Before I became a hairstylist myself, I was super aware of the disconnect between me as a salon guest and the stylists whose chairs I found myself in. I hadn’t yet gone to Cosmetology school to know how to describe what I wanted and I was always so hopeful, every time I tried a new stylist, that they would take the time to help me decide what I wanted. Keep in mind that this was before people carried mini computers in their pockets with things like Pinterest boards and Google available to them. I wasn’t able to pull up the latest trends by putting the keywords into a search engine and use the available content to speak for me. I was left to the outdated hardcover “hairstyles” books that a salon mayhave. So, basically, what I’m saying is that I entered every salon with my fingers crossed. But, I knew that if the stylist would just take the time to really talk to me, we could have figured it out together. Sadly enough, this wasn’t always the case. I always felt rushed or talked over the top of and even on some occasions, totally disregarded.
As I entered into this amazing industry many years later, I was reminded again of that emotion of unsuredness when I would greet my guests... except this time it wasn’t coming from me, I was aware of it in their world. I could perceive where they lacked faith in me hearing them and would either energetically throw their hands up and hope for the best or would white knuckle the arms of the chair the entire service until the final reveal. Little by little, as I grew in my confidence behind the chair, I discovered that connecting with my guests was actually just as big of a passion of mine as the art of hairstyling was to me. I made it my target with each and every guest to ease their fears or apprehension before I would even leave the consultation. Now, you have to hear what I said there... Not that I stuck around in the consultation until MY fears were settled... I stayed until MY GUEST was confident in what we were doing. I see alot of stylists make up their mind what they’re doing for a guest’s hair, check out from the conversation, and wait for the opportunity when they can excuse themselves to go mix the color. Meanwhile, the guest is still unsure if they’ve been heard and begin the ass-clenching part of the service which will then last until after the blow dry is complete.
After making this my focus for many years, I had a guest share with me what an incredible experience she had in my chair. I thanked her for the kind compliment, but she wasn’t done. She went on to tell me about all of the awful experiences she had previously with other stylists. My first thought was that there was no way that this woman could be that good at finding that many lazy stylists. I refused to believe that this middle aged woman had a knack for landing in that many chairs where the “stylist didn’t care”. Im sure it wasn’t that they didn’t care like she felt was the case. Maybe they were nervous too. Maybe they were ill prepared for that part of the job. Im sure they were doing their best... because hairstylists are RAD and some of the most caring people I know!
As we said our good-byes and she stood there at the front desk booking her next appointment, she said some words that stuck with me... “Sarah, I wonder what the world would be like if you could train other stylists to do what you do. Teach them how to connect.”
Have you ever been called to something that felt greater than you? A bigger task than you thought you were capable of taking on. Yet, the itch to do it wouldn’t go away. For some of you, I bet that was choosing this profession. Many of us tried our hands at other careers before realizing we couldnt avoid the creative itch any longer. Well, this statement that was put into my world that day was just like that. I didn’t know for one second how I was going to put into words what it was that I was able to do with guests... But, one thing I did know.... If hairstylists came together and learned the art of connecting with their guests, we could change the face of this amazing industry!