Starting out in any career is tough. Your first months as a stylist will likely be your hardest, but someday you’re going to look back on them fondly as one of the most challenging and exciting times of your life. Until then, here are some tips for newbies to kick start your career…
- Work hard — This sounds like a no brainer, right? But hard work beyond the chair is more important at the beginning of your career than ever. You might have some slow days starting out, so use the time to lend an extra hand to clean up around the salon or help another stylist with too much on their plate. Salon owners and colleagues will notice this and keep you in mind for opportunities, forward clients to you when their time is full, and lend you a hand when you need it later.
- Take notes — Client cards are a system every stylist should put in place. Take a moment after each appointment to write down as much information about their preferences, colors used, hair history and more. You’ll be happy you did when they come back for their next appointment.
- Insist on direction — You’ll quickly learn that your most difficult clients might at first seem like those who are the easiest going. Experienced stylists know though that the client in the chair saying “do whatever you like” or “I’m not too picky” can be some of the toughest to work with. Don’t settle for a lack of direction. Without being pushy, keep the conversation going and try to get more information. If they don’t give, then remember, you’re the expert. Make suggestions and ask them what they think of your ideas, and search for confirmation. You’ll be happier then to proceed with your work with more confidence.
- Language counts — Employ the right rhetoric whenever possible. Use words like “shampoo” instead of “wash”. They can wash their hair at home, but in the salon, a shampoo implies more pampering. Avoid harsh words like “bleach” and instead say “lift” or “lighten”, and so on. A little of this goes a long way to keep your client at ease.
- Dress the part — From the get go, dress as though you are already a successful stylist. Clients and colleagues expect you to not only be good technically at what you do, but also have great taste. Clients will gravitate towards you because they respect your style and believe you know what it takes to make them look great. Salon owners will be proud to have you around and put you forward for new clients and other opportunities.
- Keep learning — Just because your classes are done and your assisting days are over, doesn’t mean you know it all. To be a great stylist and a successful one, you need to keep learning all the time. Work photoshoots outside of the salon, go places that inspire you, take an extra course when the opportunity presents itself, and ask questions to learn from fellow stylists.
- Be patient & stay optimistic — Some days are good, other days are bad. It may take time to build a good list of clients, get to know colleagues, and find your footing. But stick with it, stay positive, and keep your heart in your work even when it’s hard and you’ve made mistakes. Persistence will bring success your way. It’s just a matter of time.