The results so far of this month’s Healthy Hairdresser Challenge offer much inspiration! In asking you to share the name of the person who gave you a “hands up” to boost your professional success, we’re finding that a few categories top the list:
- The first owner or manager you worked with. This person seems to be a pivotal figure in a hairdresser’s career. The owner hires you as a newbie, so that’s a leap of faith right there. Typically, your first salon trains you. In large salons, you may go into a formal training or apprentice program. But the professionals we’re hearing from on this Challenge were mentored more informally directly by the owner. Recent respondents include: a barber who was afraid to do men’s cuts until the owner stood next to her for 20 cuts in a row that he insisted she do at no charge; a hairdresser who appreciates that her first manager taught her feather razor techniques she still uses today; and a stylist who was only 14 when her hairdresser neighbor gave her a job and introduced her to this amazing industry.
- A great cosmetology instructor. This frequent response is summarized by one respondent: “She exudes kindness and positivity and was always there to encourage me and show me cool new tricks. She is full of knowledge for all things beauty and, above that, is an inspiration as the kind of person I want to be!”
- An industry leader. Some respondents have said that it directly impacted their career to see top artists perform at hair shows or to participate in a class conducted by one of our industry’s many stars. Two names that came up were longtime industry icon John Amico and Qnity business program founder Tom Kuhn.
No matter what you do for a living, it doesn’t hurt to have a parent who believes in you. Stylist Karen Crozier wrote for her response: “The person who gave me a hands-up in my career at a time when I needed it was my mom (Bettie Jacobs)....She paid for me to go to beauty school, drove me there and cheered me on!! When I got out of school, it was so much harder than I had ever imagined it was going to be. She held me as I cried when I got fired for my bad hair cutting skills. She traveled with me to many hair shows and training. She let me make her my guinea pig—wearing many bad hairdos! All the while never giving up on me! Lifting me up and seeing my dreams like no other person would have!” Today, 26 years later, Crozier says she owns a salon and has a full book.