I love hair, everything about it. It's my passion. I have had a fantastic career because my passion has been my driver. Whether I was holding pins, folding towels, pinning wigs, holding hair, or making a mistake, I was in it, learning, watching, and fueling that passion.
I learned early in my career that continued education is essential for elevating my craft. I also found a mentor to keep me grounded and to help guide my choices. Looking back, I've been honored to have had many mentors or artists 'take me under the wing.' Because of this, I feel it's my turn to give back. It's my time to step into the mentor role.
Helping Stylists Navigate Their Career
I am at a point where I can stand back and look at our industry with a global perspective, see the paths, and help guide stylists through them. I come from and have had tremendous success in different areas. So, equipped with my knowledge, my mission is to empower stylists in all areas of business, wherever their heart wants to go-this industry. This industry is the greatest to be a part of and also the hardest to navigate. It can be scary, and I want to be there to help them walk through it. I want to help make their career something they are proud of.
No matter what role you play in the industry, I believe one of the keys to success is diversification.
I had an interesting conversation with a friend who recently had a worrisome experience. On a work trip, she had extensions installed, but when she returned to her usual stylist, they turned her away. They denied the service because they weren’t confident working on hair with extensions, ultimately frustrating and losing a loyal client. Unfortunately, I see and hear this happening too often in our industry. Being an expert in one thing is great for a while. However, humans change, styles change, and therefore stylists need change.
I learned how vital diversification was when I made the mistake of not being able to provide a specialty service for a client on a movie set. Humbled, I had no choice but to refer the client to another stylist who knew how to do the service.
The movie was "Wall Street 2", with Shia Lebouf and Michael Douglas. I had been cutting Shia's hair and styling it daily. When the role required a mature look, I decided that chemically straightening his hair was what would achieve this. Unfortunately, I had to refer him to my chemical specialist, who knocked his hair out of the park. Shia loved his hair so much; what do you think happened to me?
It didn't matter that I gave him great haircuts, and we seemed to have a great relationship- he left me for someone who could not only straighten his hair but also knew how to cut and style him, the trifecta! He loved the straightening process so much that he had it done for the next three movies by the person I referred him to. Lesson learned!
Educate Yourself to Diversify Your Skill Set
I immediately sought out education on how to do chemical straightening. I took three classes from three different companies to learn all the nuances and tricks these companies had with this process. I wanted all the knowledge to perfect my technique, be the best, and ensure the next client who required this service loved their hair and wouldn't have to go elsewhere. The following client was Justin Timberlake. I gave him his first chemical straightening, and guess what? He has never stopped getting it done. My work paid off. It went so well that I became a spokesperson for Pravana for their Chemical Straightening line.
Why do I tell this story? In the hopes that you do not make the same mistake I did. If you pigeonhole yourself as one type of stylist, for example, I am a colorist, I am a cutter, I do one kind of extension- you are giving business away. Clients do not want to go to three separate places to get their hair done. I cannot stress enough to all stylists the importance of investing time and money in expanding your knowledge, diversifying your skill set, and having a mentor or coach.
The Key to Client Retention
I hear the question often, "How do I retain clients?" The simple answer is to do great work and be able to repeat it. The not-so-simple, or behind-the-scenes fact, is the amount of effort it takes.
Continuing education and learning how to perfect, diversify, and upgrade your craft is necessary. If you are a great all-around hair stylist, you will have more solutions for your clients and be confident in your ability. You will sell more retail because you took the time to learn about the products you're selling and will be able to tailor them to each client. It translates to your client walking out of your salon very happy, time after time. Spending the time and money to elevate yourself and your craft will pay off tenfold in growing and retaining your clientele.
There are many facets to our career now; we are no longer just hairstylists. We are brand ambassadors, we are marketers, we are social media influencers, and we are business owners doing the day-to-day. Beauty schools don't teach these skills.
Mentors Help Move You Forward
I believe having a mentor/coach is vital to navigating the rough waters of being a stylist in 2022. It's imperative to have someone who has been there and done that and who has made the mistakes. They can talk with you, answer your questions, and help keep your momentum moving forward. They will know the little tricks that help promote your services or maybe refine your ideas for marketing. They can help shape your future and build your career. Without a sounding board, it is hard to grow, easier to get stuck, and harder to make a good living.
All of that said, You can do this! Success is attainable if you trust the process, elevate your skill set, practice, and stay grounded. Remember, you don't have to go at this alone. Reach out to someone you know that is successful, or if you are interested in my mentoring, you can reach out to me on Instagram. I will be more than happy to give you more information. Please, above all, never stop learning. Learn everything you can!
ABOUT SACHA QUARLES
Sacha Quarles is a Mentor, Emmy nominated stylist, and director for SHE Hair Extensions.
Follow Sacha on Instagram and at @SheHairPro
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