Change is the only constant surrounding the beauty industry. Amongst the post-pandemic political and social-economic modifications, we are seeing a shift from your "one-stop beauty shop" to a more transparent and inclusive working environment. As hair stylists, our priorities are shifting, focusing on self-expression and self-care behind the chair. As we evolve into the professionals we envision ourselves being, our ethical expectations are taking a front-row seat in establishing that "work/life balance.". Whether we're at the beginning of our careers or veterans in our profession, we all offer something unique to the table. No one stylist is the same, and that's what makes this job all the more exciting!
With that said, today's hair stylists are choosing to work in salons that resonate with their core values and that curate an environment that represents change, innovation, diversity, and, most importantly, the salon's vibe. That is why these changes must begin at the start of every hair stylist's career…cosmetology schools. Education plays a vital role in our profession, and we are constantly reminded of this daily. No right or wrong regarding personal style or preference exists because we all have our niche. However, my advice to our up-and-coming stylists…no matter where you go, your work ethic begins at school. Your instructors are there to guide you on what salon life is all about. For example, how you assist your classmates with group projects and show up to class on time every day. How you dress when you show up for school, how you talk, and how you handle conflicts and resolve them in a salon-like environment, give your instructors and future employers a glimpse of your commitment and dedication to this craft. Find your crew who will keep you accountable in school and at work. Those are your people!
Listen, everyone in this career which ultimately cares about their work will tell you that starting off in this industry was "no piece of cake." Every hair stylist that has ever entered into this profession has walked and paved their own path, meaning they put in the hard work. Comparing yourself to a 10-year veteran will only make you feel inferior to that stylist. As it should…but remember, that 10- year hairstylist has also put in the time, work, education, and countless hours behind the chair. They should be where they are today because of their hard work and dedication to their crafts. You will get there too, I promise! Your first step was deciding to take responsibility for your business by essentially choosing to become your own boss. And that's something that you should be incredibly proud of!
Being a hairstylist can be a fun and rewarding career path. Yet, somehow there is a stigmatism associated with our profession, alluding to the fact that we don't make as much money because our trade is considered more of a side hustle. Let's put it into perspective…we take out loans and spend close to $25,000-$30,000 a year to attend cosmetology school. In addition, we are encouraged to invest in our own education outside of school, which costs anywhere from $1,000-$2,000, sometimes even more, if you decide to specialize in a specific subject area of hair coloring and cutting classes alone. All these expenses add up, contributing to our knowledge, skill, experience, and understanding of this profession. So don't be discouraged if you didn't exactly get that color or cut right, remember “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” We all have our good and bad days as hairstylists. The goal is to keep going, no matter how often you have failed. Mistakes are how we learn, how we grow, and how we become better at our jobs. So many failures can only lead to success in the end. I'm here to tell you, YOU GOT THIS!