Demonstrate. “Once you’ve taught curly clients how to style their hair,” Parvin notes, “they will be cheerleaders and send you more clients.” Anthony Cress estimates that he gets five new curly clients for every texture client he enlightens. “Texture clients have had curly hair their whole lives, and yet no stylist has told them how to work with it,” Cress says. “I walk them through it step by step.” At the Ouidad Salon in Santa Monica, California,Ouidad educator Morgan Willhite posts how-to videos for curly clients to access. And while they’re in her chair, the clients style a section of their new look under her supervision. “It’s true of all clients, but with textured clients you want to make extra-sure they can maintain the look themselves,” Willhite notes. “If you teach the textured client about her hair and her new style, she’ll trust you.” Clients transitioning from relaxing services to natural hair need re-education. “Most clients who were relaxing their hair are still fighting the curl,” says Cress. “That’s because
they don’t know how to work with curly hair. Once they do, their whole life changes.”
Educate yourself. “First and foremost, really learn and make sure you know how to work with confidence on all types of textured hair,” Ruiz advises. “Specializing means you’re an expert at something,” adds Franco Della Grazia, global artist and texture ambassador for Matrix and a leading stylist at Cutler Salon in NYC. “When a client asks you a question about texture, you need to be able to answer it. You can’t fool someone with textured hair. Hairdressers who are successful at this are the ones who really know their craft.” click image to zoom Texture classes and videos are becoming more common. Christo offers both at his salon, while Hill’s stylists research the product formulas and present the information to each other. Willhite suggests becoming certified in texture. “In 2000, I became the third person to be certified by Ouidad,” she says. “Today more than 250 salons are Ouidad-certified, applying to multiple stylists per salon. Our facility in New York offers training in how to properly cut curly hair and how to use all of the styling products. It’s hands-on technical training, but you’re also training your eye to look at hair differently because of the texture.” To truly be a texture specialist, Della Grazia maintains that you need to be able not just to manage curl but to create it. “We aren’t calling them ‘perms’ anymore, because we’re changing the perception,” he says. “We’re just getting bend on the ends and lift at the root, so we’re putting in fewer rods. There’s a huge market for this; not everyone is born with the beachy hair texture that women want today.”
Facebook! Also tweet! Post videos on YouTube! If any industry benefits from social media, it’s the visually inspired beauty industry. Posting your work online communicates that you’re serious about what you’re doing, says Jessee, who owns Sherri’s Hair Salon in Bristol, Virginia. “When you post a lot,” she notes, “eventually people will want to find out more about you and your salon.” Christo estimates that his p.r. team spends two to three hours a day on social media in addition to one staffer who is a dedicated social media marketer. “We do it all,” Christo says. “Facebook, Instagram, Tumbler, Pinterest—you name it. We do a lot of fun stuff, and our contact list keeps growing and growing. One morning, I sent out a stylist and make-up artist to do a financial advisor who was going to be on TV and has more than 25,000 followers on Twitter. We exchanged our services for her tweets plus one Instagram. You would be amazed at how many people you can reach.” Hill reminds stylists not to neglect the hashtag. “We constantly get new people joining our Instagram page just from seeing a photo that pops up on a hashtag like ‘hair,’ ‘curly hair,’ ‘natural hair’ or ‘textured hair,’” she says.
Google. To assess your online marketing power, don’t google the name of your salon; google what potential clients are googling. “I ask new clients how they found us, and often their answer is that they did a search on ‘best curly stylist’ in their geographic area,” says Willhite. Do that same search; if your name doesn’t show up on the first page, work harder to create an association between your salon and curly hair. Make sure your website includes keywords like “curly,” “frizzy” and “texture” as well as the name of your curl-friendly product line. Write a blog, which creates fresh content regularly—something the Google engine notices. And don’t forget to send out press releases. “Two months ago The Wall Street Journal came into our salon under cover and gave us the best review!” Christo recalls. “We got a lot of clients from that. It’s always effective when a respected publication tells your story.”
Heal. The typical texture client who comes to you has hair that’s dry, stressed and damaged. Fix it! “For the hair to show off its natural curl, it has to be in good condition,” says Cress. “Being a texture expert starts with priming the hair with shampoo and conditioner,” agrees Parvin. “Understanding the fabric will set you apart and also get better styling results. Companies are emphasizing styling products that also hydrate, so you’re providing the moisture first and then the hold.” Invite. At Planet Curls Salon in Houston, Texas, Geri Curtis holds “curl parties” to bring in curly clients and their friends. Make it fun while showing your guests how to style their curly locks and solve their
Jump-start your speciality. “The first thing I did when I decided to go full-force into texture was to advertise on NaturallyCurly.com,” says Hill. Curlies search that website for texture-savvy local salons, and Hill says her ad attracted a core clientele. Hill also includes her texture specialty as well as her texture-targeted product brand on her business cards. “I hand out my card everywhere,” Hill says. “When I see someone with curly hair, I give her my card and say, ‘Hey you should check out our website.’”