December 2008

Shannon Wells

Beauty Business Buzz | by Shannon Wells

 

Beauty Technicians are “Mojo Givers” for their Clients

When was the last time you asked yourself, Why do I do what I do?

Being part of this dynamic industry for the past seven years has connected me with some of the most colorful, creative and passionate people on earth.

The beauty industry is filled with people who are unique the way they have dedicated themselves to helping make a difference in people’s lives, whether they know it or not.

Recently the opportunity to go to a “new” technician (at least, new to me) to get my hair cut and colored helped remind me why people in the beauty industry hold a unique position to change lives and lift the spirits of the entire nation they service. That made me want to write about the experience through the eyes of your clients and take you through the experience—and the mojo— you infuse into the world.

The Hunt: Believe it or not, it’s hard to find you. Finding a new stylist or technician can be a big, daunting task. Trying out someone for the first time can literally feel like placing your life in someone’s hands. First time clients have no idea of your level of experience, of what you know or what you don’t know.

It’s been an unofficial pastime for me to study people’s hair. I’ve found that the best technicians send their models out into the world as walking, talking displays of their talents. Every great technician I’ve found was by asking people where they get their nails done, who takes care of their skin and of course, where they get their hair done.

What I’m looking for is not just the great haircut and color; after all, not having been through beauty school I wouldn’t know the technical points of a good cut. But I look for someone who knows how to make themselves look great. They just exude self-confidence, and that is a direct reflection of their hairstylist’s ability.

There was one woman who was a friend of a friend I noticed. Every time I saw her, I thought to myself, wow, she has great hair. So when I finally asked where she had her hair done, I called and made an appointment with her stylist for the next week.

The Anticipation: Making an appointment with a new technician can be downright scary. When you show up to the new salon or spa, the waiting room and front desk create the first impression of how your hair will eventually turn out. Sitting in the lobby watching all of the stylists, wondering which would be mine… You might as well know, a client generally thinks, and I’m no exception, that if the stylist has great hair (or nails or skin) then the new customer figures they will provide a good haircut (or nails or skin).

In my case, the cute smiling face of Sandie greeted me. She’s a stylist and color expert from Hair for You salon in Miramar Beach, Florida. Her color was great, her makeup was applied gracefully and this was all for an “early” 9 a.m. appointment. As far as first impressions go, she made me feel comfortable and escorted me back to her chair.

I immediately whipped out the magazine with model pictures of cuts and color that I wished to mimic. Sandie was great and let me say my peace. When I was finished explaining my dream style and I looked up at her, she gave me a confident smile. She told me she knew just what I was talking about, repeated back to me what I wanted for confirmation, and then said she was ready to get started.

The Process: At this point, the client leaves the result in the hands of the technician. This is where the stylist does their thing, where the magic happens. I love that you can visualize the result, assess tones, features and lifestyle to come up with the best solution for the client. It really is great to watch a talented technician work.

For many, this is where the love and passion comes in. Most technicians I have known are really creative; the best of the best can take a person’s image, confidence and even their life and change it for the better, all in one visit. It is truly amazing. This is what I see during the application of color and the precision of the cut.

If only your clients knew about all of the blood, sweat and tears that have occurred prior to their visit. Some of my best friends are technicians and they have shared stories of mishaps and debacles during the learning process. Anyone can make a mistake on a spreadsheet, and in that case, only the numbers get hurt. With beauty technicians, that’s not the case.

The amazing thing about technicians is that they gain their skills on a live stage. It takes guts and confidence to persevere through the scrutiny of clients until you perfect your craft. You show off your hard work and practice on every client you see. I happen to know this and I always keep it in mind when getting my hair done. Although your clients may not say anything, trust me, they appreciate all of your experiments and recoveries and are grateful that you have taken the time to stick with it so they can reap the rewards.

The Result: As my service comes to completion, I am faced in the mirror with one of the best feelings I know; I’m staring in the mirror at a better version of myself. I had chosen a fairly bold (for me) red color and as the finishing touches were being applied Sandie said, “Don’t worry; I won’t let you leave my chair until you love it.” Hearing this brought a big smile to my face and the smile was the perfect finishing touch to my new look.

I would like all technicians to truly understand what they give to their clients. In my particular situation, I’m eight months pregnant; I have been feeling a little “blah,” to say the least. When I looked in the mirror at the new me, I felt rejuvenated and rambunctious—back to my normal feisty self. I felt like going out to lunch to celebrate. I felt like I couldn’t wait for my husband to see me. I felt like I could take on just about anything.

This is what you have the opportunity to be to your clients. In all areas of the beauty industry: hair, nails, esthetics and even massage, there are clients that you can shift their day and even their lives. All this because you choose to be a part of this wonderful industry.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to have the power to change someone’s being, but I know that Sandie knows what it feels like, and I thank her.

Shannon Wells is the marketing manager of Your Beauty Network, a beauty industry ongoing business support service. YBN offers a membership based business support resource used by over 700 salon and spa owners. For more information, visit www.ybn.com, call 1-866-364-4926 or e-mail shannon@ybn.com.