle things down and reduce the scale of the project to suit my budget, I was advised to make a start and carry out the work piecemeal. 

That mistake cost me half a million pounds. I ended up with three different builders and they were all terrible. They all blamed each other. 

The best money decision you have made? 

Buting two five-bedroom houses in the same street in St John’s Wood, North-West London – I lived in one and my ex-wife lived in the other, four doors away. 

We bought the first one in 1997 for £1.15million and sold it recently for just under £11million. The other I bought after my wife and I broke up in 2001. I still live in it. 

Do you save into a pension? 

Yes I have no idea when I started, probably in the 1990s. My accountant took care of it all and set up trusts for the children as well. I just took his advice and agreed to do whatever I needed to.

Do you invest directly in the stock market? 

Not outside my pension. I don’t know anything about it and I’m not interested in finding out. It’s not my thing – it’s just gambling. 

Do you own any property? 

Yes, my home in St John’s Wood plus five buy-to-let properties and a house in Majorca which I’ve now put on the market. 

What is the one luxury you treat yourself to? 

Fresh flowers every week from Covent Garden or Columbia Road Flower Market in East London. I find £50 goes a long way if you buy flowers from Columbia Road. I love the smell of fresh flowers and put them all over the house. My favourites are peonies, tulips and lilies, but I think you can never go wrong with roses. 

If you were Chancellor, what would you do? 

I would invest in today’s youth and fund places where they could go to find a sense of community and belonging. 

I think young people need to feel that as part of their identity. 

Having a place they might genuinely want to go, with activities that would suit all manner of young people – from cooking and sports facilities to music and artistic pursuits – is crucial. 

It could help potentially vulnerable kids, looking for gangs, find that sense of belonging. 

What is your number one financial priority? 

To pay for my children’s school fees. I’m not an extravagant spender. I don’t buy Ferraris or expensive art, but I do have four children. 

Two of them – Harrison and Tellisa – are adults in their 30s. The other two, Nico and Cecee, are still very young, so their school fees are the priority right now. 


This post first appeared on Dailymail.co.uk

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