I have seen hundreds of people in my chair during the five and a half years I’ve been dressing hair. I
have looked them all in the eyes and greeted them with a handshake or a hug. They have listened to my suggestions and let me cut, color, and style them to perfection. We’ve poured over countless Pinterest boards, color swatches, and celebrity photos. They have given me their time, trust, and ultimately the ability to wake up everyday and do what I love. I am completely grateful.
But I have a confession to make. Out of the three cities I’ve lived in during my career and the hundreds of faces I have seen, I can count my most favorite clients on my two hands. It had nothing to do with how much they paid, which services they received, or how they ended up in my chair. It had to do with their respect for my time, their respect for what I do, and how they treated me as more than just a woman giving them a service. Probably a lesson we can all use in everyday life!
It’s called the short list… my list of those clients who I can squeeze in on a busy day or stay late for, give special discounts to, and just generally go out of my way to take care of way above and beyond what is expected. Follow these bits of advice next time you are in the salon and I promise your hairdresser will take note. And probably throw some goodies your way, too!
Timing Is Everything
I wear a watch everyday at work to stay on time. I also have the use of two assistants on any given day to help me mix color, blowdry, and do anything I need help with. I’m doing literally everything I can to make sure I run precisely on time for you, so please do the same for me. Waltzing over to the salon fifteen minutes after your start time because “brunch with the girls ran late” doesn’t fly with me. What that means to me is that I’ll be running fifteen minutes late all day and will probably have to skip my lunch, which is not fun for anyone. I understand things happen, but give me a call to say you’re running late at the very least. I have one amazing client who comes in ten minutes early to almost every appointment. And usually has a vanilla latte in hand for me, too! And guess what? I am always so excited to see her!
My Prices Will Rise At Some Point
Every time I have raised my prices, I’ve been met with anger and other forms of negativity from clients. As a hairdresser, a price raise is a very exciting thing. It means I have worked my butt off to meet my education requirements and have learned enough to excel to the next level. Simply stated, my education level and skill set is now worth that increased price. But I never get to celebrate my “promotion” because I know the price increase means losing some of you, my valued clients. Look, I love having you as a client. But I also can’t charge $35 for a haircut my entire career. If you decide you can no longer afford my services, please tell me. I have some killer assistants I’ve trained up who will be in your price range for anywhere from 1-5 years and they will take excellent care of you. But please don’t cause a scene or question my loyalty to you and your budget. I would love to do anything I can to make this transition easier and I will always give you a 4-6 month notice of my increase, but please be mindful of how my industry works. I don’t receive health insurance benefits, paid time off or sick leave. In order for me to create a sustainable career, I have to be able to do things like raise my prices. It’s nothing personal and it doesn’t mean that I no longer value the time we have had together and hopefully will have, it just means that I need to keep moving forward with my career. And seriously… if you can’t have me, what is better than an assistant I personally trained up who already knows your name and color formula?
Send Your Friends In
I still remember one client I had at my first salon job… I could tell she was very social, had a ton of friends, and after seeing me, had gorgeous hair. So I offered her a deal. I told her that for every guest she sent in that spent $150 with me, I would give her a free haircut. A year later and with her sister and best friends all on my client list, she still had yet to pay for a haircut. She is still a great client of mine and has now become a good friend as well. Ask your stylist what kind of referral discounts she offers…. every hairdresser offers them. And every hairdresser is more than willing to give you certain perks in exchange for spreading the word. Heading to a party after getting your hair blown out? Ask for some business cards to hand out. Check in at her salon on Facebook, post photos to her salon’s Facebook wall or post photos of your hair to your own Facebook and let your friends know who does it. Trust me, she will see it and send rewards your way. The best way to build your clientele is through word of mouth and every hairdresser prefers to build that way.
Be Realistic & Embrace What You’ve Got
I wish I had Jennifer Aniston’s hair, too. And her wise-beyond-her-years advice. And Beyonce’s dancing ability and Jennifer Lopez’s confidence while we’re making a wish list. But let’s be real with each other here…. I don’t and neither do you. And that’s not a bad thing. You are you exactly as you are and that’s perfection in itself. So let me work my magic and make your hair look as full, shiny, and bouncy as it can look. Let me show you how to style your hair so that it can look its best when you aren’t in my chair. But let’s put down the magazines and photos of Kim Kardashian…. all we are looking at is airbrushed makeup and hair extensions anyway. And let’s look into the mirror and embrace the curl, the natural undertone of your color, and the natural part you always try to fight. Trust me, we will both be happier if you can accept the real you and let me make that the best “you” you’ve ever seen.
It all boils down to one thing, really: trust. There’s no better way to get on your hairdresser’s good side than to trust her. You’ve chosen me because you know what academy I went to, you have a friend who sees me and loves me, you know that I’ve recently taken some blonding classes and you want a perfect honey-blonde highlight or you just love my personality. Whatever the reason, you have chosen me. And I’m honored. And beyond that, I truly do want you to look your best. When I suggest a slight variation in the color you want, it’s not because I want to be right. It’s because I know that particular blonde might wash you out a bit and I want you to look glowing and healthy. Or those bangs you showed me a photo of? I just know that you’ll hate them within a month and ask me why I let you make the commitment… So let’s just commit to trust each other and have a great time! And if you go the extra mile and bring me a pumpkin spice latte? Well, girlfriend, you have got yourself a hairdresser and friend for life!