Heidi Akpaette is a hairstylist for weddings and bridal styling, which has been her passion for ten years. She started her business, 139 Hair by Heidi, with the intention of providing onsite wedding hairstyling to brides and she hasn’t looked back! Networking is key to her success, as it is for all of us. In the last few years, she has been able to grow to offer talented makeup artistry as well as an intimate team of stylists. She is passionate about serving brides and honored to be with them on their wedding days. She also started the Up Do Collective, an online collective of stylists of all levels who want support with their creativity, learning, and collaboration. I asked her to write about her philosophy on networking for The Stylist Lounge. Without further ado, here’s Heidi. Blog, and the Up Do Collective.
Sometimes you may lose site along the way, especially if you are new out of beauty school, of the impact you make on others. In fact your efforts to be liked or seen may be so great that you minimize yourself and your path. The need for approval and constant feedback may be a distraction from actually making impact. Relax, if you are serving your clients, applying yourself to your craft and personal life, let yourself feel the flourish.
Touching Your Clients Head
Touching of the head is reserved for few people. Lovers, spiritual ceremonies, doctors and you the beauty professional, so treat it with respect and consider your touch. This list of five things you need to know right now about honor, and what you can do to bring a level of consciousness to what you are actually doing, and not just going through robotic motions of your job. When you start paying attention to the nuances of what you do and how you treat people, your business will sky rocket, you will feel more satisfied at the end of the day, and your clients will appreciate you. These sort of details go beyond just the skill of a brilliant hair color, or perfect haircut.
Whether you are just beginning your career, or have been at it for years, checking in with yourself as you walk into the salon. Observe how you move through your clients in one day. Become hyper aware of how you approach them. Consider your thought as you touch. Are you being careless, rough, or flippant? Maybe just rushed, and fast? I’m not suggesting that you need to be serious or pretentious. Handle them with care and consideration. Make sure they are comfortable as they sit in your chair, or lean back in the shampoo bowl. Bring yourself present instead of thinking all about what you need to get done, or that you are running behind. Use your touch as a way to ground yourself, breathe, and rinse her yours and her troubles away.
1. Be Conscious – It would be very difficult to be a beauty professional and not touch your client. Such a simple gesture. And yet, a very powerful one. How you approach your clients head speaks volumes about who you are, and what you think about them. Your thoughts come right out through your hands. Have you ever asked permission of your new clients? This simple acknowledgement of the fact that you are going to touch them is vital in developing trust. Conscious healers do it all the time. Be intentional, rhythmic, and let the energy flow, without getting attached.
I recently brought my daughter to the acupuncturist. It was a fabulous experience and I walked away, impressed with her manner. It made me wonder why doctors to implement this concept of permission based touching. The Acupuncturist asked my daughter , “May I take your pulse?” When she received the “yes”, said thank you. This amazing gesture of asking sets the tone of what you will be like working with you, it helps to build the relationship, giving her the option to speak up, or opt out, or change the situation. It goes a long way in establishing trust. Ask your client next time, “May I touch your hair?” Watch their response. They will more than likely be floored.
[tweetthis]”Honor your clients through honor yourself.” REBECCA BEARDSLEY[/tweetthis]
2. Communicate with Kindness – I don’t care if it is the most troublesome client, if she is in your chair, and you’ve not released her to another salon, then you still have work to do. Honor is the only way through it. Speak candidly with her or him, while resting your hands on her shoulders. Do not hesitate to bring truth to the situation in a professional manner. Think about it, if you are holding bad juju going into the appointment with your client, and then you go to touch her head, all these negative thoughts are transferring over to her, and is polluting the space between you, and at the end of the day will only destroy you.
3. Check in With them – Are they wincing, or backing off from your touch? Have you asked them if they like a vigorous shampoo or mild? Or do you just launch into nail scratching shampoo while they white knuckle the chair to just get through the experience? The time at the shampoo bowl is a perfect time for them to close their eyes and relax, and ease them into the service. Let them be. Let all the stuff you are holding onto rinse right down the drain for your own well being. Think of it as sacred, because it is. Water is a replenishing, cleansing ritual in all cultures, and in your salons’ start thinking about it this way and you will find yourself more grounded, and ready to embark on the next service. If you are not shampooing your own clients, you are missing out.
4. Using Your Hands to Demonstrate Your Professionalism – The way you approach speaking to your clients about their hair needs to be demonstrated with your hands. Touch their heads with artistry, showing them your vision. Feel their head to know what you are working with. The more care and time you spend here, they will feel honored, like your are not just going through the motions. If you want them to come along on your journey, you better make it as enticing as possible, and a lot of it is how secure they feel in your hands.
5. Shake It Off – If you feel there is negativity coming from client, than alternatively, you can use the time at the bowl to release, and shake it off in the bowl. Maybe even spraying some essential oils in the air behind you, or in a diffuser, will help negativity and ease the mood. Try Jasmine, Ylang-Ylang, Rosemary, Cypress, or Eucalyptus. Literally visualize the negative emotions flowing out of her head. Massage her scalp and loosen it up. This may be a little too California for you, but what do you have to lose.
Know that when you treat your client, yourself, and the profession with honor, it changes the DNA in you. When you allow in the powerful, honorable role you play in your clients’ life to sink in, you begin to transform your job, into a career and vocation. This is how we bring up the whole industry.
Check in with yourself as you are walking through the door of the salon. As you look at your appointment book, see how you feel with each one. Now, see if you can bring awareness to what you are doing, how you are doing it. When you start focusing in on where you are holding back, or holding in, you can release it. Let the shampoo bowl be a place of respite for you both. Your sales will be more effective from a relaxed place.
Watch this fun video, 6 Reasons Why Touch Is Amazing.
Despite The Negative Press From Within The Industry
Have you been told before that being an independent in a salon is a bad idea, or that renting a chair is looked down upon in the beauty industry? I’ve heard everything – independent contractors are lazy, or they’re not interested in education or keeping their skills up, to name just a few. The role of an independent can be very confusing and fraught with details, start up costs, regulations to be aware of, the perception in the industry, or salon owner abuses. However, there is always another side to the story. These 30 strategies on being an independent in a salon will help you be successful, should you choose to walk this path and despite the negative press from within the industry. They come from the experience of 28 years of being self-employed and 3 years as an employee.
Get Your Clients Respect
Have you ever wondered why those very clients that you give the most to end up being the ones who never seem to be happy, or complain the most, or better yet, complain about a price increase? You need to learn right from the get go how to set strong boundaries with your clients, or they will eat you alive. Now, 99% of all your clients may be giving, loving, generous people, but that 1% will take all the joy from your work.