As you know, my hair color is a little unorthodox. I often forget because I see it everyday. However when I'm out and about I get reminded that it's a rare color and eventually the fact that I'm a hairstylist gets brought up. I was recently at a wedding and I found myself surrounded by a group of women asking me all sorts of questions about their hair. What do you think of this color? I just added more blonde? I'm worried its too light for my skin tone, does it wash me out? And so on goes the conversation. This doesn’t just happen with random strangers but friends and acquaintances as well. It all starts with a simple compliment and the next thing I know I've spent a half hour educating and reassuring these women that yes we (me and whomever their stylist is) are professionals and that although they may not fully understand why their stylist makes the decisions they do, I'm sure they have good reasons.
I try my best to support and uplift all of my fellow stylists and I think it's very important to do. I walked away from the conversation wondering if these women were asking their stylist all the same questions! I had to ask myself what can I take away from these talks? Do my clients ask random hair stylists for their advice? Are they questioning if I'm making the best decisions for them? I immediately went to the salon and starting asking my own guests questions based on the conversations I'd had over the weekend. They reassured me that they weren't going around asking the kinds of questions I was getting. They explained that one of the reasons they choose me as a stylist is because I do a thorough job of educating them what and why I choose to do what I do for their hair. They completely trust my advice and vision because of this. They also aren't afraid to speak up and ask questions.
Based on these conversations I figured it was time to share some insight as to how you as a guest can take control of your hair appointment. Knowing how to relay your needs and desires is the most important part of getting what you want when it comes to your haircut, color and style. Here are 4 steps to identifying what you want out of your hairstyle and how to express that to your stylist!
I'm not sure if it's been the transition from 'fall' to winter, or the clocks getting pushed back but I've been completely lacking in the motivation and creativity department. Things have been busy and booming behind the chair but I haven't had much energy or ambition outside of my work and creativity at the salon. I can tell that I'm not the only one feeling this way as my coworkers, clients, family and friends have been expressing that they have been feeling a little down as well. We all just chalk it up to the shorter days of winter and colder weather.
Monday is my most important day, it sets the tone and attitude for the week to come. I have the day off at the salon but this doesn’t mean I'm lounging around catching up on Netflix. My mornings are used to prepare mentally for the week ahead, I set personal and professional goals for the week, start writing my blog, prep most of my Instagram feed and story posts and do all of my usual morning routine, work out , meditate, read and so on. Then its time to hit the road for salon supplies, groceries, and then back home for meal prep, laundry, cleaning and all of the other necessary things that I just love doing! (She says sarcastically)
Week one of my down mood I made up excuses for why I wasn’t doing any of the things I listed above, I kept telling myself, I needed a break and that I deserved it. I don’t know about you but when I'm stuck in one of these down times I can find excuses for everything! I also get super emotional and even the smallest situation like stubbing my toe seems to get magnified. I found myself crying about things I would normally laugh at, getting offended when I would normally try to rationalize, getting angry at the slightest setback and feeling insecure when I would normally recognize my strengths. My relationships were suffering and I was on edge about everything. My excitement to go to work was lacking and I was feeling completely drained half way through my day at the salon. I was eating out or not eating at all and coming home to go straight to bed. It's like my universe was turned upside down and I was walking on the ceiling. I work very hard everyday to try and look for the positive and keep my mind in self love mode! It’s a constant battle with my brain to look for opportunities for learning and understanding instead of self loathing, when it comes to a negative interaction, experience, or situation. Although this takes work its so much better than the alternative! Living in the negative even for a little while is very wearing, as I'm sure most of you can relate it starts to consume you and everything around you, which only leads to more negativity.
After week one of allowing myself to sit in the negative I started to identify what I DIDN'T want and by doing that I had some revelations. I was able to take the down and negative feelings and thoughts that I was having and learn from them what I DO want. It's ok to recognize negativity as long as we are doing it briefly. I'm not suggesting that you sit and repeat all of the negative things or thoughts that you have been experiencing, that is called shaming and it's the exact opposite of what is recommended in this situation. However being able to identify what we don’t want can give us clarity as to what we DO want! We need to stop the cycle of negativity when we find ourselves getting stuck on the hamster wheel and reinforcing negative self talk. I know from experience that this is easier said than done but here's what helps me challenge my negative thoughts in hopes to help my mind get off that damn hamster wheel.
I've been a hairstylist for over 12 years, throughout those 12 years I've worn many hats. I started out as an assistant making minimum wage, tips if I was lucky. I'm a fast learner, it took me three months to realize I was ready to take control of my own guests, and their experiences. I wanted to start making decisions for myself. I tested out of the assistant program and I was on the floor working mostly Saturdays, albeit competing for clients with 6 other girls that were fresh out of the program as well. Being on the floor meant I was off minimum wage and working for commission and tips. I learned quickly that competition is not how I wanted to build my clientele. I wanted a guest to choose me and I didn’t want to work for a company that promotes selfishness and negative competition.
I was off to my next salon, another commission based salon, but much smaller. This was another learning experience for me as the salon had only been open for a year and the owner was an investor that had never owned, managed or even really been to a salon before. He was bald, ha-ha! I actually never met him or spoke to him. Lack of vision and of strong leadership meant I was gone after 6 months.
At this point I've been in the industry less than 2 years and was starting to lose faith. Was this the reality of the hair industry? What was I doing wrong? I refused to give up! My next stop was a corporate salon with over 1,000 stores across the nation. The promise of education, clients, and a way to move up the ladder sounded like a place with a vision that fit my own. The first year was great! We had technical education every couple of months, I learned how to budget and set goals for myself, I even achieved multiple goals during that year and I was starting to build my clientele.
Things were moving along, I thought this was exactly what I wanted when I started. What I didn't realize was that just because a company makes over 3 billion dollars a year doesn’t necessarily mean they have good visionary leadership, actually it was the exact opposite. My manager did the bare minimum to reach her quotas and nothing beyond that. In fact, she handed off most of her duties to us stylists because she was too busy standing behind the chair to actually do her job as manager and be an effective leader. After four years of being overworked, under paid, and what I felt was under appreciated I was on the search again.
I learned some very important lessons in the first 5 years of my career. I thought that there were three constants no matter where I was working; a perceived lack of leadership, my desire to be lead, and of course, me. What I didn’t realize at the time, due mostly to a lack of life experience, is that all of the situations I just mentioned were actually opportunities staring me in the face. A study done by the Dale Carnegie Leadership Organization revealed that 75% of workers who voluntarily left their jobs did so because of their bosses. Lack of leadership is the reason we leave an organization, people don’t quit jobs, they tend to quit bosses. What that study doesn’t speak to is how many of those who left, and said they did so because of their boss, tried to also make things better by taking some initiative and leading from within.
What we often fail to realize, especially in the salon business, is that salons don’t create themselves. They are created by somebody who, at least at one time, had a vision, or at least a dream. The salon is birthed out of a desire to create something closer to their vision of what could be. The salon is then filled with other humans with their own dreams, goals, desires, and needs. With time, all of the hats being worn by the owner, boss, manager, and leader tend to change and the need for help carrying the load and developing the vision is ever present.
What I've realized now, after 12 years of experience is that the only common denominator in these scenarios was me. I realized that I had the power to lead myself, the cold hard truth is it's time to look within yourself for motivation and leadership. Are you doing anything to give support to your leader? Add value to the salon and other stylists? By simply changing the way you choose to see a situation you determine the opportunities that open up for you. What I perceived as lack of management was actually a great opportunity for me to step up my game. It's much easier to blame outside circumstances and others for our own inability to take initiative, however, nothing outside of you determines your success! It's up to you to decide if we want to stay in bed where its warm and comfortable or take the risk and step out into the cold. I know it can be scary but one small step could be the difference between disappointment and a whole new world of opportunities for success. Enough about theory, here are the steps I recommend to start taking control of your future!
Hi, I'm Jolene, I started my career in the hair industry over 12 years ago. I have learned a lot along the way, not just about being a hairstylist but about life. I'll keep you up to date on the latest hair color and cut trends of the season, educate you on all different kinds of hair products, styling tools, and everything life!