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Have you ever dreamed of moving abroad to start a new job? While there are countless online forums, sometimes it’s nice to hear from a first-hand perspective what the process is like. From finding a salon that fits, making sure your skillset is up to par, learning the cultural differences and navigating the visa process. If your dream is to make it abroad, start here!

Heather King-Labeur is a well known Redken Artist and part of the new Redken Styling Society. She stands out in the industry for her stellar work and upbeat attitude. You’ve seen her behind the scenes at Paris Fashion Week and around the globe creating collections, and this time her latest adventure is taking her across the Pond! She’s decided to move to London for a change of pace and to pursue her career in a new setting. Of course, we were curious about all that this entails so we chatted with her about the process, finding a salon and what she is most excited about!

A true testament to the Redken network, King-Labeur found the perfect fit at Radio Salon - with three branches around London - Shoreditch, Kings Cross (The Redken flagship) and the Broadway Market. Keep reading to hear just how she landed the job!


Images Courtesy of Radio Salon

How did you navigate finding a job?

Honestly, Instagram. As a Redken artist, I was lucky enough to be able to reach out to a local U.K. educator that I really respect, Chris Moody. He recommended several salons that he thought would be a great fit. From there, I crept IG like an FBI agent; watching IG stories, scanning through tagged posts and reading comments. Radio stood out significantly and after reaching out to them via email I knew instantly that it was where I needed to be. 

How does your Cosmetology license translate?

In the UK, it doesn’t. You can pay for your license to be translated to an equivalent. In the UK any salon that hires you has you perform a trade test of services in order to determine your skillset. 

What steps did you take/where did you start?

For my trade test, I asked what I would need to do and then reached out on Facebook ex-pat groups for help finding models! Then, I made sure to practice on my own to make sure I worked out any of my “bad habits” before the big day. 

Did you have to apply for a work visa?

In the UK you can, however, it’s very difficult. You have to prove that no one in the UK can do the job that you are doing. The only option I found feasible for me was an exceptional talent visa where you would have to prove that you were a leader/innovator in the industry. Which can still prove incredibly difficult. 

Fortunately for me, my husband is a UK citizen and thus, my right to work comes with my spousal visa. I’m totally a 90-day fiancé: the other way case. 

How long did the entire process take?

Visa processing is incredibly tedious. It takes weeks to gather your documentation and roughly 6-12 weeks to get a response. 

How did you choose a salon?

The same way I would choose one stateside. I looked at location, social media, interviewed via FaceTime, and asked A TON of questions. (I had a two-page list, no joke).  It was so important for me to find a salon that felt like home and believed in cultivating stylists the same way I did. 

How did they help you with this process?

The Radio team has been incredibly helpful. There’s always an open line of communication that allows me to ask questions. They’ve even set up my path for success by proving additional training prior to my official start date so I can adjust to the culture as smoothly as possible. It’s so important to remember that the right salon will synergistically work with you without any great effort. 

What are you looking forward to most?

Learning. Watching a salon’s social media really tells you a lot about them. The Radio style aesthetic is so unique and something I consider to be #goals. I cannot wait to learn from my peers and take my personal brand to a new level. 


Be sure to follow Heather King-Labeur's adventures abroad and stay tuned for even more hair tutorials and styling advice!