Archive for the ‘Learning A New Industry’ Category

First Day On The “Job”

February 4, 2009

Yesterday was my first day working in the salon.  And I have to say that it was really an awesome day. I think I fit in well with the other stylists, and the owner loves my eagerness to soak in everything she’s dishing out.

And boy was there a lot to soak in yesterday:

  • Rule #1 of Hair: DO NOT HARM THE HAIR
  • My in-salon training will consist of, and in this order: Sanitation, Shampooing & Conditioning, Relaxing, Color and last, my favorite, Cutting. The owner says that she’d like to have me to begin working on my own within the next 6 months. (HUH?!?!?!)
  • I need 3000 hours in the salon, in addition to my coursework at the Richmond Technical Center, in order to get my hair license. I worked 10 hours yesterday. So, I now have 2,990 hours to go.
  • The owner used to be a platform artist for Paul Mitchell. She continues to amaze me.
  • Only in a black salon do you “manipulate” the scalp. LOL. (Some of you may get it, some of you may not.)
  • The salon caters to a plethora of people, which I’m glad about. So, I’m learning about all types of hair types and textures – Black hair, Caucasian hair, Natural hair, Asian hair.
  • I’m going to work on tightening up the inventory system they currently have at the salon.
  • I asked the owner if we recycled the product bottles, and she laughed. I’ve been given the assignment to implement a recycling program, if I’d like.
  • The owner is looking to expand her business to two more locations by August. That’s pretty aggressive, but I’m SO excited about the possibilities. She also wants to develop a product line. How cool is that?
  • I’m still new to this, but my gut tells me I’m not going to be a stylist. Owner is enough for me…I think…
  • I shampooed one Client yesterday, and she said I seemed nervous.  Shoot, I was. LOL.
  • To me, the other stylists dress pretty hip and trendy. I’m still too corporate and conservative. I’m hoping to loosen up and let the diva out of the bag. I may try wearing one of my wigs to work one day. I never did at the agency because I was too self-conscious.
  • I shall wear comfortable shoes to work!!! The new shoes I bought (though flats) did my poor feet a disservice. Trying to be cute, but by the end of the day, my dogs were BARKING! One stylist says it takes about a week or so for your feet and legs to get used to a new floor. *sigh*

Even with all of that, I’m happy to say that I left the salon and headed straight to the library to update the Industry Analysis section of my business plan. Thank goodness the library is right down the street. I’m going to attempt to do that every Tuesday after work since that’s our least busiest day.

And to top off my long, but great day, I came home to find the very email I was hoping to get. One of my mentors agreed to meet with me this weekend to discuss my survey for gathering consumer data. I’m ecstatic!!  She’s the bomb when it comes to research!

Little by little… 🙂


Plan B?

January 28, 2009

I guess I’ve had tunnel vision the last couple of months because all I’ve been focusing on is meeting my goal of opening a hair salon in January 2010.

But today in class, I realized just how many career options, just like in any other industry I guess, there are in the hair industry:

  • Salon Owner
  • Hairstylist
  • Colorist
  • Salon Trainer
  • Cosmetology Instructor
  • Special Events Manager
  • Retail Distributor
  • PR/Marketing Coordinator
  • Industry Publication Contributor
  • Corporate Executive

And that’s just to name a few.

I mean, I still have high hopes of opening the salon next year.

But I must admit, I find a sense of security knowing that if Plan A doesn’t work out, I’ll still have other options…

My first day in class.

January 28, 2009

So, I started my cosmetology class this past Monday. And I’m liking it already.

I’m being exposed to a wide variety of people – hair veterans, as well as the amateurs.  Most of the girls are already working in salons as apprentices, but one girl, like me, is making a complete career change.

And my instructor, she seems pretty cool and has worked in the industry for a long time.  She’s worked at a salon franchise (Sports Clips), and in another salon prior to that.  Plus, she’s owned her own shop in Richmond. So, she’s pretty much seen it all.

But most fun to me right now, and probably because I’m so new to this, is that the school is putting together a fashion show/ hair competition in March. All of the students get to participate, should they so choose. I know I won’t be doing any hair, but I may participate as a hair model. 🙂

What?!?!? Can’t a girl fantasize just a little?

This is going to be fun!

School’s In Session

January 23, 2009

Last night, before I indulged in My Last Supper, I stopped by the Virginia Technical School and registed for a cosmetology course that will run parallel to the in-salon training of my apprenticeship. 

The good thing about the apprenticeship vs. going to hair school is that a). it’s a lot cheaper – $1,000 vs. $15,000 and b). I’ll be receiving hands on training from one of the top salon owners and stylists in Richmond. She’s been in the business for over 20 years and said she’ll teach me how to run a salon business,  etc. I’m not sure I’d get all that experience from hair school.

I love the fact that I’ll be learning something new, but I’m not that excited about having to go back to school. For a person with serious ADD, sitting in a class (again) for 3 hours at a time is NOT JOKE!

But I know I have to do this in order to make some big things happen.

School starts on Monday. *sigh* YEAH!!!

Our President is off to work today.

January 21, 2009

And so am I.

I forgot to tell you, but this past Thursday, I met with (5) people in the hair industry – 3 salon owners and 2 areas supervisors for hair salon franchises (Supercuts & Smart Style at WalMart).

And for the most part, the general consensus  is that I should have some knowledge about hair and how to do hair if I’m going to own my own salon. On the flip side, I could own a franchise, and the majority of them KNOW NOTHING about hair… I’m just going to be sure to check out all of my options.

I learned a lot last week, however. Here are a few key takeaways:

  • Know how to do hair if you want to own your own salon
  • Find your own voice regarding hair and establish your own vision about what type of salon you want to run
  • I can either go to hair school OR learn through an apprenticeship (in which I’d work under someone and get more hands on training) to learn about hair and hairstyling
  • There are (3) ways in which to own a salon – create a salon from scratch, buy a previously owned salon or invest in a hair salon franchise

So, today, now that my room is now nice and neat, I’m going to do a little following up and:

  • Send Thank You cards to everyone I met last week
  • Explore various hair salons and get a sense of their ambience and what they’re trying to accomplish
  • Research franchising possibilities and options
  • Schedule a time to speak with the one salon owner who’s currently looking for an apprentice and ask her some more questions about that opportunity

I should be pretty busy today.

Hope you’re expecting to have WONDERFUL day today!!

Killing two birds…

December 13, 2008
After my interviews with the hair schools and it raining like crazy on Thursday, I decided to stay over in DC that night.  And since I’d be in town the extra day, I put in a call to the salon, Natural Motions, where I used to work  when I was in college.  I figured, I might as well see if the owner Ms. Nolan would be willing to give me some advice on how to get started in the hair business.
When I got there, it was just like old times. Some people left, but those who were still there looked the same.  And being there sure did bring back some fond memories.  I would stop by that salon and stay in there all day sometimes, just chatting it up with the ladies.  They were my friends, my counselors and my colleagues. I remember some of the hot messes that walked in and the glamorous women who left out.  I was one happy sistah when I stepped foot into that shop.
So, I talked with Ms. Nolan, and she shared with me some gems of wisdom:
#1 – Go to the best hair school
#2 – Wait till you finish school to decide exactly what you want to do in the industry
#3 – Work in a salon for 2 years to build clientelle, if you want to open your own shop
#4 – Hairdressers are crazy
And then,  just like old times, I decided to go and get my hair done.  Though I had absolutely nowhere special to go, I asked for those 1930’s vintage, dry fingerwaves.  I left happy.  What do you think? 

Hair Diva


 My plan was to treat myself to a nice dinner, but when I got back to Richmond, I ended up running into my girlfriend Tracee.  We  enjoyed a fabulous abd yummy dinner at Nordstrom’s and then even capped off the night with some pedicures.  Life is damn sure good.

I’m going to love hair school.

December 12, 2008
I interviewed with Paul Mitchell The School and Aveda Institute in the DC area yesterday.
Of course, I had no idea what to wear, so I opted for mostly black. Good choice. The dress code for both schools is, yep, all black.
Both schools’ cosmetology program is an 11-month program that consists of shampooing/conditioning, hairstyling, haircutting, permanent waving/chemical relaxing, haircoloring, skin care and make up and nail care.  All of these skills are necessary to know in order to pass the state cosmetology exams and obtain a hair license in DC, VA and MD. Though some states require a different number of hours, they require 1500 hours.
While touring both facilities, I noticed Paul Mitchell (PM) tends to be more high-end fashion geared, while Aveda’s emphasis is on a person’s overall well being.  The atmosphere at Paul Mitchell was high energy and youth spirited, while Aveda, on the other hand, felt more peaceful.  I think both schools nurture individual creativity, just in different ways.
If I had to make a final decision based on yesterday, I’d definitely choose Aveda. More than providing the best hair style or hair cut, I want to offer my customers a unique experience.  Aveda just felt like it could help me do that, and it was definitely a better fit for my personality.  I also love the fact that their culture and products benefit both customers and the environment.
The thing I do know is that I DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, want to live in the DC area. Been there, done that. I want to try something new.
Which reminds me, at Aveda, the admissions counselor did mention that they have schools in Europe. Not sure if that’s a realistic option for me, but I’m definitely going to do some more investigating to find out. I’d love to live abroad for year, yes indeedy!
The next session for both schools starts Jan 6th.  But I’m going to wait to attend a little later. Ideally, I’d love to begin school in February/March because I’m planning to have my business plan complete and ready to go before I step in any hair school – in America or abroad.


December 10, 2008

I rescheduled my appointment with Aveda for tomorow, and I also have an appointment scheduled for tomorrow with Paul Mitchell The School in MacLean, VA as well.

I’m on my way, ya’ll.

Hair School

December 6, 2008

A lot of you don’t know this, but Jackson* and I are no longer working together on this venture.  Though we’ve gone our separate ways, I’ve decided to continue with this pursuit, just solo. 

When the idea originally came to us, Jackson was the partner with the hair expertise, while I was the one with the strong business background. Now that we’re no longer working together, I think it makes sense for me to learn all I can about hair.  I know a little something from having worked in a hair salon, but I don’t think I know enough to run a successful hair care business.

I’ve been doing my homework, and I’ve found a number of beauty schools I think I’d be interested in. I have my first interview with the Aveda Institute in DC next week.  YEAH!!

This reminds me so much of all I did when learning about advertising.  Now I’m doing the same, just on hair.  New career, new industry.

This is going to be fun.

Wish me luck!

(*Name has been changed to protect the innocent.)