Let’s Make It The New Normal

To choose authenticity in your salons is to declare a future in the beauty industry, but how many hairstylists actually are that?What you do today to bring honesty and awareness to your own life, the salon, to your clients, will have a profound effect on your energy level, your satisfaction, your happiness, and your ability to stay at a particular salon, or stay in your career, period. It begins with the owner, and trickles down. There always seems to be an underlying dishonesty, lack of transparency, and deceit in salons. Let’s make authenticity the new normal in salons, and read on to find out how.

Authenticity 123rf.com/Dirk Ercken

A huge discrepancy may exist between what I just described and your salon. There are many nuances to the falseness in salons, just as there are many shades of gray. Walk in to work today, have a client in mind as you listen to what stylists are talking about, observe them without gawking or judging. Observe the owner, owners observe your employees. In a quiet, respectful, reflective way, take in as much as you can what the client sees, hears, and smells.  Place the same inquiry on your own practice, observe and listen to yourself as you greet your clients.  Are you genuinely interested in them? What do you notice?
There are many salons that would be listed under the category of toxic. It’s kind of like learning to ride a horse. Inexperienced riders think it’s about training the horse, versus the horse training you. If there is an issue happening with the horse, it is definitely the rider, and that horse will exploit your weakness. So owners, take a look. Do you feel exploited? Does your staff feel exploited?
[tweetthis]“Let’s choose authenticity in our salons.” REBECCA BEARDSLEY[/tweetthis]
You have to dismantle this organism that has grown and festered, and get to the underbelly of the situation if you want your salon to grow and sustain itself long after you are gone.  Let your legacy be that you created a sacred salon where clients and employees feel honored, respected, whole, and brought up rather than defeated.
OWNERS
Owners, ask yourself, when is the last time you walked around and personally acknowledged clients sitting in your stylists’ chair? When is the last time you let your employees know you are grateful for them. When is the last time you let them know you may be struggling to pay the bills, and what help you are going to need from them, or the success you’ve experience and you are changing to a profit sharing business model?
How about the assistants? What is the standard you have set by action and tone?  We all know abuse exists in particularly known, top salons. Is this really the energy and exchange we accept in our salons?  Is there any authenticity?
Maybe this short story will bring it home for you owners.  My most loyal client, who spent the most dollars on services and product walked in for her appointment with me.  She sat in the waiting area, and a few assistants said hello.  When I am ready for her, I bring her back to my chair and I consult with her.  Upon returning to my station with her color mixed, we begin to talk.
She says to me, “You know, that assistant is so great, she is always so warm and friendly.”  I replied, “Yes, she is awesome, she is doing really well.”
My client then says, “You know, Max(fictitious name of the owner) has never said hello to me. It’s the strangest thing, I’m in here every four weeks.”
“I apologize for that Nancy (fictitious name of client), that is just not right.”  It didn’t help that my client used to be the front desk concierge at a salon in San Francisco.  She has a high standard of what she expects from where she spends her money.  Do I blame her?!  No!!!
Soon as my client left, I brought it up with Max. He took it well, and from that point on, he made it a point to say hello to her with authenticity.  Unfortunately, I don’t know that he got the message really, and changed this within himself to acknowledge clients, to be welcoming, to be happy to see people. He is the owner, the tenor of the salon is set by him or her, the employees will follow suit.
But Nancy loved it. Next time she sat in my chair, and Max said hello, soon as he walked away she offered up, “Wow, that is so nice, he said hello!” It soon became the norm.
STYLISTS
Don’t wait for the owner to be authentic, start “being” it yourself.  Consider this practice for when you one day own a salon. Practice saying to all clients, create the culture you want to be a part of and be proud of.  Be your lovely self, and opportunities will arise.  Speak up for what is real for you, for your clients.  The minute you start honoring your own authenticity, the universe aligns itself to support you.
WHAT IS AUTHENTICITY?
So what does being authentic mean?  It means being honest, believe in what you are offering, whether it’s a service or a product.  My biggest mistakes in my practice came when I wasn’t honest with myself, and I over promised.  Being authentic means being real, you don’t need to pretend to be someone else, let them be them, and you be you.

To choose authenticity in your salon means the owner must declare this for themselves in their own life, because falseness will die young.  Then, this authenticity attracts the stylists that bloom in this environment, and they attract the clients that will be more than happy to spend their money in your salon.  It’s just how it works.  But the biggest reward for building authenticity in your salon, is you become a person, a culture, a business that the community can trust.  And this is a beautiful thing.

Can people be “successful” and not choose authenticity?  Absolutely, but why?  What is the point?  Let’s make choosing authenticity the new normal in salons across the world, and our effect on the planet would be so much greater.  The whole industry would go through a very long overdue evolution.
HAIRSTYLIST TIP
If you would like to read further on this topic, check out this article at the Harvard Business Review, by Herminia Ibarra.
INSPIRATION
Check out this fun video.
Question:  How does your salon foster authenticity?  Share your answer on Facebook, or Twitter.