Hate My Hair, Can’t Leave My Stylist
Gala season is wrapping up. Prom season is winding down. At this point I’ve seen tons of new clients in the salon for coifs, curls and make-up and I’ve chatted with a fair number of women dressed to the nines at galas for some worthy charity and I’m still baffled.
It’s the nature of my industry, once people figure out I’m a hair artist, they launch into questions about their style, my opinion on their color and cut, they solicit my ideas about changes. Giving it some thought, I usually respond, careful not to disparage their current stylist but the number of times I hear some version or another of “hate my hair, can’t leave my stylist” would floor you.
Here I stand, eye-to-eye with a blonde woman, hair nearly waist length, fried from ammonia and over processing, the color is brassy almost orange, no depth and dimension, she’s been seeing her stylist for umpteen years and “can’t possibly hurt her feelings” by making a change.
Or this scenario, three to five women go to their stylist friend’s home, pay discounted prices because the hair isn’t being treated in a salon, THEY HATE IT and once one woman is ready to break free and try something new, the others quickly follow. It takes bravery to lead the mutiny! No one wants to go first.
You Wouldn’t Put Up With A Shoddy Product in Any Other Industry
Why hair? Ask any woman, a great hairstylist is hard to find. The first requirement for many is chemistry. Not the color kind, the personality kind. Women relax in the salon; they open up, let their guard down. They need a person that can offer a comfort-zone.
This ability to loosely bond with the client assists the stylist in creating a unique, personalized look for them as they learn about lifestyle, personal preferences, and personality.
Familiarity Breeds Contempt
Inevitably, let me say that again, inevitably when a stylist crosses the boundaries of professionalism with their clients FRICTION will be the result. Why? Stylist are human, they make errors , many are young and the only work experience they may have includes bartender, waitress, or high school student.
Stylists aren’t salaried like employees in commercial industries. Their world hasn’t depended on networking, team work, and professional polish until/unless they work in a salon that requires these traits in addition to the technical skills of hairdressing.
Hairdressers ARE entrepreneurs. They must build and retain a book of business (client list). Many mistake building a book for ”making lots for friends who come to get their hair done”. That can get you started, but it’s a shaky foundation.
The One Sure Thing
Professionalism. When teaching new stylists, I talk about this transformation in detail. When focused on honing their skills; staying current with advances in the industry; networking to benefit of your community, your client and yourself; and when they can talk about current events with their clients without becoming deeply personal, they’ve breached the threshold of professionalism.
It’s an easy question, would you rather your client view you as the ultimate source for all things hair or would you rather they see you as unsettled, unpredictable, chaotic and inconsistent?
The Formula Works for Everyone
Being a show salon with a strong philanthropic mission, we find ourselves consistently in the public eye. Our four shows put us literally in FRONT of thousands of people each year.
Since opening in2007, we’ve connected innumerable clients with businesses in our network and client base that have helped their business; we’ve raised nearly $200,000 for the charities we’ve adopted. In the past year and a half alone we’ve helped nearly 20 people find full-time jobs after finding them unemployed or under employed, our business grew 40% last year and we’re are in growth mode this year at about 30%. We’ve won several customer service awards (because we do great hair as well) and a Better Business Bureau of Delaware Torch Award.
You Get What You Pay For
Tough love here, but you wear the ‘look’ your stylist creates. You live with it every day. When it’s hard to manage, when the color fades, when your hair looks like straw, when you see no versatility to your cut, when your hair is consistently uneven, when you can’t get an appointment, when you leave the chair EVERY TIME with less than cheer and excitement in your soul. YOU ARE GETTING WHAT YOU DESERVE.
No one should use emotional blackmail to retain your business. You deserve to look and feel your very best. It’s time to move on, find someone who inspires you.
J Christian is an award-winning, International Platform Artist and Master Educator for Sexy Hair, Los Angeles. Together with his wife Marcy he owns and operates J. Christian Studio in Hockessin, DE. He travels the world and regularly teaches at the Institute of Courage, a hair academy in California founded by Michael O’Rourke. Owner of Michael O’Rourke Hair. The salon, accredited by the Better Business Bureau, is the proud recipient of the Better Business Bureau 2010 Torch Award for Market Place Ethics and recent recipient of First State Favorite Salon for Women in New Castle County.