Solo Artist

Zeus Garca, Hair Master and Renter

Victoria Wurdinger | November 15, 2015 | 2:07 AM
Trained in Paris and London, Zeus Garca is an actual Master of Coiffure.
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Zeus Garca Hair Studio is a Penthouse-style iStudio Salon Suite, decorated to his personal taste.
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Garca’s fall trend prediction includes solid lines, more precision cuts and polished looks.
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Every one of Garca’s clients is taught to re-create her look at home.
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When Zeus Garca realized hairdressing was seen as a trade in the U.S. but a profession in Europe, he took the highest educational ground he could.

Over 20 years ago, Zeus Garca, owner of Zeus Garca Hair Studio in Maitland, FL, decided he wanted to be the consummate hair professional. Not fully satisfied with Stateside education at the time, he opted for lengthy European educational programs. It took three years for him to get a Master’s degree in Coiffure in France (Jacques Dessange/Paris); he also took TIGI’s Master’s program in the UK, in the early ‘90s.

After working in Europe, he returned to the U.S. where he held several positions, including art director for Antoine du Chez in Denver, a Colorado renter, an employee in Atlanta and a partner in Celebrities on the Avenue Salon in Winter Park,  FL.

“I’ve been a renter, an employee, a salon owner, and a session stylist in New York and in Japan,” says Garca. “When I decided to return to Florida, I realized I was expected to open a salon, but it wasn’t for me. I wanted to work with a special clientele, with no management and paperwork headaches.”

Choosing iStudio Salons for his new home was a natural: Garca knew of their excellent reputation, and could get “the penthouse suite” ($3,000/month) where he works with an assistant. “It was more elegant than what I had in a previous rental—more like a doctor’s office but very inviting,” he says.  

Making it

Garca already had most of what he needed to succeed from high-end clients to business sense. For what he didn’t know, he hired pros, including his own receptionist, and recently, someone to handle his social media efforts. “I realized I need a presence and don’t have the time for it, although I approve everything that goes on my social pages.”

As a color correction specialist, Garca is all about the education, and how it will lead to ultimate, professional success.  

“The best way to get business is to realize that if you’re good, news travels fast, but if you mess up, clients will tell the world you are a bad hairdresser,” he stresses. “You must know what to expect from products and follow manufacturer’s directions. If you do mess up, step-up to the plate, admit your mistake and seek help or more education. Clients will respect you and let you fix a mistake if you fess-up. Explain what went wrong, what you will do next to fix it, and then guarantee your work.”

The biggest color mistake, he adds, is assuming that one color or formula fits all.

“Fine-textured hair may not be able to take 30 or even 20-volume developer,” he explains. “You must be able to forecast the long-term effect. Clients want immediate gratification, but if you give it to them and damage their hair, that’s about a trade, not a profession.”

It’s no surprise that Garca says beyond word-of-mouth, the next best way to ensure success is through learning. “Don’t assume you know it all,” he says. “Continuing education is your best friend. I still spend $10,000 to $15,000 each year on education.”

And, he still works on stage himself, most recently in Brazil. When he shows up at classes of his own former students, who are now on stage themselves, and they ask what he is doing in their classes, he simply replies, “There’s always something to learn.”


More about Zeus Garca:

Referral Plan. I give clients $10 for each head they send me or $15 for a chemical-service client, and it can add up. If you send me 10 clients, you may have no bill. As incentive to stay, I also give 25% off on 1-year anniversary with me and a free blow-out for  a client’s birthday.

Fav Live Ed: Sonya Dove, her education is second to none. I also love Vivienne Mackinder and go to the TIGI Academy in NYC for editorial education. I attend Pivot Point and Aquage classes—even if you don’t carry someone’s product line, take their classes.

Schedule: 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. One day a week pays most the expenses related to the studio.

Prices: $180 for a cut and color retouch. Corrective color starts at $200.

Haircolor: Keune. I like their pigment load.

Client Base: I have a database of 1,200 clients. Some are snowbirds, so in winter, I might have a base of 1,100.

Pre-Booking Rate: I am always booked out a few weeks in advance; about 65% pre-book before they leave.

On Retail Success: I make about $1,200 a week in retail; it pays for everything business- related beyond the rent. Curate lines by price point—high, medium and other. Streamline the lines and learn every product. Don’t just let the client smell a product…show him or her how to use it. For first-time appointments, I book 30 minutes of extra time to talk about texture, home styling and more. I want them to be able to re-create a salon look on their own. And if they don’t like a product, they can return it in 7 days.

Money Saver: A good accountant. He monitors my account via his own software and tells me when not to over-spend.

Best Add-on: Brazilian Blowout.


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