People Style comes naturally to Leo Alphons, one of Kochi’s top hairstylists, who will be flying to Paris to attend a world hair expo

Leo Alphons smiles a lot. Especially when he narrates the unexpected turn his career took. Hair styling was the last thing on his mind when he came to Kochi from Kottayam after completing his engineering.

It is worthy of a film, he says. And as he begins telling the story, turns out it would make for an interesting script. He pursued the engineering course in the hope of landing a job in West Asia. Which he, unfortunately, didn’t. “But then it turned out for the best, didn’t it?” he wonders aloud. He has two salons in Kochi.

He sets off to Paris, in a couple of months and “if I get my visa on time,” for a world hair expo in Paris and an advanced course in hair styling from Barcelona. At the hair expo, hairstylists from the world over will showcase trends and latest hairstyles. “There will be around 20-25 of L’Oreal’s top creative hairstylists and around 3,000 hairstylists will participate in the expo.” And in Barcelona he will learn more about hairstyling. Not that he gets to experiment much here. “Nobody comes for very short haircuts here. Anyway what can you do with long hair? Very few people who come for really short hair which is what I love to do.” He has seven stylists, but when it comes to short haircuts, he does them personally. “Otherwise it goes awry and then there is a lot of answering to do,” he chuckles.

And to think he just wanted to start a business, “any business that was low cost.” He thought of starting a DTP business but then that required an investment, he therefore opted for a cheaper alternative. “I figured people would need a place to cut their hair. So why not start a hair salon? I bought a couple of scissors and bought a cutting chair, hired a couple of guys, rented a 200 sq. ft. place and I was in business.” Of the two-member staff, one left in a couple of weeks.

But he has dummies on which he practices hair styles to keep the scissors snipping sharp and savvy. And there is always the hair expo.