My Life As A Hairstylist

Salon owner, hairstylist, educator, product maker, photographer

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Your Saturday Action Plan 3- Give Styling Lessons


Being a successful stylist and truly taking your career to the next level is actually easy. But it requires that you do a few very important things right. Today you are going to focus on giving styling lessons to your clients.

With each and every client today, you are going to bring the product over to your client and tell them why you’ve picked it and why you love it for them. Then show the client how much you put in your hands and how to emulsify it. You are going to teach them where to run their hands through their hair first so they don’t put the bulk of the product into the wrong area.. For example, dimethicone products should be started from underneath at the back so the front doesn’t get too much oil.

But don’t make the client apply it themselves unless this is something you already do. It can come off as very forced and maybe a bit cheesy if not done absolutely perfectly. I personally advise against it.

And do not layer and cocktail more than two products on one head. Try to find one product that can do it all for the client if possible. Your goal is to make things seem easy, not impossible as well as overly expensive for them to recreate at home.

You are going to leave the product you are using in front of the client and then show them how to blowdry. Rough dry first, then with a brush etc. And you are going to start your blowout at the front and work your way back. Why? Because your client can’t nor should they waste their time working the back first. They will run out of time and their shoulders will get sore long before they get to the important stuff; what hangs around their pretty face. So teach them to do what people see first. Everything else is less important.

I do believe in handing a wand and coaching the client in this way if they aren’t good with the tool. But just for a couple of sections, then you take over.

Make it sexy, and when your client says, “I’ll never be able to make it look like this,” they are right. If they can make it look just as good as you can, you aren’t working hard enough. But you should be able to teach them how in less than 10 minutes and with one or two products they can get it looking pretty close.

Our job is to solve our clients’ hair problems, and many of them are solved through finishing. So kill the small talk and empower your clients to make themselves look amazing. They will thank you for it, maybe buy a product or two, and they will definitely tell their friends.


Your Saturday Action Plan 2- Pre-Booking

Pre-booking is the most important and powerful action you will take when it comes to your success as a professional hairstylist. And it’s incredibly easy to do once your clientele starts gets used to it but it can be very difficult for some stylists at first. So here are some ideas:

At a few points during every service you do today, simply mention what the maintenance is going to be on that service. During Mary’s highlights, you are going to say,

“This is going to look amazing. And I think you should be able to go about 10, maybe even 12 weeks before we need to do it again.” And then get back to catching up with what is going on in Mary’s life.

During Mary’s cut, let her know that the cut will last her 6 weeks and that you will want to see her for a free bang trim in 3 weeks. And then get back to your conversation.

Do not be pushy and don’t get weird about it. Just mention it when it makes sense during her service. Then when you have finished making her look gorgeous, walk her to reception and tell the receptionist that Mary will be booking her next appointment for 6 weeks from now. Then walk away and let reception do their job.

Now here’s the catch: Mary probably won’t book in.
But you are doing this with every single client and a few of them will. And all it takes is a few people pre-booking to make this snowball very quickly. Mary will likely find it a little tougher to get in with you the next time, which is when you tell her “I know, I’m sorry. That’s why I wanted to get you pre-booked so you would have your ideal appointment time. I’m getting busier and I want to make sure you can get in when you need to.

This is actually doing a service for your clients, as it allows them to maintain a look rather than wait until they absolutely hate their hair. And they end up becoming much more loyal because they are always able to get in at their ideal time and always have an upcoming appointment.

Pre-booking is going to fast-track your career and allow you to start making a great living as a stylist much sooner. When you become fully booked a few weeks out, you get to control your pricing. It’s a simple law of economics that when demand exceeds supply, the price goes up. And you can easily control how quickly this happens simply by acting like a busy stylist from the moment you get on the floor.

Understand, you can’t possibly ask for a pre-book unless you do great work and give great service, so it forces more professional dialogue and behaviour from you. This starts to permeate every aspect of your involvement as a hairdresser, especially your creativity and passion for your work and your clients. Pre-booking, like all good salon systems, starts out as a scripted act but becomes a catalyst for an amazing and fulfilling career as a hairstylist.

– Holidays, vacations and Christmas are perfect times to use as a catalyst for pre-booking. 8-10 weeks before these things happen, make sure to talk to your clients about how busy things will be before the break.


Why “Being True To Yourself” Is Not Always Good Advice

I like to think there are many ways to interpret something. And in the era of social media, inspirational memes have run rampant, a lot of them are about “being true to yourself.” And that is all well and good advice for some people.

But…I assume that I am not special or unique in any way so I will assume many people were like me to a large degree;
I am not particularly cool, charismatic, handsome, intelligent, or talented.
And even more importantly,
I didn’t truly know who I was until I was into my 30’s.

At each phase of life, we grow and evolve (hopefully we do. some don’t) through our experiences. If I was not open to influence and the idea of emulating someone else’s behaviour and personality, I would still be the same obnoxious, pot-smoking, know-it-all music snob I was when I was 16. Though in writing that it occurs to me that I’m pretty much that person still. But I don’t smoke weed anymore. It’s red wine now. So there is that.

Our opinions and views change just like the fashion and vocabulary we are into at that period of our lives. Age, experience, successes, and most of all failures all play a role in the person we are constantly becoming. I would say I evolve less often now that I’m in my mid-forties, but if you go through life being open to new ideas or challenges, you allow yourself to grow and learn from what you experience. What I’m trying to say is that life is a constant evolution. In fact, the worst people I ever encounter are the ones who are steadfast in their belief of who they are and how they think. Like many Republicans and all religious fanatics.

“Fake it Till You Make It.” A lot of people hate this phrase. It’s not ideal because it’s overly simplified, but I see it differently. What it means to me is you are willing to put yourself out there. To jump in with both feet and an open mind. It means you are willing to let go of your fears and personal limitations and go for it, even though it’s not necessarily who you think you are. It’s like Yoga. It’s a huge stretch and it hurts at first but eventually it becomes comfortable and feels great. And then you are not faking it anymore.

I have had some success as a hairdresser and salon owner. And that success has not come solely because of my skills as a stylist or my business acumen. I feel like at my core, I’m likely an asshole. I’m not talented enough to be a success based on my skills alone so I’ve had to learn to be a bit charming and to develop strong service aptitude. I’ve had to learn to smile when I didn’t want to and to be nice when it was the last thing I felt like being.

Time and time again, I have seen that the people with the highest successes in my company are the ones who worked the hardest for it. And a lot of that work was put into changing who the person was and how they presented themselves to other people. The smart ones quickly realize successful behaviour in life and in business is learned, and that if they wanted similar levels of success they would need to change too.

“I have to be me,” or “I can’t be fake,” are things I hear sometimes from my younger staff. And the one thing I have noticed is that they are always the ones who have the word “but” in their vocabulary. They use “I have to be true to myself” as a limitation on what they are willing to do. And unless they are incredibly talented, nice and charismatic, they are generally the lowest earners in the salon. I have anecdotal evidence that “I gotta be me” is akin to “I gotta be broke.”

Who you are today will likely and hopefully not be who you are in a decade. So why not turn it on when you leave the house and put your best version and adaptation of you out there for each scenario you are in. There is nothing wrong with being yourself if great things are happening for you and life is going well. But if not, the only things you should cling to and not be willing to compromise are your manners, your morals (if they are good) and your empathy. Don’t become an asshole. But go for it. You might just really like who you become.

And if you don’t have Neil Young’s Freedom, Beastie Boys Paul’s Boutique and The Clash London Calling, your music library is lacking.


Your Saturday Action Plan- 1


Every Saturday I post a little action plan for my team. I decided to start sharing these quick little hits with you.
These are easy, small things that can make a big difference.

Today I want you all to do this:

Look at your column when you arrive and think a little about each client.

Then when they come in and you give your smile, hug, whatever, before consultation, say,

“I saw you were coming in today and I’ve been thinking about your hair/what I wanted to do with your hair. ”

Do this with at least 1 person today and watch them light up and watch how you start to perform more creatively and inspired.

This simple thing can help ignite a transformation in how you behave and how clients feel about you.