Taking the Leap to Independence as a Solo Artist
Gioia Gomez, owner of Akasu Hair Studio & SpaPhoto 1 of 2
After working in many different salons as an employee, manager, wedding coordinator and as a self-employed stylist, Gioia Gomez, currently based at Akasu Hair Studio & Spa, found the perfect balance. “There are many different ways to be a productive, profitable hairdresser. No one way is the right way for everyone,” she says. “I’ve found being a solo artist is a perfect fit for me.”
MS: When did you decide to try an independent work style?
GG: I reached a tipping point where I had ‘maxed out.’ Other than continuing to push myself to achieve or exceed my numbers, there weren’t any growth opportunities. Therefore, I challenged myself to become a solo artist. I had already been educating for Framesi North America for 13 years outside of the salon and providing color training for the new assistants.
MS: How long have you been a solo artist?
GG: I’d been contracting as an educator for years, as mentioned. But in early 2016, I made the leap to becoming fully independent.
MS: What is your schedule like now?
GG: I work behind the chair three days a week, sharing space with another talented stylist and two amazing estheticians. Outside the salon, I educate for Framesi four to 10 days a month throughout the United States and Canada. Periodically I will go on location for weddings and events. There are also the occasional photo shoots, runway shows, theater or performances, benefits, or other events in the local scene here in Portland, Oregon.
MS: Why do you like being a solo artist? What are the benefits?
GG: Freedom and flexibility— I am the boss. I have control over my schedule. I decide when I’m working, where I’m working, what kind of job I’m doing, and I command the price point.
MS: Why did you choose to associate your career with Framesi?
GG: I fell in love with Framesi when I was 19. During a small hair show at the Riverside Convention Center (in Grants Pass, Oregon where I grew up), these two Framesi artists did all their prep work at my beauty school and I stalked them all day. I had never seen cream hair color before, color techniques as creative as theirs or the cutting techniques they were executing. When Framesi presented their segment, it astounded me. I thought, ‘That’s it! That’s what I want to do!’
MS: How does Framesi support you as a solo artist?
GG: Education. Product. Inspiration. Framesi is the whole package! Framesi is technically driven with cutting, styling, and color methods that give you the tools to produce anything your creativity can dream of. With exceptionally high-quality products that exceed professional performance expectations and the educational support I’ve received, I have total confidence that I can achieve any result my client and I desire. Framesi is family owned, operated, and completely dedicated only to the professional, whether that is a solo artist or a multi-location mega salon. Framesi provides education that’s custom tailored to my needs.
MS: How do you market yourself?
GG: Referrals! Referrals! Referrals! Your best marketing assistant is a client who is not only thrilled with his or her own hair color and style but wants to share it with the world!
MS: How do you find new clients?
GG: Referrals of course! Social media a given in this era, so I have a salon Facebook page and Instagram. However, I prefer to network in person. Occasionally I will attend an actual networking event but I end up turning any event I go to into a networking event. I talk about being a hairdresser all the time.
MS: What advice would you give to others who are thinking about going solo?
GG: Take some accounting and business management classes. I can’t tell you how many artists are phenomenal in their craft but don’t know how to run a business. Do your research. At least create an outline of a business plan. Create a budget and stick to it. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Gioia Gomez Solo Artist and Italian Style Team Member, Framesi North America Akasu Hair Studio & Spa 2037 N. Williams Ave. Portland, OR 97227
Instagram handle: @bella.gioia.styles
Cut and style price: $65
Area of expertise: Color & Special Occasion Styling
Favorite products right now: I have had a 24-year love affair with FRAMCOLOR 2001 especially 6HR. I also love FRAMCOLOR BOLD Orchid. Some other products I can’t live without are: FRAMESI COLOR LOVER DYNAMIC BLONDE Shampoo, MORPHOSIS Restructuring Mask, FRAMESI COLOR LOVER STOP FRIZZ or FLASH DRY.
Advice to other solo artists: Learn at least the basics of business management and accounting. Pay your taxes quarterly. Always push yourself to do more!
Best thing about being a solo artist: I get to be my own artist and myself.