As hairdressers what we do is one of the most ancient crafts, and since the invention of scissors in 1500 B.C., the act of cutting hair has not evolved much. Insert hair, close blades, hair is shorter. Lately though, things that have existed 10 years or less have made my life better as a hairdresser (one, who works alone at my own salon and as Director of Education at Cutler in NYC), and as a salon owner.
I apologize in advance, this is not a commercial for Apple and there are other options that are comparable to the examples I will share. And, though I am an Apple power user, and have been for more than 20 years, the examples I will share are The Tech Tools That Actually, Really Do, Make My Life Better.
- Apple Watch: As a hairdresser, not only is it hard to have your phone in your hand when you are working, it is also unprofessional. Now as the primary care taker of our two teenage daughters, as my wife has returned to work outside of our immediate area, there has been more than one occasion when the girls need something brought to them immediately at school. With a quick glance a my wrist, I can deliver professional service to my guests and be available for emergencies. Plus, with the Apple Watch 2, not only do I have a water proof timer, I can even control the music for the salon.
- iPad Pro with Apple Pencil: With the ability to type, draw, shoot 4K video, and 12mp pictures, it has my calendars on it, I can schedules appointments, it has my music, movies, TED Talks, all my keynote presentations, blogs, it can take credit card payment w/Square, plus store up to 252gb of data!!! It holds every journal I can make, including letting me add pictures. It never gets heavier, and if I lose it, it’s backed up. Any way I want to capture or create, this creative tool gets me.
- Square: As a salon owner and stylist, if you are paying more than 2.75% for credit cards fees stop and if you are paying less, good for you! Credit Cards instead of cash, makes it very easy to keep track of all my expenses and sales and by using a free credit card for my business, that gets points or a percentage back, I can even off-set the net on the 2.75% on my business.
- Security Camera’s: I was with a friend away on a trip when the alarm at their house kept going off. While we were at dinner, they were sharing how frustrated they were that they couldn’t get in contact with anyone to check their house. While we were sitting there, I pulled up the cameras at my house and business, that I installed myself. They are backed up to the cloud for secure offsite evidence (if ever needed) and I showed them how I could check my house right there. Security cameras are really good and really cheap today, some even help you program them with a simple QR code. They help keep you safe and check how things are. With outdoor cameras or cameras that can see outside through a window, you can even check the weather or if the parking lot has been plowed.
- Wifi Thermostat: I was with another friend when he was commenting about how the team was changing the thermostat and forgetting to change it back so that the air conditioning was not running all night. I showed him the app that allows me or my wife to adjust the temperature, remotely, when anyone needed and its a simple Honeywell Wifi Thermostat. So we could lock the box around the thermostat and no one needs the key, because with our Apple Watches even in the shower, I can receive a text and in moments make any adjustments the team needs from a phone or tablet.
- Motion Sensitive Light Switches: I actually took this even one step further, not only are all the lights on a motion sensor for the salon and bathroom, all of the outlets at the salon are wired for another motion sensor. So 15 minutes. after the last movement in the salon, all of the lights go off and all the outlets are shut off, so if an iron was left on, it’s off in 15 minutes after the last person leaves. The outlets a professional electrician wired at my request, the lights I did myself and got the switches at a Home Depot.
- Robotic Vacuum: I am in love with a robot. I was at friends house who has 2 cats and a dog and a robotic vacuum. When I first saw it, “A” I couldn't believe she had one and “B” I wanted to know if she liked it. Like was not a strong enough word, she LOVES it! I went home and found it had 4.5 stars with over 4100 reviews on Amazon. I still sweep my salon after every guest and honestly try to get every hair I see, then I leave and let my robot vacuum go. I am always amazed how much it finds! It is great with our chair’s star bases, does not tangle in the cords I forget to move, can be programed to run on a schedule and even puts itself back on its dock to recharge. I am looking at the damp mop version they have now too.
- Digital Key-less Locks: I love the fact that anyone I need can get into the salon when they need to and I don't have to worry who has a key. With Digital locks everyone can have their own key, which on many systems can be disabled remotely if needed, so you know who can get in and even when they are doing it.
- Standing Desk: As my life consists of more and more focused on creating content like blogs, videos, books, replying to email and product development my computer screen time was increasing. Have you heard, “Sitting is the new smoking?” The truth is standing is better. When I was in Germany for a project a few years ago I was given an office to use for the few days and they showed me the desk when we enter the office and explained how I could make it any height I needed to work sitting or standing. When I asked if this was a special desk, they explained that German law requires adjustable desks for people who work at desks in offices because people are not the same height and you have to be able to stand to be healthy. My new standing desk holds 2 monitors plus and has 4 programmable heights from 24”- 60”. I have 2 standing heights set, one sitting for a chair and one for sitting on a yoga/exercise ball.
Technology can be a double-edged sword; the more you use it the more you need it. What I look for are the sweet spots that help me provide a better experience and have more time for me in the real world. Many times in the past I have had to run back to the salon because a team member got locked out or left an iron on, these things happened more than once. Technology has allowed me to be more creative, healthier, better analyze my business, be more efficient, safer, save time and literally make time by multi-tasking while my floors are being care to.
Let me know how technology is making your life better.