Personal moxie - do stylists respect themselves?
I ran into a friend at the airport a few months ago. I was being flown out by Thermafuse (my side gig) to present at a hair show.
I was sitting at the gate, cruising social media and lo and behold she had checked in at the same gate for the same flight. I went and found her, we talked for a few, and then boarded our flight. Our seats happened to be two rows apart - we did a few hahas over the rows and sat down.
I could hear her talking about our upcoming trips to her seat mate....
Wait. Let me give you the back story.
I have known this person for 15 years and I have been a stylist for most of those. I have been a presenter for Thermafuse for most of those years as well. We are friends on social media and in real life. She should be aware what I do for work.
So when I could hear her talking to her seat mate about what she does, she said I’m a speaker. He said "what does your friend do?" and she replied “oh, something with hair." Are you kidding me???
That's when it hit me. That is what people think of us: "Something with hair."
I was going to the same city and getting paid to do the same thing – speak to people but somehow mine was “something with hair” and hers was “I’m a speaker!”
What really floored me about this gal saying “something with hair” is that we, as stylists, tend to view ourselves this way.
But we are way more than that. I know it, you know it, we all know it.
The question is, do we portray that to our friends and family, or are we 'just a stylist'?
We know that we are counselors. Therapists. Match makers. Life coaches. Goal setters. Day makers and friends for life.
But do we respect what we do enough to tell the world?
When someone asks us 'what do you do', what is our answer? I’m a stylist, a hair dresser? Or do we say:
I make a person’s dreams come true every day.
I communicate on a level that most can’t understand.
I am the light in the day of many.
I am the thing that people look forward to and lie to their husband about.
I am the excuse to sit - I am the excuse to talk - I am an integral part of people’s lives.
My clients come back to me because of my award winning personality (laugh). But really, I care for them they know it.
I ask them to help me with my life too. You see, they have been with me for a long time and now need to feel needed. They like helping me with my refi, or my garden. They like to feel that I need them just as much as they need me.
My Thermafuse side gig is a platform artist. But no one outside our industry even knows what that is. Basically, I am an international educator. I am a performance artist in the hair industry.
Now that sounds fancy.
There is no shame in being a hairdresser, a stylist or cosmetologist. But we are so much more than what is perceived, and it is time to act like it.
I asked two people that I admire in this industry about what makes clients come back to their salon, why are they respected in the industry.
Here is what I got:
Jessica – Owner/Stylist/Educator – I have built a warm and open environment they can feel from the moment they walk in the door. We create a stand-alone experience, not just a haircut. As an educator, my company chose me because of my willingness to learn and grow. I like to give my knowledge in a class in a way that connects with each person so that I am relatable.
Emily – Stylist/Educator – My clients come back because their expectations were met or exceeded and because we made sure to re-book them before they left (laugh). I have grown into a position of influence because I have a strong desire to give back to the industry. Once upon a time I was offered an incredible opportunity and even though I was scared, I said yes. The most important thing I have learned along the way is to stay humble.
What strikes me is there was no hesitation in their answers. They are confident people. They know what they bring to the world. We all bring something to this world. Something very important. What is that thing? It doesn’t have to be different or better. This world is huge and there are billions of people who need us. What makes you matter in this world? Your family? Your Salon? The smile you pass on to others? Holding the door open? Letting someone go in front of you? You matter. You matter to more than one person. I guarantee it. You matter so much to someone and you don’t even know it.
The woman who said that I did 'something with hair' is a motivational speaker. She sells books. She matters to someone too. She probably matters to a ton of people.
What can we learn from this?
We can choose pull the wind from someone’s sails. It is easy to do and I am sure we all do it all the time. All we can do is strive to be a person that lifts others up a person. We can choose to add wind to the sails of others.