“Being healthy means putting my life first, in every category—mentally, physically and emotionally—so I can continue to take care of others,” says Kenya Rynea, an independent professional at Sola Salon Studios in Austin, Texas. We asked Rynea and several other solo artists with Healthy Hairdresser sponsor Sola Salon Studios what it means to be a healthy professional. Here, they share ideas that have worked for them, which fall into six simple steps:
- Manage your schedule. “I wear many hats,” says Kim Bennett Horvath, Sola Salon, Denver, Colorado. “I have a daughter, my husband also works and travels in our beauty industry, I'm an educator for Paul Mitchell, I work in my Sola studio 3-4 days a week and I am Sola’s Culture Ambassador. So my new lifesaver is a scheduling app called SolaGenius! The convenient app helps me to juggle everything and organize all of my schedules in one place. Create a schedule that fits in everything you need, and then stick to it.”
- Choose your clients. The Sola artists say that working as independent professionals allows them freedom to not only set their own schedule, but also to choose the type of clients they prefer to work with. Not interested in cutting men’s hair? Still thinking about the toxic client that drained your energy during their last visit? Never want to work with another bride again? Sola Studio artists set the rules so that they can enjoy their time in the salon and surround themselves with people who make their career meaningful.
- Follow your passions and focus on what you love. From developing a new skill to immersing yourself in something you already love, do what brings you joy! You can specialize in hair color, precision cuts or texture and focus on clients whose looks tap into that specialty. Allow your passions to guide you toward an inspiring career that will leave you mentally, emotionally and creatively fulfilled.
- Work with healthy products. You’re breathing and touching the products you use, so take your health into account and be selective with the products you expose yourself and your clients to.
Sola independent pros have complete control over the products that they use and retail. They can choose products with fewer toxins or lines formulated with organic ingredients.
- Lower your stress. Mediation and working out relieves stress for Sue Scott, a professional at Sola in Alexandria, Virginia. “That keeps my endorphins flowing, allowing me to stay in a positive mood,” Scott says. “It’s also important for stylists to stay in good physical shape since we are on our feet sometimes up to 16 hours a day. We need to be healthy and strong so we can have longevity in this industry. If you don’t feel good and look great all the time, you will not be successful. We are in the beauty business—we need to look and feel like it!”
- Take time out. “One of my pet peeves in the industry is not taking a break,” says Sade Williams, whose Sola studio is in New York City. “Overworking is very big in our industry. When you’re working for yourself in your Sola studio, it can be a 24-hour job, so taking breaks is necessary. Block out 30 or 45 minutes to have a meal or go for a walk.” Williams recommends taking longer breaks as well. “I make sure that I take at least one vacation a year to maintain a healthy lifestyle,” she notes. It’s good for your physical health and indispensable for your mental health.
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