By Chelle Neff
As an assistant in the salon industry, you’ll receive invaluable hands-on education while helping your stylist provide a satisfying guest experience for their clients. The relationship between a stylist and an assistant should be built on teamwork and mentor-ship. Instead of seeing yourself as a human hair clip, take a proactive approach by asking some key questions that will help you share your talents and skills more effectively.
Learn Your Stylist’s Service Standards
To become an irreplaceable member of the team, start with learning your stylist’s service standards. Ask them what your role will be during each service, like a haircut or a partial foil. Will you be finishing the services for all of the clients? If so, make sure you understand exactly what they need you to do, and which are the best tools to use.
Next, discuss how long it should take to complete each portion of every service. The goal is to work smarter, not harder. Time yourself while practicing or performing services to help you improve your speed.
Talk to Your Stylist About Their Goals
To find out what goals are most important to your stylist, just ask are they looking to increase their retail or add-on sales? Or do they want to grow their pre-booking percentage? Consistent communication will keep you and your stylist on the same page while working as a team.
Once you’ve identified specific goals, work with your stylist to achieve them. Here are some tips to achieve those goals:
1. If the goal is to upsell more add-on services, sit down with your stylist in the morning and pre-plan the day. Looking for windows of opportunity—a.k.a. “gaps” in your stylist’s schedule—where you can offer additional salon services such as waxing, glaze services, or treatments. Once you’ve designed your slate of offerings, follow through by telling clients about the services you and your stylist can provide in those time slots.
2. If the focus is on retail, ask the client what issues they are having with their hair, then recommend styling tips, products, or tools. For example, if a client says she wishes she could create a sleek blowout at home, educate her on the tools and products you use during the finishing service, and explain why they’re best for the job. If you help your stylist with checkouts, a simple question may complete the sale and boost those retail numbers: “Would you like to take home the BaBylissPRO Rapido™ dryer we spoke about to recreate that smooth blow dry on your own?”
3. If increasing pre-booking is a goal, talking to guests about maintenance is key. During the service, let the client know when your stylist will need them to return to maintain their new style. Give the guest a specific date, so by checkout, they have already had time to think about it. Tell the guest what times are available on the day you recommended, and ask which one works best for them.
Make the Most of Being an Assistant
As an assistant, you’ll learn valuable skills and figure out what works to increase your sales, pre-booking, and timing. Your stylist can also share scripts for talking with each guest and give you sage advice to use on your own clients. Katie West, an assistant-turned-stylist at Urban Betty Salon says, “Being an assistant taught me to be thorough, how to be timely, and how to reach my goals as a stylist.” With a positive mindset and a little planning, you’ll be an asset to your stylist, by providing professional service to their guests and helping grow their clientele.