Brittaney Franklin is a stylist and the owner of Meraki Studio in Camp Hill, PA. She's a Wella Professional North America Ambassador, a second generation stylist, mom to twin daughters age 7 and a little boy age 5. She also volunteers her time to speak at cosmetology schools and asked her to share what kind of story she tells, what tips she offers, and what has helped her most in her successful journey. Enjoy!
MODERN SALON: When you speak at a beauty school, you’re already speaking to people who have decided this is their career path—do you tell them they’ve made a good choice and if so, why is it a good choice to choose beauty as a career?
BRITTANEY FRANKLIN: Yes, I let them know that they have made a good career choice because there are so many endless possibilities, opportunities, and they can put all their artistic abilities into this craft.
I let them know how important it is say motivated, focused and consistent; even if your state does not require ongoing education, you must continue to stay educated so you can keep up with the latest trends and techniques. Education will never stop and you have to be willing to put in the effort, money, and time to become the best version of yourself.
PHOTO: Brittaney Franklin backstage at Fashion Week.
MS: What are some mistakes you made early on that you share with them, in the hopes they can avoid them?
BF: I wouldn’t necessarily call any of the career decisions I made a mistake, but some advice I would say is one’s career path can be different from the other. There’s no right or wrong on where or when to start. There’s corporate salons to private salons, to even owning your own business. As a student in beauty school trying to navigate where to start I always list the pros and cons of each one to give them a better understanding of what may be the best fit for them on where to start.
PHOTO: Brittaney Franklin teaching what she loves--how to do hair.
MS: And what are some of the smart decisions you made that you also share with them?
BF: At the age of four years old I knew that being a hairstylist is what I always wanted to do. Growing up in the salon, watching my mom behind the chair, I knew that this was my calling. Even at the young age of four and five I was a hustler, sweeping up hair for a dollar.
Back then, I didn’t know I was gaining customer service experience, but I would sit at the front desk and ask each client as they left, "How did they like your service today?” At the age of 13, I made a big decision to leave my public school with all my best friends and transfer to a new school--a vocational school. Going to this vocational school, I was a licensed cosmetologist before I graduated the 12th Grade.
I made a smart decision while in beauty school to start out as a floater assistant for a private salon. I always explain how assisting isn’t always fun because you’re consistently cleaning up after others, prepping clients, doing laundry, serving water or wine, consistently shampooing.
But, I explain during this process of assisting it’s very important because not only are they learning time management, they’re also learning how to communicate with clients. They don’t realize how much they absorb information from each stylists because everyone does something different in different ways.
After assisting for four years, I then got my cosmetology license before graduating high school and I worked at a corporate salon for five years.
While working at the corporate salon I took that time to master my skills, worked on my timing, placement and techniques. During that time I was also retaining clients and started to build a book.
PHOTO: Hair by Brittaney Franklin
I always explain how working for a corporate salon helped me in so many ways. There was so much walk-in traffic in the salon that it helped me build a book very quickly. There were so many different kinds of people who walked in the salon doors, I was able to get my hands on every kind of service. Once I felt like I outgrew the salon I felt like I needed more.
When I say "more," I mean that I needed to get my hands on newer products that were coming out, learn how to do other services we were not able to provide. I wanted a salon that offered me more education.
Once I knew it was my time to move on I was then able to take the clients I have gained over the last five years. I explain to the students that just because someone’s been with you for a very long time does not mean that they will always follow you to your next location. I explain that sometimes prices, location, change in atmospheres aren’t always comfortable or convenient for everyone. But always remind them don’t get discouraged because if you lose one client you always gain two.
My next five years were spent in a private salon and it was a refreshing change. The atmosphere was a little bit more high-end. And during those years, my prices dramatically increased. I was getting my hands on the newest products and I felt like I was able to provide a better service for my clients.
I continued to prioritize education, I retained the clients who came with me, and I was gaining enough new clients that I was booked out for months to a year at a time.
After being at the private salon for five years I started to get that gut feeling again that I needed more change for more growth. I always explain that if you stay comfortable you will never grow. To grow you have to put yourself in uncomfortable situations to get to your goals and visions. I talk to the students about why it’s so important setting goals for yourself--weekly, monthly, yearly, five and ten year goals for yourself.
Once I was getting this gut feeling for change I knew it was time to go out on my own and spread my wings. I decided to open up my own two-chair salon studio. I’ve now been a salon owner for two years and have two employees. My goal for the next year is to expand my salon and within 10 years I would like to have at least 30 employees.
MS: Did you have a mentor?
BF: With growing up in the salon at a young age I have met so many people who have inspired me. I have some who are very close to me that ask for advice but my mom, a stylist and cosmetology instructor, is my biggest mentor.
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