So You’re Thinking of Becoming a Hairstylist?

by Emily Atkinson about a year ago in career

Growing a clientele can be much tougher than you think.

So You’re Thinking of Becoming a Hairstylist?

It’s very difficult to be told that by the time you are in 11th grade you need to have your future figured out. It’s so unrealistic! So many people drop out, change majors, and become deeper in debt because we all grow and change as we get older! Goals change, likes and dislikes may change, interests change, and plans can change too. Luckily that didn’t happen to me when I chose hairstyling as my career path.

Did I always know that this is what I wanted to do? Of course not, but I have always been a creative person, and it was a career where I could show my creativity as well as make people feel good about themselves, all while staying somewhat active. I knew I didn’t want to be sitting at a computer desk day in and day out, so this seemed perfect.

School was tough at times, it’s a lot to take in and learn in 10 months. I remember feeling like I would never be confident enough to work on clients. It was terrifying doing a stranger's hair, and just praying that it would turn out the way they wanted! Thank goodness I didn’t give anyone a bad experience while I was in school. As my graduation date approached I got extremely lucky to get a job as an assistant at a high end salon.

This salon was very well-known and had a great name at the time! I couldn’t have been more excited. I stayed in this salon for 4 years while I completed my apprenticeship and got my license. Unfortunately the owner turned out to be a little difficult to work for, so after 4 years, 1 move (the salon had to move to a smaller location), 32 people who quit, and no growth, I decided I needed to make a change for myself.

I moved to a different salon, a new beginning, basically starting over. Because I was held back so much at my first salon I didn’t have a huge clientele. I had counted about 40-50 people. I had people passing me their information and telling me to contact them when I leave, I had people ask where I was going and if they could follow me, and others who just straight up told me they were coming. I thought I would be okay, so I made the move. Sadly I’m going to say I lost about half of those people. Even after contacting them through the information they gave me, some ignored me, some lied, and some stalled. You can only send someone messages so many times before realizing they really weren’t coming. My income will completely depend on how many clients I bring in, meaning I would be making strictly commission in the new salon where at the old one I made minimum wage hourly. So losing that amount of people can be completely terrifying.

After the first 2 months, of course I’ve had new people come in and see me but it’s not enough. I’ve tried every method from an Instagram page, to a Facebook page, a kijiji add, and even a city classified add for every person who works for the city. I’m telling you, being a newer hairstylist is NOT as easy as it may seem.

Thankfully it’s a job where we are constantly learning and having to stay up to date with trends, and many people do figure it out over time. But if you are in my position and seem to be stuck, just know you aren’t alone! And to anyone else reading this who is thinking hairstyling is an easy choice, think again! It takes a lot of patience, work, photography skills, social media skills, customer service skills, and of course good hair colouring, styling, and cutting skills! Don’t give up, if you love doing hair and stick to it, your clientele will come.

Emily Atkinson
Emily Atkinson
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