April 2013

LeAnne Velona

The Beauty Professional| by Fred Jones


Continued Education to Get Foot-hold on Ladder of Progress

I am the proud father of a daughter who in the past two years is realizing her career goal: becoming a skilled and successful cosmetologist.

She learned many of the basic, technical skills at a great school from experienced and caring instructors. Upon graduation she was employed in a chain salon that helped instill client-relations and salon management dispositions, while further perfecting her professional skills.

Since her particular employer/salon doesn't offer chemical services, she recently decided to move to another setting to continue to broaden and enhance her career. She is already considering her next move, possibly into booth rental, knowing that much greater responsibilities and potential rewards come with sole proprietorship. She even contemplates someday owning her own establishment, or possibly several.

My daughter's pathway into the world of beauty is fairly typical for cosmetologists all over the country. But where she goes from here can set her apart from her peers. In a word, what will make her a top-tier stylist or salon owner is progress.

Whether a recent beauty school graduate wants to be the best behind-the-chair stylist or eventually a successful salon business owner or chain founder, the world of beauty offers it all.

Ours is an industry that rewards artistic abilities, technical skills, scientific understanding of chemicals and sanitation, client communications, and the ability to develop enduring relationships of trust. And it has more female-owned businesses and entrepreneurial opportunities than almost any other market sector.

Regardless of which particular path a young stylist takes, success is dependent upon ongoing training and learning. Perfecting one's trade is a life-long pursuit, greatly assisted by the caring contribution of educators, mentors and role models.

If salon entrepreneurship is a stylist's desired goal, then continuing their education is a necessity, since the vast bulk of beauty college curricula focuses on technical skills and understanding, not business, law and management.

There are far too many beauty school graduates who struggle to get a footing on this ladder of progressive success. The shock of leaving a controlled learning environment and thrown out into the sea of salons can be overwhelming and disillusioning. In my own daughter's case, she relied heavily upon the initial training of her chain salon employer and the kindness of experienced mentors. That gave her confidence in the present and hope for her future.

I see my daughter actively searching for helpful seminars and training opportunities outside her salon. She peruses trade magazines in search of helpful insights, and studies up on emerging beauty trends, techniques and technologies. She is now learning all about chemical treatments and how they interact with different textures of hair, while continuing to improve her techniques with improved instruments and equipment. This learning curve excites her, gives purpose to her career, and provides continued guidance.

But beyond giving her a foot-hold to help her climb to professional success, this drive to advance her trade will bring monetary rewards, as well. Unlike many of her peers outside of beauty, my daughter is not burdened by heavy college loans, and she didn't spend 4-5 of the most productive years of her life in the classroom. Her financial freedom provides her the opportunity to broaden and improve her skills and knowledge in her youth, unfettered by significant school debts and not needing steady and significant income to make ends meet. By improving her craft, now, she will be making herself even more marketable in the years to come.

If you are a young stylist doubting your career choice and worried about the future, I hope these thoughts have inspired a new perspective that motivates you forward. And, if you are an experienced stylist who took the stroll down memory lane with this column, consider lending a mentoring hand to the young stylist working next to you.

We are all making a living in the same industry, one that is dependent on clients who trust the safety and skill of those providing salon services. We not only hold every client's self-image in our hands, but that of the entire beauty industry.

Fred Jones serves as Legal Counsel to the Professional Beauty Federation of California, a trade association singularly dedicated to raising the professionalism of the beauty industry. To learn more about the PBFC and receive further details about the subjects contained in his column, go to www.beautyfederation.org.