click image to zoomPatrick McIvor When I was doing the Goldwell/KMS/Arrojo On Tour in NYC, one of my favorite people, Maggie Mulhern, asked me what my favorite movie was as a professional hairstylist. I had two answers at the time – Vidal Sassoon: The Movie and Unzipped (the Isaac Mizrahi movie) both for different reasons.
Then a couple nights ago I stumbled upon a movie, Jiro, or more specifically Jiro Dreams of Sushi on Netflix. I started watching the movie with my family – it’s about an 80 year old Japanese man who owns a 3 Star Michelin Rated Sushi Restaurant in Tokyo. Jiro is in The Guinness Book of World Records for being the oldest 3 Star (the highest rating) working chefs in the world. But what makes Jiro unique is not only his high standard for making sushi, but the standard he holds himself and his team to - apprentices work for 10 years, and for that, he teaches them all he knows. Before that, it's years of massaging octopus for four hours by hand so that it’s more tender than everyone else's. The apprentices work for years only making rice, before they are able to make the grilled egg, and ultimately after 10 years, sushi. And then Jiro said something that stopped me cold. He said that the team needed to eat great food, as you watched the apprentices and chefs sit down and eat what would be the same highest quality fish/food they would be serving to their guests when they opened. To give some perspective, there are only 10 seats in the restaurant, the dinners start at $300 per person and require one year for a reservation - and the team is eating the same food!
What Jiro explained is that you can’t make great food if you don't know what great food tastes like.
Okay stop, at this point my wife turns and looks at me and says, “Does that mean you have to have great hair to do great hair?” I swallowed hard as I said, “No?” Heck, my hair is often all over the place when I’m done working (I have grown and donated my hair three times so far in the last 10 years) and I come from a camp/tribe where the stylist hair has nothing to do with what they can do, i.e. Christian, Guido, Arrojo/Cutler Salon in NYC…and I know a lot of great bald stylists too. But, there was something here I just hadn't figured out yet, then it came to me...for us it’s SERVICE.
I realized why I had had challenges in building team members in the past. I could train them on how to do great hair, because you can see great hair, but like the taste of great food, how do you know what great service is? Especially if you have never experienced it. Wow, BAM there it is! I realized challenges I've had in the past were because there was not the experience of being serviced, with great service, and without a 5 star experience, how would you know what that could be?