The Racoon Artistic Team

Racoon International is unique – and not only because of its beautiful, safe and inexpensive hair extensions

Meet Stephen Messias, Racoon International Creative Director and the leader of the 12-strong creative team, the RAT Pack.

Together, the RAT Pack are a cohesive, well-balanced, group of skilful, talented and incredibly enthusiastic people. They are committed to delivering whatever’s required and are an amazing team of individuals. I can’t wait to see their extraordinary creative collective ability shine through our forthcoming photo shoot.

Stephen Messias, Racoon International Creative Director and RAT Pack Leader

The RAT pack is a group of highly skilled individuals, trained and qualified in Racoon extensions, with experience of working in high-street salons and with multicultural customers.

The RAT pack came into being in 2004, after a series of rigorous, nationwide auditions where extensionists presented mood boards and models reflecting their extension creativity.

Eight years on, the RAT Pack now consists of 12 hairdressing experts from salons across all regions. When it comes to creativity, innovation and professionalism, the RAT Packers are some of the best in the hairdressing industry.

The group meet four times a year to discuss creative concepts for use in their individual salons and in Racoon’s own imagery for educational courses and materials.

From regional trends to catwalk high-fashion ideas, and with many years of combined experience between them, the RAT Pack are ahead of the rest when it comes to making their clients look beautiful and glamorous.

The Racoon Artistic Team


Esther Sweenie-Rowe, Freelance session stylist

“I’ve met with many suppliers and Racoon won hands down on the strength of its education, quality hair, support and customer service; it’s all superb. Our team is a great ego-free bunch of people who all share the same ethos. We don’t hold anything back and give our all, sharing all of our knowledge and creativity to help people learn something amazing.”

Amy Donaldson, Profile Salon, Aberdeen

“The diversity of what you can create is the best thing about extensions. For example, they are brilliant to blend through if you’re doing a colour correction, to balance the colour and make it look more natural.”

Elaine Sullivan-Child, Elaine Sullivan-Child Hair & Beauty, Dunstable

“I’ve been in the RAT pack from the beginning and working with my peers has been an amazing experience. I love the instant makeover extensions provide; they make your work more interesting, offer limitless boundaries and you can quickly take a person from low energy to high energy 10.”

Kelly Woods, Hair OTT Salon, North End Branch, Portsmouth

“That’s what’s great about extensions – they release a client from the restriction of hair needing to grow before they can have the look of their dreams. I use them to enhance a colour correction, to blend the tones and I have two fashion-conscious guys whose receding hairlines are made less noticeable thanks to sensitive extension placement.”

Dawne Louise Cooper, G Cutz Salon, Scarborough

“As a RAT Pack member, I’ve worked in Las Vegas, Paris and Barcelona doing Racoon extension work on TIGI show models. I was incredibly proud to be chosen to join the RAT Pack and honoured to be picked on the strength of my ability.”

Melissa Walton, Essensuals, Reading

“Racoon extensions are absolutely brilliant and I never cease to be amazed at the transformations they create. They’re really popular, and we charge £400 upwards, which can be quite an investment. We ask for the cost of the hair as a deposit, as well as offering a scheme where clients can pay off the bill in instalments.”

Louise Saxton, Silhouette du Barry, Chelmsford

“Styling Racoon’s hair is great as it holds a curl so well, perfect for today’s trend for more styled looks. The hair quality is great too, as it feels, looks and moves like the client’s own hair.”

Louise Cahill, Potion, Coventry

“I’d like to specialise in fulfilling a local demand for Hair in Recovery work, which tragically is on the increase. I’d love to take these services further afield in another salon. I’ve got my eye on Kenilworth as a great location for my next salon, so watch this space.”

Nikki Gallimore, Shades, Harriseahead

“The best thing about being in the RAT Pack is the way we all get along. We love to come up with, and share, new ideas. Working with Stephen and the team gives me a real high and I always return to the salon with my confidence boosted and my creativity fired.”

Jayne Bond, Bonds & Co., Williamstown, Mid Glamorgan

“We get lots of clients who come in for extensions because they’ve had a haircut they hate or just can’t live with. They come in crying and leave smiling. How rewarding is that?”

Warren Lee Jenkinson, Hair By Volume, Southend-On-Sea, Essex

“Regardless of your confidence and training, there’s nothing like having a second opinion, which is why the RAT Pack is such a ingenious idea. While doing the client’s hair, I watched her confidence come back in leaps and bounds. Emotionally it was tough, but it was also so rewarding.”

Hayley Jennings, House of Creation, Ripponden, West Yorkshire

“I think one reason so many of my clients have extensions is down to being part of the RAT Pack. We get ideas from each other and learn new ways of using extensions. We also get the opportunity to do photo shoots and stage work, which is just brilliant.”



Learn to create beautiful, healthy transformations with Racoon International's Diploma course, available to those with a NVQ Level Two in Hairdressing.

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