Man the power of social media sometimes blows my mind. A few weeks back I sat and I watched the hashtag #blacksalonproblems pretty much explode. Some of the meme (a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users) were hilarious but then some of them very true to the culture in the black salon. I have been a salon owner four years and have been a stylist for fourteen and I have witnessed some of those things first hand. Although those things are often considered the norm, they should have made a whole lot of “black” stylist feel some type of way about being called out like that. Most of the post made fun of the overall experience in the salon.
Time, professionalism, and results are some of the things that stuck out the most to me. They way technology set up right now time shouldn’t STILL be a major issue. There is really no excuse for it but I remember when I first started doing hair, I used an appointment book but even then it had 24hrs on paper for you to plan your day. I would write the person name and their service. For about eight years now I have been using online booking. I tell clients all the time “ that is the most accurate way to book me”. I have already timed the services and usually that leaves a little time in between to get the next person started, so when she is finished the other client is in rotation. That is something that I have perfected, and if by chance I am behind I am very honest with my client. Honestly my method has worked perfectly for me and it has allowed me to stabilize my finances because I am able to do a certain amount of people a day. Time is money point blank. Respect people time and I promise you they will respect yours. There have been times that my clients come in the door apologizing and willing to pay extra for being late.
Professionalism. You know how they say, “it is more than one way to skin a cat”. It is more than one way to enhance your skill set. Go beyond your client expectations. Wearing all black can be boring but really it looks better when you are positioning yourself as the expert. Have you ever put yourself in a new client position? They walk in the salon and everybody in gladiator sandals and maxi dresses, ummm which one of yall Andrea. That’s confusing. I typically where black everyday in the salon. I haven’t always done so but I have always known better. They teach all black from the first day of beauty school. The next thing is professional development. I sat in a class recently with a stylist that hadn’t taken a class in over 20 years. That is crazy. There are so many classes offered in our industry. NO STYLIST LEFT BEHIND lol ☺. About 90% of my clientele have natural hair but I still sit in on relaxer classes because I just want to know what’s going on. Formulas and packaging change often, what that product may have done before may not happen any more. There are 25,000 people in Georgia employed in beauty salons but guess what we still need more EXPERTS.
OK last thing. OMG where are the results people. I had a lady come in for a consultation that said she had been natural for 3 years I ain’t lying that lady had about 6 inches of hair. If you don’t specialize in that area just be up front and say I don’t do that. If you do weaves but when they take them out there hair hasn’t grown take responsibility for that. Perhaps this is a client that doesn’t visit the salon often but she still should walk away with a regimen from the professional who did the install telling her how to take care of hair moving forward and if she doesn’t her results will be hair breakage because dry hair doesn’t grow. Once they cross your threshold there should be a feeling of relief knowing that you will deliver results. When doing color be familiar with the color wheel. You can’t just slap color and on wait and see what will happen. Be comfortable enough to come with a formula that will guarantee results. When you don’t know what you doing you waste your time, product, and leave a bad taste in the clients’ mouth.
I have been a hair stylist for 15 years. I have worked on the north side, east side, west side, and south side. When I finally accepted the fact that I would be a salon owner my first desire was to change the image and reputation of African American salons. We are known for poor customer service, mediocre talent (especially when it came to cutting and coloring hair), salon full of gossip and drama, and poor time management. My second desire was to be in “our neighborhood”. It didn’t make since to me that we didn’t have nice salons in our area. It’s such a foreign thing. This place has fulfilled every desire that I could have imagined in these last three years. As I plan my relocation my desire and business model is still the same but there are still some key elements that I’m missing like community service, educating and training students, offering more add on services, and a few others that I’m pondering on. Happy birthday to The Beverly Salon! I’m so thankful that God trusted me to be the visionary for this business. The good has out weighed the bad and finical overflow has taken over like never before for myself and my team. This is a kingdom connection!!!!
I personally think that salon etiquette has gone out of style. Mainly because it’s only a hand full of people that still even respect the salon. A lot of kitchenticians, built out basement salons, and salon suites going on in the industry right now. So once people start back coming to a structured salon, etiquette is the last thing on their mind.
- It’s really rude to sit in another stylist station. That person pays a weekly fee to run their business from that space. So they are responsible for anything that goes on there. Example: You sit done and have a pen in your pocket and then the fabric in the chair is punctured. Well when the owner sees that they are going to take it up with the stylist is assigned to that chair.
- Ma’am you cannot bring your WEN products in and ask the stylist to use them and be offended when they say no. If your stylist offers a signature service they can not guarantee the same results with unfamiliar products. Plus, a shampoo and conditioner all in one is strange anyway.
- Turn your ringer off on your devices.
- Minimum conversation should happen at the shampoo bowl. It is the one area in the salon that is designated for relaxation. SHHHHHH
- Send a text or call if you will be running behind. Although there is a grace period. Don’t assume.
- Book in advance. If you know your birthday, graduation dinner, and cousin wedding coming up. The stylist shouldn’t have be panicked to fit you in and you knew about those dates in advance.
- Respect the stylist. We go through hours of training, continuing education is a requirement, and most of us love what we do. We miss out of important functions sometimes just to make sure you look nice at your “important function”.
- Charge your phone before coming to the salon. We are using all our plugs and can’t give up an outlet for your phone.
- Please wait in the waiting area don’t just start roaming around. Where are you going?
- Be specific! When booking your appointment there is only a certain amount of time allotted for that service. So if you book for a twist set and get to the salon and change your mind and now you want a sew in. C’MON ma’am! There is no way that stylist can accommodate you.
It has become more and more common that I have a client to come visit me in the salon and raise the question : Is there anyway that I can get my straight ends to go back curly? I am NOT a magician but I try to be very thorough in conversation and make sure that I GET TO THE BOTTOM OF IT, because these straight ends didn’t just appear nor did they grow from your scalp. The placement of the straight pieces usually tell it all.
Observation #1 Have you ever had a sew in and left a small portion of your hair out along with your edges? What usually happens is that the client feels the need to use more heat to make their natural hair blend with the silky texture of weave that they have chosen which is self inflicted heat damage. When wearing weave it is very important to chose hair that matches your texture but that is a totally different topic.
Observation #2 How often do you curl your hair? Usually what happens when your curl your hair everyday it is very damaging to your hair which causes weak strands that eventually breaks the curl down. I have seen in some cases that one side is straighter than the other because that is the side that the client is most comfortable with.
Observation #3 Do you do any home maintenance? For whatever reasons that may come up some clients are doing their hair at home. As a stylist with loads of experience it is still very hard for me to blow dry my own hair but I still proceed with caution. When improperly blow drying your hair you can over stretch the hair which adds unnecessary tension and eventually breaks the curl as well.
Observation #3 I don’t even do my own hair, I have been going to a stylist that said she specializes in natural hair. Find you a healthy hair care profession that specializes in natural hair care and who are willing to establish a relationship with. I have had new clients visit me and say,” I seen my co worker hair and when you do it its beautiful but when she wet her hair its still curly. I pride myself in maintaining natural texture and if I begin to see a difference from heat I will suggest heat free styles.
In summary, if you have completely transitioned straight ends should be a thing of the past. Once the texture is compromised it may have to be trimmed or cut. Although there are some services that I offer that can help your curls to bounce back but that comes with commitment. Commit to having the best hair!
“Pretty hair is healthy hair!”
The communication between to the client and stylist is so important. Through observation and experience I have found that there are two types of clients that exist. One that has no idea what they want, what looks good on them, and has 1000 reasons not to try anything different. The other client is one that is a lot more versatile and takes pride in “switching it up”. During my consultation I ask a lot of questions some related to hair and some related to your personal life. I am very scared of clients who love their natural color hair then ask to go platinum blonde. As a matter of fact that freaks me out..lol! It usually says to me that something dramatic has happened and hair has to be the one to feel it.
If you are going natural from a 20 yr. relaxer experience, I ask questions like: What made you decide to go natural? Did you recently have a bad relaxer or salon experience? How is your maintenance or commitment to your hair?
If a client walk in with jet black hair and want to go lighter I ask if that is their natural hair color and if not when was the last color application you had? First of all I do not color first time visits, and I am very firm on that. I have chose to not do those services because I don’t have a relationship with the hair and everything may not be exposed during the consultation, sometimes it takes a while. I highly recommend you tell the truth! If your hair was died black 6 months ago, guess what it is STILL black it may fade but there is still some pigment there lingering which may have to removed before you can move forward.
Then their is that client that comes frequent but can’t retain length and can’t keep the natural shine . During conversation with this client I usually find out that this client doesn’t cover the hair at night, doesn’t wrap or pin curl, and sometimes they not even combing or brushing your hair. Also dry hair doesn’t grow and moisture is very important. (Ask me about the benefits of the Hair Steamer)
When you would like to try a new look: Come to your stylist with picture references. My stylist will be prepared with a color book but understand the hair that is used to show the pigment of the color is typically white hair. What one person may call a cornrow another may call a french braid. Also, be realistic. If you bring a picture of a swoop bang and your hair isn’t full enough, come with some extensions in tow. The style is not always impossible but it can be modified. I said something right there: THE STYLE IS NOT ALWAYS IMPOSSIBLE BUT IT CAN BE MODIFIED!
Do you experience dry scalp? I have had many clients come in with this issue and some of things require medication from a dermatologist.This is when I ask about your water intake, how often you eat bread, and sometimes I even ask you about past experiences with eczema flair ups . Flakes are not always “dandruff” sometimes it just ash…lol!