A Letter To New Salon Professionals
This blog post is going to be a little bit different. We’ve done a lot of reflecting in 2022 and it’s been refreshing to look back on the highs and the lows of our careers with other salon industry professionals. All of this reflecting has got us thinking; if you could go back to day one and tell yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
It’s hard to narrow it down to just one thing because so many lessons have been learned along the way that we would love to tell the younger and more naïve versions of ourselves. So since we can’t give ourselves a heads up on what’s to come, we wanted to write a letter to those brand new salon professionals who are just getting into the industry. Although we wish we could protect you from all hardships with unlimited advice and insight, part of learning is gaining perspective, and sometimes you have to go through it to grow through it. So without further ado, here are 5 “rules” to keep in your back pocket, with 5 updated acceptable reasons to break them.
Hey, new salon professionals! Yes you, with your eyes full of both wonder and terror as you scope out the industry that you just dove head first into. We remember being exactly where you are now; excited but terrified, inspired but intimidated, eager to learn but overwhelmed… it’s an oxymoron blender of feelings. We have a few suggestions for you to follow to make the process a little less painful, but we’ve taken the basic rules and added exceptions.
Be kind (but don’t let people take advantage of it)
You’re going to be working with people, all sorts of people from different walks of life, with different stories, opinions, emotions… it can be exhausting. Keep in mind that a salon or spa visit is likely an escape from their reality and likely a highlight of their week, so it is important to create a welcoming space. Being kind and accepting comes along with creating a great client experience, but it is equally important to protect your mental and emotional boundaries so that people don’t take advantage of you (intentionally or not).
This is not only true for client relationships, but also relationships with your team/owners/employees etc. Be kind, be open, be approachable, but also do your best to recognize when that kindness is being mistaken for naivety and taken advantage of. To wrap it up in a pretty little bow; do no harm, but take no crap.
Don’t take things too personally (but recognize when you’re being mistreated).
This one is real tough because it’s based on emotion and how something feels. It’s hard not to feel personally attacked when a mentor, coworker, client critiques the way you do things but you need to learn how to take certain things professionally, and not personally. However, there is a difference between constructive criticism and belittling, so if you feel like you are being mistreated, stand up for yourself.
Know your worth (then add tax, and DO NOT apologize for it)
Many salon professionals make the same mistake when starting their careers; they feel like they need to discount to get clients. Say it with me: instead of discounting, ADD VALUE! Think of what you can bring to the table that adds value to the service you are providing instead of always relying on a cheap price or discounted rate.
Once you’ve figured out your worth, ADD TAX, baby! Don’t undersell yourself and never apologize for charging what you’ve earned and deserve. Does the grocery store apologize for raising the price on produce? How about the dentist- do they apologize for the prices of their services? Do we question it? Remember this when establishing and discussing pricing.
Don’t let your ego get in the way (but be proud of your achievements and confident in your ability)
Your ego will come up when you least expect it but it is important to keep yourself humble. You never know too much to continue education and you’ll never reach a level where personal development isn’t necessary. Keep your ego in check and know that you can always improve and be better. That being said, own your accomplishments and be proud of what you’ve done! Be confident in your abilities while always acknowledging that you can continue to grow and improve.
Remember why you started (but allow yourself to change).
When you’re feeling lost, it’s important to resort back to the basics and remember why you started in the first place. While you’re reminiscing about all of your hopes and dreams getting into this the industry, also allow yourself to accept that some of these goals and plans will change and evolve. Trust the process and stay the course!
Wherever your journey in the salon/spa industry takes you, we wish you all the best along the way. There will be a lot of hard days, but also a lot or incredible days. You will fall on your face time and time again but achieve things you’ve never dreamed you could. You will make connections with people, break connections with people, and create lifelong relationships. At the end of the day, we hope that you can navigate the highs and lows and create a fulfilling, amazing career in one of the best industries in the world.
To all of you salon professionals that have been in the game for a long time, we challenge you to take the time to reflect on the lessons you’ve learned and the accomplishments you have achieved over the course of your career. In the chaos of being on the floor or behind the scenes full time, it can be easy to forget why you started and appreciate how far you’ve come… but we promise you it’s worth the good feels that come along with remembering!
In our latest episode of The Salon Scoop with Wendy Belanger, we take a trip down memory lane and reflect on her incredible career. You can give it a listen here.
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‘Til next time,
Your Team at Salon S.O.S