I’ve had an overwhelming response to my earlier blog post, How to Survive and Thrive as a Hairstylist and Salon Owner, and while I am so thrilled with the amount of people the post spoke to, I’m even more blown away by the amount of people who wrote messages like, “It will get better” etc. So I thought I should make it clear how much I love this business, my salon company, and my team, (at least while they work for me,) and write about some of the amazing things that have happened to me through hairdressing and salon ownership.
- I met my wife through hairdressing. I fell in love with a girl I worked with at a salon, eventually I wore her down and we got engaged. We now have 2 amazing boys who keep us very busy.
- I have traveled because of hair. 2 years ago my wife and I spent time in Madrid with Wella at Trendvision (amazing event). We tacked on a week in Ibiza and a few days in Barcelona. 3 weeks ago I was in New York, for the 4th time. Paris is my absolute favourite place in the world. We went for a show. New Orleans, San Diego, my wife once did a show in Alaska. And the airmiles I collect from salon purchases has paid for a lot of airfares for me and my team.
- Teaching and mentoring my team has made me a much better hairstylist. And more importantly, it has allowed my to impart everything I know to a future generation of stylists. It’s my goal to have everyone of my team have master my skillset and make what took me years to learn and discover simply become their foundation.
- Flexibility in my hours has allowed me to be a more present father.
- I have had the freedom to create some pretty cool hairshows and stage presentations with my team.
- I have built my dream salon in Space. I have done it a few times, as my dream salon has evolved over the years, but with Space, I had the finances and raw open space to create what I think is truly me. Pretty cool.
- I watched and coached a 16 year old girl into a pretty incredible and successful talent. She went on to win the 2013 Canadian Hairdresser of the Year, among many other awards and accolades. I am beyond proud to say I had a big role in her life.
- My life has been absolutely exciting. Highs, lows… it’s never been boring.
- It has given me character, and I know I can dig deep and do whatever I need to do to survive. When we opened our first larger salon, I bounced a paycheque for one of my staff. I was sick about it. We were broke. I didn’t pay myself for 6 months so I could afford to keep the doors open, grow the salon and not lay anyone off. When we opened our Space location, the buildout cost twice my budget and we were broke again, just 3 short years ago. I had to close a location to keep the new one open.
- Hairdressing has made me a deeper, nicer and more empathetic person. I have evolved so much through this business. I used to be a huge asshole. Now, a lot less.
- I get to listen to whatever music I want and hang around with cool people doing creative things, all the time.
- I have reached a personal goal of having 50 employees. I can’t seem to get higher, and whenever we hit 50, 2 people quit and 1 gets fired within a week, but 50 is pretty damn cool.
- I have helped make a lot of people’s lives better through hairdressing. That has made me feel really good.
- The relationship with clients can be incredible. Having someone sincerely tell you they consider you a best friend is amazing. Seeing a couple come together, doing wedding hair, being with them through pregnancies, the baby’s first cut. And we have actually done that baby’s hair for their high school graduation. Pretty cool to be a part of people’s lives.
- I have satisfied the young, rebellious teenager version of me. If I traveled back in time, the teenage version would give me shit for getting fat, but I lived almost all his dreams. Platform artistry can be very rock and roll, and I’ve gotten pretty far by being true to myself and doing things on my terms.And for me, the most powerful and important experience I’ve had (beyond meeting my wife) was this:
At the opening party of one of our locations, one of my stylists wrote the most meaningful not in a card. It simply said “Thank you for helping me become the person I’ve always wanted to be.”I absolutely still love what I do, and I still love hairdressing. Once in a while we hit bumps in the road, but it’s a road I happily drive.