After a whirlwind year, Lymington couple Jack Mead and his wife Lydia Wolfe have taken the hairdressing world by storm. But success starts at home, and it's their passion for wellbeing that sees clients coming back again and again 

Appearing on one of E4’s biggest reality styling shows, The Big Blow Out, is a world away from the safe haven of Lymington’s quiet cobbled lanes where hairdresser Jack Mead and his wife Lydia Wolfe run their boutique salon, Jack & the Wolfe. But talking to Jack, he seems the sort of man whose anything goes attitude sees him making the most of opportunities as they come his way: ‘Lydia and I do quite a lot of work on the other side of the camera, so it was an interesting experience for sure to be in front of it. 

‘It was a really fun show and we all had a lot of fun filming it and doing the challenges, and some amazing things have come from it but essentially, they had 11 hairdressers doing hair tasks that actually none of us usually do. It was very out there, a step into the fantasy world, which put us all way out of our comfort zone.’ 

Appearing in seven out of eight episodes and reaching the semi-finals, Jack could have come back brimming with ideas for new transformations at the salon: ‘Funnily enough no one's asked me for a bird on their head yet,’ he laughs. ‘But if they do, I reckon I can do a pretty good job now. 

‘I’ll be honest I don’t think I’ll ever take those avant-garde looks and use them in my day-to-day work, but seven weeks of just styling hair every day was really good practice and great for my creativity. In the salon we’re always cutting and colouring, so this was like a crash course in prepping hair and manipulating hair and it definitely made me think on the spot.’ 

Skills learnt on the show will certainly come in handy when Jack and Lydia head to London Fashion Week this month, something they’re looking forward to being a part of as Jack explains: ‘We’re working with a duo called VIN + OMI this year who are all about sustainability and are a really cool fashion house.’ Lydia continues: ‘We recycle everything ourselves and are conscious of our impact, working with our product companies to ensure they’re environmentally friendly, so sustainability is also a big part of our own philosophy.’ 

Having built the first half of his career in London, Jack was looking to open his own salon when he met Lydia, who was based in Southsea at the time. Born in Winchester, and wanting to return to Hampshire, Jack and Lydia scoured the south coast for a suitable location where people would appreciate the years of effort Jack had put into learning his craft. He explains: ‘Lymington seemed to have a lot of ex-London residents and a very similar type of clientele. It looked really cool. Then I found this beautiful 350-year-old townhouse, and despite not having any money and with Lydia being pregnant at the time, we opened on an absolute shoestring.’ 

Having always dreamed of having a non-traditional, more homely salon, Jack and Lydia have spent the last two years renovating the property themselves to create a luxury hair experience for clients looking for something a little bit different.  

‘We’ve used upcycled furniture and hunted around for antiques, Lydia even hand-painted our sign. We were able to use the lockdown to get the salon to where we wanted it to be.’ 

Living and working together, alongside raising their daughter, the couple’s passion for hairdressing is something that continues to unite them both professionally and personally, Lydia smiles: ‘Thankfully, we’re really lucky that we found in each other somebody who is equally obsessed with the industry and looking after our clients and running a happy team. We don’t mind that it runs completely all over our everyday life.’ 

With the cost-of-living crisis leaving people with choices to make on where they spend their money, haircuts and personal style can often take a back seat. But Jack’s got some recommendations for haircare that doesn’t have to cost the earth: ‘I think we will see more clients opting for full-head tints with a more natural colour, moving away from something which has to be retouched every four weeks, and going for more shoulder length hair but choosing to have some shaping around the face which will give the illusion of a fresh cut for longer. At the moment there’s a bit of a nineties resurgance, with hair having a lot of texture, which I think is fantastic.’ But as Lydia stresses: ‘One thing we’ve noticed throughout history is that in every economic crisis, people need to feel good. Sometimes that does mean going for something glossier and more glamourous as that could be the one thing you give yourself. As they say...change your hair, change your life.’ 

And with 2022 ticking many milestone boxes for the couple’s own life together, are they expecting the same level of success for 2023? Jack reflects: ‘Last year was so huge for us, it just didn’t stop, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. One of our biggest achievements was becoming a finalist in the Southern Hairdresser of the Year category at The British Hairdressing Awards, which is like the Oscars of hairdressing. It’s something Lydia and I have worked towards in our whole careers and to be next to the other finalists that are doing front covers of Vogue is right where we wanted to be. I don’t think we can top that for 2023, the idea is that we just carry on doing what we’re doing.’ 

Lydia continues: ‘Essentially what last year was, was us achieving a ten-year plan accidentally all in one year. We didn’t mean for everything to happen at once, it just landed that way. Somehow, we managed to have a family, have a team, have a business and we spent every day off working on our creative goals for the year all in one go. At least we know now that everything moving on from 2022 is going to be a lot less crazy.’